As plane travel continues to be a challenging mode of transportation this year, summer road trips are gaining popularity for those still seeking adventure! If you have ever been on a road trip, you have probably experienced one of the two extremes. Either you packed way too little and were left to make plans at every stop, or you over-compensated and packed way too much. Finding the sweet spot between these two extremes can be challenging, seeing that you cannot plan for every possible hiccup. You can, however, be sure to pack a few essentials that will carry you throughout the trip.

Daily Use Items

When it comes to your everyday essentials, your list might differ, but a pair of sunglasses and sunscreen are absolute musts on a summer road trip. You’ll most likely be spending a lot of time in the sun, and you don’t want to have to squint your eyes through the entire trip, especially while driving. Equally important is sunscreen, because as we know, protecting your skin is vital to maintaining that healthy summer glow! Nothing can ruin a summer road trip like a bad sunburn, so be sure to pack your favorite sunnies and some good SPF.

If you plan on going far, there are a few items that you’ll find extremely helpful on those long stretches, such as a reusable water bottle and a travel pillow. While you’re spending so much time in the car, you might as well keep yourself comfortable and hydrated! However, the biggest must-have item in the car is a great playlist. Make a music playlist with your favorite summer tunes to create a good vibe, keep your energy up and make the trip that much more enjoyable.

Backup Items

Your smartphone is not just your camera on a trip, but it is also your navigation pal. There are many reliable apps that won’t lead you astray, but Waze and Google Maps are probably your best bet. On the other hand, you should invest in a good physical map of the area you are planning on visiting. You never know when technology will decide to bomb out on you, so it’s always best to have a backup. Besides, using a physical map is much more fun. Do some research before you head out, and plan out some fun stops along the way to help break up the drive.

Like with navigation, technology has opened so many doors for us when it comes to paying for stuff. The problem is that you might end up in a place where you can’t pay with an app or credit card. Although you probably don’t need too much, having a bit of hard cash on hand is always a good idea. You never know when you might have to use it.


A well-packed toiletry bag is one of the most important items to pack for a summer road trip. You can go without clean clothes for a while, but toiletries are something that just cannot be skimped on. You don’t have to pack your entire makeup bag, as it is probably best to giver your skin a breather, but the grooming kit must be loaded. Soap or shower gel, deodorant and toothpaste are the most essential items. Keeping yourself well-groomed will keep you feeling fresh and ready to go, especially if you will be spending a lot of time outside.


Lastly, we all know that no road trip would be complete without your favorite snacks for the road. Many people make the rookie mistake of only packing junk food. Try to balance things out with some fresh and healthy food as well. If you stick to only crisps, sweets and soda on the road, you are quite likely to lack energy and pick up a few unwanted pounds. Water and veggies are perfect for the road because they don’t spoil easily. 

You’d be amazed at how little you need to pack for a quality summer road trip. Clothing is the last thing that to worry about. As long as you can stay fresh, sleep well and eat well, you can go on for weeks without tiring of the road. If you pack the essentials, you are set up for an unforgettable journey that will remain in memories for years.


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