Road-Trip Essentials

Hey friends, happy Thursday! Tis the season for holiday travel, and I bet a lot of you will be road tripping to your destinations. I grew up in a family of 6, and that meant that we drove pretty much everywhere. Like from New Hampshire to Georgia, and everywhere in between. Jarrett and I have continued that habit and take a road-trip almost monthly. Sometimes, it’s just 3-4 hours, and sometimes it’s from Virginia to New Hampshire. Check out some of our recent trips here and here!

With all the car travel I have logged in my 27 years, I figured I have enough expertise to compile my go-to, must-have road-trip essentials! This is a list of things that gets me through up to 12 hour drives we take regularly, but if there is something you can’t live without while on the road, let me know in the comments!

Also, most of these items require you to have a road-trip buddy, who will be driving from time to time. They are the best road-trip essential, and chit-chatting makes the time go by so quickly.

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Let’s dive into the practical items first!

Phone Car ChargerI feel like almost everyone has a car charger for their smartphone at this point, but if not, you don’t know what you’re missing! I love knowing that my GPS or music will never stop working, and I especially love having a fully charged phone when I get to my destination. This also comes in handy as the passenger, because you can stalk Instagram or read blogs to your hearts content 😊

Trash Bag: This is a huge must-have for me! Mostly because I snack a lot… but we’ll get to that later. My car always seems to get messy while on a road-trip, but if I can contain some of it to a bag that I can toss at any rest stop, I’m much less stressed. Also, having a trash bag is a good security measure, just in case you feel a wee bit car sick. Fingers crossed though, cause it’s not pleasant. Make sure the bag doesn’t have holes just to be sure!

Water Bottle: I always travel with a reusable water bottle, but in general, it’s basically attached to my hip. I somehow still have a water bottle that I bought sophomore year of college. Let me do some math for you and tell you that this water bottle has lasted 8 years! It’s a Nalgene water bottle and it’s amazing. I am going to be unreasonably depressed if I ever lose it. If you don’t have one, I suggest you purchase one or gift one this holiday season. Because nothing says “Merry Christmas” like staying hydrated! Check it out here!

How I Stay Comfortable

Comfy Clothing: I don’t know about you, but if I am going to sit in one place for hours upon hours, I need to be comfortable. When I am the passenger, I move all over the place, so my clothes also need to move with me. Leggings are a must-wear for me, and are usually accompanied by a tank top and a cozy cardigan! I layer, because one minute you may be hot and the next cold.

Pillow and Blanket: Again, if I can’t get out of the car for a while, I want the luxury of napping. Or at least closing my eyes and pretending the time will go by faster. A pillow and soft blanket are so nice to have, and luckily, when on a road-trip, you don’t have to worry about fitting things into your personal item or carry-on. So grab your fluffiest blanket and settle in for the long haul.

How I Make the Time Fly

Have a Great Playlist: Jarrett has Spotify Premium and our phone contract has unlimited data, so you can bet we are going to have a rocking playlist. Is there anything worse than driving through the middle of nowhere, scrolling through unfamiliar radio stations, only to find static or talk radio? I update the playlists regularly, but always include Top40, 90s, and Oldies. If you are like me, singing in the car is part of the experience! My top road-trip songs are “Milkshake” by Kelis, “I Would Walk 500 Miles” by Kenny and The Scots, and “You’re the One that I Want” from Grease. Don’t judge 😊

Book/Magazine: I am one of the lucky people that can read in the car without getting nauseous. And thank goodness, because I spend a lot of the time reading, mostly from my Kindle. Travelling is also a time I splurge and get a magazine to flip through. What are your current favorite books or magazines?? I need new ideas!

Snacks: Last, but certainly not least, are snacks! I snack a lot in my daily life and am much more a food grazer, than someone who likes to sit down and eat a few big meals. This carries over into the food I bring on a road-trip, especially the drives that are 8+ hours! I like to have a few choices; a solid protein source, a salty/crunchy snack, and a few sweet treats. Nothing should need to be refrigerated, and I try to keep liquids to a minimum. I hate having to stop frequently for bathroom breaks!

Here’s a look at food I may bring on the drive: 

Protein: beef/turkey jerky, pre-made protein shakes, Rx or Larabars

Salty/crunchy: rice cakes, pretzels, Cheez-Its

Sweet: sour gummy worms, trail mix, chocolate almonds, banana/apple, dried fruit


I hope you all travel safe this holiday season, whether you will be taking a road-trip or flying! Check out all travel posts here. 🙂

Questions? Comments? Words of Advice?

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