15 Essentials to Pack for Your Summer Road Trip

Summer is here and if you like adventure, you’re probably already planning a good road trip. Nothing truly says summer fun like hopping in the car and heading off to explore a new or favorite destination.

How a Packing List Can Help

Since a road trip offers us the flexibility of packing just about everything we want and need for our vacation with no outrageous baggage fees and packing limitations; be sure to bring it all…or at least these essentials to ensure you are prepared for good times making great memories. Here are some summer road trip essentials you shouldn’t leave home without.

15 Summer Road trip Essentials 

1. Snacks

  • Snacks are a major part of any road trip for sure. Not only will you save money by packing your own road trip goodies, but it also saves you time from not having to make so many pit stops. A good mixture of fun and healthy snacks is the way to go. Some ideas include fresh fruits and veggies, cheese sticks, beef jerky, nuts, trail mix, and protein bars. Also don’t forget a few fun options like your favorite candy or chips since it is vacation time.

2. First Aid Kit

  • Nothing ruins a road trip vacation like a medical emergency. Packing essentials can literally save the day when traveling. Things like prescription medications and a first aid kit with basics is crucial. Including bandages as well as over the counter medicines like aspirin and Tylenol will ensure you are ready for whatever comes up while traveling.  

3. Extra Battery Chargers

  • In today’s world of electronics, it is always a good idea to be prepared with back up battery chargers to keep you plugged in.  A charging brick is essential for road tripping, and ensures you have power when you need it most, especially if you are traveling with more devices than there are charging ports. This is especially important if you plan to depend on your cell phone for GPS directions to your destination.

4. Season-Appropriate Clothes

  • The first thing we think of packing for a summer road trip are swimsuits and shorts for fun in the sun. In addition to these essentials, it’s also a good idea to think outside the box when traveling. No matter the season or your vacation destination, bringing along items like a rain jacket and a light sweater is a smart idea. Comfort is key when traveling so relaxed fitting clothes like yoga and cargo pants can make a long car ride so much better.

5. Bug Spray 

  • Nothing ruins a vacation like getting bitten by mosquitos and other bothersome bugs. Bringing bug spray along on your road trip can save the day when it’s the season for these pesky creatures. This is especially important if you are sensitive or allergic to any particular type of bugs. Taking care to protect yourself with bug spray just makes sense and is a sure way to enjoy your summer road trip without pain or an allergic reaction.

6. SPF Sunscreen

  • Any road trip planned for the summer should definitely include sunscreen. Being sunburned is no fun at all and is the quickest way to completely ruin a good road trip getaway. Not only should you bring sunscreen along, but you should use plenty of it…and reapply often. Be sure to pack a few options that include convenient sunscreen sprays, SPFs made especially for the face, high quality SPF lotions, and reef safe SPF options that will help protect the environment.

7. Toilet Paper 

  • It is so much better to be prepared and not need it than to be without when there is a need. This is especially true when it comes to toilet paper. You just never know when a simple roll of toilet paper might save the day if the roadside bathroom is out of stock. A roll of TP can also come in handy in the car for messy spills or sticky snacks along the way.

8. Basic Tool Kit 

  • No road trip is complete without a basic tool kit, so you are prepared for any situation that may arise. You never know when a hammer, wrench, screwdriver, or pliers will come in handy during your road trip. Being prepared can really help keep everyone safe and smiling, and it will keep your vacation on track for fun.

9. Water-Resistant Flashlight

  • No matter when or where you travel, it is always a good idea to carry along a water-resistant flashlight. It’s also smart to choose one that is rechargeable, so there is never a worry about whether the batteries are ready to go when you need it most. Recharge your flashlight by simply plugging it into your car’s USB and you are all set in case you need it during your road trip.

10. A Variety of Footwear

  • When packing clothes for your summer road trip, don’t forget your shoes! Often, we are so concerned with packing our swimsuit and shorts that we can overlook the need for a variety of shoes for our vacation adventures. If you’re planning to hit the pool or beach, flip-flops work nicely. If hiking is on your road trip agenda, trekking shoes or sneakers are a necessity, as are cute sandals that match your new sun dress.  

11. Empty Gas Can or Charging Cable

  • Running out of gas (or power) is sure to put a damper on your summer road trip. Bringing along an extra empty gas can or a charging cable if you have an electric car is a savvy move. Being prepared will enable you to regroup and get back on the road again for vacation fun.

12.  Cooler for Drinks 

  • Packing a cooler with drinks for your road trip just makes sense. Not only will drinks like water and other healthy beverages keep you hydrated, but a cold drink is always a good pick me up to refresh you along the way to your vacation destination.

13. Travel Pillow + Travel Blanket

  • For those longer summer road trip adventures, be sure to bring a travel pillow and blanket. The pillow is great for naps along the way and back support while driving. The travel blanket will come in handy as a cover-up if the AC is too cold and can also be used as a picnic or beach blanket.

14.  Roadside Emergency Kit

  • Never underestimate the importance of a well-stocked roadside emergency kit. Having jumper cables, an air compressor, a tow-rope, a spare tire, flares, and a tire jack, can really save the day when an unexpected emergency happens while driving. Also, be sure to have easy access to your roadside assistance contact and account info.

15. Cash for Emergencies

  • Although we live in a digital world, there may be instances where you need cash along the way during your road trip. Plan ahead and make sure you have dollar bills or even coins for things you may encounter like parking meters, road tolls, laundry mats, gas station tire air pumps, and more. Our MasterCard provides you with easy access to a revolving line of credit! 

This list of essential road trip items will help ensure you are prepared for a variety of situations during your time traveling. Planning ahead now means a smooth road trip and plenty of great vacation memories for everyone. While planning and preparing are a great start to your summer fun, it’s important to remember that the fun of a road trip is the fact that there is always a chance of things not going to plan. Maybe you will end up taking an unexpected detour and exploring an unexpected spot. The most essential thing to pack in abundance is a sense of adventure. You will have a memorable summer and hopefully create some great memories!

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