A Guide giving ideas about what to Pack when Embarking on a Road Trip
Whilst they may not be as quick as travelling by plane, road trips certainly have their advantages such as scenic routes and being able to experience multiple countries in one trip. Whether you’re driving across Europe, or just taking a break in the UK, you’ll need to think about what essential items you’re going to pack to take on your journey. Through working in the travel industry and working with road-tripping influencers, we’ve put together a road trip packing list consisting of some important and useful items to bring along when planning for your journey.
When making your packing for a road trip, it may also be worth checking out this blog from our partners Two Scots Abroad. They’ve been on loads of road trips, so have great experience in knowing what to pack, and have put together their own road trip packing list; 29 essential items for a road trip.
It may seem like an obvious item but it’s always important to check you’ve got a spare tyre before a road trip. As many breakdown recovery vans won’t come with a spare tyre for you to fit, the last thing you want is to be wasting time trying to find a garage in a country you’re not familiar with. Not to mention the potentially high costs of buying a new tyre. Your car should come with a spare tyre anyway, but it’s always worth checking you’ve got one, especially if you have a second-had car.
According to the AA, a flat tyre is one of the 10 most common causes of a breakdown but is also one of the simplest to fix. It would normally take just 5 or 10 minutes for breakdown recovery to replace a tyre with your spare, or if you don’t fancy waiting you could even try your hand at replacing the wheel yourself. The video below from RAC details how you can replace your own flat tyre, plus tells you the extra tools you’ll need to complete the job. It’s also important to note that you shouldn’t attempt to replace your own wheel unless you feel confident that you know what you are doing and that you can replace the wheel correctly and safely.
License and Insurance (Car and Travel)
They may seem like obvious items, but are vital and definitely worth double and triple-checking you have all of these in your packing list for a road trip, as well as any other documents you may need before setting off. Your UK drivers license will cover you when driving abroad as long as it’s valid, however if you need to renew it make sure to do so at least one week before you start your road trip. With insurance, you’ll need to make sure you are covered to drive abroad and it’s probably a good idea to look into travel insurance, as a serious injury can result in costing a lot more than it should with insurance.
Filter Water Bottle
Firstly, bringing a reusable water bottle is a great idea to help cut down on your consumption of single-use plastic bottles. However, getting access to clean, safe drinking water can be difficult when on the road, with motorway service station water not being the most reliable sources of tap water. One option you could go for is to pack a ‘tank’ of safe drinking water with you, however for longer trips in particular you will need a lot of water and this can add a lot of weight to your vehicle. Alternatively, you could get yourself a reusable filter water bottle for the journey…
Getting yourself an advanced filter bottle will mean you can drink from any water source without having to worry about illness. For example, the Water-to-Go filter bottle is able to filter out up to 99.9999% of micro-biological contaminants, meaning you can use it to drink from any non-salt water source in the world. This means instead of having to lug around a load of water, you can fill up from any service station tap in any country around the world and get clean safe drinking water, no matter the quality of water. An additional benefit is that you won’t have to buy any single-use plastic bottles during your road trip, saving on both money and plastic.
Portable Battery Pack
Keeping your phone, and any other electrical device charged will be a priority and can be a challenge on longer road trips. Adding a portable battery pack to your road trip packing list is a great way to do this, as it takes up relatively little space. The right pack for you will vary depending on how much charge you need, as you can get cheaper packs that will only provide 2 or 3 full charges, or you can go for larger battery packs that will provide you will provide upwards of 8 full charges.
Anker makes a comprehensive range of power bank chargers meaning they should have one that will be ideal for your specific journey. Plus most of their chargers are available on Amazon in the UK so getting your hands on one before you head off on your road trip shouldn’t be a problem at all.
Whether it’s full meals or just some snacks, it’s definitely worth packing at least some pre-prepared food for your road trip. Taking your own pre-prepped food has the advantages of both convenience and cost. Firstly, you’ll be able to eat whenever you want, rather than having to find a place to stop and eat, which can be difficult on certain road trips. Additionally, your pre-prepared food is, most likely, going to cost you a lot less than any decent food you’re likey find. Even if you don’t want to prepare full meals, it’ll definitely be worth bringing some snacks along for the journey just in case you get hungry and there aren’t any shops nearby.
Also if you are going on an adventurous road trip, or just don’t have the time to prepare meals yourself, bringing dehydrated food parcels is a great option. You can get some pretty good quality food parcels these days, that are also healthy and filling. Firepot provides healthy, dehydrated food that comes in lightweight meal pouches. Their recipes have been developed to maximise nutrition within each parcel as well as providing great tasting meals.
On your road trips you may not always be lucky enough to travel through stunning landscapes and beautiful views, so it’s probably a good idea to bring something that can keep you entertained during your journey. Audiobooks and podcasts are great for passing the time on the road, and if you are travelling with kids in the back, you could even get portable DVD players hooked up on the backseats if you’re in need of keeping them quiet!
If you want to keep the driver involved, you can think up a few games that you can play whilst on the road, although the driver should always stay focused on the road for obvious safety reasons. Some fun games you can play whilst driving include; Categories – Someone comes up with a category (E.G. countries, football teams, car brands, etc.) and everyone takes it in turns to name something in that category until someone can’t think of anything, Guess the song – Assuming you can control the music in your vehicle, one person plays the beginning few seconds of a song before pausing it and the other players have to guess what the song is, Story – One person starts a story with one or a couple of words and the next person has to continue the story for a few words and so on round all the players to see where the story goes.
It’ll definitely be worth thinking about what you are wearing during your road trip. It’s probably a better idea to opt for more comfy clothes in you road trip packing list if you can as you’ll be sitting in a car for hours and the last thing you’ll want is your clothes starting to cause you discomfort. The temperature of the country you’re travelling in shouldn’t make a huge difference as your vehicle will have air conditioning or heating … hopefully, although may be worth keeping in mind for the brief moments you are outside of your car.
Obviously this only applies to those going on a road trip in hotter countries and/or during summer, but preventing sunburn is still important on a road trip. Many people fall into the trap of thinking they don’t need sun cream if they are inside a car all day, however the sun is still extremely capable of burning you through the windows over a long period of time, especially if your arms are out the window. So it’s definitely worth regularly topping up at least protecting your arms and face during your road trip.