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What Not to Forget on a Road Trip

8 June 2020 AutoMarket, Tips & Advice

After being cooped up at home for so long, you’re probably itching to get back on the road. What better way to celebrate freedom than a cross-country road trip? Road trips are one of the best ways to take in the beauty of the world, while creating magical lifetime memories with your loved ones.

Because you’ll be spending so much time on the road, you’ll need to pack carefully. There could be long stretches of the trip where you have limited access to resources and amenities, so don’t leave yourself stuck. You’ll need the basics: snacks, comfy clothes and a phone charger. But you’ll also need to bring some emergency items in case something goes awry.

Luckily, Motor Matcher have prepared a definitive list of must-bring items for your next road trip. Check these items off so that you’re prepared for any eventuality on the wide-open road.

Personal care

Remember your basic toiletries to keep fresh and clean on your road trip. Toothpaste, deodorant and shampoo should be top on your list. However, there are some other things lying about in your medicine cabinet that you should consider packing too.


Always protect your skin from the sun’s harsh rays – especially if you’re riding with the top down. Whatever you drive, UV rays can penetrate most windows and damage your skin. It’s always better to be safe than sorry, so apply sunscreen generously on any exposed areas every morning.

Tylenol or Ibuprofen

Don’t let a headache or a sore throat spoil your trip. Bring a stash of some basic painkillers on your road trip just in case you feel under the weather. They can be very effective in alleviating small aches and pains. Not to mention, hangovers.

Toilet paper

In case nature calls on a long stretch of road, it’s always good to have a toilet paper supply on board. Some things simply cannot wait. Toilet paper is also handy for any spillages or runny noses.

Insect repellent

There is nothing more annoying than a nasty mosquito bite. Avoid itchy, irritated skin by applying a layer of insect repellent before hitting the road.


An EpiPen is an injection containing epinephrine, a chemical that narrows blood vessels and opens airways in the lungs. They are an antidote to many severe allergic reactions that cause anaphylactic shock. Make sure to have one on board if you or any passengers have such allergies.

Easy-to-reach items

Make sure to have these essential items within arm’s reach. If you’re the only passenger awake (or if you’re riding solo), it’s important to have easy access to the following:

Reusable water bottle

Always have a supply of safe drinking water close by. It’s easy to forget to stay hydrated so make sure to schedule in some water breaks. We suggest bringing a reusable water bottle. As well as being kinder to the environment, reusable water bottles are much safer to drink from. Plastic bottles left inside cars can become toxic over time, so it’s best to avoid them. Also, you can buy reusable bottles that keep your water cool for hours – the perfect refreshment on a hot car ride.

Gum or mints

Did you know that chewing gum helps you to stay alert on the road? Keeping a pack of gum close by can help you to stave off boredom during a long leg of the journey. If gum isn’t your thing, mints are a good alternative.


Always bring a pair of shades on a long road trip. Don’t underestimate the power of the sun. It can be blinding during certain times of the day, impairing your vision on the road. It’s much safer and more comfortable to wear sunglasses during daylight.

Lip balm

During the winter months, lips are much more prone to chapping and cracking. Keep yours moisturised, supple and soft with lip balm. That goes for guys, too.

Warm clothes and a blanket

You can’t always predict the weather, so make sure to prepare for both sun and storms. Bring lots of cosy blankets and your favourite sweater to keep you toasty no matter how cold it is outside.


Your phone is your ultimate lifeline in any emergency. It allows you to contact the right people to assist you. It also has a built-in GPS system to help you find your way if you get lost. Don’t forget your charger either – a dead phone isn’t much use to anybody.

Healthy snacks and drinks

It’s easy to rely on convenience foods on a road trip. Service stations provide limited options, most of which aren’t particularly healthy. Try not to gorge on potato chips, doughnuts and soda. To feel your best, make some healthy food choices. Here are some ideas for lighter, more nutritious snacks:

  • apple slices
  • string Cheese
  • trail Mix
  • granola bars
  • beef jerky
  • juice packs.

Tech support

Thanks to 21st century technology, we no longer need to read confusing, oversized road maps to get from point A to B. You also don’t need to fork out change for the nearest payphone if you need to contact somebody. Make sure to take advantage of all the technology available to you so that your ride is as smooth as possible.  

Portable GPS or mounted smartphone holder

Getting lost in unfamiliar territory can be a scary experience. Thank goodness for GPS. Even if you don’t have a satnav, most smartphones have built in GPS technology. Just pop in your destination and let the technology do the work.

Personal hotspot

It’s not always easy to find reliable internet access on the road – especially in remote areas. Sure, you can use your cellular data, but sometimes signal is scarce. To be safe, consider investing in a hotspot device (often called MiFi).


Visit the app store and download some apps designed for road trips. Whether you’re running out of gas, stuck in traffic or in need of amenities, there’s an app to help you out. Just make sure not to use them while behind the wheel.

Cleaning supplies

You’ll probably be eating and drinking in your car, so be prepared for stains and spillages. To prevent your car from becoming dirty and smelly, bring some basic cleaning supplies and scrub as you go. Here are some handy products to remember:

Hand sanitiser

Hand sanitiser is a portable and practical solution to preventing disease. Travelling can expose you to lots of nasty germs so make sure to protect yourself and others around you by applying sanitiser regularly. 

Ziploc bags

Ziploc bags are always handy to have around. You can use them to preserve food, or even to store keepsakes that you collect on your road trip, e.g. sand or shells from a beautiful beach.

Wet wipes

Wet wipes are a must for any adventure. Whether you’re mopping up a spill or taking off your makeup, wipes have you covered.

Trash can/plastic bags

As a good driver and overall human being, please don’t throw your rubbish out the window. Instead, keep a mini bin in your car. Alternatively, attach some old plastic bags to the headrests and dispose of your garbage there. You can dump them in public trash cans along the way.

Air freshener

Odours can develop in your car after a long trip with multiple passengers. This is especially true if you’re sleeping in the vehicle. Bring some form of air freshener to keep your car smelling fresh and clean throughout.

Boredom fighters

There are only so many games of ‘I spy’ you can play without losing interest. Avoid any prolonged silence by bringing a supply of items to keep your passengers entertained while you focus on the road. We recommend:

  • colouring books
  • books and magazines
  • card games.

So that you don’t get bored behind the wheel, make a road trip playlist before leaving. You could also download some podcasts and audiobooks.

Expect the unexpected on your next road trip

Most drivers always have their license and registration close by, but have you thought to bring these emergency items along for the ride too?

  • Printed or paper map
  • Cash or coins for tolls
  • Pen and paper
  • List of important phone numbers
  • Emergency kit.

You can’t anticipate the future. Make sure your car is stocked up with the right things so that you’re prepared for any nasty surprises. Use our checklist and rest assured that you’ll be able to get out of any sticky situation.


If you’re looking for a high-quality used car for your next adventure, be sure to check out Motor Matcher’s range.

Here at Motor Matcher, we help people like you make informed decisions when buying and selling cars online. We offer a faster and simpler way of browsing and comparing both new and used cars from the comfort of your own home. Everything we do is modelled around providing customers with the right tools and empowering them with the right information. We provide a safe and secure marketplace for all car buyers and sellers to conduct business.

Check us out at and find your dream car today.