Top 10 Things You Need to Bring for a Road Trip

As if there wasn’t enough stuff you needed to remember when packing for a trip. Here are ten more things you need to bring on a road trip.


I was taught how to read a map when I was really little and I’m so grateful for that skill in life now.

There has been plenty of times I’ve been the dumb one choosing to rely solely on technology only to have it fail on me. There might be no signal to get a connection on the cell phone GPS or maybe the charging cord for a real GPS has broke, then what?

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to run into a gas station and buy an atlas. Okay, it’s been one time and then Dad “borrowed” that one. I haven’t seen it since.

An atlas will work whether you have a signal or not. Learn how to read one and always bring one with on road trips.


For the longest time (before I got my atlas) I would bring my GPS along for when I was in the middle of nowhere without cell signal. And it worked great. The GPS could connect to the satellites and boom! I’d be set.

Read More: An American Southwest Road Trip Itinerary

That is it worked great until the power cable broke. I had no way to connect to a map. No way to know where I was. No way to know anything. Technology is great when it works.


This is probably the photographer in me, but I never go anywhere without my camera, extra batteries, and I’ll always bring my tripod on a road trip. I never know when where or what I might run into. Like that time in Medora, I got my first lightning shot. I’m gonna drop that photo below. Still insanely proud of it!

For the average everyday person, bring a camera if you have it, but don’t feel bad if you just have a cell phone with a camera. You can still get some killer shots! And don’t be afraid to play around in manual mode on your phone.


I always have a cooler with me on road trips because I always buy groceries and make sandwiches during the day when I get hungry. That way I don’t have to worry about stopping to find food and taking time out of my trip to wait for people to serve me.

And I get to look at some stunning landscapes while having lunch. What could be better?

Water Bottle

I also always buy at least a gallon of water t pool take with me. Sometimes two depending on how long I’m planning on being out road tripping for.

Those gallons are used to fill my Camelbak. I really like the Camelbak because it has a straw and I won’t spill water all over me trying to drink and drive when I’m thirsty. At least it’s only water if I do spill!

Good Shoes

I love love love my Allbirds! I’ve really not had a shoe that’s more comfortable and perfect for everyday wear.

I started with the Wool Loungers, thinking they would be a great shoe to wear at work and they were. I’ve since walked holes in them. After that, I got a pair of Wool Runners. Also incredibly comfortable. But they’re a bit too warm for summer.

Allbirds Tree Skippers in Charcoal

Up until spring break when I took both pairs with me, I saw no flaws in them. Then I slipped in the mud. And kept slipping and falling in the mud. Every. Damn. Day.

Allbirds have nothing on the bottom for traction.

I still bought a pair of Tree Skippers for summer though. And I love them too!

Extra Clothes

Remember how I said I slipped and fell in the mud every day in Scotland? Well, I ran out of clean clothes! And smelled like a swamp…

I used to be of the minimalist packing mindset. Take the bare minimum, wear things multiple days, mix and match clothes. Wash them in the bathtub of the hotel.

Not anymore.

I will shamelessly pack too many clothes just so I don’t have to smell like swampy mud on another road trip.


A hat is absolutely necessary. You never know when you want one.

I picked up my favorite hat in a Walmart in Houghton, Michigan after my car died last summer. It says “Aloha Beaches” on it with a lovely tropical scene and a mesh back.

It kept my hair out of my face as I drove from Houghton to Duluth with the windows down and the heat blasting because the car was that broken.

Always take a hat.


We’ve established that I’m pretty stupid sometimes, right? Well, every summer I have to learn the sunscreen lesson the hard way.

Don’t get burned. Don’t be like me. Just wear sunscreen when you’re outside.

Heres a fun photo too. One summer I had to learn a new sunscreen lesson the embarrassing hard way. I was in Death Valley for a spring break field trip. I wore sunscreen, but I used the continuous spray on kind.

Just look at the picture ????????‍♀️

Popsocket vent mount

I was slow to catch onto the popsocket trend. It was a lot of money for something I wasn’t sure I really needed.

Turns out I did need it. Since getting a popsocket I’ve stopped accidentally throwing my phone five feet in front of me while walking ????????‍♀️ Seriously, don’t ask. I don’t have an answer for you.

Then I discovered the vent clips and my life has been changed again. Having your phone eye level while driving is amazing! It’s perfect for when you want to put Google maps on.

And that is the only reason you should be looking at your phone while driving!

Get a popsocket and a vent clip for your car. You will forever thank me.

What are some of your road trip must-haves?

Share in the comments down below and don’t forget to share this with your travel buddy!

Don’t forget to pin these to your road trip inspiration board!

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