Road Trip Checklist

Even skilled road trippers forget important things sometimes. A road trip checklist helps by stirring the mind. Occasionally I have thought to pack something important, after I was well into my journey (I should have used a checklist for a road trip).

This vacation packing checklist isn’t meant to be followed perfectly, while packing for a road trip. I could not detail every item we’ll need, because every road trip is different and every traveler’s needs are different. This page will, however, provide some creative juice to help you reach a prepared state . . . prepared for your particular journey. And remember to pack light enough that you’ll feel comfortable in your road trip car.

Quote - Antoine Saint Exupery

Road Trip Essentials

  • Water and food
  • Everything under “Safety”
  • The right state of mind . . . be in the flow
  • Do an attentive walk-through of your home before you leave.
  • road atlas with compass or a GPS
  • Spare key . . . use hide-a-key or give it to a travel companion
  • A little spare cash hidden away
  • Remember to check your car’s fluids frequently (including the fluid in your fuel tank)

Road Trip Safety

  • Water and food
  • First-aid kit and fire extinguisher
  • Blankets
  • Emergency contact list including important medical conditions of all those on board
  • Roadside assistance membership card
  • Cell phone (a pay-as-you-go phone works great for those of us without cell phone plans
  • Kennels for your pets (a loose cat in the car can truly be a safety hazard)
  • A flashlight kept accessible . . . I recommend Maglight for durability and self-defense

Road Trip Car

  • Water
  • Up-to-date oil change and maintenance
  • Spare fluids (oil, transmission fluid, brake fluid, coolant, power steering fluid, etc.)
  • Automotive tool kit with gloves
  • Spare bulbs and fuses
  • A good set of jumper cables
  • Good tire-tread
  • Spare tire and tools to change it out
  • Tire chains for snow-driving
  • Good wiper blades
  • Tow strap
  • Road flares

Comfort and Convenience

  • Water and food
  • Small cooler
  • Automotive comfort accessories
  • Small blankets and pillows
  • Loose-fitting clothes for long rides in the car
  • Clothing suitable for the other climates you’ll be driving through
  • Spare socks
  • Raingear and/or umbrella
  • On-board entertainment
  • Earplugs
  • Hot-packs for winter traveling
  • A bottle to pee into (for the guys) and a big diaper to pee into (for the gals)
  • Toilet paper and small shovel . . . for when the next rest area is just too far away
  • Motion sickness pills
  • Barf bag


Design your own road trip checklist.

Because each one of us is unique, and each of our road trips is unique, each one of us will have a different road trip checklist. A few nights before you depart, sit down and detail everything you think you’ll need. Keep adding to your road trip checklist as the departure approaches. You will be amazed at how the list evolves. Our minds work in spectacular ways…you’ll think of things when you least expect to.

I made a list of questions to help you design your own checklist for a road trip. Check it out. It may remind you of something important.

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