What to pack for your first road trip

We are less than 24 hours away from leaving for the big road trip, and what better way to procrastinate packing than telling everyone else how to pack for a road trip?! In all honesty, I love making lists, so I thought I’d use my anal-retentive tendencies for good.

Download the entire list here and keeping scrolling for some beginner insight. This packing list doesn’t involve food, since that’s a whole other beast.

On your person

Obviously, make sure you bring “showstoppers” aka the things you can’t make it far without – keys, wallet, and cell phone. If you don’t carry your health insurance cards in your wallet, make sure you bring them just in case. You should also bring some cash with you, since you never know what places won’t take credit cards when you’re in the middle of nowhere.

On the topic of money, if you won’t be staying at AirBnbs with regular laundry, bring some rolls of quarters so you can stop at a hotel or laundromat to get your clothes clean.

Easy access in the car

Keep any medical supplies easily accessible as well as things like sunblock (and aloe for when you inevitably miss a spot) and bug spray. If you’re prone to athlete’s foot and will be doing a lot of hiking, throw in some spray or powder to keep that at bay.

Skip commercial first aid kits and buy your own with supplies on Amazon or at the grocery store – you’ll spend the same for practically a lifetime supply of items versus a kit with one or two of each.

If you have allergies, pack generic Benadryl. It’s been a lifesaver for when I can’t sleep (due to allergies…or screaming children in a neighboring campground).

Don’t forget duct tape for putting over blisters and make sure to include your preferred method of splinter removal – I opted for tweezers.


Calculate how much clothing to bring based on how long you’ll go between access to a washing machine. Always throw in a few extra underwear, socks, and other undergarments if you’ll be getting sweaty a lot.

Most of what you pack depends on whether you’re camping or planning to do much hiking. I’ve got lists focused on each of those – what to bring camping (including toiletries), and what to wear hiking.


Packing extra of the little things like batteries or ways to light a fire (ie matches as a back-up to your lighter) will save you in a pinch since those things never happen when you’re close to civilization.

One last back-up plan. Print out directions to each destination and print your reservation information for campsites. You never know when you’re going to lose service and not be able to fire the GPS up.

Have I forgotten anything? Let me know in the comments!



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