What to Pack for a Road Trip: The Ultimate Checklist
Road trips are a great way to travel around the country or multiple countries at a time. The best thing about driving is that you can take as much luggage and other essentials as you’d need for your trip. There are many different things that you can take with you. However, these 5 key things are what you absolutely should have with you on those long drives. As long as you have these essentials, then you’ll be well on your way to a stress-free (ish) road trip. So, what to pack for a road trip I hear you ask?
1. Documentation for You and Your Car
Documentation is one of the most important things to have with you during your road trip. You need to make sure that you have all valid documents for yourself, your passengers and also for your car. Make sure that you have your passport (if you are crossing countries), your driving license (as proof that you can legally drive) and your health insurance card (in case you fall ill or get into an accident on your trip).
For your car make sure that you take your insurance details with you (in case of an accident), your breakdown cover details (in case the car decides to give up the ghost) and the proof of ownership (in case you get pulled over).
2. Essentials for You and Your Car
One thing I’ve learnt from lengthy road trips is that they can be completely unpredictable. If you are covering a lot of distance, the chance of you hitting a lot of traffic is quite high. For this reason, you need to be prepared for lengthy stays in the car. This means making sure that you at least have some sort of food in the car and if nothing else water for you to drink. If you’re stuck in a gridlock somewhere, you’ll likely be nowhere near a water source. Especially in the summer months, the hot drives are unbearable. For the winter months, it’s worth keeping a blanket in the car too!
Your car needs a lot of love too. Make sure that you have some water or engine coolant for your car too, in case it’s running low. The same goes for oil too. However, all of this should be topped up before you leave for your trip anyway. It’s still worth taking it just in case. A spare tire wouldn’t go amiss if you have the room too.
What to pack for a road trip? Food and drink for those little photo delays 😉
3. Legally Required Car Accessories
Different countries have different driving rules. Some countries require you by law to have certain car accessories easily accessible in your car, such as a breathalyser (in date), high viability jacket and/or a first aid kit. Some countries have no requirements at all. If you are on a road trip and crossing over into different countries then you need to research what you need to have in your car. Make sure you have them all or you risk a hefty fine if you are stopped. Keep them all in a easy-to-reach place, such as your glove compartment.
Some countries also have rules such as no eating or drinking at the wheel, no alcohol in your vehicle (even unopened) unless it is in the boot and so on and so forth. Make sure you look all of these up and note them down before you go.
4. A Decent Sat Nav
Let’s be honest, most of us nowadays don’t get around using a map and a lot of us probably wouldn’t even know how to navigate a huge atlas now away. For this reason, most of us use sat navs. I would recommend that you use your phone as a sat nav, unless you have a really good one as many sat nav systems don’t factor in current traffic. A phone will constantly update you on new routes, congestion issues and sometimes even if you’re speeding (it’s also worth noting down the different speed limits in each country if it doesn’t tell you).
However, do remember if you are going to use your phone as a sat nav, take into consideration that in some countries using your phone while driving is illegal. To have the sat nav sat there doing its thing? Fine. But if you start fiddling with it, then you could be stopped. Make sure you disable all of your notifications before you set off, to minimise distractions. It’s also worth noting the next point if you are using your phone…
What to pack for a road trip? Phone accessories!
5. Spare Phone Charger/Battery Pack
There will be nothing worse than being without a phone on your trip. Not so much because people are glued to their phones, but because it can be used in emergencies, as a sat nav and to store all of your travel pictures on it. It’s always worth taking a spare charger with you as on more than one occasion I’ve either lost mine or it’s broke while on the trip (why does this ALWAYS happen at the worst time)!
A battery pack is always a life saver too, especially if you run into issues with your car and your phone won’t charge, or when you’re out of your car exploring and don’t have access to charging facilities. When you’re out on the road in the middle of nowhere, finding these things is not only time consuming, but sometimes impossible.
There are plenty of other good things that you can take with you on the road, but as long as you have those 5 key things, you can be rest assured that you will be prepared when you’re off travelling. Now you know what to pack for a road trip!