In recent years, road trips have become more popular than ever. In fact, about 40% of all vacations taken by those in the U.S. in 2018 involved road trips.

And it seems as though road trips could grow in popularity even more once the coronavirus pandemic is officially in the rear-view mirror. With people clamoring to get out of the house, they’re going to be quick to book road trips once they’re allowed out.

Thinking about taking your first road trip? There are certain items you’ll want to bring along on it.

Here are seven travel items to have when you take a road trip for the very first time.

1. Smartphone Filled With Apps (and a Car Charger for It!)

One of the top travel items to have on a road trip is obviously going to be your smartphone. You should charge your smartphone up before you hit the road and bring along a car charger for it so that you can keep it charged along the way.

Additionally, you should fill your phone with lots of apps to help you throughout the course of your road trip. Look for apps that will show you great restaurants to try when you’re in town for a night and keep you busy when you’re bored in the car.

You should think about maybe bringing an iPad with you as well. It’ll be easier to see when you’re in the car all day long. And if you happen to stop somewhere that provides you with access to a computer, it’ll give you a chance to utilize Apple Sidecar to use your iPad as a second screen.

2. Map

These days, many people don’t see the sense in bringing a map along on a road trip. Why bother packing a map when you have a map right on your phone?

But one thing you’ll quickly learn when you’re on a road trip is that your phone isn’t always going to have service. If you end up in a remote part of the U.S. while driving cross-country, you might not be able to get a signal on your phone, which could affect your ability to find your way around.

It never hurts to have a map somewhere in your car during a road trip just in case.

3. Automotive Essentials

Prior to heading out on a road trip, you should have the oil changed in your car and even have a tune-up done to your car to make sure it’s ready to roll. You should also stick some automotive essentials into your trunk to provide yourself with peace of mind.

Some automotive essentials you should take on a road trip are:

  • Jumper cables
  • Carjack
  • Extra engine oil and antifreeze
  • Empty gas can
  • Flares

If you have a dead battery, a flat tire, or an empty gas tank at any point during your road trip, you’ll be glad you have these items.

4. Cooler Stocked With Snacks and Drinks

It’s going to be impossible to make the most of your first road trip without road trip snacks. As soon as you’re done picking a destination, you should get to work planning a menu for the trip.

Get yourself a nice cooler that doesn’t take up too much room in your car and fill it with all the snacks and drinks you could ever want during a road trip. It’ll stop you from having to pull off the road to pick up food all the time, and it’ll also keep you nourished and well-hydrated.

5. Toiletries Bag

You are, of course, going to want to bring an entire suitcase with you on a road trip filled with clothes. You should get into the habit of finding places to shower and get changed as often as you can.

There will, however, be times when you have to go a little longer than you might like between showers. It’s nice to have a toiletries bag handy that you can use to freshen up while you’re out on the road.

Your toiletries bag should have everything from toothpaste and mouthwash to deodorant and body spray in it. You can pull it out at any rest stop and get yourself together with it.

6. First-Aid Kit

Unless you’re planning on doing a lot of camping during a road trip, you probably won’t have to be too concerned about sustaining injuries on it. Road trips are usually pretty safe.

But in the event that you or someone else gets injured on your road trip, there are travel items to have in a first-aid kit on board. Some of the items you should have in your first-aid kit are:

  • Bandages
  • Gauze
  • Alcohol wipes
  • Antibiotic cream
  • Ibuprofen
  • Motion-sickness medication

The last thing you want to have to do is take a trip to a hospital to take care of an injury that could have been handled with a first-aid kit. It’ll throw your road trip off-course and put a real damper on your plans.

7. Cash

Most people create a budget for travel before taking their first road trip. You should do this and aim to stick to it so that you aren’t broke by the time you get home.

As part of your budget, you should set aside a small amount of cash that you can carry around. It’s nice to have a little cash in case you end up somewhere that doesn’t accept credit or debit cards.

The cash could also help you out in some emergency situations. Stick $50 or $100 in a safe spot and keep it there unless you need it.

These Are Just Some Travel Items to Have on a Road Trip

You shouldn’t take your first road trip on a whim. Instead, you should plan ahead for it and know the right travel items to have during it so that you can pack accordingly.

You’ll have a much better time when you plan out your road trip as opposed to trying to wing it.  You’ll also be more prepared for any unexpected surprises that might pop up along the way.

Read our blog to find more helpful articles on taking road trips.