12 Cross Country Road Trip Essentials – 2024 Guide

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Packing your bags and hitting the road for a cross country road trip? It may be tempting to throw some things in a bag and be on your way, but planning what you’re going to bring can make all the difference when it comes to your comfort on the road. We’ve compiled a list of some essentials to take with you to take the guesswork out of it so that you can focus on all the fun stops you’re going to make along the way.

Travel Bags

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Let’s face it, no one likes lugging a big suitcase up to a hotel for just a night or two. So, if you’re going to be making a lot of overnight stops on your road trip it’s best to pack a few small travel bags instead of a large suitcase. Travel bags are easy to grab and take with you to make your stops a little easier. Additionally, bring a duffel bag with clothes that you can easily access to repack your smaller travel bags.

Compression Socks

Whether you’re behind the wheel or a dedicated co-pilot on your road trip, wearing compression socks is important for keeping you healthy and comfortable in the car. Sitting for too long can create circulation problems in your legs and increase the risk of blood clots. Lasso’s travel compression socks are designed to promote healthy blood circulation to lower your risk of blood clots. They also fight against restless leg syndrome and achy legs that can come from too much sitting.

Slip-on Shoes

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Bringing comfortable tennis shoes is important if you’ll be walking around or visiting National Parks on your road trip, but flip flops or slides aren’t something you should leave at home. When you’re sitting in the passenger seat, kicking off your shoes can help you feel more relaxed and having a pair of easy-on shoes makes it less of a hassle to get out at rest stops or to check-in to hotels.

Travel Pillow and Blanket

When you’re in the passenger seat or sitting in the back seat, taking a nap can be a great way to pass the time and help you feel more refreshed when you reach your destination. However, we all know that it can be hard to get comfortable in a car. Brining a travel pillow and a small blanket with you makes it easier to get cozy so that you can get some well-deserved rest.

Map or Atlas

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It may seem silly since most of us have GPS, but having a map on hand can come in handy for times when you’re in remote areas with no reception. Nothing is more frustrating than getting lost on your trip, and a good ole’ fashioned map will keep you on the right track.

Portable & Car Chargers

For some, a road trip is the perfect time to disconnect from technology. However, for others a long road trip with no phone can seem like a nightmare. When you’re on the road be sure to bring a car charger along with you so you can keep using your GPS and listening to your curated road trip playlist. Having a portable charger on-hand is also a good idea if you’re going to be out sightseeing and using your phone for battery-draining things like taking pictures and posting them to social media.

Small Bills and Quarters

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Not every toll plaza accepts credit cards, although most do. On the off chance you hit a toll road that’s cash only, you’ll want to make sure you have some small bills and quarters on hand. Having cash on hand is also a good idea in case you stop at a cash-only restaurant and want to avoid the ATM fee.

Snacks and Water

This is usually the thing people are most excited to pack on their trip. Having the right snacks on hand and staying hydrated will help you avoid stopping through more drive-thrus than necessary, so that you can save your funds for souvenirs and more important meals. Try to skip the soda and sugary drinks on the road, and bring water instead.

For snacks, try to pack healthy and filling finger foods. According to porkrinds.com, pork rinds are a popular snack. They are especially popular among low-carb diets because they are high in protein and fat but low in carbohydrates.

Hand Sanitizer and Moist Towelettes

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Eating in the car is necessary on a road trip, but it can cause messes and mishaps along the way. That’s why bringing moist towelettes with you is so important. In the case of greasy hands or even if there’s a spill, a moist towelettes can help clean up the mess until you reach your next rest stop. Brining hand sanitizer is a good idea too so that you can make sure hands are clean before digging into any snacks.

Car Documents

It may sound surprising, but it’s not uncommon for people to leave without their car documents with them. Don’t leave for your road trip without bringing these items with you to avoid headaches and frustration in case of unforeseen circumstances. You’ll, of course, need to bring your driver’s license with you, but making sure you have your vehicle’s registration and proof of insurance with you is important in case you get pulled over or happen to get into a fender bender.

Emergency Supplies

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Before hitting the road, making sure you have some kind of roadside assistance can be incredibly helpful in case of an emergency. You’ll also want to make sure you have a spare tire, care jack, jumper cables, and first-aid kit for just in case. Keep some pain relief and nausea medication on hand too for those times where headaches and stomach pains strike.

Before you hit the road, take the time to plan your trip and make sure you have everything you need to stay comfortable and safe on your travels. Being prepared can be the difference between a fun vacation with your loved ones and a stressful trip. Using the items in this list, you can feel ready for anything the uncertainty of the road may throw your way. Have fun and safe travels!