My husband and I love going on long road trips–it’s our thing! And why not? Road trips mean coffee stopovers at random cafes, vibing to our jam while driving, and parking our car by the side of the road to watch the sunset. Ah, lovely!
But if there’s one thing that we’ve learned after having been on countless road trips together is this: the fun starts with packing and making sure our car is ready!
Unless you get your road trip essentials and packing list right, you’ll likely encounter some unpleasant experiences.
And trust me, inconveniences that seem tiny now, like one tool missing from the toolbox, can kill the happy-couple mood fast! Especially when you’ve got a flat tire, and the nearest shop is miles down the road.
Not a situation you want to be in at all!
But just because I travel with my significant other, doesn't mean I'm not generally an expert. So, no matter if you're going with friends or special someone, I've got tips on how to pack for a road trip and keep the romance alive while you’re on the road.
How to Pack for a Road Trip
What you take with you may vary depending on the duration of your trip, the weather, and the activities you plan on doing. But there are packing essentials that will stay the same no matter what.
Let me run you through some tips on how to pack for a road trip like a pro on your next romantic adventure!
Ready Your Road Trip Essentials
The first things that you need to put together are your road trip essentials. Just so you don’t forget anything, jot each item down and run through this list when loading stuff into your car. Nothing’s worse than being halfway into your trip and realizing you forgot something!
When you’re thinking of how to pack for a road trip, consider the worst-case scenarios that could happen and have a backup plan for that. It’s not pessimism, merely preparation!
These are must-bring items for every road trip:
Toolbox and Auto Repair Tools
Never leave the house without a toolbox, a spare tire, and other items needed to replace a tire or fix a flat, especially if you’re planning on going cross-country. If you’re going somewhere remote, you might also want to bring an extra fuel container.
First Aid Kit
This should contain basic medical supplies like antiseptic cream for minor wounds, band-aids, allergy medicines, etc. Make space for this kit in the glove box for easy access.
Charging Cables and Power Banks
If you carry laptops and other gadgets, an extra power bank can make things more convenient. No more fighting over whose turn it is with the charging port! Heavy-duty power banks like this Baseus PowerCombo charging station are ideal because of their high charging capacity.
Who wants to be lovey-dovey with a stinkball? No one! Whether it’s a short trip or one that will take several weeks, don’t forget your hygiene kit! Here go your bath, toilet, and personal care items to keep you fresh throughout the trip.
Water and Water Bottles
Stay hydrated on the road by making sure that you have enough water. Traveling somewhere remote? For instance, if you plan on wild camping, you might also want to carry a portable water filter. This Sawyer Squeeze Water Filtration System has been our go-to for ages because it’s so easy to use.
Car Registration and Insurance Papers
In case things get sticky on the road, you’ll need these for sure!
Maximize Car Space
One thing to guarantee comfort during long road trips is a roomy car. You’d want to be able to stretch your legs, recline your seats, and not have to rummage through piles of stuff to get what you need.
Even if you’re packing for a long trip, which can mean lots of luggage, or bringing bulky equipment, you can still have a car that’s spacious enough for you to have an enjoyable time.
Use Packing Cubes
Packing cubes work wonders for compressing clothes, as well as large sheets and blankets. Pro tip: Roll your clothes instead of folding them to fit more in one cube!
If you need to bring lots of stuff, use storage tubs for organizing items. This way, each item has a place and is easier to find. They also make the space in your trunk look way neater than if you simply tried to fit bags of different sizes in.
Install a Roof Rack
If you don’t have a roof rack on your car already, you should! These are extra handy for large equipment, like surfboards and tents. They free up so much space in your car’s interior!
Pack a Go Bag
Us ladies can take forever to get ready. On the road, this can be extra testing on your beau’s patience. If anyone were to ask me for just one tip on how to pack for a road trip, this would be it. Something I always do to make sure all my essentials are ready to go is to pack a go bag that contains everything I will need in the first three to five days.
Of course, don’t forget to put one together for your partner too! This way, you both take less time getting ready and waste no time searching through suitcases for necessities.
Your go bag should include:
- Change of clothes and footwear for the first week
- Toiletries and other personal care items
- Emergency or maintenance medication
- First-aid kit
You can also use a travel waist pouch for small valuables that you’d want to have within reach at all times, like cash, credit card, and IDs. They’re hands-free, convenient to carry around, and keep your valuables secure too!
Make Room for Food and Drinks
Don’t get hangry behind the wheel! Make sure you have enough food supplies for the whole duration of your trip, especially if you’re going somewhere remote. Or at least have enough for the first couple of days on the road. This is also a great way to save money while traveling.
This is how to pack for a road trip that calls for serious food supplies. You’ll need a cooler big enough to store drinks and food or snacks. For a couple, a 20-quart cooler is enough, given you’re not planning on whipping up big rustic meals.
For snacks, you’d want to pack light food that’s easy to prepare or takes no prep time at all. Some examples are:
- Cold sandwiches
- Grilled sandwiches
- Granola bars
- Biscuits or cookies
- Peanuts or mixed nuts
Pro tip: We also like to make stopovers to try restaurants and food stalls along the way. Doing this makes the trip more exciting! Plus, it lessens the amount of food we need to pack.
Rearing to Go on the Road?
Well-planned road trips make for memorable adventures. Make your next road trip planning extra organized and hassle-free with Pilot.