Essentials for the Perfect Roadtrip

What Essentials are necessary to ensure that you have the perfect roadtrip?

The essentials needed for the perfect roadtrip will all be dependent upon where you’re going and how long you will be gone for. For instance, if you are just going on a roadtrip for a couple of hours, there likely aren’t a lot of essentials that you’ll need to pack, however, you will need to ensure that your vehicle is in tip top shape. Whereas, if you plan on taking an extended roadtrip, there will be a plethora of items that you will need to pack up.

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Choosing what essentials are required for your roadtrip.

Unlike travelling abroad, roadtrips take a relatively short time to prepare for.  Whether the roadtrip that you have planned is a day roadtrip, weekend roadtrip, or week long roadtrip, it is necessary to be prepared with all of your roadtrip essentials packed and ready to go. I recommend using google maps as a starting point to help you plan your route for a longer roadtrip.


Since the majority of roadtrips are spontaneous and only for a day or two, there is very little planning involved.  Just grab your roadtrip essentials and hit the road.  When going on a longer roadtrip, there is a little more planning involved but my road trip essentials always remain the same.

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Plan a Day or Weekend Roadtrip

For a spontaneous day or weekend roadtrip, all you have to do is grab your roadtrip bag, packed with everything you need, hop in the car and drive.  There will be times when you plan on taking a roadtrip to do or see a specific thing and for a longer period of time.  When deciding in which direction to drive for a short roadtrip, determine the destination by what you are in the mood to see or do.  These are some things that should be taken into consideration:

  • do you want to explore small towns
  • do you want to head to the beach
  • do you want to do some wine or beer tasting.  If this is on the agenda, make sure you have a designated driver with you 
  • do you want to shop (this will never be on my list of considerations lol)
  • do you want to hike or explore the outdoors
  • do you just want to drive and take in the scenery

Once you have decided what it is that interests you, pack up everything that you will need for a perfect roadtrip, grab a Timmies (it’s a Canadian thing) and hit the road.

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An essential for any road trip is a paper map, as you can't always rely on cell service.
You can’t always rely on cellphone service, so a map is essential when going on a roadtrip

Longer Roadtrip

  • Map your route on the paper map (google maps doesn’t always take you the most scenic way)
  • determine if you want to stop and spend a night or two along the way
  • if driving a considerable distance, where do you want to stop
  • what hotels are available where you want to stop
  • are there any sites that you want to see or hikes that you want to do at this stop.  Try to schedule my overnight stops at a location that offers something that peaks your interest
  • if you decide not to stop and drive straight to your destination, what activities and/or adventures are there at that destination
  • are there daytrips that you might be interested in doing from my final destination

For a longer road trip, there are many more things to be taken into consideration.  The first thing to consider is where the final destination will be.  I have an easy way of doing this, at least it works for me.  I have a road map (that’s right, an actual paper map) that I highlight every road trip I take.  I don’t usually like to go to the same destination more than once, as I prefer to have new experiences.  I pick a spot on the map that  hasn’t been highlighted yet and that is the direction that I start driving towards.  Once the destination has been determined, I go through my list of Road trip Essentials.

Once all of the roadtrip questions have been answered, it is time to prepare your home for your absence, pack up your Roadtrip Essentials, and hit the road….with Timmies in hand.

It doesn’t matter how organized and prepared you are during the planning stages of your roadtrip, you won’t be going anywhere if you haven’t paid attention to your vehicle.  Afterall, your vehicle is your primary essential for a successful road trip.  Make sure that it is in tip top shape.

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Essentials for the Perfect Roadtrip

Preparing Your Vehicle is Essential for a Successful Roadtrip

When preparing your vehicle for my successful roadtrip, go through a vehicle checklist and make sure that all of the essentials have been checked off:

  • car maintenance
    • oil change
    • proper tires (snow tires if roadtripping in the winter)
    • tires filled with air
    • check brakes
    • make sure windshield wipers are working
    • fluids are topped up (oil, washer fluid, power steering fluid)
  • check all break lights, head lights, tail lights and signal lights
  • have an emergency roadside kit on hand
    • booster cables
    • car jack
    • flairs
    • flashlight
    • blanket
  • spare tire in case you get a flat tire
  • driver’s licence and insurance
  • it is always a good idea to have a CAA or AAA membership in case you require roadside assistance
  • clean inside and outside of vehicle
  • full tank of gas

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Before going on a road trip, it is essential that your vehicle is serviced and in working condition.
Maintain your vehicle before going on a roadtrip

Roadtrip Essentials….Just in Case

The car is now in tip top shape and ready to go. It is time to start packing.  While these items are not always essential for your road trip, they are important to have on hand….just in case:

  • map (I never depend solely on google maps, just in case service is not available)
  • phone charger
  • pillow and heavy blanket
  • umbrella
  • bug spray
  • sun tan lotion
  • toilet paper
  • garbage bag
  • hand sanitizer
  • good tunes
  • small first aid kit:
    • small
    • gauze
    • bandaids
    • polysporin
    • advil/tylonal

It’s easier and more time efficient to keep the items needed for a roadtrip packed in a bag and ready to go.

Essential Personal Items for a Successful Roadtrip

The amount of personal items to pack will of course depend on the length and destination of your roadtrip, but it is always a good thing to be prepared in case an emergency arises.  Even for a day roadtrip, it is important that you bring these essential personal items with you on your roadtrip:

  • fully charged phone
  • camera
  • lots of water
  • snacks (nuts, apple, grapes, cheese, crackers, veggies).  I love a good picnic!
  • clothing:
    • light jacket
    • comfortable walking/hiking shoes
    • change of clothes
    • bathing suit
    • towel
  • comb/brush
  • toothe brush and toothe paste

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Keep the essentials that you need for the perfect road trip packed and ready to go to save time.
Your roadtrip essentials are now packed and you are ready to hit the road!

Conclusion to Road Trip Essentials

You are now aware of all of the essentials needed for a perfect roadtrip. Pack up the car, grab you’re Timmies and hit the road on the best roadtrip ever. Don’t forget to pick up your free Roadtrip Essentials checklist! Where are you headed on your next roadtrip?


Kelly xoxo

Kelly is a writer and solo traveller who shares her adventures with the world. She is a mom, grandma, and lover of all things wine. She encourages solo travel and offers tips and advice on how to do it safely and confidently.


Kelly is a writer and solo traveller who shares her adventures with the world. She is a mom, grandma, and lover of all things wine. Kelly’s passion lies in exploring Canada and other parts of the world and sharing her experiences with others.

As a senior traveller, Kelly aims to inspire others to live their best life and not be afraid to venture out into the world on their own. She encourages solo travel and offers tips and advice on how to do it safely and confidently.

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65 thoughts on “Essentials for the Perfect Roadtrip

  1. Michelle Segrest

    These are really fantastic tips! I just love road trips, especially spontaneous ones, but I usually wish I had planned a little better because sometimes I miss out on something that would have been really cool to see or fun to do! So these checklists are really helpful so you get the most out of your road trip. I love that you map out your route on paper maps! I’m old school like that too! Also, good idea to bring a designated driver if you want to do wine tasting or beer breweries!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sarah Camp | In Search of Sarah

    Great tips! I am not one for road trips (I get car sick) but it looks like I’ll have to find a way around that for this year and explore some places around me within driving distance! I work at a car dealership – so I am a huge proponent of making sure your vehicle has been maintained and ready to go!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Nicole Anderson

    Even when there are no international travel restrictions, a road trip can be a great way to see some fabulous sites up close. This, of course, is even true when you go overseas as well, the most recent for us being a road trip through the west coast of Norway, up past the Arctic Circle. The main thing no matter where you choose to go (aside from weather and road conditions), is to ensure there are things worth seeing along the way to relieve/break-up the monotony of driving. As someone who has limited knowledge about cars, I found the checklist you included here to be really helpful.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Kelly

    Timmies is a roadtrip essential for sure! I am actually roadtripping from Vancouver to Saskatoon next week (my fiance goes to school there) as we are bring his stuff home since everything is online in the fall. This post is great for planning since its 16 hours each way and I’ve never done a road trip that long!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Niry Fidelis

    Kelly I would also add “trekking shoes”…. (I didn’t see it here in your list) so that you can enjoy some hiking and trekking along the way! What you say?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Melissa

    I love road tripping! I have been taking more of them recently and am currently planning an across the US road trip. These are some really great tips, many of which I make sure I do every time. I do have to remember to bring a map though. I always rely on my phone, which I haven’t had trouble with yet, but when I do take an across the country trip I feel like I may definitely run into some problems with signals. I always tell myself I need to bring a map, but never do. Great points about getting the car ready as well-it is a lot of work for the car, especially long distances, and it’s always great to be prepared!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Just One Passport

      I usually can rely on my phone, bu if I’m driving through remote areas or through mountains, the service is very spotty and sometimes non-existant. If you are travelling across the US, I highly recommend bringing a map with you.


  7. Sandy N Vyjay

    We absolutely love road trips. They are such an immersive way of traveling. These are some really sensible and practical essential tips. One of the most important one is of course regarding your vehicle and ensuring it is in perfect condition.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Brian

    Road trips are a huge part of our lives, so I can definitely appreciate your tips. We do a lot of weekend and extended weekend getaways and I think good snacks are one of the most essential components to a good road trip 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Kathleen

    I love a good road trip. It’s a good thing too because we drive a lot. You are right about the paper map. They come in handy a lot of times, especially when you’re away from civilization. We also always have toilet paper, hand sanitizer and wet wipes. Sometimes there is just no water or proper bathroom. I would add that if you have kids, things to keep them occupied in the car are a must. Enjoy your Timmies.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Kendra

    Great tips! Good tunes are a priority for me 😉 I love looking at physical maps too. I also like looking up random, obscure things to see along the way, it’s entertaining to find roadside attractions.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Freya

    Ok now you’ve made me feel like an irresponsible roadtripper LOL. I definitely don’t do half of the car checks that you mentioned, but maybe I should! Great checklist 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  12. bye:myself

    Sometimes I have the feeling that I’m only travelling so I can organize my trips. And organizing road trips is just wonderful: A new plan for almost every day – yeyiii, count me in. Since I’m not driving but depend on public transportation, I’m taking road trip planning to the next level.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Jackie

    Kelly, we could be excellent travel partners. (For one reason, you won’t find me planning a shopping trip either!) This post is perfect timing for me, because right now, road trips are on my radar. It looks like you’ve thought of everything, including several items to pack I might have overlooked. I especially like that you have a paper map that you’ve highlighted. What a great idea! Thanks for the inspiration.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Just One Passport

      One day we should go on a roadtrip together (or a beach holiday). I imagine most of us will be roadtripping for the forseeable future though. Definitely no shopping for this girl. It’s not my favourite past time lol.


  14. backpackandsnorkel

    I have stopped using paper maps a long time ago. For most parts of this world, google maps allows you to download offline maps, which I do and I have never had problems. But, just in case, I always have a second map app with another offline map handy.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Archana (@TravelSeeWrite)

    With the COVID19 situation, we are going to see a lot of people take road trips in their own cars instead of taking a flight or a bus/train. The tips you had shared for the perfect road trip are so useful and true for any country. I can’t wait to go on a road trip.

    Liked by 1 person

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