Road trip essentials

route 66 road paint

It’s a rite of passage, everyone’s first big road trip. Whether you’re with friends, family or significant other, driving for hundreds (or thousands) of kilometres across a new country or state can be both rewarding, fun and life changing.

As I’m doing another mega road trip this weekend, I thought I should revisit my to-do lists!

Essential bits and bobs every aspiring road tripper needs.

Car check.

Even if you’re renting, make sure you check the gas, oil and water levels on your car before you set off for each part of your journey! I don’t really need to explain this one!

Snacks & Water

Stock up on your favourite snack foods and plenty of bottled water so you’ve got bits to nibble on and a source of hydration along your journey. Making sure you have plenty of water also means you have a good supply if you make an impromptu rest stop in a national park.

My favourites are granola bars, Tangfasticss (shh!) and ALL THE POTATO CHIPS.

Take ID

Even if you’re not the driver, or the main booker of accommodation, some hotels/motels may ask for extra identification from all travelers. All they will do is make a copy, it’s usually just for insurance purposes, and nothing personal. Just be prepared.


Route 66 maps

The actual state-by-state maps we used.

Yes, GPS is awesome. When you have coverage. Packing a physical map is, even if it gets unused, is a road trip staple.

Pack sensibly.

iceland gulfoss

When we drove Route 66, we encountered snow in Chicago, and then 34 degree heat in Needles, California! Check weather and climate reports in advance and online, and make sure you pack your wares accordingly.

travel insurance

For example, if you’re with a bunch of hiking lovers, 3 pairs of Havaianas and a bikini probably won’t help you.

To book or not to book.

If you’re in a large group, it’s probably worth considering booking your accommodation to make sure everyone has a place to rest their heads. Driving an RV? Do your RV parks have sufficient space?

I took risks with my ‘no prebooking rule’ on Route 66, because it was low season, and we were able to take a gamble, but if your drive is mostly deserts or bushland (like ours this weekend), perhaps consider booking somewhere a couple days in advance.

Ignore structure (sometimes).

Like the sound of that town/place? Stop and check it out. If you have a few hours to spare (hours you will just spend in the hotel room on the internet). You never know what beauty you might uncover in a strange, unexplored place.

Get ‘app’-dated

I wrote a post a while back on the best apps for road trippers. Check it out.

The standard essentials

suncream is important

Suncream is THE MOST important thing when you travel

  • SPF
  • Bug spray
  • Gas/Food money
  • Sunglasses

So there you have it! Are there any other essentials that I have missed?

Let me know in the comments below!

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