Prep and Pack

100 Must Haves for Your Road Trip

car emergency kit must haves
The great American road trip requires planning and packing. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

If a road trip is on your bucket list, a properly maintained and prepared vehicle is important. This doesn’t have to be an overly stressful to do. Look around your house for items you already have to prepare your car for a road trip. Here’s 100 household items  for car emergency kit must haves.


Keep your vehicle in good working order to prevent roadside emergencies and arrive at your destination safely.

  • Check the spare tire
  • Emergency flat repair
  • Tire gauge
  • Tire jack–see if it’s complete before you need it.
  • Lug key–If your car requires one.
  • Jumper cables
  • Quart of oil + funnel
  • Leatherman tool or minimum a flat head and Phillips screw drivers along with adjustable pliers
  • Duct tape
  • WD-40
  • Flares
  • Atlas–Many areas across North American have little or no data coverage.
  • Paper Maps–Grab them for free at a state’s welcome center.


Got a console compartment? Load it up with these essentials.

  • Wipes
  • Facial tissue
  • Extra napkins or paper towels
  • Extra money, especially change for old-school parking meters.
  • Extra sunglasses
  • Extra reading glasses
  • List of phone numbers of friends and family. Just in case the phone goes missing.
  • Paper
  • Pens or pencils

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Stock your glove compartment with items you need to keep within arms reach, in case of emergency.

  • AAA membership card, or other travel insurance card
  • Copies of Drivers license and car insurance card
  • Vehicle registration
  • Vehicle manual
  • Flashlight with fresh batteries
  • Window breaker and seat belt cutter
  • Matches or lighter
  • Vehicle maintenance log
car emergency kit must haves
A stocked first aid is necessary for your car. Photo Credit: Pixabay


Life is unpredictable. Scrapes and falls happen frequently so be prepared. I keep my first aid kit under the driver’s seat.

  • Antiseptic wound wash
  • gauze pads for bleeding
  • Assorted bandages
  • Antibiotic cream
  • Anti-itch cream
  • Pain reliever, adults and kids
  • Allergy medication, like Benadryl
  • Antacid, like Tums
  • Pepto-Bismol
  • Antidiarrheal, like Imodium
  • Lip balm
  • Eye Wash
  • Extra required medication
  • Tweezers
  • Sunscreen
  • Insect repellant


First grab a tote and pull together more supplies.

  • Old towel or blanket–never know when you have to rescue an animal
  • Extra pair of keys
  • Extra cords and cube for technology charging
  • Extra pair of shoes, in case you break your flip-flops
  • Packable thermal blanket
  • Travel pillows
  • Disposable rain ponchos
  • umbrellas


We all know life is messy. Take a few minutes to wash the car regularly.

  • Windex wipes
  • Armoral wipes
  • Microfiber cloths—Dry the outside and wipe down the inside.
car emergency kit must haves
Photo Credit: Pixabay

Emergency Food

Pack a few essentials just in case.

  • Gallon jug of water, can be used for radiator
  • Protein bars
  • Dried fruit bars
  • Dried nuts
  • Peanut butter crackers
  • Candy bar
  • Jerky
  • Refillable water bottles

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First grab a small zip top bag and pack it with personal care products.

  • Travel roll of toilet paper or a TP kit with toilet paper and hand wipes in a reusable bag
  • Lysol, travel-sized
  • Bleach wipes
  • Travel toothbrush + paste
  • Dental floss or pics
  • Basic makeup, like mascara, powder and lip gloss
  • Deodorant
  • Extra pair of underwear
  • Contact holder + contact solution
  • Feminine products
car emergency kids must haves.
Kids require their own emergency must haves. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker


Since keeping the kids clean is nearly impossible, be prepared.

  • Extra outfits plus socks and underwear
  • Sun hat for warmer weather
  • Beanie for cooler weather
  • Extra jacket or hoodie
  • Extra gloves – cheap ones OK
  • Stroller for kids under 6


When my kids were little, I used my SUV like a giant diaper bag. So keep these items stored where you change your baby.

  • Baby food and/or formula
  • Extra bottles or sippy cups
  • Extra diapers
  • Baby wipes, in addition to ones in console compartment
  • Changing pad
  • Disposable grocery bags for the dirties
  • Bleach wipes, additional
  • Extra clothes including shoes and socks
  • Another soothing object, like a pacifier
  • Extra toys
  • Extra receiving blanket
car emergency kit must haves.
This might be your road and you need to be prepared for winter driving. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

Winter Must Haves 

Winter travel requires its own products if you live or travel in snow-prone areas.

  • State Website App for road closures and chain requirements
  • Ice scraper with snow brush, extra scraper for the kids to help
  • Can of de-icer
  • Chains or cables plus extra cash to have someone install them
  • Rubber gloves to protect hands when installing chains or removing snow and ice
  • Emergency blanket for heat retention, like the silver NASA blankets
  • Extra food and water
  • Small packable shovel for snow removal
  • Kitty litter for tire traction
Load up the car and explore the open road across North America. Here's a list of 100 Everyday Items to Pack for your trip, from an atlas to waterproof gloves. What you need to Pack for a Road Trip | Packing List for Road Trips | Road Trip Must Haves #RoadTrip #PackingList
credit: Pixabay

Load up the car and explore the open road across North America. Here's a list of 99+ Everyday Items to Pack for your trip. #RoadTrip #PackingList What you need to Pack for a Road Trip | Packing List for Road Trips

Catherine Parker has a passion for travel and seen all 50 U.S. States. As a former flight attendant with one of the largest airlines, there isn't a North American airport that she hasn't landed in at least once. Since clipping her professional wings after 9/11, she combines her love of the open road with visiting architectural and cultural icons. She is based out of Central Texas dividing her time between writing and restoring a pair of 100-year-old houses. She shares her life with her three kids and her husband.

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