21 Smart Essentials for Every Summer Road Trip
The warm-weather season is finally upon us, and that means cashing in your vacation time and traveling to some Insta-worthy spring spots. Planning to hit the road with your S.O. or BFFs sometime soon? Then brush up on basic roadside safety and make sure you have jumper cables, a car emergency kit, some organizational essentials. Then, pack a few of our favorite road trip essentials to take your trip into epic-adventure territory. From nifty new apps to smart luggage and sleep masks, these additions are about to become your new on-the-go faves.
1. A Savvy Suitcase: Lugging around an unwieldy carryall or beaten-up bag is never fun, especially if you’re taking a road trip with a ton of stops. Splurge on a super lightweight, unbreakable Away The Carry-On ($225), which can also charge your devices. You’ll never miss a phone call, photo op, or important email due to a dead battery again.
2. Parkmobile: You’ll need the Parkmobile app if you’re planning to hit up major metro areas or crowded National Parks on your trip. It’ll make your life easier by alerting you to open parking spaces, saving you a ton of stress and time.
3. A Portable Speaker: Tunes are essential to any road trip — and not just when you’re cruising! Whether you’re camping or glamping out, this Yatra Aquatune 5712 ($40) weatherproof speaker has all of your music needs covered.
4. An Extra Layer: Full-blast air conditioning can feel chilly, so think ahead and bring an extra layer — even if you’re headed somewhere with scorching hot temps. Try a practical and lightweight option like this The North Face Better Than Naked Jacket ($99), which is stylish, water-resistant, and easy to pack.
5. Roadie: Who wouldn’t want to earn a little extra cash (up to $600, actually) and help others while en route to their road trip destination? Use this slick app to act as a shipper for someone who needs an item delivered along your itinerary while adding to your “fun” fund for your trip!
6. A Handy Daypack: For all the mini-adventures within the big one, you need a portable bag. This durable yet stylish Topo Designs Daypack ($149) is perfect for day hikes, bopping around unexplored towns, and keeping your essentials close when you’re pressing that pedal to the metal.
7. Snacks: What’s a road trip without snacks? Keep hanger at bay with some healthy foods on hand such as TRUWOMEN Protein Bars ($33 for 12), which are basically desserts disguised as gluten-free healthy protein bars (think flavors like donuts, cookies, and peanut butter cups) or Skinny Dipped Almonds ($20 for a pack of four 3.5 oz bags), a guilt-free, lower sugar version of your favorite chocolate covered snack.
8. Comfy Shoes: Since you’ll likely clock a ton of hours in the car and exploring on foot, packing a comfy and versatile shoe is super important. You can’t go wrong with a classic like the Converse Chuck Taylor Low Top Sneaker ($50), but you could also opt for an ultra-comfortable flat sandal.
9. Sunblock: Even though you’re technically inside (a car), UV rays can still penetrate through windows. Keep your skin healthy with some sunblock, like this 2-in-1 Block Island Organics’ Natural Moisturizer SPF 30 ($28), which protects and hydrates your skin. Plus, it’s organic, vegan, and paraben- and fragrance-free. Pack a bottle in your bag, and safely soak up the sun wherever the road takes you.
10. A Versatile Beach Blanket: You never know when the opportunity for an impromptu picnic may come your way. Throw this Grand Trunk Parasheet Beach Blanket ($40) down in the grass or on the sand for a lightweight and convenient blanket solution for any picnic, anywhere.
11. A Lightweight Wetsuit: Because you never know when the water will be calling, having something to protect you from chilly ocean waves — like this Billabong Long Sleeve Spring Wetsuit ($105) — can mean the difference between fun and freezing.
12. Sunglasses: Even if you’re not riding with the top down, the ultimate road trip accessory is a pair of cool shades. These Raen Mason ($200) sunglasses are modern and lightweight, and they will have you traveling in undeniable style.
13. A Sleep Mask: Feel like you’ve been on the road forever and seriously need to wind down when bae takes the wheel? Try a sleep mask to help you conk out in the car. We’re partial to the slip for beauty sleep ‘Slipsilk’ Mask ($45), which is 100 percent silk and will help you get some beauty rest.
14. A Reusable Shopping Bag: Grab one for a couple of bucks at Trader Joe’s or treat yourself to something a little more fun, like a Sky of Blue Cards Mountains Are Calling Tote Bag ($20). You can use extra bags for groceries, souvenirs, dirty clothes, and so much more.
15. An On-the-Go Steamer: It might sound nuts to bring a steamer on a summer road trip, but this Conair Turbo ExtremeSteam Handheld Fabric Steamer ($69) will be your key to wrinkle-free photos of you and your partner(s) in crime. You’ll appreciate it even more if you have nice dinners or an event on your trip itinerary.
16. Mints and Gum: There’s going to come a point when you seriously need a refresh, and when you do, you’ll be stoked you packed some gum or mints! Skip the additives and get some Simply Gum Mint Chewing Gum ($15, pack of six) from an all-natural brand offering up tons of flavors. You’ll also love the packaging, which features a compartment of thin wrappers you can use to dispose of your gum when you’re done. Pretty much perfect for a road trip.
17. Packing Cubes: In a small space (like a backseat or trunk), it may be hard to keep your clean clothes separate from your dirty clothes, and your dry items separate from the wet ones. These Shacke packing cubes ($25 for four) will keep you organized, stress-free.
18. A Reusable Water Bottle: It’s easy to get dehydrated during a long trip on the road. Bring a reusable water bottle, like this Hydro Flask 32 ouncer ($40), that you can easily fill at pit stops. Bonus: It will keep beverages cold for up to 24 hours.
19. A Phone Charger: Make sure you keep phones charged for music playlists, directions, and general entertainment if people don’t feel like talking the whole time. The Anker PowerCore 10000 ($30) is compact, but it will give 2-3 fast phone charges (depending on the phone model).
20. A Warm Travel Blanket: Stay cozy in the car in the passenger and backseat with this World’s Best Microfleece Travel Blanket ($10). Your passengers will thank you later.
21. A First Aid Kit: Be prepared with a small first aid kit in the car. This Swiss Safe 152-Piece kit ($28) comes with everything you might need, from Band-Aids to antiseptic cleansing wipes to glow sticks to a whistle. Because accidents happen.
Have you recently taken a road trip? Tell us about your essentials on Twitter @BritandCo!
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(Featured photo via Getty)