My Top 5 Road Trip Essentials

venice malibu sign

I love a good road trip.

I’ve driven from Toronto to California twice on Route 66 and back to Toronto through Colorado. A few of my other favourite trips have been to the East Coast all the way to PEI and then down to Washington, DC. I was also fortunate to road trip Highway 1 along California’s gorgeous coastline. Paul and I are also back and forth on the weekends to our new beach house.

I’ve learned a couple things from all these road trips, so here are my Top 5 Road Trip Essentials:

route 66 drive

1) An Updated GPS

I know what you’re all thinking. Why do I need a GPS when I have an iPhone? Well, if you’re planning a road trip throught the United States or any foreign country – loading Google maps will use up a TON of data, which doesn’t come cheap if you’re roaming outside of your home country. Spend $150 on a good GPS like this one, make sure the maps are updated and you’ll save in the long run on your cellphone bill.


2) A Gourmet Bag of Snacks

I never leave on a road trip without a gourmet picnic, a cooler full of cold drinks and a bag or box of gourmet snacks. My road trip snack essentials include two big 1 litre bottles of water, kombucha and pressed juices – you’ll want to stay hydrated in the car.

I also bring something fizzy like sparkling water or something sweet like coconut water. Because road meals are not always the healthiest I may pack something easy like veggie sticks, grapes, apple slices and pre-blended green smoothies (stored in Mason jars) to keep us going on the road.

My other road trip essential includes a big trip to the grocery store and loading up on granola bars, almonds, dried mango slices, terra chips, salsa & chips and hummus and pita. You never know when hunger will attack and where in the middle of nowhere you will be.


3) A Well-Curated Playlist

Just when you think you’ve loaded up enough music – you will run out of music! I think I only loaded about 6 hours on my iPhone during a THREE week road trip across Route 66. So get deep into your Spotify and start making playlists that have a road trip theme or fit with your destination. Start downloading whole albums onto your phone when you get into areas with no service.

If you’re using a streaming service, download any playlists that you can listen to offline. Trust me, you don’t want to be streaming while you’re roaming! I brought my laptop with me so I was able to update my playlists as I went.

If you run out of music – we had a hilarious time use the scan button on the radio to find cool local stations to listen to. But good music is a must!

4) Pre-Picked Restaurants

It definitely pays to pick out your restaurants and rest stops ahead of time – especially if there’s a one-of-a-kind diner or unique restaurant that can’t be missed. We had a lot of these on our road trip across Route 66. I built out a lot of our stops around unique meals and made reservations if necessary to avoid disappointment.

If Paul and I were scrambling to find a great place to eat in an unfamiliar town, I would use Yelp and search for restaurants nearby that had a high rating. It’s saved us many times from greasy fast food.

road trip essentials

5) Emergency Road Trip Supplies

On a crazy three-week road trip across Route 66 we kept a few emergency supplies just in case. I didn’t go overboard but I kept a thick blanket in the car, a few extra bottles of water, protein bars and a first aid kit. You might even want to order a set of flares and a flashlight.

We also made sure we had roadside assistance and all of those numbers handy for the US and Canada. Don’t forget to order a set of jumper cables and see if you have a spare tire in your car that’s in good shape.


Are you planning a road trip soon? What are your essentials?