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30+ Road Trip Essentials and Must Haves

Last updated at: Jan 2, 2024

It's road trip season. Whether you're hitting the road for hours or days, you'll want to be prepared. Road trips are perfect for couples, friends or families who want to take a scenic trip around the United States. Nexar is here to support you on your journey. We did the research for you, this is your one stop shop for everything you might need for your summer trip! Trust us, we're auto experts.

Essential Road Trip Items to Have in your Car

Let's start with the basics. Here are the 5 absolute must-have items for any trip in your car this summer.

1. Snacks. Let's be honest, you can't take a road trip without something good to snack on, so first thing's first let's make sure you stock up on some travel food.

2. Map or Navigation App. If you're like us, a traditional map would be useless to you, so make sure you have waze open or if you are taking a camping trip try the dyrt, perfect for planning a camping trip.

The Dyrt

Image credit: thedyrt.com

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3. Wireless phone charger. Check out the SCOSCHE MagicMount™ Pro with wireless charge. Charge your phone while you have the directions seamlessly stored on the window.

SCOSCHE MagicMount™ Pro with Qi Wireless Charge

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4. First Aid Kit. Make sure you have ibuprofen and bandaids at least before you travel. You never know what might happen on your trip and it's always better to be prepared.

5. Dash Cam. Today a dash cam is essential in case you get into an accident or you just want to record the road as you travel. Check out the Nexar dash cam, which records the road in 4K, has remote streaming capabilities and can send an insurance report to your provider in one easy click.

Nexar One Dash Cam

Smart, connected 4K dash cam

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Basic Must Have Road Trip Items - Family Edition

Have kids in the car? You don't want to travel without some entertainment

1. iPad or tablet. Your kids are going to need entertainment. Make sure you have some movies or tv shows downloaded for your kids.

2. Road games. You might want to try madlibs or magnetic versions of traditional games. Try hangman here!

3. Road trip playlists. Have something for everyone and put it on shuffle. Make sure you have your kids' and your partner's favorite song.

4. Headphones. The adults in the car might need some activity of their own so get your kids some headphones so they can listen to their own music or watch Peppa Pig on their own.

5. Audiobooks. Audiobooks are a great idea for kids and adults. Don't forget to download them ahead of time.

6. Sunscreen. Traveling during the summer? Make sure you bring along sunscreen for you and your kids.

7. Garbage bags. That's right, where there are snacks there is garbage. Make sure you don't dirty your car and bring along a few scented garbage bags.

8. Comfortable car seat. This is worth a splurge if you plan to be on a long road trip. We're recommending the Britax.

Britax Highpoint 2-Stage Belt-Positioning Booster Car Seat

Image credit: Amazon

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9. Sickness bags. Let's just say when you travel with kids, it's always better to be prepared.

10. Extra diapers/wipes. And last but not least, make sure you have extra diapers and wipes. It'll be a long trip without it.

Important Things to Take on a Road Trip - The Comfort Kit

When you're driving for hours or days make sure you have items to make you comfortable.

1. Sunglasses. This is a necessity for any car trip but when you plan on driving for hour on end, this is a must. Make sure you have a good pair ready to go.

2. Pillow. We recommend this pillow designed for your car. Check out the TravelMate Car Neck Pillow.

TravelMate Car Neck Pillow - (Soft Version)

Image Credit: Amazon

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3. Toilet Paper. Enough said.

4. Blanket- it might get cold, make sure you have a blanket available.

5. Sweatshirt - It's also important to have layers when you travel, you will definitely miss having a sweatshirt even in the summer.

Road Trip Personal Essentials: Clothing and Personal Items

In addition to the basics, we assume you'll remember a toothbrush and deodorant, we wanted to recommend some other items that we think will make your life on the road easier.

1. Toiletry bag- you need to make sure you have all of your essentials. We recommend the Black Explorer PLUS™ Toiletry Bag. It's waterproof, hangs easily and you get a lifetime warranty. Talk about road trip essentials!

Black Explorer PLUS™ Toiletry Bag

Image Credit: Gravel

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2. Towel. We are specifically recommending a microfiber towel. Check out the PackTowl Luxe Quick Dry Microfiber Towel for Beach and Travel. It is super absorbent and super compact, making it perfect for camping sites or as a just-in-case for your airbnb or hotel.

3. Flip-flops. Whether you need a change of shoes for driving or you're staying at a campsite with a dirty shower, you'll be happy you threw a pair of flip-flops into the car.

4. Packing Cubes. When there's a lot of luggage, our team has had good experience with packing cubes. This way you can easily sort through your belongings without making a mess.

5. Hat. If you are hiking at all on your trip or are facing many sunny days, a hat can save you if you run out of sunscreen or just need a little shade.

Road Trip Food Bag: Food and Eating Supplies

Other than the snacks you must bring on any road trip think Doritos, M&Ms and Sour Patch, there are some other supplies that can be essential.

1. Reusable water bottle- you are bound to get thirsty on your trip. Make sure you have a bottle that fits into your cup holder and keeps your water cold.

2. Cooler. If you are going on a long trip, we recommend a large cooler to hold all of your food and beverage cravings. We're recommending the Coleman Xtreme Portable Cooler.

Coleman Xtreme Portable Cooler | Hard Cooler Keeps Ice Up to 5 Days

Image description: Amazon

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3. Coffee. Sure you can stop along your drive for coffee, but for true coffee addicts, we think it's important to have an on the go coffee-maker. Check out the AeroPress Go Portable Coffee Maker.

4. Energy Bars. You might want to keep a stack of energy bars ready. These are always good to have before a long morning drive.

5. Storage Containers. Bring storage containers for all of your snacking and leftover needs.

Absolute car must haves (in case of emergencies or accidents)

1. License & Registration. This might be the single most important road trip essential. Don't drive without it.

2. Car Insurance. Make sure you are protected in case of an accident.

3. Spare tire. There are a million reasons you might need a new tired. Be prepared.

4. Roadside Emergency Kit. If your car breaks down or you are stranded you'll be grateful you have this kit with a reflective warning triangle, safety vest, a strong tow rope, two gloves, a safety hammer, seat belt cutter, a LED flash light, adhesive tape, a rain coat, a tire pressure gauge, a screwdriver, jumper cables and an emergency blanket. Check it out.

5. Dash Cam. We said it once and we'll say it again, this is an absolute necessity on a road trip. Nexar Beam is Nexar's most popular dash cam. It streams all video directly to your phone so if you ever get into an accident you have proof on your side.

Nexar Beam

Beam is Nexar's most popular dash cam. It's tiny and easily concealable behind the rearview mirror. Beam records crisp 1080p full HD video and comes equipped with a suction cup mount and built-in GPS.

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Additional Helpful Road Trip Items

1. Roof Rack. This easily attached to your roof and frees up room in your car. You might want this if you are planning a long camping trip.

2. Portable Charger. If you're in the car or out for the day, you won't want to be without power. Make sure you bring your own charging station.

3. Camera. This is optional but we would recommend it if you are taking any scenic hikes that your dash cam won't capture.

4. Trunk Organizer. Pack your trunk efficiently and easily with a trunk organizer. You'll be thrilled when your kids need a specific item and you can sort through the chaos easily.

5. Travel Journal. For the mems! We guarantee you'll want to document everything on this amazing trip. Check out this journal made for travelers.

We believe this list will guarantee you the very best road trip experience. Road trips can provide freedom, excitement and amazing memories...when you're prepared. Enjoy your trip and sound off in the comments if you think we missed anything.