23 road trip essentials you need for your next vacation

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It’s the season of road trips! If you’ve never been on the road on a bright summer day, blasting your favorite playlist with your cutest sunnies, might I suggest adding a road trip to your summer wish list? When it comes to vacations, I actually prefer to pack my bags if I’m headed somewhere within a short drive, simply because a road trip gives you a little more control than getting on a plane. You can leave whenever you want, you can stop for breaks at your leisure, the snack options are endless and you can pack whatever you want, no size or weight limit.

Being in the car for an extended period of time can come with challenges, so you need to make sure you have all the essentials you’ll need for a safe, comfortable and enjoyable drive. And look no further, because we’ve got you covered. Whether you’re driving for an hour for a weekend stay or driving along the coast for a week or two at the beach, check out the following list of road trip essentials.

Simple modern

Bottle of water

Staying hydrated is very important, especially if it’s hot and the AC is turned up! TBH, I can’t get my hands on a Stanley Quencher, but that’s okay because this Simple Modern water bottle has been by my side since 2019. I never leave home without it!


20 oz glass

Coffee is a must, especially if you drive early in the morning! You’ll never see me without my morning coffee and this Yeti glass is my favorite for both hot and cold coffees.


Car cup holder extension

Unfortunately, car cup holders aren’t always suitable for everyone, but don’t worry! Whatever you’re sipping on, a car cup holder extender will make sure your cup fits.


Trash for car

While I’ve chosen to use a random plastic bag as a car garbage can, this one is much cuter, more compact, and great to have in the car all year round. Usually, I forget that I have a designated garbage bag until an hour or two into the trip, awkwardly leaving an apple core in my hand until we get to the next stop, but having a garbage can for the car eliminates. quite this problem.


Ecological wipes

Spills occur, and having wipes on hand will keep your car and hands clean. I’m in love with Biom – their all-purpose eco-friendly wipes come in a gorgeous reusable container and the grapefruit scent smells amazing too.


Soft cooler

A road trip isn’t complete without snacks. A soft refrigerator tucked away in the back seat is essential for keeping drinks cold and for holding healthy snacks like fruit, hummus and cheese. If you’re on your way to the beach, this fridge is great for all your beach snacks too!


Collapsible snack containers

If you’re making takeaway snacks in the car, containers can pile up and take up unnecessary space. A great space-saving solution for snacking on the go? Collapsible snack containers. Once they’re empty, you can fold and fill them later and they won’t take up space unless used.


Reusable silicone bags

Another great space saver are the Stasher bags. These are perfect for packaging sandwiches, fruit, nuts and chips. And bonus: they’re plastic-free and a great alternative to the typical single-use plastic bag.


Car power strip

There is no need for a car specific phone charger when you can use a power strip! An excellent way to keep everyone’s electronics charged, this compact power strip has two sockets and four USB ports, so there’s plenty of power to go around.


Phone dock

If you’re using an app like Google Maps, a phone dock is a must. It’s much better (and safer!) Than holding your phone on your lap and relying on voice navigation alone. This dock snaps into an air vent and lets you take a look at the map and directions written on your phone as you drive. Perfect!


Hooks for headrest

Keep the back seat organized by using these car hooks to attach duffel bags, purses or any bag with handle. These are great for bags you don’t want on the floor that might roll over and holding the bags on a hook will also free up some leg room. Find the color that matches your car’s interior for an elegant and cohesive look.


Mini massager

Traveling with a Theragun is great. Do you do a little Theragun massage on your thighs, hamstrings and shoulders after sitting in the car for a few hours? Bliss.


Cross leggings

These leggings continue to be my run or die when it comes to comfort and relaxation, and there’s no doubt I’ll get them when it’s time to sit in the car for a few hours. It’s all about comfort when it comes to road travel, right?


Audible inscription

Road trips and audio books are like peanut butter and jelly. A few hours in the car is the perfect time to dive into an audiobook, and having an Audible subscription will get you started in no time. Audible has a ton of audiobooks to choose from, and a subscription also includes podcasts, meditation songs, and sleep songs – perfect for helping you rest once you arrive at your destination.

Fluff Co


Traveling with a full-sized pillow at the airport might seem a little extra, but for road travel it’s fair game! Napping in the car with your favorite pillow from home is pochette and I’m obsessed with my FluffCo pillow.


Aviator sunglasses

Sunnies are a breeze and these all-black aviators are classic and fit just about anything.


Car Window Curtains

OK, so car window curtains seem to only be marketed to protect children from the sun, but if you’re traveling with your girlfriends in the back seat, we could use UV protection too! Car window curtains will help keep the back seat area cool, and if you plan to be in the car all day, they can offer much needed sun relief.

Bask in the sun


Listen to me: sunscreen is a must for your trip because the sun coming through your windows is strong. Make sure you grab the top of your thighs if you’re wearing shorts and your hands if you’re driving. Basking sunscreen is my current favorite – the non-aerosol spray is non-greasy and people always ask me what perfume I wear when I wear it. They don’t believe me when I say it’s sunscreen!

Sun Bum

Lip balm SPF

I’m that girl who has multiple lip balms running around all at once, and one of them is always in the car. Just like you make sure you have sunscreen on your skin, you can’t forget your lips!


Mini first aid kit

It is always a good idea to have a mini first aid kit in the car when you travel. This is small enough to fit in your purse or glove box, and is great for any small cuts or insect bites that may occur in your car or rest area.


Motion sickness medicine

Road trips can be tough if you’re prone to motion sickness, so make sure you have some Dramamine on hand to soothe any nausea that may be happening!

Stoney Clover Lane

Duffle bag

This was the year I finally upgraded my holdall from a Vera Bradley holdall around 2010 to a Stoney Clover Lane holdall from Target, and I’m so glad I made the leap. While the Target collaboration bags are officially sold out, SCL has plenty of classic holdalls to choose from, and they’re all cute and classic and fit everything you need for a weekend getaway.



If you prefer to travel with a suitcase, I am in love with my Away luggage and have been using it for years. The hand luggage is compact and perfect for the car and also includes a laundry bag, great for any kind of travel!

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