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Guest Post: South African Family Road Trip Essentials - Ultimate Packing Checklist

It's almost the Easter Holidays. Are you getting ready to explore the best of South Africa?

Guest Post: South African Family Road Trip Essentials - Ultimate Packing Checklist.

Preparing for a road trip takes a lot of time and planning. We often spend so much time searching for the best locations and planning the route that we can forget to pack the essentials.

And while there are plenty of places to stop off and grab small things like sunscreen and more snacks, it’s always best to try and leave the house with the important things to eliminate stress.

Whether you’re off to explore the stunning Winelands of the Western Cape or you’re on your way to the warmer KZN waters, a road trip is a brilliant way to explore SA and the surrounding countries.

So before you head off on your next family adventure, take a look at this road trip must-haves list and head off knowing you’re prepared.

Car And Personal Essentials Road Trip Packing List

Before you start packing bags and making padkos, make sure you have the important items and your car is in good condition.

Is Your Car Safe and Secure?

Since you’re going to be spending much of your time in your car, it’s best to first spend some time making sure that it’s safe to drive. Some things to consider:

● Has it been for a service? Keeping your car’s service history up to date will help ensure that there are no surprises while on the road.

● Are the tires still safe to drive? If they’re too smooth, it won’t be safe to drive on wet roads. So it’s best to change them before you leave if you haven’t done this in a while.

● Do you have insurance? This is always essential when using South African roads. But if you haven’t yet got cover, you can compare car insurance quotes online and find the best options for your family.

Spare Tyre, Navigation, and a Roadside Emergency Kit

Having items such as a spare tyre and the tools required for the job is often overlooked during the planning process. Some road trip necessities - such as a tyre iron, jumper cables, and roadside emergency kits with reflectors - will make a trip run smoothly regardless of unexpected emergency situations.

Your License, ID Document, and Passport

These items are also important things on your list, especially if you are planning a trip across the border. Make sure that these documents are easily accessible and not buried in the luggage. Waterproof document folders are easy to find and will keep all your papers and cards well organised.

What To Bring On A Road Trip - Personal Items

Packing for any travels is quite standard - clothes, toiletries, etc. But if you’re stuck in a car for a few hours a day, there are some more important things that can make everything go smoother. Here are some good ideas for things to bring on a road trip.

Smart Phone Charger and Adapter

Our phones have become a handy tool in emergency situations, making them an essential item when planning a road trip. We can use them for navigation, accessing our finances, and emergency outreach.

But, nothing is more disappointing than having your battery run low in the middle of nowhere. Luckily there are some cool gadgets that will make this a problem of the past. You will be able to find affordable solar chargers and power banks online. Always have your phone fully charged and ready to use in case of an emergency, or even just to take the perfect snapshot.

Snacks, Reusable Water Bottles, and a Cooler

Everyone knows that snacks are the crux of any good road trip and sometimes gas station eats are disappointing. So, stocking up on all your favourites is a great idea, especially if you may be going off the grid for a while.

Reusable water bottles aren't only good for the environment, but they are also very handy to have in the car. Have fresh water and cold drinks at any time while cutting down on wastage.

Keep your eats and drinks fresh and cool in an easy-to-access cooler. This will cut down on spending money on overpriced items along the way.

Travel Blankets, Pillows and Jackets

Getting stuck in cold and rainy weather is a possibility on any road trip. You may find yourself in a part of the country that has different weather patterns and you want to be prepared.

And if you’re traveling with young kids, making them comfy in the car can help create a more peaceful trip for everyone. Make sure that the items you bring along are waterproof and easy to clean off when packing for a road trip, especially if you are planning to stay off the grid.

Day Bag, Sunscreen, and a Powerbank

If you are planning a few hiking or exploring day trips throughout the trip, having a waterproof backpack is an essential item to have. How else will you be able to carry water bottles, snacks, and phones safely?

Having a small bag for each family member is a great way to teach responsibility and make sure no one is left to carry heavy stuff. Enough sunscreen and a power bank are also important items to remember. Especially if you plan on spending much time outdoors and taking photos of your trip.


Going on a road trip means that you may sometimes be without internet access. For times like these, board games, DVDs and books are essential. You can find a lot of unique and interesting games and books online.

Our Tip - Take some time to create a good playlist to play in the car, prior to your trip. Everyone can contribute to the list. This is a great way for the family to learn more about each other’s music interests.


Having cash handy during a road trip, having cash can be valuable. You may encounter tolls and small shops that don't have card facilities and having money on hand will save you a lot of hassle. Of course, you also want to be safe so don’t keep too much cash on you, and make sure it’s secured in a bag.

Safety Precautions - How To Pack For A Road Trip & Stay Safe

Sometimes we need to take extra precautions when travelling, even if it is just a cross-country trip. And if you are planning a road trip in the near future, there are some valuable items you are required to take along especially if you are thinking of visiting public spaces along the way.

● Masks

● Wet Wipes

● Hand Sanitizer

● Tissues

● Gloves (optional)

● Thermometer (optional)

● Vitamins and any prescribed medication

Final Thoughts on Your Road Trip Checklist

Going on a road trip is a great way to experience new and exciting places. But, whether it is in your own country or if you are planning on crossing the border, packing the correct items is essential to a successful trip. These small preparations could save time and tears.

Before you head off on your fun family getaway, simply go through a road trip essentials list and make sure you’ve packed all the important things. Once that’s done, you and the family are free to enjoy your time and explore the wide open road.

#roadtripessentials #roadtrippackinglist #travelblogger

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