Road Trip 101: Top Three Things to Pack

Few things in life embody the spirit of freedom like an adventure on the open road. Unencumbered by an airline or train schedule, you are the master of your destiny as you decide when to leave and when (or if) to come back. However, savvy packing is essential to maintaining this sense of freedom. Nothing kills the mood as quickly as realizing you forgot something essential and need to either return home or pull off the highway to find the closest superstore. Here’s a checklist to help you avoid unfortunate detours.

  1. Money and Identification

Money and ID are top on our list to remember as these are items that can’t be replaced at a roadside store or gas station. And when we say money, we do mean cash. Of course, don’t forget your credit cards. We all know the best way to start accumulating credit card miles and rewards to use toward your next trip is to use your card often on this one. However, even in today’s increasingly cashless environment, you want to ensure you have a few dollars on hand if needed. 

It should go without saying, but we’ll mention it anyway: don’t forget your driver’s license. If you’re stopped by highway patrol for any reason, you’ll need to prove that you are legally allowed to be driving the new Subaru for sale that you couldn’t resist purchasing before the trip. While we’re talking legal matters, be sure to also pack an up-to-date vehicle registration and proof of insurance.

  1. Smartphone or Atlas

Depending on the type of trip you’re considering, don’t forget to take along either your smartphone with navigation or a detailed, up-to-date road map or atlas. No one will blame you if you want to unplug from electronics during your trip, but you’ll want to include some type of map to ensure you stay on your route. 

Even if you choose to travel unencumbered by technology, consider packing an emergency phone and charger to use in the event of an accident or illness. Similarly, if you choose to rely on your phone’s navigation tools, pack an atlas just in case you lose cell service. If you decide to travel off the beaten path, you may find yourself lost in a dead zone.

  1. Food and Drink

If you’re traveling a rural route, you may find restaurants and gas stations are few and far between. If you’re opting for a busier road, you may encounter long lines leading to less-than-savory fare. For safety and convenience, pack plenty of bottled water and non-perishable food in your vehicle. Consider including a small cooler to keep items fresh. If you get lost away from civilization or experience a breakdown, you’ll be happy to have nourishment on hand.

Pack Smart for the Perfect Trip

Even if your goal is to travel light, you shouldn’t neglect packing the essentials: money, license, navigation tools, food, and water. If you forget non-essentials, you can stop along the way or go without. But even the most unencumbered traveler needs certain things to stay safe and legal on the road. 


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