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What to Pack for a Holiday Road Trip

What to Pack for a Holiday Road Trip

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Driving home for the holidays? You won’t want to forget any of these packing essentials for a holiday road trip this winter. Scroll down for all the info!
This holiday road trip essentials post was originally published November 25, 2019 and was updated November 14, 2022 and contains affiliate links which means if you purchase something from one of my affiliate links, I may earn a small commission that goes back into maintaining this blog.

Are you planning a holiday road trip this year? That’s exciting!

It’s the most magical time of year, and a road trip will only make that season even more merry and bright.

I mean, what a great excuse to crank the Christmas carols!

To be certain that you get there on time, there are things that you need to be sure to have in the car, during your travels. You don’t want to be caught being unprepared.

Holiday Road Trip packing list featured by top US travel blogger, Marcie in Mommyland

Here’s a look at things that you need to remember to pack this season, while on a holiday road trip.

How to Pack for a Holiday Road Trip

Don’t Forget the Ice scraper

If you’re headed to, or traveling through a wintery area, don’t be caught without an ice scraper.

Traveling with iced-over windows can be detrimental to the completion and enjoyment of your trip. Catch my drift?

Make sure every window of your vehicle is free from ice buildup before setting out.

A lot of people head to snowy and icy areas to experience a white Christmas, make sure you come prepared!


Emergency Kit

It’s never a bad idea to be prepared, so be sure to have a car emergency kit on board.

Emergency kits should include jumper cables, tire jack, roadside flares, antifreeze, extra blankets, two quarts of oil, car battery charger, towing strap, tool kit and first-aid supplies.

Being caught without an emergency kit can be dangerous. 


Spare Tire, Anyone?

Does your family vehicle not have a spare tire on board?

Just imagine getting stranded with a flat tire and not having a backup. Not only are you stuck, but you’re putting your family in a dangerous situation that you could have avoided.

Don’t Forget the Snow Tires

Are you planning on driving in the mountains with a good chance of snow? Consider putting on snow tires to help with traction.

Even if you’re simply going somewhere notorious for snow, a set of snow tires is not a bad way to go.

Heading into the mountains for a white Christmas will guarantee that you need snow tires!

Shovel, Just in Case!

If you slide off the road and get stuck in a bunch of snow, you won’t be going anywhere.

If this happens at a mile marker with no travelers, it might be hours before you are able to get pulled out. You never know when you’ll have to dig your way out of a snowy situation. 


Kitty Litter

If you slide off the road and have no traction to get back on the road, kitty litter has never been more helpful. It might even serve a greater purpose for rescuing stranded travelers than getting peed on.

Kitty litter provides the grit needed for your car’s wheels to catch any type of traction.


Gloves, Hats, and Scarves

If your vehicle breaks down in a winter wonderland, it’s going to get cold. And fast.

HINDAWI Winter Slouchy Beanie Gloves for Women Knit Hats Skull Caps Touch Screen

Make sure your entire family has the gloves, hats and scarves needed in case you have to set out on foot because there is no cell service.

You can even bring your favorite holiday themed warm winter wear.


Don’t Forget the Extra Cash

Having extra cash on hand isn’t a bad idea also.

Not only will you pay for gas and tolls this way, but you never know when a circumstance comes up that you need extra money.

You might even run into a holiday charity donation jar you want to give a couple bucks to. Last minute gift shopping may also be a possibility!

Bring Healthy Snacks With You!

Make sure that you stay away from the convenience stores that will rob you on snacks and treats that you can get at the grocery store for a fraction of the price.

Holiday Road Trip packing list featured by top US travel blogger, Marcie in Mommyland: Pack your own healthy lunch while pregnant

You can also get several healthier snacks this way and keep you from having to stop as often.

You’ll be enjoying plenty of unhealthy foods over the holidays, so bringing healthy snacks with you this time will be a good thing!


It would be a good idea to bring a cooler full of waters and drinks for your family.

Just be sure to keep an eye on how much liquid your children are drinking, so that you don’t have to stop every half hour.


Necessary Medicine

Don’t forget the pain-reliever, allergy medicine or any other prescriptions a family member may be on.

Little baby brother crying at the top of his lungs can even give momma a headache. 

Don’t Forget the Kleenex

Have you ever been in the car with a running nose and had no form of tissue in sight? Talk about miserable and avoidable.

Be sure to have a travel size pack of Kleenex to blow your nose.


Yes, Entertainment is Necessary

Whether you have an iPad, iPhone or i-whatever, be sure to have some movies or shows ready on it for the kids. Also be sure to have a full battery when you head off.

Have your children pack extra toys or figurines to keep them busy. This is so that you don’t hear “I’m bored” or “when are we going to get there” more often than necessary.


Charger Cables

Make sure you have charger cables for all your devices and phones to keep the entertainment going throughout the trip.

Holiday Movies Galore

Another great festive idea, is to have holiday movies playing in the backseat. Elf, The Santa Clause, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer are just to name a few classics.

Blankets and Pillows

You can’t be totally prepared for a holiday road trip without your pillow and blanket.

At some point your eyes are going to be so heavy from boredom that you can’t stay awake. Make sure that you’re more comfortable with your pillow and blanket.


Bring an Atlas With You!

Even if you and the horse knows the way to grandmother’s house, you never know what roadblocks you might come across.

You won’t want to be stranded if your phone dies or your lose cell reception.

Be sure to have an updated GPS or atlas on hand to keep you from getting lost.


Holiday Tunes Playlist

Some time beforehand, get an iTunes playlist set up that your whole family will enjoy.

Not only will this help pass the time quicker, but keeps the driver more alert while their jamming with the family. We love singing holiday songs in the car, during road trips!

Chewing Gum

Not only will chewing gum help with bad breath, but it will help keep your children busy.

Sometimes kids just need a little something to do to keep them busy and occupied.


These are several things that you need to be sure to pack, when heading out on a holiday road trip this year.

If you’re a pro at traveling on a road trip during the holidays, tell us other things to include while packing, that might not have made this list.

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Thursday 16th of January 2020

Hello Marcie, In USA, I am going to road trip usually in 2-3 months with my boyfriend. It was an amazing experience. The list of things for road trip is perfect. Thank You.


Monday 6th of July 2020

I hope you have a great trip!

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