www.iamcalgary.ca IAmCalgary Road Trip Essentials

Derek’s Road Trip Essentials Checklist

We sure do love a good road trip.  Check out our most recent road trip stories here.  We also love leaving some space for spontaneity during our journey, sometimes not even booking accommodation ahead of time and trying to figure it out when we get there.  None the less, there are always a few key items we inevitably leave behind at home.  With just a little prompt and reminder we could’ve alleviated some unnecessary expenses or frustration.  Here’s a cheat sheet we’ve compiled and used over the years that we hope will be of help to you before you lock the front door and bundle into your vehicle for your impromptu escape.

“Because the greatest part of a road trip isn’t arriving at your destination. It’s all the wild stuff that happens along the way.”

Emma Chase
www.iamcalgary.ca IAmCalgary Road Trip Essentials
Winter driving in southern Alberta
www.iamcalgary.ca IAmCalgary Road Trip Essentials
Heading for the mountains

Road Trip Essentials Checklist

🔲 Car service / inspection
🔲 Updated car insurance, license and registration
🔲 Car owner’s manual
🔲 Inspect and inflate spare tire
🔲 Winter tires (may be mandatory along your route / at destination)
🔲 Windshield washer fluid
🔲 Wiper blades in good order
🔲 Spare car keys
🔲 Emergency car kit
🔲 UV window shade
🔲 Mini garbage bags
🔲 Valid driver’s license
🔲 Passports
🔲 Pre-downloaded destination maps (for off-line navigation) or paper maps
🔲 Sunglasses

🔲 Toiletries
🔲 Prescription medication
🔲 Personal hygiene products
🔲 Hair brush and hair ties
🔲 Sanitary wipes

🔲 Snacks
Seasoning sachets (salt, pepper, sugar)
🔲 Wine & corkscrew 
🔲 Disposable cutlery (spoon, knife, fork, spork)
🔲 Travel cooler box

🔲 Travel mugs
🔲 Water bottles
🔲 Travel games
🔲 Books to read
🔲 Device chargers & adapters
🔲 Journal (electronic or old school)
🔲 Notebook
🔲 Pen / pencil
🔲 Audiobooks / podcasts
🔲 Pillow
🔲 Blanket
🔲 Hat
🔲 Day pack (10-20 litre capacity)
🔲 Mints / gum
🔲 Camera gear
🔲 Additional memory cards
🔲 Binoculars 
🔲 Interpretive guides: bird watching, geology, trees, wild animals, insects, etc.
🔲 Sunscreen
🔲 Lip balm
🔲 Sealable (Ziploc) bags for collecting samples (sand, rocks), left-over food storage, etc.
🔲 Paper towel
🔲 Tissues
🔲 Toilet paper
🔲 Hand sanitizer
🔲 Flash light
🔲 Re-usable shopping bags
🔲 Pen knife
🔲 Matches / lighter 
🔲 Gift cards (for meals, snacks, movies, etc. may come in handy to save some cash)
🔲 Cycling: pump, locks, puncture repair kit, cycle computer, water bottle, helmet
🔲 Kayaking: paddles, waterproof bag, personal flotation device
🔲 Hiking: boots, trekking poles, day pack
🔲 Skiing

🔲 Roof racks
🔲 Bungee cords
🔲 Tie downs
🔲 Bear spray
🔲 Whistle
🔲 Permits
🔲 Picnic blanket
🔲 Swim gear
🔲 Towels 
🔲 Water shoes
🔲 Shovel
🔲 Axe / hatchet
🔲 Insect repellant
🔲 Umbrella
🔲 Multi-tool
🔲 Notify neighbours / family of your travel plans
🔲 Ensure your pets are taken care of
🔲 Water indoor pot plants
🔲 Lock away valuables
🔲 Disconnect appliances
🔲 Flush and shut off toilet water valves
🔲 Back-up mobile devices
🔲 Ensure gas / smoke detectors are tested and operational
🔲 Dispose of perishables
🔲 Empty garbage
🔲 Close windows
🔲 Set home security alarm

“I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I intended to be.”

Douglas Adams
www.iamcalgary.ca IAmCalgary Road Trip Essentials
Heading for the mountains on a kayaking road trip
www.iamcalgary.ca IAmCalgary Road Trip Essentials
Camper van road tripping in California

Please comment and leave your road trip stories, destinations or any checklist essentials that I might have overlooked!


  • Union Alarm

    2 May, 2019

    I just love what he had done with his van because it used to be my favorite show from when I was a kid. I think I will try making a customized van like this for myself in a few years.


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