Van life is our favourite but only because we have perfected our road trip packing list to save time, money and stress. Road trips are the best way to see a country as you have the absolute freedom to sleep, eat and drive without relying on someone else’s itinerary. However, they can be tough, tiring and time consuming without these few essentials.

Regardless of country, season and travel style this road trip packing list includes the few must haves that no road trip would be possible without. Whether you’re wondering what to bring on a road trip that’s months long or simply a weekend away we share the items that are vital in not only getting you to your destination safely but making the journey as epic as possible.

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We created a free downloadable road trip packing list. Check out our other free downloadable tools we have such as a budget tracker on our resources page.

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1. Maps

The most obvious of all road trip necessities, you need to know where you’re going. We rely on Google Maps but in the US, we use Waze or to save phone battery you could use a GPS device instead.

2. Fuel / Fuel Finder Apps

Once you have planned your route one of the most important road trip essentials is fuel. No one wants to be stranded during a road trip and on the topic of apps there are several available worldwide that can help you find the cheapest and nearest petrol stations.

Bridge With Mountains In The Back In Front Of The Sea

3. Phone Mount

Although apps play a major role in our road trip packing list it is illegal to use your phone whilst driving, so to remain safe please purchase a mobile phone mount. This simple device is universal both in terms of phone type and car type, it simply sticks to any dashboard.

Universal Phone Mount
945 Reviews
Universal Phone Mount
  • Multi Mount Locations: This multifunctional smartphone mount can be mounted on a variety of locations and surfaces because the sticky gel pad sticks securely to most surfaces, yet still easy to...
  • Infinite Angels: 360 degree rotation ball and adjustment knobs provide vertical and horizontal viewing angels.
  • Sturdy Design: The sturdiness of this mount comes from its combination of premium quality rubber reinforced with extra strong durable plastic. The combination of these two materials gives this mount...

4. Driving Licence / Insurance

One of the most important road trip necessities especially if driving abroad is to ensure your license (both paper and hard copy) are packed as well as the correct insurance information.

5. Sunglasses

During our New Zealand road trip the snowy horizons, wet roads and low sunshine created dangerous driving conditions but luckily Daz had polarized sunglasses. If you are wondering what to bring on a road trip do not forget these road trip essentials – they could save your life!

Polarized Sunglasses
24 Reviews
Polarized Sunglasses
  • Protective case included.

6. Companions

You have your route planned, full tank of fuel and sunshades on, the next item on your road trip checklist is some companions. Although we love solo adventures, it isn’t very environmentally friendly to road trip alone. There are numerous Facebook groups to find lift shares or travel buddies after all who else are you gonna annoy with your car karaoke?

Couple Sitting Facing A Lake Outside Of A Campervan


7. Snacks

If you are looking for what to bring on a road trip to keep you energised and alert you will need snacks that are non-perishable and non-sticky. Nothing is worse than melted chocolate, sticky steering wheels or crumb covered seats so choose your snacks wisely. We recommend nuts, cereal bars or energy balls.

Snow Topped Mountain In Front Of Bending Road In New Zealand

8. Water

On the topic of staying alert and energised, staying hydrated is essential on any road trip! Our road trip packing list would not be complete without our trusty water bottles which not only prevent plastics from landfill but prevent over-priced service station water. They are also far easier (and safer) to drink out of as you don’t have to remove the lid and they prevent unnecessary leaks or spillages.

Water Bottles
330 Reviews
Water Bottles
  • 🚲100% BPA FREE MATERIAL: Made from the toughest and safest BPA Free TRITAN & Co-Polyester plastic, Food Grade PP material lid. HoneyHolly water bottle is the best choice for your daily use...
  • 🏃‍NO LEAKING: Ergonomic flip cap and Practical nozzle. Leak proof & Lockable Lid, no need to worry about the leak. We will confirm our locking lid is no drop before ship it to you.
  • 💪EASY TO CARRY AND USE : One hand push the button & the lid pops open to have a quick drink. Our bottle with a durable carry-strap and a special reflective frosted casing. Comfortable hand...

9. Nanopresso

Coffee is one of the most important road trip essentials and this handy little device is probably our biggest money saver from our entire road trip packing list. Not only does it mean we can have delicious barista style coffee on the move, it saves us the expense of buying tasteless service station coffee during our road trip.

Nanopresso Machine
21 Reviews
Nanopresso Machine
  • [SUPER PUMPING SYSTEM] Built around a newly patented pumping system and no battery/electric need, the Nanopresso is powerful. With the help of your hands, a maximum of 18 bars (261 PSI) of stable...
  • [EASIER THAN EVER] The Nanopresso works best with all varieties of ground coffee. Add the boiling water to its tank and pump manually, it is delightfully easy to operate and easy to prepare your...
  • [SMALLEST AND LIGHTEST] Nanopresso's ergonomic design and shorter length makes it your travel companion of choice. Nanopresso is engineered to be extremely light. Yet, designed to go wherever you go....

10. Stojo Coffee Cup

Whether you are brewing your own barista worthy coffee or making a quick coffee stop there is no excuse for using disposable coffee cups. We are obsessed with how practical our Stojo cups are – not only do they fold up saving space in your car but they can fit in your pocket, come with a straw and they are essentially unbreakable as the silicone is far more durable that ceramic or glass. An item not to be missed from your road trip packing list!

Collapsible Coffee Cup
209 Reviews
Collapsible Coffee Cup
  • ULTRA PORTABLE REUSABLE CUP COFFEE. Collapsible cup expands. Coffee Cup has 3.5" diameter and is only 2" thick when collapsed. 12 oz cup.
  • SILICONE CUP breaks down for easy cleaning. Dishwasher and microwave SAFE.
  • Mugs made from SAFE, RECYCLABLE materials. No BPAs, phthalates, leads or glues.

11. Tupperware

On the topic of collapsible silicon (when did we get so sensible?) these containers are incredibly useful for any road trip. The smart design means they take up very little space, but they are handy for lunch on the move, storing leftovers and most importantly will not leak if tipped up on any crazy corners.

Tupperware Boxes
12 Reviews
Tupperware Boxes
  • SAFE - Food Grade Silicone, Non-toxic, Eco-friendly, Tasteless, Odorless, Non-stick and Very Easy to Clean.
  • CLEVER DESIGN - Silicone Container With Lid and Vacuum Seal Keep Contents Secure and Fresh.
  • SAVE SPACE - Collapsible Design, Save more than 60% Space for you. No More Cluttered Tupperware Cabinet!

12. Cool Box

An essential for any Summer road trip packing list, these will ensure any snacks or drinks are kept cold and picnics remained chilled even when your road rage begins to heat up.

Cool Box
23 Reviews
Cool Box
  • Multi-layered polyethylene foam insulation
  • 500D durable polyester fabric outer
  • Adjustable shoulder strap and large front zipped pocket


13. Wi-Fi Hot Spot

This is probably one of our favourite road trip essentials. Simply buy a sim card from the country you are in and then all mobile phones/devices in the car can connect to this one Wi-Fi hot spot making it easy for passengers to stay entertained on the road as well as find directions, campsites, petrol stations etc.

Portable Wi-Fi Hot Spot
252 Reviews
Portable Wi-Fi Hot Spot
  • Practical, portable and Powerful: Travel the world with Huawei's super-fast 4G Mobile Wi-Fi. A pocket-sized solution to low-cost travel Wi-Fi.
  • Parental Control and guest network - A simplified system to help you manage connected devices, disconnect any device at the touch of a button.
  • Speed: LTE FDD 150 Mbps / LTE TDD 112 Mbps. An ultimate, rechargeable battery with 6 hours working time. Stay connected for longer.

14. Portable Charger

A vital addition to any road trip packing list, this portable charger allows you to charge all devices on the move. Most importantly it has the best battery life from the many we have tried & tested from our time on the road and can fully charge 1 phone around 7 times, so technically lasts a full week! Also handy for charging other road trip necessities such as the Bluetooth speakers, Wi-Fi hot spot, cameras and more.

Anker PowerCore 20100 Portable Charger
7,310 Reviews
Anker PowerCore 20100 Portable Charger
  • The Anker Advantage: Join the 20 million+ powered by our leading technology.
  • Ultra-High Capacity: Weighs as little as a can of soup (12.5 oz) yet charges the iPhone 8 almost seven times, the Galaxy S8 five times or the iPad mini 4 twice.
  • High-speed charging: PowerIQ and VoltageBoost combine to deliver the fastest possible charge(does not support Qualcomm Quick Charge). Recharges itself in 10 hours with a 2 amp charger, phone chargers...

15. Portable Speaker

This speaker makes it to our road trip packing list because we have used it every single day during our New Zealand road trip and only charged it once. Not all cars or campervans have epic sound systems or Bluetooth connections.

Bluetooth Portable Speaker
4,623 Reviews
Bluetooth Portable Speaker
  • Compact And Powerful: Super-portable Bluetooth speaker delivers powerful sound and robust bass through an advanced 5W driver and passive subwoofer.
  • Unstoppable Music: Micro SD support, AUX capability provide endless audio options.
  • Extensive Connectivity: Utilizes Bluetooth 4.0 technology for seamless device linking and a 66ft connection range.

16. GoPro / Dashcam

Dashcams are not only incredibly useful from a safety point of view but they are also fun road trip essentials to film your route. We love our trusty GoPro as it can double up as a dashcam thanks to the accessories pack that we purchased below. Although this pack isn’t the official GoPro accessory pack, they are far cheaper and fit any GoPro. We have had them for years and they are still going strong!


17. Anti-Bacterial Hand Gel

With the amount of pee stops Daz makes, our road trip packing list would not be complete without a large bottle of anti-bacterial hand gel. Ideally buy a larger bottle so it’s cheaper and to save lots of little bottles going to landfill.

Anti-Bacterial Hand Gel
208 Reviews
Anti-Bacterial Hand Gel
  • A breakthrough formulation with exceptional antimicrobial efficacy
  • Clinically proven to maintain skin health* * 4 week clinical study #2011-F10233, Akron, OH, February-March 2011
  • Refills made with SMART-FLEX Technology

18. Car Sickness Prevention

The roads in New Zealand can be incredibly twisty at times which can make even seasoned road trippers who have never been car sick before, feel queasy. If you are wondering what to bring on a road trip for those who suffer from motion sickness, we have a few natural remedies that are lifesavers. Firstly, whether travelling by car, boat or bus this natural oil blend promises to cure nausea as well as calm anxiety (ideal for fearful flyers). Whilst the travellers companion is more of a cure during motion sickness, the stick on patches are a prevention if you know prior that car sickness is likely.

19. Bug Spray

An often forgotten item on the road trip packing list is insect repellent. Road trips are the perfect way to get close to nature, but you don’t want them so close that they’re nibbling your ankles. Long car journeys and itchy insect bites do not go well, so don’t forget to tick this off your road trip checklist.

Insect Repellent
929 Reviews
Insect Repellent
  • Up to 9 HOUR insect repellent protection from mosquitoes, midges and biting insects.
  • Particularly suitable for long haul travellers, malaria risk areas and those wanting extra protection from insect bites.
  • Contains 50% DEET for effective protection

20. Sun Cream

What’s more uncomfortable than itchy insect bites? Sunburn. Although one of the more obvious road trip necessities, it’s often left behind on cloudy mornings and then much needed when the sun decides to show up in the afternoon so keep some in your car just in case.

Sun Cream
340 Reviews
Sun Cream
  • Dry mist formula - non greasy and water resistant
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Tested under dermatological control

21. Sudocrem

Should you fail to pack road trip essentials 18 & 19 then you will need number 20. From all the insect bite remedies Sudocrem has been the only one we’ve found that instantly stops itchiness and soothes redness. It’s also great for any spots, sunburn or scrapes. Best of all, the small 30g travel tubes last so long, do not be fooled by their size!

46 Reviews
  • Packaging Info: Recyclable.
  • Store in a cool dry place
  • Skin Care


22. Reflective Sun Shades

Essential for any Summer road trip packing list these sun shades keep your car cool and are life savers when trying to sleep in a campervan during Summer. They are just one of many ways we have found to stay cool in your campervan and are definite road trip essentials for Sunnier days.

Reflective Sun Shades
57 Reviews
Reflective Sun Shades
  • SWEATY OR MISERABLE? Ever opened your door to a blast of hot air in your face? Our windshield sun shade protects you from the sun's heat and harmful UV radiation rays
  • PROTECT YOURSELF AND CAR: High quality and durable sun blocker screen protector to maintain your car interior temperature, so your vehicle's seats stay cool, and without getting your hands burned on...
  • EASY SETUP! Sunshade easily pops out and folds back in seconds making it convenient for daily use. Designed to be stored in the door pockets of your auto vehicle

23. Picnic Blanket / Microfibre towel

As you are limited on space when packing for a road trip, it’s extra useful when road trip essentials have many purposes – cue the micro fibre towel. Not just handy for the obvious drying function or spontaneous sunbathing sessions but vital to any road trip packing list as they can double up as blankets, picnic rugs, or window shades. We do not travel without ours.

Microfibre Travel Towel
1,000 Reviews
Microfibre Travel Towel
  • Compact & lightweight with a comfortable suede feel
  • Super absorbent and fast drying
  • Vibrant colours, 3 sizes, Medium size: 100cm x 50cm Large size: 150cm x 80cm Extra Large size: 180cm x 90cm

24. Playlist

A good playlist can turn the longest drive into a full blown Broadway performance. Plan your playlist ahead of time to avoid playing with your phone whilst driving or simply search on Spotify for road trip anthems. If you’re feeling brave leave your playlist open so all passengers can add their favourite tunes although this may cause more chaos than karaoke. When you’ve lost your voice to too much Disney sing along, switch to podcasts or audio books to keep you entertained.

Palm Trees With The Sunset In Hawaii

25. Travel Pillow

Don’t forget a travel pillow from your road trip packing list from when you become tired out from all that singing. To ensure you’ll never forget it, there are travel pillows that attach to seat belts so you don’t even have to pack it. Daz often leaves his travel pillow behind because it takes up too much space in his bag, but thankfully we have discovered the Trtl travel pillows which are not only better for your neck than traditional U-shaped pillows but are Half the size and weighs only 148 grams!

26. Penknife

We mentioned earlier that road trip essentials which have multiple uses receive extra bonus points so enter the most trusty of all road trip necessities – the penknife! With 14 different tools from tweezers to cork screw, bottle opener to scissors our loyal wee penknife has resolved many sticky situations!

Pocket Knife
1,252 Reviews
Pocket Knife
  • Constructed with a nylon handle and 100% stainless steel components
  • Pocket knife contains 14 different tools
  • Compact and sturdy knife for campers, hunters and all-around users

Let us know in the comments if we’ve missed your favourite road trip essentials from our list. We hope our road trip packing list suggestions have made your life a little easier, now the hardest part is deciding where to go. If you’re looking for some road trip inspiration our favourites have been North Island of New Zealand, the road trip from Te Anau to Milford Sound or Great Ocean Road all of which we did in our fabulous Travellers Autobarn kuga campervan.

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