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13 Road Trip Essentials

Being on the road for nearly a month meant we were essentially living out of our car.  Sure I knew we’d need food, camping gear and plenty of chargers and cords for all our electronics, but with that much time away from the comforts of home I wanted to make sure we were as prepared as possible. There are plenty of packing guides out there, believe me, I checked out a few leading up to our trip, but there were a few key items I was surprised to find how crucial they were during our trip that I hadn’t given much thought to before we left.  So here are my thirteen road trip essentials that will hopefully come in handy on your next road trip adventure.



1. Contigo Water Bottles – We kept these things filled our entire trip.  The best thing about these water bottles is the Autospout, which allows for one-handed drinking (press a button and the spout pops up), plus it’s leak proof and shatter resistant.

2. The Jojoba Company 100% Natural Australian Jojoba Oil and Chapstick 100% Natural Lip Butter in Sweet Papaya – Traveling cross-country meant dealing with a lot of weather changes.  One day it was over 100 degrees and 28 degrees just a few days later so staying moisturized was key.  This oil is amazing (it helped with bug bites and sunburn in addition to dry skin) and since both products are natural I felt good about putting them on my skin every day.

3. Headlamps – Of course we packed lanterns and flashlights, but I’m pretty sure we used our headlamps more than anything else.  Most of them come with varying brightness options and since it’s hands-free they’re much more convenient.


4. RTIC Cooler – I did a lot of research on different types of coolers leading up to our trip and received more than a few recommendations, but ultimately went with this one.  It kept everything cold and ice stayed frozen for days without needing to get more ice.  They’re a bit of an investment, but the RTIC coolers are well worth it.  *Pro Tip: pre-chill your cooler ahead of time to get the insulated walls nice and cold before you pack it up for your trip.

5. GoPicnic Snack Packs – Snacks are obviously a big part of road tripping, but I wanted to avoid packing too many unhealthy snacks while making sure the healthy snacks we did bring would be interesting and tasty enough to actually be eaten.  These are like little packed lunch boxes with five individually packed snacks in each box so it was enough to share or to enjoy as a little meal.  Definitely a satisfying change from a bag of chips.

6. Plastic Tubs – We brought two large plastic tubs with us on our trip.  One was packed full of our snacks and food that didn’t need to stay cold, and the other was filled with everything from paper towels to cooking tools – really anything that didn’t have a true home otherwise.  It turned out to be the perfect way to stay organized on the road.


7. Google Music – Podcasts and playlists are essential for long stretches of driving and the best part about Google Music is that you can create your own playlists or listen to ready-made ones based on your mood or music choice.  They can also be downloaded so that when the radio is static and there’s no cell phone service you can still jam out.  Plus, there are a ton of podcasts to choose from for when you want to switch it up (we started listening to My Favorite Murder).

8. Waze – I’ve sworn by Waze as my GPS guide for quite some time now for short rides to unfamiliar places or long car trips.  It gives you the fastest route, let’s you avoid toll roads, and alerts you to construction, traffic or road obstacles.

9. Roadtrippers – I utilized this site while we were still in the planning stages of our trip and downloaded the app once we hit the road.  It’s great for planning out your route, finding interesting places to stop along the way, and even find a place to stay or eat without going too far off course.

10. Stamps – This one might seem a little strange in the age of texting and emails, but it’s so fun to come home to a pile of postcards that serve as little reminders marking the places you visited on your trip.

11. Fuji film Instax Mini, Fujifilm Instax Wide, and Fujifilm Instax Film – I took a LOT of photos on our trip.  We took photos with our cell phones and our digital cameras and GoPro, but there’s something special about coming home with physical photos commemorating our trip.


12. Bandanas – I’ve been incorporating bandanas into my wardrobe for some time now, but I knew they’d come in handy as more than just a fashion accessory on our travels.  In the deserts they shielded us from dust storms, dunked in water and tied around the neck they worked as little air conditioners in the sweltering heat, and while hiking they kept hair off your face tied like a headband.

13. Biz Laundry Detergent – This was more of a post road trip essential.  We thought about bringing it along with us on our trip, but we didn’t want to be stuck sitting in a laundry mat during our trip.  Instead, we packed a ziplock bag of dryer sheets to throw in with our dirty clothes to keep everything still smelling fresh.  We collected a lot of dirty laundry while traveling, but the worst of it was when we stayed with a friend and her sweet cat peed on me in my sleep – twice (embarrassingly true and kind of funny story).  I did try to wash my clothes immediately after, but there was still a slight smell that lingered the rest of the trip and seemed to spread to anything nearby.  Biz detergent not only got out all our dirt and stains better than Oxi-Clean, and was gentle enough to use on our camping gear, but most importantly got everything smelling fresh and new again.

This post was sponsored by Biz, but all thoughts and opinions are my own.