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The ultimate pre-departure road trip checklist

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What should you have before setting off on a road trip?

Whether heading out on a family vacation or hitting the road with a group of close friends, a road trip experience can be liberating.

It doesn’t matter if you’re attempting to cross the country or you’re heading out on a day trip, planning ahead is essential. The last thing you want is to have to veer off course and go searching for a store, or worse, be stuck in the middle of nowhere, hours away from civilization before you realize you’re missing a few key items.

Shop this article: Royce Leather Car OrganizerSafety flare kit and Phone charger

Road trip car essentials



We live in the age of smartphones and GPS, where we can pull up maps with the click of a button, so getting lost isn’t as easy as it was 20 years ago. However, knowing where you’re going ahead of time makes it easier to plan where to get food and gas, so you aren’t searching for places to stop in an unfamiliar area.

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Even if you have only two people in your car, after a couple of hours it can quickly turn into a disaster zone. Keeping the car clean and organized not only makes it easier to find what you’re looking for, but it’s also good for your sanity and makes it easier to relax.


Safety flare kit

Make sure your insurance is up-to-date, you have a roadside assistance plan and a spare tire. It doesn’t hurt to make sure you pack a safety flare kit.

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Phone charger

Sometimes it’s the little things like a working phone charger or adapter that can prevent you from getting stuck without the ability to call for help.

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Road trip car accessory essentials

Drive Auto Products Car Trunk Storage Organizer with Straps

This collapsible and secure car trunk storage organizer with a tie-down strap system will keep your items in place, no matter how many stops or the terrain. The multi-compartment system has enough space to keep all of your road trip essentials in their correct place.

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Royce Leather Car Organizer

Keep all of your important documents for your road trip within arm’s reach when using this high-end leather car organizer with zippered compartments.

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YETI Tundra 45 Cooler

Referred to as the best cooler on the market, the extra-thick FatWall design and ColdLock Gasket will keep all your road trip snacks perfectly cool. The Yeti cooler features a separation rack that keeps each of your items at their ideal temperature. Extremely strong and durable, this cooler can hold up to 28 cans or 34 pounds of ice.

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Fenix E12 V2.0 Flashlight

Powered with a single AA battery, this upgraded flashlight has the capacity to produce 160 lumens. It’s easy to operate and is made from top-grade aluminum and has an ultra-thin optical lens.

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Mongoora Magnetic Phone Mount

Keep yourself and your passengers safe by using a hands-free car phone mount that easily plugs into the vent. It’s universally compatible with any model or size of a smartphone. The frame rotates, which makes it easy to adjust for your best view.

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Memory Foam Neck Pillow

Designed specifically to support the head and neck for leaning against the window, this pillow will help you get some sleep when it's your turn to nap. Made with a memory foam interior and removable shell, this stylish pillow is easy to fit into small spaces when traveling.

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Active Era Small First Aid Kit

This first aid kit offers 90 essential items in a portable, compact, lightweight, durable and water-resistant soft case. It includes medical scissors, instant cold packs, emergency foil blankets and every type of bandage you can imagine to ensure you have everything you need in case of emergency.

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Road trip essentials for you

CraveBox Care Package

Pack your snacks ahead of time to save cash for other road trip adventures with this 45-count snack pack filled with everything from crunchy treats to all the sweets you could crave. They’re individually wrapped in snack pack sizes, so nothing goes to waste.

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Thermos 16-Ounce Stainless Steel King Mug With Handle

Long nights on the road require a caffeine fix, and this insulated mug keeps your coffee hot for 7 hours. It features a DrinkLock sealing lid to prevent spills. 

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SEPHORA COLLECTION Reusable Travel Container Set

This five-piece reusable travel container set allows you to bring all your bath and body products from home, so you don’t have to purchase new ones for the trip. The easy-to-wash containers can be used again.

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Ryan Dempsey writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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