A vacation is more than just a break from everyday life—it’s a chance to see and do things that you’ll remember forever. Unlike flying or cruising, jumping in a car with your friends and hitting the road can be a surprisingly affordable getaway option that takes relatively little preparation and puts you in full control of how you spend your time and what you see. By grabbing just a few key items before you leave, you can easily spare yourself the stereotypically clunky variables of travel, and you’ll be that much more prepared for any fun and adventure that comes your way.
Here are a few road trip essentials you won’t want to leave behind.
Don’t sweat minor injuries. Amazon
Unexpected sprains and cuts are an inconvenient pitfall of everyday life, and even more so if you plan on spending time outdoors. If you’re leaving town, a first-aid kit is a must-have for keeping everyone in your party protected, and it can make a big difference in limiting the progression of minor injuries. This kit contains a variety of 326 pieces to treat and soothe almost any common injury or ailment including cuts, headaches, sprains, burns, insect stings, and stomach aches. The compact plastic enclosure clips shut, making it easy to stow under any seat.
Keep it tidy and save your sanity. Amazon
If you’re snacking in the car as you put miles between you and your point of departure, trash can tend to pile up quickly. Instead of stowing your orange peels and granola bar wrappers in the door handle, put this designated waste bin to use and enjoy the esthetic benefits of a cleaner interior, plus save time on cleanup when you arrive. Its 1-gallon capacity is plenty for larger debris like paper bags, and it sits on top of specialized anti-slip, spiked arms to stabilize it through even the sharpest turns.
Stow warm and cold beverages. Amazon
Hydration is a must when you’re traveling, but it’s easy to forget when you’re sitting down for hours. This Nalgene water bottle is perfectly designed to serve you with a steady supply of moisture while you’re on the go, thanks largely to its generous yet compact 32-ounce capacity and its narrow mouth that makes it less inclined to spill over while you’re sipping in motion. It’s also BPA-free and easy to wash, and it completely eliminates the need for buying and transporting bulk water bottles, which take up space and create a lot of waste—two things you can do without on a road trip.
Water-resistant flashlight built right in. Amazon
A dead car battery is never convenient, and it can seriously throw a wrench into long-distance travel. The next time you accidentally leave the interior light on and get stranded, reach for this portable car jump starter—it’s a great alternative to juggling between finding cell service for roadside assistance and flagging down a potential good samaritan. This jump starter can deliver up to 20 jump starts on a single charge, and it recharges in about 3 hours using any 2.1-amp USB port. It’s rubberized, weather-resistant and designed to prevent sparking and incorrect usage, so it’s a safe bet too.
Maximize your comfort. Amazon
Travel pillows are a well-known way to achieve comfort when traveling over long distances regardless of whether you’re asleep or awake. This travel pillow goes above and beyond the competition thanks to its ability to be unrolled into a seat cushion, making it a superior choice for road trips. If your car has lousy lumbar support in its seats, you can even leave this rolled and tuck it behind your back for some added stability, which can save you from arriving at your destination feeling sore and grumpy.