Road trips are a time to relax, unplug from the tumult of life, and enjoy the company of friends or family. But being in a car for long periods of time can make you miss the comforts of home and the ease of having what you need in any situation. Whether you’re driving for five hours or five days, here are some affordable essentials that you can bring to make the trip more enjoyable.

1. Snacks

While it’s tempting to raid the junk food aisle of a gas station, try to pack some healthy snack options such as baby carrots, almonds or peanuts, sugar snap peas, apple slices, or granola bars. These types of foods will give you the energy to stay awake while you’re driving.

2. Water/Drinks

You’ll need something to wash the snacks down so bring lots of water, juice, and sports drinks. Staying hydrated is key. It’s also smart to store a gallon or two of water in the trunk just in case of an emergency.

3. Navigation

Sometimes it’s okay to take a wrong turn just for the experience. However, if you are not looking to extend the trip an extra few hours, make sure you have something to navigate with. You could use a map, atlas, or GPS app.

4. Sunglasses/Hat

Occasionally, the sun hits the car in just the right place so that it’s in your eyes for a few hours. Bring sunglasses and a hat to help you survive the blinding light.

5. Cash

It’s always a good idea to have some cash stashed away just in case the car runs out of gas or breaks down in the middle of a long stretch of road.


6. Medicine

Car sickness is common on road trips, especially when the roads are winding. Most of the time, gas stations over-charge on medicine so bring a labeled plastic bag of medications that alleviate illnesses such as motion sickness, headaches, and nausea.

7. Toilet Paper

When you gotta go, you gotta go. Bring a few rolls of toilet paper in case there are no bathrooms nearby when nature calls.

8. Music

There’s nothing like driving on a long road listening to your favorite music. Create playlists beforehand and download them onto a mobile device so that you don’t have to stream music the whole time. Some apps, such as Spotify, have pre-made playlists specifically for road trips.

9. Book/Audio Book

Since you are already sitting for a few hours, why not bring that book you’ve been meaning to read for ages? If reading makes you carsick, then download an audiobook to listen to instead.

10. Journal

Road trips are the perfect time to just sit and daydream. Bring a journal to write down your thoughts and feelings, or catch up on recording the past few months of your life.

—Hannah Nichols