Whether you’re trekking along the California Pacific Coast or making your way from lush New England to gator-laden Southern Florida, there are number of essentials needed for the ultimate road trip. There’s something uniquely special about being on the open road without a single care in the world. But before getting caught up in the sprawling Rockies or the greatest of plains, be sure to pack up your car with these road trip necessities.

In the glove compartment:

  • License and registration: It’s tempting to hit high speeds when there’s nothing but empty road ahead you for hundreds of miles. If those blue flashing lights happen to hunt you down going 30 MPH over the speed limit, you’ll need your license and registration handy before you can even think about talking the officer out of a ticket.
  • Vehicle manual: In the event that a random dashboard light comes on and you’re not able to pull up Google to find out exactly what it means, your vehicle manual has all the explanation you need.
  • A map: Before rolling your eyes and saying “I have an app for that,” hear us out. Exploring the vast expanses of any open road comes with a number of dead spots. One wrong turn in a dead spot could lead you completely off your desired trail and further into the depths of confusion without a map handy! A foldable map is easily stored in the glove box, and you’ll appreciate it when all else fails.
  • Spare cash: Though depending on your debit card should do the trick just about anywhere across continental United States, it’s always best to keep some extra cash in case you misplace your card or it gets denied at a random grocery store or gas stop.
  • Flashlight: Regardless of whether you plan on camping or staying in hotels, motels, and hostels, having a flashlight is a simple must-have. Seeing in the dark, especially when there are no streetlights to illuminate your surroundings, is something you won’t want to give up.

In the passenger’s seat: 

  • A multifunctional backpack: Maybe you’re taking a month-long road trip across the country, hitting as many national parks and world-famous landmarks as you can. When you leave the car, you don’t want to head out empty handed. Make sure you have a durable backpack that can hold all of your essentials.
  • A survival kit: While most people may be more likely to stow their survival kits away in the trunk, in the event of a head to head collision, you may not be able to reach to the trunk to get yourself out of a sticky (and potentially life-threatening) situation. Keep your survival kit handy in your passengers seat for easy access
  • A camera: The beauty of the road trip is being able to stop and go as you please. Maybe along your ride to Zion National Park , you stumble across a group of grazing deer. Keep that memory forever by immortalizing it as a photo. A quick step out of the car with camera in-hand keeps a photographer in their element and any given moment.
  • A spare tire: Catching a flat tire is every driver’s nightmare-and it can happen on a dime. Be sure to keep a spare tire and a jack in your car at all times in the event that you drive over something too sharp for your tire to handle.
  • A snow shovel/scraper: Colder climates tend to bring on the snow faster and heavier the more northern you go. An overnight snowfall could leave your car stranded in a pile of snow, so having a shovel in the trunk could save you time and money in the long run.
  • An umbrella: Rain can’t cramp your style if it can’t touch you! Don’t let a rain put a damper on your day; strolls through little countryside towns may not be the same as you expected weather-wise, but you can still experience the culture come rain or shine.

Keep your car stocked up with all of these road trip essentials to ensure you get from point A to point B, C, and D safely and gracefully!