Everything you need for a cross country road trip

Travel Essentials

It takes about 45 hours, or six 8-hour days, to drive from the east coast to the west coast of America.

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Which items do you need for a cross country road trip?

Adventure is good for the soul. A cross country road trip can provide a needed escape as well as a life-changing experience. The earth is wide and provides many urban and natural wonders waiting to be explored. When embarking on a cross-country road trip, consider various packing methods, the time it will take to plan and travel, tolls, and other necessities for the best road trip experience. 

What to consider before going on a cross country road trip 

Packing 

When packing for a cross country road trip, be strategic and organized. The more organized you are when packing, the easier it will be to find items you may need while traveling. In addition, the more storage space utilized efficiently, the easier it will be for necessary items to fit into your vehicle. Make sure to leave room to sleep and purchase items that fit in spaces already portioned off, such as a console and glove box. To save time, those planning to leave for a cross country road trip should list everything they need to purchase and check to make the road trip go smoothly. On the other hand, travelers can save money by borrowing items from friends and family rather than purchasing new items for a one-time trip. Some household items also work well for on-the-go use. 

Time management 

Before leaving for a cross country road trip, utilize google spreadsheets and roughly map out where you would like to have arrived by specific dates and times. You should not plan out your entire road trip and leave room for spontaneity while efficiently using your time. Planning to stop at certain places and charting goals of where you would like to be at a certain time will help acquire a greater road trip experience and keep you safer. 

Tolls

When embarking on a cross country road trip, plan ahead for where you will hit toll roads and how much each toll will be. For more efficient use of time rather than scrambling at the last minute, you can put aside a bag of quarters before you leave for your journey so that the toll payment is readily available when you come nearby. Some tolls are more expensive than others. Before setting off on a journey, type your road trip route into a toll calculator online to see how much you will have to spend on tolls along the way and put that money in a compact item to store in your vehicle when needed. 

How much you can expect to spend on a cross country road trip

The cost of a cross country road trip depends on the items you need to purchase, how far you travel and how many people you are traveling with. Gas prices can vary depending on how far you drive, and emergency repairs can add to the total cost. Where you sleep and eat can also affect the total cost of the trip. When planning a cross country road trip, consider anywhere from $2,000-$3000 for a total of all items and emergencies. 

Cross country road trip tips

  • Those leaving for a cross country road trip should make sure that they have spare keys in case one pair goes missing. 
  • If the phone or GPS battery dies, it is good to have a map as a backup to avoid getting stranded in a foreign location.  
  • If you plan to travel to national parks while on your cross country road trip, you will need to look into purchasing a year-long pass before entering any of the parks. 
  • Pack extra toilet paper for messes or emergencies. Frequently, there are no bathrooms for miles when traveling the American West. 
  • Make a long road trip playlist in advance that can play offline. The car radio will not work in places that lack service when traveling. 
  • Use websites that calculate gas and toll prices along the way for a better estimation of prices. 
  • Pack food in an insulated cooler to make easy meals on the road and save time and money. 

Cross country road trip FAQ

What car parts do I need to check before I leave for a cross country road trip? 

A. Before embarking on a cross country road trip, make sure to check your oil and cooling system, lights, brakes, wipers, and tires. If all of these items pass inspection, your car will operate more smoothly regardless of the miles that you plan to travel. 

What legal documents should I bring with me on a cross country road trip? 

A. Before heading out on a cross country road trip, be sure to have an up-to-date insurance card, a valid driver’s license, and vehicle registration with you in case of emergencies. You will need this if you get pulled over by a cop or experience roadside issues. These can be kept in your glove compartment and should be locked in. 

What are the products to buy for a cross country road trip?

Wacaco Nanopresso Portable Espresso Maker

Wacaco Nanopresso Portable Espresso Maker 

This portable coffee machine provides that perfect shot of espresso on the go. The only things needed are the machine and ground coffee. It is simply constructed and organized for a mess-free cup of coffee to enjoy anywhere. No battery or electricity is needed, and it can be operated manually. Also, it is made from durable EVA material and soft fabric interior lining. Finally, it is specially designed to work without any added accessories that are completely separate to clean.

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Lusso Gear Heavy Duty Seat Car Organizer

Lusso Gear Heavy Duty Seat Car Organizer

This car seat organizer is made with strong and durable material that will last you a long time. It has multiple pockets and compartments for storing various-sized objects. Not only does it organize and store objects effectively, but this product also protects your items from spills and other messes that can occur in the car. It can hold items varying from iPads or books to wipes or water bottles.

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Lebogner Insulated Car Console Organizer Cooler

Lebogner Insulated Car Console Organizer Cooler

This insulated car console organizer is heavily insulated to keep food items cold on your road trip. It features easy-to-clean lining and has a large storage section to separate foods that need to be kept cold from neutral temperature items. It also features three outside mesh pockets and a durable zipper cover to keep contents cool and temperature regulated.

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BougeRV Rooftop Cargo Carrier Bag

BougeRV Rooftop Cargo Carrier Bag

This cargo carrier is non-slip and is scratch-resistant. It is made of rainproof polyester material and features waterproof zippers and a rain flap. It is able to fit two medium suitcases, one cooler, two camping tents, and sleeping accessories.

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AlltroLite Lifesaver Emergency Car LED Flashlight

AlltroLite Lifesaver Emergency Car LED Flashlight

This LED flashlight provides extreme brightness when it is needed most. This item can serve as a red slate light as well as a strobe light to capture attention during emergencies while on the road. It can last for up to 14 hours continuously and shines up to 16 feet. This flashlight is also a seat belt cutter and a glass window breaker in case of emergency. Aside from the emergency features, it contains a compass that could help when a direction is needed.

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Protect Life 200-Piece First Aid Kit

Protect Life 200-Piece First Aid Kit

This first aid kit can be used to address a wide range of injuries when on the road. It features the perfect selection of first aid and essential preparedness items that are most often needed in times of crisis. The bag itself is durable and organized. In addition, it is compact and doesn’t take up much space.

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Norshire Mini Tire Inflator

Norshire Mini Tire Inflator 

This tire inflator is very compact and helps extend the recommended life of your car tires on long road trips. This will provide a more comfortable ride experience and improve fuel efficiency. It is a multipurpose compressor that can also be used around the house.

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Wey and Fly SUV Air Mattress

Wey and Fly SUV Air Mattress 

This air mattress features thick double sizes flocking for insulation and requires a short, simple set-up. It is made with cold-resistant and breathable double-sided surface layer polymer, a polymer corduroy bed surface. What’s more, this mattress is suede dense, soft to the touch, environmentally safe, and made out of non-toxic and odorless materials. Finally, it’s stable against pressure and shock.

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Noco Boost Plus Jump Starter Box

Noco Boost Plus Jump Starter Box

This jump-start box allows users to safely jump-start a dead battery in seconds and features up to 20 jump starts on a single charge. This item is safe and easy to use without the worry of incorrect connections or sparks. It connects to any 12-volt automotive car battery with a mistake-proof design featuring spark-proof technology and reverse polarity protection.

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Bestrix Phone Holder

Bestrix Phone Holder

This item allows for full rotation of your phone display and features an adjustable arm for convenience. Additionally, it will not block the driver’s view of the road and will make for a safer travel experience. It will not cause damage to your car and is fastened with a suction cup. This item comes in multiple colors to match the interior of your car.

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KM Motors Foldable Car Garbage Can

KM Motors Foldable Car Garbage Can

This item helps you stay organized while on a road trip and provides a central location to store your trash. There is a plastic board on the bottom so that the contents of the trash do not leak onto or stain the floor of your car. It can be slung around the gear shift or console box for stability and compact so that it won’t take up too much storage space.

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Logan DeLoye writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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