10 Summer Road Trip Essentials

Whether you’re hitting the road with the whole family in tow, or heading out on your own for an interstate adventure, you’ll need some summer travel basics to get to your destination with as few bumps in the road as possible.

Taking the time to put together essentials before you depart will save you time and money on the road. Spend your precious vacation making amazing memories instead of visiting every rest stop on your route!

Check out our suggestions for items that make for a stress-free road trip and get ready to travel like a pro on your next journey.

1) Sunscreen

For any outdoor excursions during your trip, sunscreen is a must-have. Skin can burn in as little as 15 minutes if not properly protected and sunburns can make for a very uncomfortable car ride! Pack aloe in case of a burn to soothe painful, itchy skin.

2) Bug Spray

You don’t have to go far outside city limits to find yourself in bug country! Don’t chance days of scratching or a surprise allergic reaction. Invest in deep woods spray if you’re venturing far off the beaten path or keep things mess-free with citronella buttons to pin on clothing and pet collars.

3) First Aid Kit

Even small wounds can turn into big problems if left untreated. Make sure cuts and scrapes are disinfected and taken care of as soon as possible to avoid a trip to a clinic. Include bandages, sterile gauze pads, adhesive tape, scissors, tweezers, safety pins, instant ice packs, disposable non-latex gloves, and antiseptic wipes.

4) Hand Wipes

Make clean up a breeze with disinfectant and baby wipes. They’re perfect for cleaning up after little ones or giving yourself a quick freshen up after driving through the night. Make sure you’ve got a designated garbage receptacle to keep your vehicle tidy.

5) Snacks and Drinks

Pack a cooler full of healthy snacks and beverages to cut down time spent stopping to eat. If you’ve exhausted your provisions, stop at a grocery store to buy supplies for sandwiches and wraps that will go much further than any gas station hot dog.

6) Spare Footwear and Clothing

Your road trip might take you from one climate to another, so be prepared for any adventure by packing a pair of hiking boots, sandals, or water shoes. Between chilly summer nights and hours in air conditioning, it’s also a good idea to have a sweater and some long pants to throw on.

7) Audio Books and Podcasts

Perfect for solo trips or so the driver can stay entertained, Audible.com has over 180,000 titles for any taste and includes a one-month free trial. For a little more variety, download free podcasts and learn about endless interesting topics as the miles go by.

8) Maps and Road Atlases

Save on data charges and don’t get stuck without coverage by packing hard copy maps for your route. Paper maps can allow you to visualize your overall trip and are easier for drivers to glance at than a small mobile screen. If you’d rather stick to a screen, Google Maps can be pinned for offline use.

9) Travel Apps

Use the data you save reading hard copy maps for mobile apps to plan your next pit stop. The GasBuddy app can help you find the best gas prices around, or use AroundMe to save time when looking for the nearest drug store, washroom, and so on. Discover 10 travel apps for your next road trip.

10) Car Maintenance Kit

It’s something you hope you’ll never have to use, but will be glad to have if you run into car trouble. Stock your kit with items such as jumper cables, tire sealant, a tire pressure gauge, a compact fire extinguisher, and road flares. It’s also a good idea to research and practice using these items so you’re comfortable using them under pressure. For more ideas, discover 15 essential things to keep in your car.

Now that you’re stocked up on the essentials it’s time to hit the road! Find InTown Suites’ extended stay properties along your route for your home away from home on your epic adventure.

3 Road Trip Games to Play in the Car

Road trips are a fun and memorable thing to do as a family – and luckily, they’re often quite affordable compared to other means of family travel. 

The only downside? If the kids are crammed into the backseat for extended periods of time, things could get a little out of hand if you don’t prepare first.

Make sure the car is trip-ready by planning ahead and finding ways to keep everyone occupied. Entertain the kids with these road trip games to play in the car!

1) Road trip scavenger hunt.

Take “I Spy” to the next level with a road trip scavenger hunt!

Before you hit the road, make a list of all the things you might expect to see during your travels – including a mix of basic and more obscure items – and provide each child with the list and a pen/pencil for checking things off.

If you’re feeling crafty, draw or print out images or icons for each line item on the list (you can find pre-made, printable lists online!).

Include items like a bridge, cow, motorcycle, barn, red car, various road signs, gas station, motor home, and more.

2) Hangman, Tic-Tac-Toe, or Pictionary.

Pick up a pack of washable window markers and the kids will be set for hours of fun!

Let them doodle on the glass, or play in a family-wide game of the classic Hangman, Tic-Tac-Toe, or even Pictionary — with a fun surface to write on, the children will have a blast. Let them take turns ‘running’ the games and being the one to draw and keep score on their window.

3) License plate coloring game.

Color your way across all the states! Print out a map of the U.S. and have the children color in a state each time they see a license plate from that location. Include a list of all states at the bottom that can be crossed off each time they color in a state. It’s fun, and also educational!

Discover more ways to keep children entertained on the road.

When the road trip is over, let the whole family unwind with a stay at one of our many extended stay properties in the US, offering kitchens, a dining area, large flat panel TV with premium channels, and high speed Internet access.