25+ Must-Have Summer Road Trip Essentials

Planning a summer road trip? Be sure you’re prepared with the must-have important summer road trip essentials. Get the list of road trip essentials below in this sponsored post collaboration with Vaseline.

“Sponsored post by Mirum Shopper. All opinions are my own.”

Planning a summer road trip? Be sure you're prepared with the must-have important summer road trip essentials. Get the list of road trip essentials on the blog!

Summer is a great time to load the family up in the car and hit the road! Do you have any road trips planned this summer? Well, if so, you need to be prepared! When you’re traveling on the road you need to plan ahead. The car needs to be checked to avoid roadside emergencies, flat tires, packing snacks, and so much more.

We’ve gone on a ton of road trips over the years, so I’m sharing with you the must-have road trip essentials you need to pack!

Must Have Summer Road Trip Essentials

First, prep for the road trip. Make sure your vehicle is ready by getting an oil change, having the tires checked. When I take my car in for an oil change, I tell them I am going on a road trip. Many places have a 21-point inspection. This could be free if you’re taking your car to the dealership, or you may have to pay a small fee.

Planning a summer road trip? Be sure you're prepared with the must-have important summer road trip essentials. Get the list of road trip essentials on the blog!

What to bring. Of course, the clothes, toiletries you need for the trip. But what about while you’re riding in the car? We’ve gone on road trips where we’ve spent more than a day in the car driving, and needed to freshen up with a change of clothes and hygiene essentials. If I know we are going on a long road trip where this is required, I will pack a smaller bag with a change of clothes and our essentials.

Everything you will need in the car:

Must Have Summer Road Trip Essentials

Roadtrip hygiene essentials. Tissue, paper towels, Vaseline lotion, and wet wipes. This is pretty self-explanatory. I can tell you some stories of rest areas lacking tissue. This also includes packing hand sanitizer.

Must Have Summer Road Trip Essentials

Bring pillows and blankets. All of our kids must bring a pillow and a blanket for road trips. And I’m right there with them. Having a neck + back pillow is a good essential to have when you’re sitting straight up in a seat for several hours.

Things to do: Games. If you have kids, this is a requirement. I will go on Pinterest and look for travel games to print off. Some of our favorite games to play on the road are the license plate game, travel scavenger hunt, Uno, and travel bingo. Related: Road Trip printables for the kids

Things to do: DVD/iPad. A Portable DVD player. Or if your car has a DVD system, then you can cross this one off the list. We use our iPads to watch movies on Netflix or movies that we downloaded before leaving.

Things to do: Books. With so many hours spent in a car, this is a great time to catch up on your reading. I will break a book, or download a few books onto my Kindle app.

Travel Apps. Travel apps for the nearest rest area, closest gas station, where kids can eat free, are travel must-haves. With all of the technology we have today, you have everything you need at the tip of your fingertips.    9 BEST Free Travel Apps You Must Try


A good GPS system. Typically you can use your smartphone’s GPS system to make sure you don’t get lost. If you don’t have a smartphone, or you don’t want to use your smartphone, invest in buying a GPS system. Long gone are the days of pulling out the old trusty map to guide you to your destination.

Music. Having a road trip playlist is essential. When I’m driving I like to play upbeat music to keep me focused and it helps to keep me awake!


Snacks. This one is a given, but I’m still mentioning it! Bringing snacks not only helps you save money, but it also saves time. Instead of stopping every few hours to get drinks and food, you can just pack a cooler full of water, juice, and snacks. I also like to bring Nutella and Jelly, so the boys can make sandwiches. This also helps us save money on food. If you have kids, investing into a portable Snack Tray is a great accessory to have in the car.

Camera. Those candid moments are going to come up and having a camera is a must.

Audio Books. If you’re going on a long car ride, listening to books on tape is a great way to keep everyone entertained and quiet. Or if you have good wi-fi and unlimited data, try listening to podcasts.

Must have travel essentials

Other necessary things:

  • First Aid Kit and Emergency Car Kit.
  • Power Inverter. With iPads, Computers and other gadgets we take on the road with us, having a way to charge them becomes super important when your battery is on 2%. Thankfully, in our Kia Sorento, we have a power plug.
  • Bring Cash. This is especially important if you’re traveling where there will be toll roads. And many of the toll roads are cash only.
  • Travel mug/water bottle.
  • Garbage bags or reused shopping bags for trash and dirty clothes.
  • Journal/notebook/pens.
  • Disinfectant spray.
  • Earbuds. Every person in the car needs to have a pair of ear buds or headphones.
  • Additional batteries and portable chargers.
  • Additional food/snacks. We like to pack cereal, water bottles, and other foods we may need along the way and when we get there.
  • Sunscreen.
  • Cooler.
  • GoPro.
  • Roof top cargo.
  • A map and a sharpie. Although you have a GPS, it’s always fun to track your destination with a map and a marker.

You can head to your local Walmart store to stock up on your must-have essentials like Vaseline’s 20.3 fl oz of Cocoa Radiant. I love using this stuff on our skin. Not only does it leave my skin feeling smooth and soft, but it gives it a beautiful summer glow. And of course, I have to have this in my bag of summer essentials. You can check out other ways to use Vaseline, as well as get information on stocking up on Vaseline Cocoa Radiant. 

Planning a summer road trip? Be sure you're prepared with the must-have important summer road trip essentials. Get the list of road trip essentials on the blog!

Are you planning a road trip this summer? What do you consider essentials? Drop me a line below and share some of your road trip tips + techniques!

Have a safe and happy summer!

Thanks for stopping by! I'm Tatanisha! When I'm not blogging about ways to save money, frugal lifestyle, easy recipes, or my latest travel adventures, you can find me over at This Worthey Life! I'm always looking for ways to save money, but value quality over quantity. I enjoy reading and also finding out ways to keep up with the latest social media changes!

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  1. GPS is key. KEY! There’s nothing more stressful on a road trip than getting lost. It really sucks the fun out of the trip.

  2. Hope your visit to the Midwest is fun! There is a lot to do around here! I do love Vaseline Intensive Care and is also one of my travel essentials!

  3. Vaseline lotion is awesome! It makes my skin so super smooth and soft. Wet Wipes are a must in the car, not only are they great for cleaning messes, but they also get stains (like coffee) out of clothes when you spill.

  4. Shannon Graham says:

    I literally can’t function on a long road trip without bringing a pillow and blanket. It’s like the comfort doesn’t exist without them haha. I carry vaseline products with me as well. They have a ton of useful products that have never let me down.

  5. Rebecca Swenor says:

    This is a great list of essentials to take on a road trip as well as things to prepare for it. Getting the vehicle serviced is so important before any road trip. Toilet paper is always great to have just in case you need it too. Vaseline’s Cocoa Radiant is something I will have to keep in my car. Thanks for sharing the tips.

  6. Victoria Heckstall says:

    My family is a Vaselne user and I agree with this article! Vaseline is a must to bring during travel!

  7. What a great round up. I left for a round trip without lotion/ sunscreen once and was soooo disappointed! (and uncomfortable).

  8. I like Vaseline skin and hair care p\products. We still haven’t decided yet where to go this summer. I would like to do another road trip. .

  9. Lotion is a pretty big essential for me when I travel. My skin gets so dry and I need to keep it moist to feel my best.

  10. I am hoping that we can take a short road trip this summer. If so, I will be using this list as a guide. I usually forget lotion for my dry skin.

  11. I love you summer essentials list. I’ve been using Vaseline for years, and I love how smooth it leaves my skin.

  12. Misty Nelson Dawn says:

    It really looks a great article and this will be perfect tips when we try road trip and this products was sounds great

  13. I got a new car recently and it has a DVD player. Best invention ever.

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