Summer Road trip Essentials make trips easy and more memorable because having road trip essentials in close proximity make things smooth in a road trip. From the oceans to the mountains, and every variation of flat farmland, rocky valley and scenic vista along the way, it can be all kinds of grand adventure.
Whether you’re planning on a few days, a few weeks or multiple months, the right road trip gear can make or break a trip. What follows isn’t a list of gadgets, though there are a few. Instead, it’s a mix of easy-to-find items, some essential apps and services and a handful of tips that will make your trip go a lot smoother.
Most Important Summer Road Trip Essentials
So, here’s the list of most important Summer Road Trip Essentials.
Roadside Emergency Kit
Hope for the best, plan for the worst? If you have room for it, some kind of roadside emergency kit is probably a good idea. I say “probably” since the better option for most people is a AAA membership, so your phone and a USB battery pack will keep you covered. I mean, does your car even have a spare tire? Mine doesn’t. It comes with wishful thinking and a phone number.
Ready for an epic road trip? Discover the Roadside Emergency Kit!
Hope for the best, prepare for the worst! Wondering if you need it? You do. It’s the difference between a routine trip and an adventure!
Imagine this: stranded miles from help with a flat tire or breakdown – a movie-worthy moment. But you’re ready! The Lifeline kit is your hero.
It’s your arsenal with a first aid kit, tire inflator, and basic tools. Even non-experts become heroes with this kit.
Plus, what if you’re out of cell coverage? This kit shines in the worst moments.
Whether a pro or newbie, don’t travel without it. It transforms your road trips into thrilling adventures, every twist and turn a chapter in your story!
So yeah, I feel like a USB battery pack and a AAA membership are far more useful for most people for most road trips. But hey, if you know you’re going to be driving into the unknown, it’s worth considering… but if you’re that advanced I’d assume you already have the right gear.
Summer Road Trip Essentials: Reusable water bottle
A reusable water bottle is absolutely essential for your road trip packing list, and not just because we’re all trying to cut down on single-use plastics to help the environment. When you’re spending hours driving, you’ll need to stay hydrated. Lots of places and tourist destinations are equipped with water fountains where you can refill your water bottle, and it saves you having to buy a new plastic bottle at every destination.
There are a few different types of reusable water bottle you can choose from, all with different advantages. Metal bottles are super durable travel companions, and some even have clips to attach to your backpack. On the other hand, BPA-free plastic nalgenes are lightweight and generally shatterproof. If you’re worried about saving space, you might want to go for a collapsible plastic flask that folds up to a tiny size, making it super suitcase-friendly.
Even if you’re not going on a beach holiday, it’s always a good idea to have some sunnies around. Not only do they look cool, but they’ll also protect your eyes on bright sunny says (or even when the sun is sneakily shining through cloud cover).
Before you embark on your summer road trip, buy a neck strap to attach to your shades so you always know where they are. A 2016 study found that sunglasses are the fourth most commonly lost possession for adults in the UK, after keys, phones and pens. You don’t want to be just a statistic, do you?
USB Car Adapter
Cars have come with USB plugs for years now, but you’ve probably noticed they don’t recharge your phone very quickly. Some do, in which case you can probably ignore this gadget. If yours doesn’t, or if you have more devices than charge ports, consider a separate USB plug for your “cigarette lighter” outlet. The better ones, like the and can output enough power to rapidly charge your devices. I’ve had an older, slower version of the latter and it’s worked great for years.
If your car has Android or Apple Auto, these typically require a physical connection between the car and the phone, which precludes the use of a cigarette adapter. These are must have road trip essentials.
Again, you don’t need to be on the beach for there to be a strong sun. Even if you’re driving along in your car with the sunroof open, UV rays can work their magic surprisingly quickly. Dab some sunscreen on your face every day to keep your skin protected during your summer road trip. On-the-go sticks are compact, easy to apply and compliant with all those annoying liquids-on-airplanes rules. Keep one inside the front armrest of your car for easy access during your summer road trip. SPF lip balms are also a handy way to keep your lips moisturised in the dry heat of summer.
Here’s a top tip from us based on hard lessons from road trips in over 50 countries around the world. Apply sunscreen to your arms while you’re driving. We have come back from long cross-country road trips with the window-side arm much more tanned than the other one. Don’t be like us!
Umbrella or Waterproof Jacket
Don’t let bad weather rain on your parade (see what we did there?). Before you set off on your summertime road trips, buy yourself a compact umbrella, these road trip essentials will go a long way. Alternatively, include a waterproof parka on your road trip checklist. There are plenty of lightweight options available online and at big department stores. Make sure you steer clear of insulated jackets if you’re heading to a hot destination.
There’s a time and a place for skinny-dipping, but as a general rule it’s usually best to cover up before going for a swim. Don’t get caught out at the beach or a hotel pool without your swimsuit! Guys can sometimes get away with just wearing boxers, but women don’t have it so easy. A bikini or one-piece hardly takes up any room at all in your suitcase, so there’s no excuse not to include it on your road trip packing list.
Call me old-school, but one of my all time favorite road trip essentials is an actual map that you can hold in your hands and write on with a sharpy.
Just about every single time I go on road trips I bring a physical map, whether it’s just a quicky I printed myself or a fancy weatherproof one like the NatGeo series etc.
You never know when your phone might act up etc and there’s just something about holding a genuine map that completes the road trip aesthetic.
This is something that I wish I’d included in my own road trip essentials list many, many years before I did. It is now a really handy tool in my arsenal which I’ve had to use more than once and really saved me in a pinch.
Flat tire inflators are a lifesaver whether you’re out in the middle of nowhere with no options or on the side of the interstate. They’re inexpensive these days, easy to use, and run off of your car’s battery.
But here’s a pro tip: it’s also a good idea to know how to change a tire. While flat tire inflators are incredibly useful, there may be situations where changing a tire is the best option. Having this skill in your repertoire ensures that you’re prepared for any roadside challenge that comes your way.
Road Trip Essentials: Consider an unlimited data upgrade
If you’re usually within Wi-Fi range, you probably don’t realize how quickly certain activities can eat up your data. Music, for instance, is only a fraction of the data required for video, but listening nonstop for six hours each day during a drive can quickly nuke your plan’s included data.
If your provider has an unlimited option, it’s worth considering. Some, like Google Fi, let you swap to an unlimited plan any month you want. I also like Google Fi because it has no international roaming in case your road trip is really epic. Check your current provider if you don’t already have unlimited data.
Conclusion on Road Trip Essentials
It’s important to remember that the beauty of a road trip is the fact that it never goes entirely to plan. Where would the fun be if you didn’t take some detours and get lost once in a while? So to conclude, we would say that the most essential thing to take on your drive is a sense of adventure. Keep your mind open to new experiences, and you’re pretty much guaranteed a fantastically memorable holiday. But yeah, don’t forget to check off all these Important Summer Road Trip Essentials from your list.
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