How to Pack For a Road Trip

For many folks, nothing could be more fun than a road trip. Peeling out of the gas station and heading out on the open road with your favorite tunes playing on the sound system and the wind in your hair—what could be better? For others, though, a road trip is something they’ve dreamed of but never actually experienced. Are you one of these road trip newbies?

If so, there’s plenty of good news. First of all, the United States is a wide, wonderful country full of sights to see and places to visit. National parks? Oh yes. Beaches? Definitely. Historical sites and urban centers? You betcha. If you’re heading out on a road trip for the first time, you’re in for a treat. Before you go, though, you need to get ready. Your packing list of road trip essentials will differ depending on your destinations (a trip up the California coast differs greatly from a road trip around the Southern U.S.), but there are a few things to bear in mind regardless.

Read on to learn what you need as you head out on your road trip to make it memorable for all the right reasons.

Prepare yourself for all kinds of weather


Even if you’re packing for a trip out West, there will still be cooler days and warmer days. When you’re heading out on the open road, you should bring a light jacket with you. It’s one of those must-haves that you will kick yourself for forgetting. Be sure to check ahead of time if you’ll be on any trails that have extreme weather. In some cases, a jacket won’t be sufficient, like if you’re hiking along the Pacific Crest Trail. In that case, you’ll need a warm coat. The best way to be prepared is by reading up on the location ahead of time and bringing different types of clothing.

Snacks and a cooler qualify as essentials


You may not be able to find your favorite snacks in the new area you’re exploring, and if you’re camping, it’s a good idea to bring food in a cooler that you can cook at the campsite. Even a favorite type of gum to chew qualifies as essential if you think your road trip will be ruined without it. From apples to Pringles, whatever snacks you love should be on your road trip packing list.

Don’t forget hand sanitizer and a day bag


These days, no one should leave the house without hand sanitizer and a face mask. These are personal items that you’ll need in your day bag as you wander around a new city or hike a trail in a remote area. Other items to keep in your day bag if you’re headed to a remote area are a first aid kit, a towel, toilet paper, sunscreen, a water bottle, and a flashlight.

If you’re a snuff enthusiast, bring a tobacco container with you


If you love smokeless tobacco products, you may think that people sell them anywhere, but that that’s not necessarily true. The truth is that tobacco products may come at an extra cost in some regions, and worse yet, you may not be able to find the brand of chewing tobacco you love. That mouthfeel and flavor matters, so if you love smokeless tobacco, bring chewing tobacco containers with you to keep on your person. A container will keep your snuff safer than a pouch will, and you won’t find yourself high and dry with no snuff in the middle of nowhere.

If you’re headed out on a road trip, that’s very exciting! Take an evening before you go to consider your preferences for accommodations (motels or campsites?) and where you’ll be stopping along the way. The important thing is that you bring whatever will fill you with joy, whether that’s a favorite snack, playlist, or jacket. Have fun!