The Siberian American: Seven Essentials for Every Road Trip

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Seven Essentials for Every Road Trip

Lately, I have grown fond of going on road trips. As much as I love flying when we don’t have time to spare, when Christopher has a week off, we enjoy exploring the country on the road. In the last year and a half, we have been on three major road trips: from San Diego to San Francisco, a Lake Michigan Circle Tour, and our recent trip to the Smoky Mountains. If we had flown, we would have missed taking in spectacular views while driving on Highway 1, seeing gorgeous lighthouse on the shore of Lake Michigan, and taking in gems like Little River Canyon National Preserve.

Now that we have logged some miles on the road, I wanted to share my road trip essentials. I hope they’re helpful for the next time you hit the road!

Note: This post contains affiliate links. If you click on a link, I receive a teeny tiny commission.

Snacks and drinks
Before we head out, I like to go to the grocery store and stock up on snacks and drinks. As fun as it is to pick out random goodies at the gas station, that takes time while you’re on the road and is more expensive. Plus, gas station snacks are generally unhealthier. On our recent road trip, we picked up some Sensible Portions Veggie Straws, which made for a great snack.

Baby wipes
You know those veggie straws I just mentioned? They’re delicious and relatively healthy but also super messy. I love having a package of baby wipes around, so I don’t have to deal with sticky hands until our next restroom break.

A comfy pillow
As I’m getting older, I’m experiencing more back pain on road trips, so a comfy pillow is a must. I’ve tried so many different types of pillows, and this memory foam pillow from JCPenney is my favorite for road trips (and it’s super cheap compared to most memory foam).

Waze app and a map
Waze is a must on road trips. It’s a great way to find out where there is road construction or traffic when you don’t know an area well. I’m also a big proponent of having a physical map (or downloading all the maps you will need to “offline” on your phone). There have been many instances where we didn’t have service and had to rely on a physical map.

Dry shampoo and a hairbrush
After hours in the car, my hair isn’t at its best. Whenever we are making our big stop of the day, I like to freshen my hair with dry shampoo and brush it out. My favorite dry shampoo is Batiste or Amika.

Stain remover
Sometimes things can get messy while you’re eating or drinking in the car, so I like to keep the Tide stain remover pen in my purse. If you’ve ever met my husband, you know this is an essential!

Travel backpack
A travel backpack is an essential for me on every trip, but it’s especially important on a road trip. I don’t like to clutter the aisle of the car, so a backpack is perfect to pack everything we need while on the road.

Our travel backpack was getting old, so when Just Porter contacted me to try out one of their backpacks, I was excited. My excitement grew when I found out that for every purchase, Just Porter donates a backpack filled with school supplies to a child in need. There’s nothing better than a company that gives back!

Chris and I decided to go with the Hazen Professional Work Bag because it could double as his work backpack when we aren’t using it for travel. The separate padded laptop area in the front makes it perfect for both!

I love a travel backpack that can fit a lot of items without being super bulky. The cinch straps that make the bag look small even when it’s filled is fantastic, and I’m a fan of the lined sunglasses pocket. Large travel backpacks aren’t necessary for us on road trips since we can pack a suitcase, so the size of the Hazen is perfect! Now I want a second one for us for the next time we’re in Europe.

I received a Just Porter backpack for free to review, but all opinions are my own. 

Are you a fan of road trips? What are some of your road trip essentials?


  1. Yes to baby wipes! They work for everything!

  2. I love that the backpack company gives one to kids in need! That's awesome!

  3. Snacks are an ESSENTIAL part of traveling!
    I took some baby wipes the last time we drove to Nashville - they were lifesavers!

  4. I always have baby wipes in my bag, I never leave home without them. I love road tripping but I hate sitting in traffic. haha

  5. oh this is fabulous. i have a long (solo!) road trip coming up next week and i am going to need all the help i can get. i'll grab some wipes and those veggie thingys.. and Waze sounds brilliant!

  6. We're big road-trippers. From OH we can get to a lot of places in less than 10 hours (which seems like a good breaking point for drive vs. fly decisions, ha). We've also done the drives to FL or NH. K drove to TX last years, too. That was a painful one. Haha!
    Um, YES to snacks. Always a must! I pack K a snack bag every time he travels for work!
    I'd also say a trash bag and a good playlist are essential! I currently have a 31 bag that I keep all the cords/plugs and sunglasses and books and wet wipes in! Travel bags are so important!

  7. We love road trips too, but I need to get better about packing snacks and drinks of our own! When we're traveling in Texas we just can't resist stopping at Buc-ee's! The stain remover is another great idea for a road trip!

  8. We love road trips! :) I'm definitely a fan of packing food and drinks. We often still have to grab some caffeine or ice on the road though. The pillow is a great idea, seriously, my back is the worst... going to have to look into that one! :) KC takes his backpack often when we travel and it's so nice to have it around and easier on our backs than a tote bag or something. :) XO - Alexandra

    Simply Alexandra: My Favorite Things

  9. So many solid essentials! We love road tripping and you are so right on these. I've never tried the Waze app, though. I need to check it out!

  10. Yes to all these essentials. It's really hard to travel without them. Love how simple that backpack is.

  11. Those are a great picks!! I totally agree with them.

  12. Totally agree on liking road trips sometimes better than flying. It's nice to be on your own time without relying on an airport/plane/etc. All of these essentials are a must! Doing our long roadtrip from Chicago to Houston meant a very comfy pillow and blanket because I always get cold. Plus yummy snacks and coffee!!

  13. Ahhh yes to all the baby wipes! And mind blown about never thinking to pack dry shampoo. I always feel so grimy after traveling (by plane or by car), and that would be so refreshing <3
    Green Fashionista

  14. Great tips!! These are definitely great essentials to pack. Going to the store before hand is the key to saving money during all your pit stops. The last road trip we went on, we packed two comforters, laid the seats down, and made a pallet in the back. It was creativity at it's finest!


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