42 Road trip essentials for cruising

Booking a fun car from DriveShare and planning your route is just the beginning. Whether you’re bringing kids, pets, your partner or just your smiling self along for the ride, there are certain items you won’t want to forget to pack. Before you hit the road, here’s a list of road trip essentials that should be considered for a smooth, comfortable cruise. 

The must-haves

1. License, registration, and proof of insurance: Wherever you are, definitely don’t drive until you check these three things off your road trip checklist. When you rent a car from DriveShare, the vehicle owner should provide you with their car’s registration and proof of their car insurance.

2. Roadside Assistance: Sometimes when you’re on the road things may get a little bumpy. Whether the car gets a flat tire, or you accidentally run out of gas or lock the keys in the car, DriveShare car rentals include roadside assistance and towing. Be prepared and make sure you have any emergency phone numbers with you in the car. 

3. Waste management: Recycled shopping bags provide a free and easy way to keep the car clean throughout your trip. Every time you stop to fill your car with gas make a point to throw away any trash that’s piled up.

4. Paper maps: Yes, they still exist. Plan an old-school road trip without the use of your phone’s map app, or at least have an area map available for when you run out of battery or cruise through a no reception zone. You never know when you might need one. 

5. Cash: Grab a few dollar bills or rolls of change for any tolls that could pop up.

6. Swiss Army knife: A Swiss Army knife is a handy tool to have in your bag that can get you out of pretty much any small jam, from cutting an annoying shirt tag to tightening a loose screw. 


7. First Aid kit: No road trip packing list would be complete without a first aid kit. There are some great kits that have everything you could possibly think of in a compact case.

8. Painkillers: If they’re not already included in the above mentioned first aid kit, you’ll want to bring a small bottle with you. Don’t let headaches or unforeseen aches and pains ruin your scenic driving route. 

9. Benadryl: An allergic reaction can be even worse than a headache. You don’t want to be in the middle of nowhere the first time you get stung by a bee, unaware that you are allergic. 

10. Baby wipes: They aren’t just for babies. They sanitize hands, faces, and can even leave you feeling like you got a quick shower in. Bonus: you can use them as toilet paper if you are in a bind.

11. Toilet paper and tissues: Have you ever stopped at a roadside gas station that was out of TP? Or had to sneeze and been out of luck? You best bring a roll, and perhaps a pack of tissues for runny noses or sweaty brows. 

12. Hand sanitizer:  Clean your hands on the go, especially during cold and flu season—a clear road trip essential. 

13. Sunscreen: No matter the season, traveling in a car exposes you to a lot of sun exposure. Make sure that you slather it on to save your skin.

14. Deodorant: It’s the number one way to tell your travel companions that you care about them. Bring a travel-size one for emergency use, because bad B.O. in a car is an emergency. 

15. Gum: Chewing gum is especially recommended if you’re traveling up into high mountain ranges. The higher you go, the more likely your ears will get plugged up, and sometimes gum is the only thing that will unpop them. It’s also nice to have when you can’t brush your teeth right away. You’re welcome.

16. Day bag: In the event you want to take a day hike or overnight stay somewhere, but you don’t want to have to haul your suitcase everywhere you go. A water-resistant day bag is great for throwing in a change of clothes and a few essentials for a rainy day.

Food and Water

17. Cooler: Yes, you can enjoy an ice-cold sparkling water on your road trip. It makes all the difference. And some snacks need to be kept cool, like string cheese or chocolate that’s prone to melting. 

18. Dry foods: Speaking of snacks, you might want to bring those, too. Easy-to-keep dry foods such as jerky, trail mix and fruit or protein bars are perfect for the road.

19. Water: Get a large water jug to save on water and fill up at drinkable water stations. Less cost, and less plastic!

Seasonal items

20. Headwear: A cap or floppy hat will help block the sun from your face, or if the weather turns chilly, a beanie will keep the heat in. Or, if you plan to cruise in a convertible or with the windows down, a handkerchief stylishly tied around your head will keep hair out of your face.

21. Cover up/Sarong: A sarong is handy to have for a day on the boardwalk, some summer beach time, or a trip down to a river. A bit chilly? It can be used as a light blanket as well.

22. Sunglasses: It’s not just your skin that needs protection; sun can damage your eyes, too. The visibility on the road will be much better with some UVA/UVB sunglasses.

23. Mosquito repellant: So, you found a nice little spot to enjoy nature, but the mosquitos are relentless. Put bug spray at the top of your road trip packing list.

24. Outerwear: Do not underestimate how cold it can get on a summer night, especially in high-elevation areas. At least have a big jacket, or light sweater, depending on where you’re headed.

25. Rain gear: Pack any and all rain gear you may need, including an umbrella, a raincoat, galoshes or a poncho. You never know when it’s going to downpour, and you may not want to soak your only shoes.

26. Gloves: A good pair of driving gloves will keep your hands warm and help you keep your grip on the steering wheel.

27. Warm blanket: It’s always a good idea to carry one, especially in mountainous areas or during colder seasons. The blanket can double as ground cover for a picnic spot outside your car. 

Smart Phone Gadgets

28. Phone charger: Pretty self-explanatory. You’ll want to keep your phone charged throughout your trip, so bring a charger and a USB cable. 

29. Portable battery charger: Snapping pictures all day will drain your battery quick. If you are driving a classic car that’s not equipped with a means to charge or if you spend some time away from the car, you’ll want to have a backup battery charger handy.  This portable charger has a built-in flashlight and is solar powered.

30. Music playlist: You could make a playlist and download it onto a FlashDrive or (gasp) an actual compact disc, but who’s to say every car has a player, especially if you are cruising in a classic car. Make a playlist on Spotify or a similar music app and make sure your favorite tunes are downloaded so you can access them without Wi-Fi connection.

31. Bluetooth headphones: You’ll want these if you need to take an important hands-free phone call on the go without disturbing your passengers. Or if you are just along for the car ride, you can want to rock out to anything without disturbing the driver.  

32. Hands-free phone mount: For when you take a call in the car or when you want to check something on your map, it is far easier to do if your phone is mounted on the dash.

33. Mini speaker: If you’re cruising in a classic car with no stereo or want to rock out in your hotel room, you need one of these mini speakers so you can jam to your playlist a little bit louder than your phone’s highest volume.

34. Life proof phone case: If you don’t have one already and are accident prone, you should get one. A strong, sturdy, durable phone case is like an insurance policy for your phone. 

There’s an App for that

35. Music: With all that talk about music, you need to make sure you have a music app like iHeart Radio, Spotify, or Tidal. Pick your tunes and make your playlists when you have access to WiFi. Before heading out, make sure to download all apps and music so you can access them in no Wi-Fi zones.

36. Maps: While it is crucial to have a paper map, another road trip essential is a map app for your handheld device that will function while you’re offline. Maps.me is the go-to for most travelers.

37. Traffic: Download an app like Waze that will help you avoid car accidents and road construction, so you don’t get stuck in a jam. 

38. Camping: Looking to camp along Route 66? Hoping to sleep out under the stars instead of inside a hotel room? Download the recreation.gov app before you head out. 

39. Hotel finder: On the other hand, maybe you’d rather die than sleep on the ground. In that case, download your own hotel finder app, Hotel Tonight. You’ll get all the details you need for hotels in your area, price, rating, amenities, and more.

40. Fuel: Download Gas Buddy and find the cheapest gas in your region to save some dough. Gaspy is another great app. Double-check the app works in your area before heading out.

41. Wi-Fi hotspot: If you have a chance of being internet-less and you’d prefer not to be, try a mobile hotspot like Skyroam

42. DriveShare: Looking for something more fun and stylish to drive? Download the DriveShare app and find cool cars for rent near you.

Whew, that was quite a list, but now you’re all packed! Before you go, check out some great scenic driving roads.


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