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Maps, Guides, and More Essential Tools for the Best Road Trip Ever

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Jacqueline PaumierGuest Blogger
September 06, 2016 · 1.7k Views

road trip guide

There’s no experience quite like traveling the open road, enjoying roadside diners, and stopping for every national attraction along the way. Road trips are not only one of the most affordable ways to travel, but can also be the most fun if done correctly! So how do you ensure you have the most stress-free, adventure-packed road trip ever? Make like a Boy Scout and always be prepared! We’ve simplified the process for you by putting together this easy road trip packing list. Make sure you check off every item and let the fun begin!

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  • Back Seat DVD Player
    If you are traveling with kids this one is essential! Nothing can keep the ride more peaceful than a binder full of their favorite movies and a pair of headphones.
  • The Perfect Playlist
    Nothing is more frustrating than finding the perfect radio station just to lose it when you drive out of the signal range. Keep the tunes coming with a road trip playlist long enough to last the whole ride.
  • Books
    Long car rides are the perfect time to catch up on some reading or make sure the kids don’t fall behind on their summer reading list.
  • Car Chargers
    Make sure to have a car charger that can have multiple outlets so everyone’s electronics can stay charged.
  • Laptop
    You can quickly lose track of time with the right card games downloaded.

 SEE ALSO: 20 Sites That Let You Read Books for Free Online



  • Flats
    Chances are you will be jumping in and out of the car for bathroom stops and snack refills, make sure you pack flats that are easy to slip on and off between stops.
  • Scarf
    A good scarf can easily turn into a quick blanket or wrap without having to reach into bags or take up too much room.
  • Eye Mask
    When you’re taking turns driving, you want to be able to get your rest whenever you can. Pack a good eye mask to block out any light so you can quickly fall asleep.
  • Neck Pillow
    Following asleep in the car can often leave you waking up with some serious neck cramps. Save yourself the pain and pack a good neck pillow. Throw in some Tylenol while you’re at it.
  • Sunglasses
    Whether you’re the driver or the passenger it’s always smart to pack some shades to save you from the glare.



  • GasBuddy
    Refueling while driving cross country can get expensive! Download Gas Buddy so you can always find the cheapest gas station on the route.
  • Iexit
    When you’re starving, need to pick up more supplies, or just need a break this app will let you know the nearest exit that has the stop you’re looking for.
  • TV Food Maps
    If you love shows like Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives, then you will love this app! It will tell you the nearest restaurant stops that have been featured on Food Network and Travel Channel Shows.
  • Field Trip
    If you’re not trying to stick to a strict schedule check out the app Field Trip.  The app coordinates with you GPS and alerts you whenever you are passing an interesting location like a fun shop, scenic spot, or historical site.
  • SitOrSquat
    Finding a decent bathroom on the road can be difficult, but you try to aim for the cleanest you can find, especially when traveling with kids SitOrSquat shows you the nearest public restroom with ratings of how clean they are.

 SEE ALSO: 10 Best Apps to Improve Organization & Productivity



  • Chapstick
    All that car air conditioning can make you lips pretty dry. Pack some chapstick to keep them nice and smooth.
  • Hair Ties and Brush
    A quick top knot is a real life saver when you need to look somewhat civil when stopping for food.
  • Face Wipes
    After a while your make up will start looking cakey and your face may start to feel dry. Feel refreshed without making a stop with face wipes.
  • Deodorant
    Don’t let this one go overlooked, after days on the road you’re going wish you kept some deodorant nearby.
  • Mini Toothbrush
    After too many onion rings and salt and vinegar potato chips, your passengers might be begging you to put them out of their misery. Pack a toothbrush or mini mouth wash and keep it fresh whenever you can.



Cleaning & Organizing

  • Plastic Bags
    You’d be amazed how quickly trash can accumulate in a small car, keep it all in one spot by having a plastic bag to gather all the junk.
  • Barf Bags
    One bad drive in stop and you’re going to wish you had these bad boys on hand.
  • Tide Sticks
    Juice, ketchup and other strange stains have a way of appearing during road trips. Pack a tide stick to quickly wash out car stains when you stop for gas.
  • Hand Dust Buster
    If you have room to pack one of these in the trunk, it can be a life saver. Trust us, you’d be amazed how many crushed cheerios a toddler can manage to get on seats and floors.
  • Utensils
    When you’re grabbing food from random stops, it’s always wise to have some napkins and utensils on hand.

 SEE ALSO: 20 Car Hacks That Makes You Wonder Why You Haven't Thought of This


For the Kids

  • Swimsuit and Towels
    On the ultimate road trip you never know when you’ll come across the perfect lake or stream to take a dip, keep the essentials on hand.
  • A Change of Clothes
    Or two…or Three
  • Snacks in Small Containers
    Keep these within reach of tiny hands so little ones could snack while enjoying their movies.
  • Gum
    They are going to ask for it within the first hour.
  • Coloring Book
    This one can work for almost any age and can keep them entertained for hours, just make sure you have a case to easily keep crayons and markers in.

 SEE ALSO: 8 Relaxing Vacations You Can Actually Afford to Take at the Last Minute



  • Driver License, Registration, Insurance:
    You don’t want to be far from home when you realize one of these important documents are out of date. Always check them out at least a week before hitting the road.
  • Map
    Remember maps? Sometimes you might end up in a spot where your GPS doesn’t receive a signal. Stay on course the old fashion way.
  • Hotel Confirmations
    When you arrive at your hotel at 3 a.m, the last thing you want to do is have to search through your email for your confirmation number. Keep a binder to store all printed travel documents and confirmations and keep it in your dashboard.


jacquelinebuch profile picture
Jacqueline is a modern day gypsy, who has lived in several countries and has traveled to over 20. A sucker for all things pleasing to the senses; her world revolves around food (any and all food), foreign indie films, and salsa music. The first to jump off a waterfall and the last to say no to sushi, she has been described as a bit of an “extremist”. In her perfect world, no one ever spells “cool” as “kool” and Ryan Gosling has more tattoos. She enjoys spending her free time in her New Orleans home with her Cubano guitarist husband and 1-year-old son.

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