Home Travel Advice What to Bring On a Road Trip From Home

What to Bring On a Road Trip From Home

What to Bring On a Road Trip From Home

In 2017, we went on our first official road trip together. We chose South Africa as the destination. There was a lot that we wanted to see in the country and we did not have a lot of time to see it. After some research on the country, I felt that renting a car was the best way to see the country.

Embarking on a road trip is a difficult thing to plan for. Especially when in another country and having just picked up your rental car, you may need to head to a local store to pick up some essentials.

In the near future we are embarking on another road trip from our current home in Toronto. For a while now we have wanted to see more of Canada and even one day we will do a longer road trip into the United States. We enjoyed our road trip together so much in South Africa and we want to expand on that one.

Maybe we will rent a camper for the trip or just use our car and make the most of the space that we have with a tent packed as well.

What we do know is that we want to be better prepared for our road trip in the future. Especially since we are able to plan what we will bring from home, we can purchase it in advance, and we can still use it when we return.

What to Bring On a Road Trip from Home

Road Trip Essentials List

We have found that planning a road trip from home is much different than planning a road trip in another country. For one, we have a starting point and ending point at our home and we can pack as much as we can into the car that we know we will need for our trip.

When you land somewhere else and rent a car, you do not have the luxury of knowing you have jumper cables and a roadside emergency kit in the car and it may not really make sense for you to go off and spend your money on these things that you wont bring back home with you.

Leaving from home, we know that we can bring these things with us and we can come home with them and still have a use for them in our lives.

Here is our comprehensive list of things to bring with you on your next road trip from home:

Note: This list does not include things like what you pack in your luggage for personal use. This list is solely for what you will need in your vehicle and for your vehicle use only. Here is a list of things you need to pack for traveling and a list of commonly forgotten items.

  • Emergency Roadside Kit
  • This is an absolute must if you are going out on a road trip. It has everything you need to help in case of an emergency with your vehicle. Though it does not fix everything that can happen to your vehicle.

  • Jumper Cables
  • If your emergency roadside kit does not have these in it, make sure to grab some. You never want to be stuck somewhere when your battery dies and have somebody else willing to help jump start your car only for them not to have any cables on them either.

  • Roadside Assistance Program
  • It never hurts if you are traveling your own country to have some sort of emergency roadside assistance program. It has helped us in the past.

  • Spare Tire and Changing Kit
  • Always check your spare tire to make sure it is not flat. Make sure that your car has a jack and wrench to be able to take off a flat tire and replace it with a spare.

  • Windshield Washer Fluid
  • It is always a good idea to have another jug of windshield washer fluid available, and if you are driving in the winter you should have more than just one.

  • Engine Oil Filled
  • Check your engine oil to make sure it is still in good shape and filled to the right level.

  • Tire Pressure
  • Check your tire pressure to see that it is at the right level as recommended by the manufacturer.

  • Lights
  • Have someone help you check your brake lights, signals at the back and front, and high beams.

  • Food and Water
  • Never underestimate an emergency and the possibility of no one being around for a while. Pack a case of water and some snacks to keep yourself fed. If you are driving in the winter time and between cities that may not have a lot of people driving on the roads, make sure to pack a lot.

  • Gravel and Shovel
  • This is for those of you embarking on a winter road trip. If you get stuck it helps to have a bag of salt or gravel that you can use as traction to get unstuck. A small shovel also helps in these scenarios to dig yourself out. Even better to have with you is a tire traction mat.

  • Duct Tape
  • Has duct tape ever done anything wrong to you? It is great to have around should you need to make a quick repair.

  • First Aid Kit
  • Having a first aid kit is really a must if you are traveling and on a road trip. You never know what is going to happen and being prepared for the worst is the best way to approach safety.

  • Fire Extinguisher
  • It is always a possibility that your engine catches fire. Or maybe you are camping and the fire gets a little bit out of your control. Having a fire extinguisher handy can help in these less likely, but dangerous scenarios.

  • Gas Can
  • If you run out of gas while on the road, having a gas can with you that you can have a little bit of gas in or that you are able to walk to get gas to come back to fill up your car would be helpful.

  • Snow Brush
  • If you are driving in the winter it is nice to have a snow brush that you can use to brush the snow off your car and even scrape the ice off as well.

  • Bags
  • You do not want to just throw your trash on the floor of the car. It is always better to collect it in a bag and throw it out when you stop.

  • GPS
  • Though phones have GPS built in, it never hurts to have something dedicated to navigation. Especially if something happens to your phone (it seems like something is always wrong with my phone), you want to know the route at all times. And if you are traveling over a border and do not have a roaming plan on your phone, then this is a must.

  • Map
  • If you do not want to spend the money on a GPS, maybe spend some money on a physical map or print one off to help if you ever get lost and your phone wont charge.

  • Bluetooth Transmitter
  • If you are not driving a newer vehicle, having this to play music from your phone and to charge it as well really helps make a long drive more entertaining. Maybe even listen to our Travel Couple Podcast while you are on the road.

  • Electronics Chargers and Cords
  • These are easily forgotten, but essential to pack if you will be using your phone while in the car or even charging your camera equipment while driving if they can be charged by USB.

  • Audio Entertainment
  • Whether you are a podcast listener like us or a music listener, make sure you have these all downloaded onto your device and ready to go before leaving the house.

  • Cell Phone Plan
  • If your road trip is crossing a border, make sure that your cell phone carrier has you covered and you are not going to be charged roaming.

  • Energy Drinks
  • I do not drink them anymore, but I used to love them. I am not condoning drinking them either as they are bad for you. But for a long road trip, you may just want them.

  • Sleeping Gear
  • Having a sleeping bag and pillow in your vehicle for when the drive is just too much. Driving tired is extremely dangerous, so make sure you rest if your body is telling you to do so.

  • Umbrella
  • A weird one, but we always make sure to have an umbrella in our door because you want it close by should you need to get out of the car when it is pouring down rain.

  • Coin Change
  • If you are driving through a place that has tolls, it is always nice to have change handy.

  • Good Plan
  • Having a good plan in your road trip is crucial. Knowing where you are going to stop, where the gas stations are, and what you plan on doing in between is all important to a successful road trip.

  • Good Company
  • It never hurts to have the right people with you on a long road trip.

Road Trip Essentials


Knowing what to bring on your next road trip can help you plan for those disasters that will happen along the way. Checklists like these can really help you remain rest assured that you have packed and planned for everything should you require it.

There is nothing like leaving home and realizing you forgot something. With a checklist that you can go through, it only helps alleviate that stress.

Though if you are like me, no amount of checklists will ever keep that feeling of having forgotten something away. Sometimes you just need to let it go.


Have a comment or something to add to this article? Leave a comment below or send us a response by contacting us.


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