27 Best Road Trip Essentials for Adults You Need to Try

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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. 

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.

These items will help keep your road trip organized, safe, and, most importantly, fun. Honestly, you should NOT skip #15. 

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!

road trip essentials for adults

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

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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 Retractable Car Charger comes with two cords (one lightning and one USB-C) and two additional ports (traditional USB and USB-C for fast charging!) 


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Speaking of charging stuff, you may find you need to charge via three-prong plugs. This FOVAL Car Power Inverter goes straight into the cigarette lighter and can charge your camera batteries or even your laptop!

3. phone holder

Mounting your phone in a visible place (like the air vent) is helpful on road trips. You can easily and safely follow navigation, control the music, or answer a call. This Belkin MagSafe Car Mount also doubles as a charger so you don’t have to worry about charge when you get to your destination. I also prefer the magnetic connections so it’s easier to attach or take off compared to the clamp ones. 

4. ultimate car water bottle

You definitely need to stay hydrated on your road trip, especially during the summer months. This Stanley Tumbler is massive at 40 oz (equal to 3+ water bottles) and, most importantly, it actually fits in your car’s cup holder. It has a straw for easy drinking while driving, and it’s insulated so you can have a cold sip of water 4 hours into a road trip. 

5. Coffee Mugs

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.

6. cup holder extension

If you already have a massive reusable water bottle that you love, but it doesn’t fit in the cup holder, meet the Cup Holder Expander. This can fit right in your existing cup holder and works for a variety of different size large bottomed bottles and cups. 

7. REUSABLE paper towels

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. If you are going for a more sustainable option, these Reusable Unpaper Towels are washable and super absorbant for liquid spills.


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. Get a small one so you can fit it in the door’s cup holder.


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 bandages, a rescue blanket, burn gel, asprin, a cold pack, gloves and so much more!

10. car power station

You’ll be putting on a lot of miles on your car and you never know what can happen. 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, with no service and this can help you fix an issue until you get to the next service station.

11. jumper cables

If you are looking for a smaller and cheaper option for your road trip, you can never go wrong with Jumper Cables. These are small enough to throw in your trunk and forget about – until you need them. 


If you plan on picnicking often on your trip, you may want to bring some comfy, easy-to-pack camping chairs. These affordable camping chairs are easy to set up and pack up really small to leave more room for luggage, or snacks! A great option to eat lunch in a park, on the beach, in a parking lot, or even on a hike!


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 Cooler 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.

14. sundowners

No road trip is complete without some sundowners. These reusable Ceramic Wine Tumblers allow you to drink your wine no matter where you are. It’s far better than bringing glass on the trip or just going with whatever cup you can find. And the best part is that they are made of ceramic so you don’t get that metallic taste of stainless steel with your wine. 

15. Car Escape Tool

If you only get one thing from this list, get this Car Escape Tool. You never know when an accident can happen and this little guy could save your life. It includes a window breaker, a seatbelt cutter, and a hammer. Keep it in your driver’s door, even if you’re not on a road trip! 

16. flashlight

A small road trip essential that makes a world of difference to your road trip. From fixing a flat tire in the dark to trying to find something under the seat, this Small Swivelhead Flashlight is perfect to throw in a backpack or the glove compartment. 

17. Headlamps

Having a pair of headlamps in the car can make a poorly-lit task infinitely easier. While a flashlight is always a safe bet, these Rechargeable Headlamps can allow you to go hands-free. We love using them for hiking before sunrise or after sunset. 

18. Film camera

Why not make your road trip feel even more nostalgic? These film photos from the Fujifilm Instax Mini always make me so happy. It’s a perfect way to commemorate the entire road trip in one place. Don’t forget to take photos on your phone, though, too! 

19. toilet paper

You can never go wrong with having backup toilet paper on a road trip. You never know where your next bathroom will be (rest stop, McDonald’s, side of the road??), and being left without proper toilet paper is the worst. These Toilet Paper Tablets are tiny, so you can discreetly throw them in your purse. They also come in a waterproof case so the toilet paper doesn’t somehow get wet before you even go to use it? You just need a teaspoon of water to expand the coin and it’ll work closer to a wet wipe than a dry toilet paper.

20. portable potty

Like I mentioned before, you don’t know when your next bathroom will be. And sometimes you have to figure out how to go in the car. These Portable Urinal Bags are great for just that. They work for men and women and hold up to 800ML. They are leakproof and seal up when you’re done. It’s honestly not ideal, but when you need to go, they can save the day. 

21. Motion sickness patches

As a passenger, motion sickness usually creeps up on me at some point during a road trip. These Motion Sickness Patches have been my go-to for road trips, boat rides, and any generally nauseous activities. They are non-drowsy and super easy to apply. 

22. car organizer

Stay organized on your road trip with this Car Storage Organizer. While it’s perfect for the trunk on a normal day, we like to put it in the backseat during a road trip. This way, we can keep all our road trip essentials within reach. 

23. chair hooks

These Car Seat Headrest Hooks are an easy addition (and only a few bucks) that will make your road trip even more comfortable. They work great for summer road trips to hang wet bathing suits or towels on, so they don’t just soak into the seat. They are also great to hang your coats and scarves during the winter. 

24. Towel/blanket

We like to travel with these gorgeous Sand Cloud Turkish 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.

25. trash can

This little Car Trash Can can fit nicely in the backseat and allow you to attempt to keep your car clean during your road trip. It’s nice to keep it all in one place and you don’t have to worry about a random bag breaking open or getting a nicer bag dirty. 

26. utensils

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!

27. Air freshener

Sitting in a car for hours, let alone days or weeks, can do funky things to it. Like smell. These Natural Car Air Fresheners don’t use hard chemicals so you don’t get that standard perfume smell. They are also pet-friendly and easy to install on your visor. 


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