Road Trip Packing List: Car Edition

Giulia Nigrini
Giulia Nigrini
Vehicle Service Contract Specialist, Traveler, Car Enthusiast
October 25, 2021
min. read
jeep parked on the side of a road lined with trees

Road trips are fun and exciting. It is undoubtedly one of the best ways to go on holiday. Driving through the state or country of your choice lets you experience the towns and villages along the way to your destination. Places you may not have gotten the chance to see otherwise. It also gives you the opportunity to stop and taste local dishes or drinks. No matter how small, each area has its own cuisine and cultural differences that make them unique. Plus, being able to drive and not rely on public transport means that you can be spontaneous about your travel. Deciding to stop in whichever places seem interesting or changing your route to seek out places you might have learned about on your journey.

Let's be honest though, no matter how far you are traveling it is best to have a road trip packing list. Items such as license and registration, car manual, insurance, roadside emergency kit, and a first aid kit are all necessary. This applies to all road trip adventures, leading to glamorous chalets at the beach or a rugged off-road camping trip. If you are a frequent commuter for work or generally drive long distances it is likely a good idea to take note of these items. Driving around is both fun and essential to many people so ensuring that you have the necessary things packed in the car can only be beneficial. Continue reading for a more in-depth look at the items and what other things you should include in your road trip packing list.

What to Pack for your Road Trip

Now before we jump into the items I would just like to say that this list is a general essentials list and does not take into account specific road trips or daily driving traveling conditions. Be sure to research your travel route and destination carefully to make any adjustments specific to your needs. 

License & Registration

Up-to-date paperwork is a must when traveling the country or even abroad via car. Make sure you have your license and registration along with any other permits you might need. I know it probably seems obvious to say but many people do leave these important documents behind in a frenzy of excitement.

Car manual

Should something happen during your travels it will be best that you have your car manual with you, particularly if you land up broken down on the side of the road in a remote location. Perhaps even reviewing the manual a few times before departing is also a good idea. I’m not suggesting that you attempt to fix the vehicle on your own but rather be familiar with the car and its parts.


We often do not like to think about it but insurance is a necessary element of vehicle use. In case of an accident, theft, or damage due to fire or hail you want to be sure that your vehicle is appropriately covered for your travel route. Personal travel insurance will also go a long way in keeping you and your family protected.

Roadside emergency kit

Even if you are not planning a road trip, this essential item can be an ideal addition to have in your vehicle in any case. These kits often include items such as a simple first aid kit, jumper cables, tow strap, led flashlight, raincoat, tire pressure gauge, and safety vest. Research and purchase the roadside emergency kit best suited to your needs.

Spare tire & Jack

There is nothing exciting about changing a tire. Having the right equipment, however, makes the world of difference. When on a road trip there is a much higher chance that a tire will pop. So the best thing to do is to make sure you have a well-pumped spare and jack for a possible roadside tire change.If you are unsure as to what pressure the tires need, you can look at the door frame of the driver’s side. Here you should be able to find valuable information like tire pressure as well as your VIN (vehicle identification number) if needed.


Electronics can fail for a number of reasons. Relying solely on your GPS or natural sense of direction can get you lost. Remote locations have different navigational requirements, so always keep a map with you in a waterproof holder.

Emergency gas & water

If you are traveling far, it is often suggested to take extra gas and water for your car in case of an emergency. I would argue that even in shorter distances it can be really helpful to have a jerry can of gas and one of water securely in the vehicle.

Consider an Extended Car Warranty or Vehicle Service Contract

Extended car warranties or vehicle service contracts are designed to take care of repair and labor costs in the case of a mechanical breakdown due to a defect or poor workmanship. When buying a new car you receive the factory warranty with the vehicle. These warranties are generally either the powertrain warranty or the bumper-to-bumper warranty and sometimes additional coverage options like diesel engines, corrosion, or emissions coverage. The length of the warranty plans depends on the type and the vehicle make as all manufacturers have their own warranty offerings. Factory car warranties cover parts like the engine, transmission, transfer case, turbo/supercharger, and fuel systems, to name a few. Covering specific parts in the event of mechanical failure while car insurance covers vehicles in the event of an accident, theft, and other such situations.

For an extended car warranty, you will need to speak with your vehicle manufacturer about what options are available. When it comes to vehicle service contracts you will only need to know your odometer reading, vehicle make and model, and the year. You will likely be able to find a coverage option that is best suited to your needs. Be sure to take out the plan at least 30 days prior to travel as you will only be able to claim once the waiting period is over. If you want to find out more about the waiting period you can head over to our YouTube channel for explanatory videos and more.

Is Your Car Out of Warranty, What to Do Next?

Perhaps you are preparing to go off on a road trip soon but you are now out of your factory warranty and have not got coverage for your mechanical parts. Not to fear, there are options, and affordable ones at that.

Once your car’s original warranty has come to an end or you are driving a previously owned vehicle that did not come with a warranty in place, you can see options of extension from the factory or a dealership, otherwise through a third-party vehicle service contract provider which often offers better flexibility. 

Much like the extended car warranties counterparts,  third-party providers are available in your typical powertrain and most comprehensive plans but they offer many variations which may include and exclude systems that will best suit your car and driving needs. Many offer additional coverage options for commercial use, rideshare, and lift kits to tailor the plan to your requirements. Many of these plans also come with additional perks like roadside assistance, accommodation in the event that you break down 100 miles or more away from home, tire changing services, and fuel delivery services.

A Quick Tip

A few fun items to include in your road trip packing list could be things like car games, books, backyard sports equipment/sets, and music/playlists. Also keep in mind that you will need personal items such as toiletries, refuse bags, chargers/batteries, wifi hotspot, snacks, and reusable water bottles. Keep safe out on the road.

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