A Checklist for Road Trip Essentials

Planning a road trip? There’s a lot to consider like where to go, what to do and what to bring. Don’t get caught taking time away from your trip to make pit stops for items you should already have. Maximize your drive with a little preparation. 

Big Creed Bridge Big Sur

Preparation is the key to smooth sailing on any road trip. Make sure you've got everything you need before you hop on the open road. “How,” you ask? Easy! We’ve done the work for you by preparing this road trip checklist. Bring these road trip essentials and make it a smooth and memorable journey!

  • GPS or a traffic app like Waze or Google Maps: Sure, paper maps are great in a pinch, but turn-by-turn navigation has advanced to incredible accuracy. Furthermore, real-time traffic data can be a real life-saver!
  • Cooler: Everyone gets hungry and thirsty, but it’s not always convenient (or even possible) to pull over for a drink or a snack. Keep a cooler on hand to keep beverages at a refreshing temperature and food protected.
  • Travel mug/cup: Spills happen. The best way to prevent spilling your beverage is to have a cup designed for spill protection. Bonus! Travel mugs will keep your beverage hot or cold longer than the original packaging.
  • Comfortable shoes: Have you ever driven eight hours in high heels? Me neither, but someone has attempted it and I guarantee you, it wasn’t pleasant. Wear comfortable shoes, it will make the drive better and impromptu stops more convenient.
  • Air fresheners: Often overlooked, the air in the car can get pretty stale on a long drive. It increases exponentially with each additional person that gets added to the trip. Just imagine an SUV with a family of five, snacks, beverages and two dirty diaper stops, all the while driving through the Mojave Desert between Las Vegas and Los Angeles, with no convenient place to stop and air out. Bring an air freshener.
  • Facial tissue: People get sick, have allergies in unfamiliar areas or get a little food on their face while they’re distracted by the beauty outside the window. Keep things clean with a pack of tissues.
  • Road trip snacks: Never drive hangry. A small snack like a pack of trail mix will provide that perfect combination of salty and sweet while also giving you the sustained energy to make it to your next destination.
  • Roadside emergency kit: It is far better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.
  • Chargers for cell phone, tablet, digital camera and/or laptop: Road trips are about experiencing the journey just as much as the destination. But, sometimes you just run out of things to talk about or it’s still 100 more miles before the next interesting thing to see. Keep your electronics charged for those moments, or more importantly, for those emergency situations when you need to reach someone.
  • Road trip music: Personal interaction with your passengers can only carry you so far and it’s a bit tough to sing along with the hum of the engine. Music is a road-trip must and bestowing the honor of controlling the playlist to one of your passengers is akin to awarding the Nobel Peace Prize. Also, did you know you can get Sirius XM Radiowith your Enterprise rental car?
  • Road trip games for the kids: “Are we there yet?” It’s like nails on a chalkboard. Even trained professionals would crack under the pressure after hearing it for the twentieth time in an hour. Avoid the most infamous of repetitive questions kids tend to ask in the car when they’re bored by having a few fun games on hand to redirect their attention. I Spy is a great game for all ages.
  • Blankets and pillows: Nap time for kids is a force that can’t be trifled with. Once those eyes start to close, there is little in this world that can prevent them from going down for the count. Foster healthy sleeping with some blankets and travel pillows.
  • Bottled water: Water is essential to the existence of sustained life in the universe. If it’s that important, you should probably have some with you on an extended drive.
  • Wet wipes and paper towels: No matter how well prepared you are, accidents happen. For the messy ones, make sure you’ve got something for the job when a tissue won’t cut it. Wet wipes are great for sticky messes while paper towels are ideal for wet ones or when some scrubbing is needed.
  • Sunglasses: It’s a road trip – an iconic pair of sunglasses that make you feel like a boss is essential to the experience. Furthermore, driving with the sun in your eyes can be dangerous and not recommended.
  • Books, magazines, crossword puzzles, etc.: Just like at home, sometimes everyone needs a little “me” time. Keep everyone happy, comfortable and compatible with each other by allowing everyone a level of personal entertainment. Bonus! None of these require charging.
  • Headphones: In case you don’t share the same taste in music, a few trusty pairs of headphones can go a long way to keeping the sanity in the car.
  • Empty gas can: See #8

And, finally, make sure to let family and friends know your itinerary, where you're going and when you plan on arriving at your final destination. We hope you enjoy your trip!


Road Trip Ideas


Looking for road trip ideas? You've come to the right place! Explore scenic drives along the West Coast, the Grand Canyon, Niagara Falls and much more.