Road Trip Essentials you should never leave home without

Road Trip Essentials

A road trip is one of the most exciting adventures, whether it be a few hours down the road or an ultimate road trip adventure, like driving across Australia.

I have spent months living out of a car while I road tripped the west coast of the USA, and weeks living out of a car while road tripping in New Zealand. So I consider myself a pro when it comes to being prepared, and that is why I am sharing my road trip essentials guide with you.

A Road trip buddy is your 1 road trip essential

Road Trip Essentials

While solo road trips are a great time to clear your mind and sing along to some epic beats, travelling with a buddy can take your road trip to a whole new level.

Road trip buddies inspire you to stop in at places you may not have stopped in at otherwise, think about things you never considered and laugh along the way.

But with all of this being said, you need a good road trip buddy, otherwise, you are better off-road tripping alone. No one likes to sit next to someone they have to make awkward conversation with and most importantly, can’t enjoy a sing along with.

A good playlist

While a good playlist may not necessarily fall within Maslow’s basic hierarchy of needs, so to speak, it certainly is a road trip essential. Any good road trip starts and ends with a good playlist.

I recommend downloading your favourite playlist for offline just in case you go through any areas of bad reception.

A flexible itinerary

Road Trip Essentials

When you’re road-tripping, you come across hidden gems that you never expected to find. Being able to stop for a few hours, or days can allow you to create experiences you never imagined possible. There is nothing worse than arriving at amazing locations, knowing that you can only stay an hour before you have to hit the road. Places should be experienced with feelings. If you arrive and love it, you should be able to stay as long as you want (or as little).

Bluetooth speaker and Portable Phone Charger

If you’re driving an older car that doesn’t automatically Bluetooth to your phone, a Bluetooth accessory is essential. Likewise to a USB port to charge your phone and iPad. These accessories can be picked up for next to nothing and are an absolute road trip essential.

We all need our phones for Google maps, Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, Snap chat etc. Plus an iPad (or Kindle) is a travellers best book because you can download as many as you want, without the weight.

Road trip snacks

Road trip essentials

Road trip snacks are an absolute road trip essential.  If you aren’t prepared with snacks for your road trip, chances are that you will be eating unhealthy as service stations rarely have healthy alternatives and drive through Macdonalds is all too convenient.

Road trip snack ideas

  • Chips and dips
  • Fruits
  • Nuts and dried fruit
  • Museli / protein bars
  • Chocolate

Reusable utensils

Speaking of snacks, make sure you pack reusable utensils. Plastic utensils are not only terrible for the environment, but they are terrible for you too! Being prepared with reusable utensils won’t cost you a thing.


You are always better off having more water than less, so when you start packing for your road trip, make sure you pack more water than you think you need. A reusable water bottle is recommended for your road trip.

Reusable Coffee Cup

If you plan to pull in for a takeaway cup of coffee each morning, a reusable cup can help you lessen the cost to the environment remarkably.

Comfy clothes

Road trip essentials

Every road trip should be a comfortable one. Be prepared with comfortable dresses for a summer climate and trackies and ugg boots for a winter climate.

A pillow and blanket

Road Trip Essentials

A pillow and blanket will make the road trip all the more comfortable, especially for the early winter morning adventures.

Other bits and pieces

Some other road trip essentials that certainly aren’t as fun, but are important include headache tablets, a mini first aid kit, mosquito repellant and sunscreen.

Beauty products

At a minimum, pack deodorant, a hairbrush, dry shampoo, a toothbrush, toothpaste and wet wipes. All great additions to the road trip kit that will come in handy at some point.

Polarised sunglasses

Avoid being blinded by the sun as you drive into it. A good pair of polarised sunglasses will be your best friend on the road.


A towel or two are essential for your road trip. A towel will be useful if you pull in somewhere for a shower, or stop for a swim.

A Travel Camera

I don’t go anywhere without my camera. Like I said before, you will come across some amazing scenery and sights on your road trip and you will want to be prepared to capture these moments. An iPhone camera does do the job, but a real camera can create images that are more versatile in terms of being able to be posted on websites or printed to hang in the family home.

The boring stuff

Jump leads are important to carry with you, just in case you do break down. Roadside assistance is another road trip essential. It will give you peace of mind in case something does go wrong. A flashlight is also extremely useful for road trips, especially when you’re setting up camp at night time.

Fun road trip essentials

Other fun things to pack for a road trip include books, cards, crosswords, sudoku, magazines or whatever other forms of entertainment you enjoy, offline.

A bottle of wine, for when you park up for the night, is another essential road trip item.

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This is my guide to road trip essentials. What do you pack that I am missing?

Want to know more about why I love road trips?

Creating a road trip budget

The budget for your road trip will depend on a number of variables.

  • How long is the road trip?
  • Do you have your own car?
  • Do you need to hire a car or campervan?
  • What type of car will you be driving?
  • How many km does it last for
  • How much does it cost to fill up?
  • Do you need accommodation?
  • Will you be camping?

I will leave it to you to answer these questions and work out your initial expenses. You can use my travel budget planner to assist.

Once these things are sorted, the other things to consider in your budget are:

  • Petrol
  • Food
  • Cost of accommodation / campsites
  • Any activities you wish to do


For your road trip, you should estimate how many kilometres you plan to drive, and add a few extra hundred kilometres on. This is because you will undoubtedly veer off track every now and then so it is better to account for this upfront.

Then you need to work out how many kilometres your car lasts with a tank of petrol and how much it costs to fill.

Let’s say your car lasts for 400kms with a tank of petrol and costs $60 to fill up.

You can calculate the total kilometres of the trip divided by the distance your car lasts with a tank of petrol. You would then multiply that number by the $cost to fill your car.

For example, if you plan to drive 2000 km and your car lasts 400 km with a $60 tank of petrol.

2000 % 400 = 5

5 X 60 = $300

*The type of car you are driving will impact this figure.

Road Tripping Australia?

We have lots of resources to help you plan your journey.

Road trip planner Australia – budget, routes and more

Budget for travelling Australia

Driving across the Nullarbor

The ultimate Australia Bucket List

Travel Insurance

Travel Insurance is a necessity when travelling. I recommend World Nomads. If you aren’t sure whether you should get insurance or not, read this.

Book accommodation for your road trip

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