Top Tips for Packing for a USA Road Trip

Packing a car ahead of a journey builds the anticipation and excitement for your adventure. From emergency contingencies to day-to-day essentials, we can tell you exactly what to bring on a road trip. Read our top tips below.


Whether you like to pack light or make the most of your luggage allowance, driving across a large country such as the United States requires careful planning. With thousands of journeys behind us, we’ve compiled a handy list to tell you exactly what to bring on a road trip so you’re ready for anything.


The day bag

Ah, the day bag. The right-hand friend. The go-to pal. You’ll find yourself turning to this more often than your fellow travellers during your trip. We joke, of course, but the day bag is certainly an important passenger in your cargo. Save time on rummaging and be ready for any event with these essentials:

Wet wipes

For messy street-side hot dogs, clearing windscreens and post-exploration clean-ups.

Food and water

Even if you’re passing eateries, remember trading hours vary across the country. It’s always a good idea to keep a few snacks and fluids in the car.


You really can’t underestimate the joy of cold water in the heat, or the warmth of soup in the winter months.

Sunscreen, bug repellent and medications

Sunburn and bug bites can prove irritating distractions from your dream holiday. So keep yourself safe with precautionary measures, and bring remedies just in case.

Picnic blanket

One part party-starter, one part improvised duvet – the picnic blanket is an essential item for any road trip.


Useful tech

Keep the good times (and phone lines) rolling with these handy gadgets.

GPS or smartphone mount

Making your way around new roads is always easier with a good navigator. You can also opt to add a Garmin Nuvi® GPS unit to any Alamo rental, which can direct you to nearby hotels, top attractions, ATMs and restaurants. That way no one gets the blame for an inexplicable detour just when everything seemed on course.

Power inverter or USB car charger

A car power inverter is a handy device that converts the DC voltage from the car into the AC voltage needed to power most devices – perfect if you’re travelling with a laptop or any other more demanding tech. Alternatively, all Alamo rental cars have a USB port which can power any regular USB car charger.

Head torch

In the case of emergencies or night-time toilet breaks, a head torch is an invaluable companion.


Emergency items

Because every good Scout and Lion King fan knows the mantra: be prepared!

First aid kit

A basic first aid kit should contain a variety of plasters, sterile gauze dressings, bandages, safety pins, tweezers, scissors, alcohol-free cleansing wipes, sticky tape, a digital thermometer, skin rash cream, antiseptic cream, painkillers, cough medicine, antihistamine and distilled water. A basic first aid manual is also a good idea.

Emergency cover

Some people like to travel with jump cables, car jacks and other gear in case of a breakdown. When you rent a car with Alamo, you have free breakdown assistance with every rental in the USA and Canada. With our Roadside Plus package, we’ll also change any flat tyres and deliver you fuel if you run out for no extra cost.

Road atlas

Even in the age of smartphones and GPS, it can pay to be safe and bring a paper map too.



Wave goodbye to backseat squabbles.


A lightweight tablet is a great idea to keep the whole car entertained with movies, music and social media. You can also choose to add one to your Alamo rental.

Bluetooth speaker with a USB charging point

Save the endless song requests from the back seat and let the whole car control the music.

Digital camera

For those shots that a phone won’t do justice, a good digital camera is a must. It also helps to save on phone battery drain and storage space.



Turn your rental into a cosy sanctuary with all the comforts of home.

Window shields and travel pillows

Screen out harsh sunlight with window shields and sleep easy with good quality travel pillows.

Waterproof shoes and raincoats

Because you never know when the heavens will open – or where the next laundromat is.

Child seats and their favourite toy/blanket

You can add car seats for all ages to any Alamo rental, but little ones will rest much easier in a familiar setting. Bring along their favourite toy or blanket to make them feel at home in a new car.

If you're ready to start your next adventure, hire a car with Alamo today!

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