Road Trip Packing List–10 essentials you should have!

AAA estimates a projected 35.5 million Americans will travel 50+ miles from home this Labor Day weekend.  Often dubbed the final road trip of the summer season, if you are one of the millions of travelers hitting the open road this weekend, here’s a quick rundown of the essential items you should have on your packing list.

Road Trip Packing List

  1. Visitor guide to the destination you’re headed. It’s a good idea to call and order a guide or download one online at least one month before traveling.  Coming to Merriam? You can order our free guide here!
  2. Travel pillow – road trips are good for sight-seeing and napping. If you’re riding shotgun, take along a travel pillow to support your next as you drift off.
  3. A Reusable water bottle is the number one item I pack everywhere I go next to my cell phone. I prefer a BPA-free bottle with a leak-proof design and plastic or rubberized coating to eliminate breaking or dents.
  4. Emergency roadside vehicle kit – no traveler should be without the basics to get out of a jam. Keep it in your trunk so you’re covered in the event of a breakdown on the road.  Win one from our tourism partner, AAA/H&A Media here!
  5. A map, GPS or mapping app on your cell phone. I love the convenience of digital mapping, but everyone should learn to read and follow a good old fashioned map. Besides, what happens if you have no cell service or battery left? Knowing which way is north could be helpful.
  6. A lightweight, but compartmentalized tote bag. Beyond the luggage you’ll no doubt pack for the duration of your journey, it’s a great idea to toss in a tote bag to use for day-trips, a quick change of clothes, snacks, a blanket, sunscreen and bug spray. I love the line available from Thirty-One Gifts because they have tons of room, lots of pockets and are easy to wipe down and clean up.
  7. Speaking of blanket, if a concert or outdoor hiking destination is on your itinerary, it’s never a bad idea to bring along something lightweight to toss on the ground for a picnic or relaxing break. Consider one with a water resistant backing so you can stay dry.
  8. A great playlist is a must-have for road trips. Explore new music and artists and allow everyone in the car a few song choices to add to the list. I will never forget the vacations with my parents listening to ABBA on 8-track while playing the license plate game with my brother.
  9. Reservations! It seems silly, but some people actually travel without a reservation and sometimes they wind up finding no vacancy at the inn. Booking ahead not only saves you a little money, but it goes a long way in providing peace of mind…not to mention a better room far away from the elevator or the noisy HVAC system. If you’re traveling to Merriam, we can help you find a hotel or you can choose from this list online.
  10. Food and water for the ride is also a must-have since you never know if you’ll be stranded or get the urge for a snack. Traveling with children almost guarantees this is a no-brainer item to take along as it can be used to negotiate good behavior in the car.

AAA Roadtrip kit

One lucky reader will win the 42-piece premium road kit (left) provided by our tourism partner AAA/H&A Media.  Just click over to, share a comment on the Road Trip post and you’ll be entered to win this cool kit for your next road trip.
*Facebook does not endorse or take part in this contest/giveaway. Winner will be randomly selected from the comments of this specific FB post only. No cash or trade value. Drawing will take place the week of September 14th, 2015.

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