With summer just around the corner, annual family road trips are also about to be underway. While you can pack up the same necessities from your recent spring break trip, we’ve added a few more additions to the list that are suitable for long-distance travel and camping grounds. Whether you’re taking a drive to Conroe, Lubbock, or out of state, these road trip necessities can make your family expedition a safe and fun ride.
First, load up on snacks such as tasty trail mixes to keep those backseat tummies from rumbling. You can stock up on your favorites from Buc-ees and enjoy nice and cold drinks with a quality cooler from Otterbox. Also, make sure to pack a quality car charger to keep the kids busy with tablets and phones during the ride. Before you hit the open road, read through our ultimate road trip checklist for a smooth and prepared drive.
Scroll ahead to check off our checklist of road trip essentials.
At some point while out in the open road, you’ll probably hear someone's stomach rumbling for a bite to eat. Save up on Gas station pit stops with a couple of snacks in the car. Try tasty yet healthy favorites such as SkinnyDipped chocolate-covered almonds ($27) which are packed with protein or Boom Chicka Pop ($4) whole grain popcorn with only 70 calories. If you want the ultimate road trip snack, always keep a bag of trail mix on hand with sweet and salty flavors.
You can't use Google Maps if your phone is dead so make sure you’re prepared with a durable car charger. According to WireCutter, the Nekteck PD 45W Type-C Car Charger ($24) was the ultimate staff pick. Its USB-C port charges an iPhone almost 3% faster than a wall charger and can also charge tablets and laptops. The charger is also compatible with Android devices. Anker 24W Dual USB Car Charger ($24) is a great budget-friendly buy for its reliability, sleek design, and device compatibility.
Pillow & Cozy Blanket
Whether driving through sunrise or sunset, someone in the car is bound to be snoozing. Stay cozy and comfortable on the road with a pillow and blanket to enjoy a nap, pretty much anywhere. If you want one of the best travel pillows on the market, you’ll love the Temper-Pedic ($56) All-Purpose Pillow. Its unique peanut shape makes it the perfect size for traveling and offers firm neck support. The Samsonite Magic 2-in-1 Travel Pillow ($20) is a good choice from The Strategist since it’s a packable size, but still super comfy. For the perfect road trip blanket, try the Cocoon CoolMax Blanket ($43). The luxury naptime essential is made with a midweight fabric that allows you to stay warm or cool and dries quickly in case there’s a spill. A basic soft microfleece blanket ($15) is also a great option, available in an infinite amount of colors and patterns on Amazon.
One thing coffee lovers must know is there won’t always be a Starbucks around. Keep your favorite coffee warm and your iced coffee chilled with a handy thermos. The Stanley Classic Legendary Bottle ($40) is a New York Times pick because of its design features and reliable heat retention, keeping liquids hot for more than eight hours. The Yeti Rambler ($30) is also a good option. It’s stainless steel, which is great for durability, has a no-sweat design, and keeps drinks hot for about four hours.
One of the biggest road trip essentials is a dependable flashlight. Whether you need to check the hood of the car at night or have arrived at the camping ground in the dark, having a handy flashlight can help you get to your destination safely. The ThruNite Archer 2A V3 ($30) is a top-rated choice that offers a wide range of brightness settings, waterproof capability, and even features a blinding strobe mode for emergencies. On a budget? The Dorcy 55 Lumen LED Flashlight ($10) is easy to use, affordable, and offers a long-lasting battery.
While a thermos will keep the hot drinks warm, a quality cooler will keep the cold ones chilled. The Otterbox Venture Cooler ($230) may be a premium choice, but it’ll keep ice frozen for up to 10 days and features tough latches to keep the critters out, which is perfect for long-distance driving or camping. For a more standard choice, the Igloo Marine Contour ($23) comes with UV inhibitors to protect against sun damage, cool riser technology, and a useful fish measuring ruler.