18 Best Road Trip Essentials for Adults You Need For Your Next Road Trip

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If you are planning your next road trip, be sure to include all these road trip essentials for adults! Whether you are planning a weekend getaway or a cross-country road trip, these road trip essentials will help you immensely. 

road trip essentials for adults

Packing for international travel is far different than packing for a road trip and here we’ll go over all the best road trip essentials for adults! After going on multiple cross-country road trips this past year, we have finally figured out what you absolutely need for your next road trip.

We’ll go over the best road trip essentials for adults, what to bring on a road trip with friends, a road trip list of essentials, a packing list road trip, and more!

This post is all about the best road trip essentials for adults that you will not be able to travel without!

Best Road Trip Essentials for Adults:

Phone Charging Cord


> Buy on Amazon

An absolute must. Depending on the car you are taking, be sure you have the right plug. Lots of cars these days have USB plugs but some still only have cigarette lighters, so be sure you have the right accessories to charge that bad boy, you’re gonna need it. This Belkin Boost Charger comes with two USB ports and an extra iPhone chord (because who doesn’t need an extra) so you can charge multiple phones at once!

> Related Post: 17 Incredible Road Trip Tips For Couples For The Perfect Getaway

3 Prong Power Inverter


> Buy on Best Buy

Speaking of charging stuff, if you are a photographer or videographer, you likely will be going through a lot of batteries and the best way to charge those is via a 3-prong plug. This FOVAL Car Power Inverter goes straight into the cigarette lighter and can charge your batteries or even your laptop!

Reusable Coffee Mugs


> Buy on Amazon

With all the driving you likely will be needing some coffee or tea. Instead of using countless small cups from hotels and gas stations, bring your own Hydro Flask Coffee Mug and refill each time you need more! It’s so much less waste which is obviously good for the world but also good for your trash collection in your car. Plus your coffee will actually stay warm much longer.

> Related Post: The Ultimate Travel Essentials List

Reusable Water Bottle

> Buy on Amazon

Along the same line of the coffee mug, you’ll want to make sure you stay hydrated. Especially if you are traveling during the summer or changing elevation a lot, as is usually the case on western road trips. We love our Hydro Flask 24 oz Water Bottle because it is the largest size that still fits in the cup holder, a must for any road trip.

Paper Towels or Reusable Rags


> Buy on Amazon

You’ll be eating, snacking, drinking coffee, and getting muddy in the car. Having paper towels or reusable rags to clean hands, seats, and dashboards will be a lifesaver. And yes, this is a list for adults, not kids, but really you’ll want this one. If you are going for a more sustainable option, these Reusable Unpaper Towels are washable and super absorbant for liquid spills.

Spray Bottle

> Buy on Amazon

This is a super cheap and easy-to-find essential that is surprisingly handy. We filled our Spray Bottle with tap water at hotels and used it to clean our hands, shoes, or the windows when it got really bad. And a get a small one so you can just fit it in the door’s cup holder.

First Aid Kit

> Buy on Amazon

You should never leave for a trip without at least a basic first aid kit. This First Aid Only Kit from Amazon is the perfect size to throw in the glove compartment, center console, or even in the door. It has the basics for small injuries including bandaids, a rescue blanket, burn gel, asprin, a cold pack, gloves and so much more!

Car Jump Starter & Air Pump

> Buy on Amazon

You’ll be putting on a lot of miles on your car and you never know what can happen. Even if it’s not your car (you’re renting), this ZunDian Car Jump Starter Power Station is a great road trip essential. It’ll save your butt for flat tires, dead batteries, or even a portable charger for phones or other electronics in emergencies. You could be in the middle of nowhere or with no service and this can help you fix your car issue until you get to the next service station.

Trash Bags

> Buy on Amazon

You’ll likely eat some sort of fast food at some point, so that was usually the bag we used. But if you are picnicking the whole way, be sure to grab a small trash bag to put in the back seat for tissues, napkins, Goldfish packs, etc. It’s much better than stuffing it in cupholders or the door (like Nate would if I wasn’t prepared). These Small Clear Trash Bags are compostable so a bit better for the environment than regular plastic, but we still prefer the paper grocery bags or paper fast food bags.

> Related Post: 17 Life Changing Long Distance Road Trip Tips To Actually Enjoy Your Road Trip


> Buy on Amazon

No road trip is complete without snacks!! That’s kind of the best part. You’ll likely grab them along the way at gas stations but be sure to start your trip with a healthy supply of snacks. We stopped by Costco before we left and brought Goldfish, granola bars, cookies, and trail mix. It was so nice to tie us over to the next meal. You can also order ahead of time through Amazon!

P.S. You can order at Costco on Instacart without a Costco membership!! And it gets delivered, win-win!

Ice Chest

> Buy on Amazon 

A small ice chest that can fit in the trunk or back seat is great to hold cold drinks and picnic lunches. We filled our ice up at the roadside hotels and packed sandwiches for lunches and always had cold waters or energy drinks on hand. So much better than needing to stop for a cold drink. We prefer hard sided coolers for long road trips because the soft ones always seem to leak. This Igloo Retro Picnic Basket is super cute as well as functional. Plus Igloo is a brand my parents have used forever and their ice chests are still good 20+ years later.


international travel with camera gear
Source Canon

> Buy on Canon

No matter your photography level, you are going to want to remember this epic road trip with some photos! We use our Canon EOS 6D Mark II for all our photos and our Canon EOS M50 Mirrorless Camera for our videography since it is lighter and smaller (check out our YouTube channel!). Just be sure to always have it handy because you never know what views are going to pop up on your drive on short notice!

> Related Post: Travel Camera Gear | 22 Photography Essentials You Can’t Travel Without

Camping Chairs


> Buy on Amazon

If you plan on picnicking quite often on your trip, you may want to bring some comfy and easy-to-pack camping chairs. These affordable camping chairs are easy to take out and pack up and fit in the trunk nicely. A great option to eat lunch in a park, on the beach, in a parking lot, or even on a hike!

Hiking Boots

road trip essentials
Source Columbia

> Buy on Columbia

Most road trips usually open up the options to hiking since you can drive to all the trailheads. This was one of our favorite parts of road tripping through the US. But we were not prepared. Embarrassingly, we were hiking in skate shoes. Whoops. But now that we know, we are looking to get these highly reviewed Columbia Women’s Newton Ridge waterproof hiking boots for our next US road trip to save our feet from all the pains and make the hikes that much easier.


> Buy on Amazon                               > Buy on Amazon

A small road trip essential that makes a world of difference to your road trip. From fixing a flat tire in the dark to hiking before sunrise this small swivelhead flashlight is perfect to throw in a backpack or the glove compartment. You can also opt for these super cool USB-charged headlamps that make it all the much easier to use.


married couples gift ideas
Source Sand Cloud

> Buy on Sand Cloud

We like to travel with these gorgeous Sand Cloud travel towels to use for pools, beaches, showers, and even just to keep warm. They also make for great picnics and someone always gets cold in the car. A good alternative to taking up less space than a blanket.

Reusable Utensils


> Buy on Amazon

These reusable portable utensils were absolute lifesavers for our road trip! These come in a handy carrying case and come with straws and straw cleaners! So many places don’t serve straws (or worse, come with those paper straws) so we use these all the time! Plus the knife comes in handy for making my famous PB&Js!

Yard Games 

> Buy on Amazon

We like to bring a small football or frisbee with us when we are on a road trip to let off some steam. When taking a driving break at a park, beach, or viewpoint, it’s nice to have something to get the body moving after sitting for so long. These options take up very little space, but you could potentially bring a Spikeball set or Smashball (a beach time favorite for us!).

This post was all about the best road trip essentials for adults that you will absolutely love to have on hand for your next road trip. You can thank me later! 


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Hi there!

We’re Alicia & Nate, a couple that traveled full-time for 3 years straight. We are now living in a cozy little apartment in Albania. We have a passion for exploring new places and trying new foods.

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