Everything you need for a cross-country road trip

From bestreviews.com
Lizzy Briskin

There are two states in the US that do not allow individuals to pump their own gas: Oregon and New Jersey.

A guide to road trip essentials

If you’re embarking on a cross-country road trip, there’s a lot to plan. Aside from your route and all of the interesting places you’ll stop along the way, you’ll also want to pack the car with a few must-have items.

From the right snacks to everything you need for added comfort along the way, use this guide to pack for your next road trip. That way, you’ll be able to focus on the beautiful scenery and adventure, not your rumbling belly or aching back.

Best snacks and drinks for a cross country road trip

The first rule of road tripping is to never pull out of the driveway without plenty of snacks. It’s no fun to be trapped in a car with a hangry passenger (or driver). These are some of the best portable and shelf-stable snacks to stash for your drive:

Well-rounded trail mix

The Dark Chocolate Medley Trail Mix from Second Nature is full of protein with a side of sweet flavor, thanks to a crunchy combination of toasted whole almonds, pecans, cashews and squares of dark chocolate. This is a great healthy snack to reach for to satisfy a sweet tooth without a sugar high and crash.

Healthy popcorn

Popcorn is a perfect road trip snack when you need something salty and crunchy but don’t want to be bogged down with added oils and sugar. Lesser Evil Himalayan Pink Salt popcorn is not only organic, it’s popped with coconut oil for a lighter touch.


Whether you’re a meat eater or not, you can find high-quality, flavorful jerky made from everything from beef to mushrooms. This is a great high-protein snack to keep in the car to ward off hunger. Louisville Vegan Jerky, made from soy protein, has a delicious BBQ flavor. If you prefer meat, Baja Beef Jerky is a lean, gluten-free snack that comes in six unique flavors, including Street Taco and Sweet Orange.

Caffeinated drinks

Stay alert at the wheel with ready-to-drink coffee on board. Super Coffee Espresso cans taste sweet and creamy but have no added sugar and 180 milligrams of caffeine per 6-ounce can. Plus, they come in delicious coffee house flavors like vanilla and caramel. This is the perfect petite can to reach for when you need a pick-me-up. If you prefer your caffeine with less of a punch, Remedy Organics makes a delicious ready-to-drink matcha latte that happens to have 12 grams of plant-based protein.

Hydrating drinks

With all that driving and caffeinating, don’t skimp on hydration. Make sure you get your fill of electrolytes to ensure you feel your best while driving. By keeping your reusable water bottle filled and stashing a tube of Nuun Sport Electrolyte Tablets in the car, you’ll always have a healthy dose of essential electrolytes like sodium, calcium and potassium on hand to keep you in tip-top shape.

Road trip comfort essentials

If you’re going to be in the car for hours at a time, do yourself a favor and try to make it as comfortable as possible, especially if you’re hoping to catch some Z’s while someone else takes over the wheel. Your back will thank you later!

Lumbar support for the car

Reinforce your car seat with added cushioning for your tush. The Aylio Socket Seat is designed to relieve stress on your lower back, hamstring and hips. It’s made from thick memory foam for full support of your tailbone and sit bones. Once you're out of the car, it travels easily to your desk or the kitchen table.

Neck support for the car

The headrest in your car certainly provides needed safety support, but it may not be the picture of comfort. Add a head pillow to support your neck and head on long rides. The Dreamer Car Neck Pillow is a soft memory foam cushion that attaches to your car headrest to relieve neck pain and improve posture.

Sleeping necessities

It can be hard to fall asleep in the car, but if you’re in for long days, you may need to catch up on some rest. To help make sleep come a little easier, pack a darkening eye mask. The Manta Sleep Mask has powerful light-blocking abilities and is easily adjustable to fit your face. If the road noise is too distracting, add a pair of reusable noise-reduction ear plugs, like these soft silicone plugs from Loop.

Hand wipes

Part of comfort is keeping things clean, and if you happen to eat a meal (or several) in the car along the way, you’ll be glad to have a supply of cleaning wipes on hand. Baby wipes, in particular, are gentle enough to use on your face and hands, but moist enough to keep your car clean too. Cottonelle FreshFeel Wet Wipes come in resealable pouches that prevent drying out. Tip: bring along a paper bag to stow any garbage.

Everything you need to not get lost on your cross-country road trip

Chances are, you’ll be driving in some totally new places on your cross-country road trip. To avoid getting lost, add these important products to your packing list.

A reliable GPS

In most cases, your GPS can be your smartphone. Whether you’re an Apple iPhone lover or more of a Samsung person, you can access helpful GPS apps like Google Maps to guide your journey. Just make sure you don’t run out of battery with a charger that plugs into your car outlet. This car charger from Syncwire is compatible with most iPhones and iPads. This one from Auskic is great for Google and Samsung phones.

A dash-mounted phone stand

For safe driving, you want to be able to see your GPS before you miss a turn. A dashboard phone stand keeps your directions easily accessible and hands-free. This phone holder from Miracase attaches to your car’s air vent and works with most Apple and Samsung phones.

Lizzy Briskin is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.

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