12 Must-Haves to Pack for Your Next Road Trip

Handle the unexpected like a pro.

Must-Haves to Pack for Your Next Road Trip
Must-Haves to Pack for Your Next Road Trip.

Getty

No road trip packing list is complete without a few must-haves. And no, we’re not just talking about clothing. Classic items—like socks, toiletries, and snacks—tend to make their way onto our packing lists. But other essentials? Well, they might get overlooked.

When you’re driving for hours, you don’t just need enough snacks and entertainment to get through the ride. You also need a set of jumper cables—and a spare tire you can access with ease. Pulling over to fix your car might not be on your itinerary. But surprises happen. And the right essentials can keep these little detours from taking all day.

Of course, there’s a reason these must-haves often get forgotten: Planning a road trip is hard. You have routes to plan, reservations to book, bags to pack, kids to corral, and snacks to stock up on. How can you possibly be expected to anticipate every potential surprise?

So to help you handle the unexpected like a pro, Verywell Family has teamed up with Welly to create a road trip-friendly packing list. Toss these essentials in the car before your next road trip, and your future self will thank you.

1

Quick Fix Kit, $7.99 (Welly)

Welly Quick Fix Kit
Welly Quick Fix Kit.

Welly

It’s always a good idea to have a first aid kit on hand. And since Welly’s Quick Fix Kit is so compact, it makes an easy addition to any trip. Packed with colorful bandages, single-use antibiotic ointments, and hand sanitizer packets, the kit is loaded with must-haves. And you’ll be happy to have it in your bag or car console the next time a surprise sneaks up on you.

2

Auto Drive Car Seat Trash Bin, $6.78 (Walmart)

On any road trip, you’re bound to accumulate some trash. And with this Car Seat Trash Bin, you can keep candy wrappers and empty cans from cluttering up your car. Simply attach the bin to one of your seats, toss trash inside it, and empty it the next time you reach a rest stop.

3

Tank Technology Roadside Emergency Kit, $19.95 (Amazon)

Car trouble can be tough to plan for. But this Roadside Emergency Kit should make it easy to handle the stuff that doesn’t require a mechanic. So the moment your dashboard starts flashing red messages, pull over and whip out the kit. Inside it, you’ll find jumper cables, safety gloves, a tire pressure gauge, and other save-the-day tools.

4

Zip Top Reusable Store & Serve Bags, $21.99–$89.99 (Food52)

Want to expand your on-the-go snack selection beyond chips, nuts, and trail mix? We don’t blame you. These Reusable Store & Serve Bags are great for storing fruit slices, veggie sticks, sandwiches, and more—making it easy to upgrade your road trip menu. And since they’re dishwasher-safe, they’re incredibly easy to clean and reuse.

5

Magnetic Puzzle Games Set, $47.94 (World Market)

The moment you grow tired of classic car games, this Magnetic Puzzle Games Set will save the day. The set features family favorites, like checkers, hangman, and tic tac toe. And since all of the games are magnetic, you won’t have to worry about bumps in the road disrupting your gameplay.

6

Eufy Anker Handheld Vacuum, $32.88 (Chewy)

A spilled bag of chips doesn’t have to be a catastrophe. With this Eufy Anker Handheld Vacuum, you can clean up crumbs, dust, and debris with no trouble at all. And since it’s so compact, you won’t have to worry about it hogging too much precious real estate in your car.

7

TIME LOVER Folding Travel Umbrella, $20.99 (Amazon)

You probably checked the weather before packing for your trip. But since the forecast isn’t always right, it’s a good idea to keep a compact umbrella in your car—just in case the sky surprises you.

8

Welly First Aid Kit, $24.94 (Amazon)

Welly First Aid Kit
Welly First Aid Kit.

Welly

When the unexpected comes your way, Welly’s First Aid Kit is a good thing to have in your car. Need to soothe an itch or ache? Reach for the hydrocortisone packets or ibuprofen tablets. Need to sanitize a scrape? Grab an antibiotic packet or a sanitary wipe. The 130-piece kit also comes equipped with colorful bandages, non-stick pads, and tape. So you can quickly handle curveballs and get back to your family adventure.

9

Charmin Flushable Wipes, $3.69 (Target)

Few surprises are as disappointing as pulling over for a much-needed pit stop—only to realize the closest bathroom has run out of toilet paper. But keep a set of Charmin Flushable Wipes in your car, and you can turn these would-be disasters into minor inconveniences. Just run to the car, grab the wipes, and you should be good to go.

10

MaxxHaul Spare Tire Carrier, $42.90 (Walmart)

Keeping a spare tire on-hand is a no-brainer. When you get a flat tire, it helps to be able to handle it quickly and efficiently. And while this MaxxHaul Spare Tire Carrier won’t work with every tire and every car, it should work for many—making it a great addition to your road trip.

11

Tide To Go Stain Remover Pen, $2.99 (Target)

When you’re eating in the car, spills are inevitable. But stains don’t have to be. Toss this Tide To Go pen in your bag, and you’ll be equipped to handle everything from overflowing sodas to drippy sandwich condiments.

12

Printed Travel Blanket, $128 (Anthropologie)

Perfect for roadside picnics and mid-trip naps, this Printed Travel Blanket is a great thing to have in your car. The blanket packs down to a fraction of its size. And since it’s machine-washable, you can toss it in the laundry between road trips.

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