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20 Road trip essentials: What to pack on a road trip

With endless kilometres of beautiful nature and rememberable country towns, caravanning in Australia continues in high gear. And if you’re looking for a place with a diversity of places and experiences to offer, caravanning in Western Australia ticks all the right boxes.

Whether you’re looking to enjoy stunning scenery on land or by the sea, you’re sure to enjoy a road trip adventure with the whole family in WA.

You can start with Perth and head to Broome, or go on an adventure in Karijini National Park near Tom Price. You might also want to focus on the Indian Ocean Drive route and take detours to various other places along the way, like Cervantes, Jurien Bay, Green Head, Leeman, and the twin towns Dongara and Port Denison.

Aside from planning your route, you should also know what to pack on a road trip. By preparing your packing list for a road trip, you’ll be ready for the adventures that lay ahead. Also, knowing what to bring on a road trip means you’ll have all the food, water, clothes, and gear you need to have a fun and stress-free adventure.

So if you’re making preparations for your road trip in Western Australia, pack the following road trip essentials.

Essential gear and documents to take on a road trip

Man changing tyre on road trip

Everything in this category is non-negotiable — you need to have these with you whenever you’re embarking on a long drive.

1. Car manual

No matter how thoroughly you stay on top of vehicle care and maintenance, it’s possible for something to malfunction or stop working out of the blue. When this happens, you’ll need your car manual to troubleshoot the issue, whether it’s a malfunctioning light or windshield wiper.

2. Spare tyres

Besides conducting a tyre check before you go, don’t omit a spare tyre or two from your road trip checklist. This includes both tyres for your towing vehicle and your caravan (if you have one in tow).

3. Roadside emergency kit

Another one of the top things to bring on a road trip is your roadside emergency kit. It could be your saving grace if you get a flat tyre, get into an accident, or lose your way. A basic roadside emergency kit should contain the following:

  • Rescue knife or Swiss Army knife
  • Two light sticks or bright flashlights with spare batteries
  • Tyre pressure gauge
  • Battery booster cables
  • Jumper cables
  • Heavy-duty work gloves
  • Basic toolkit
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Mini duct tape
  • Permanent markers
  • Emergency blanket
  • Umbrella
  • Waterproof poncho, reflective vest, or jacket
  • Warning triangle
  • Whistle
  • Window breaker

Road trip navigation and communication tools

Road trip map of Australia with small yellow toy car.

If you’re going to a place for the first time or you have a long itinerary planned, it’s crucial to have the right navigation and communication gear on your car trip checklist.

4. Paper maps

Sure, you may have GPS or Google Maps and other similar apps. However, these are not 100% reliable, especially in places with a weak to non-existent signal. If you want detailed downloadable maps which you can use offline, use something like the app.

5. Compass

Even if you’re not going on an ocean voyage, a compass is still a useful navigation tool in case you lose your way.

6. Cell phones, phone chargers, USB cords, and power banks

Cell phones are useful for not only communication and navigation but also for information and entertainment. However, never operate yours while driving. Instead, take your wireless hands-free or Bluetooth kit with you so you can take important calls. Better yet, park your vehicle if you’re on a long call.

7. Portable Wi-Fi

A portable Wi-Fi device can come in handy if you need to stay connected to the outside world but don’t have cell service where you are.

8. CB radio

An ultra-high-frequency citizen band (UHF CB) radio is useful if you’re planning to head into the bushland or remote Australian outback where cell service tends to be weak.

Personal and medical supplies to take on a road trip

First aid kit essentials for road trip on wooden bench.

Aside from the above, on your packing list for a road trip, you’ll also need some personal items and medical supplies to keep you covered while on the road. 

9. Cash and cards

You’ll need your bank and credit cards in places that accept these. However, always bring cash with you, as you might need it in some remote or cash-only facilities.

10. Medical first aid kit

Accidents or other mishaps can happen while you’re on a long drive, so it makes sense to be prepared with a medical first aid kit containing some or all of the items below.

  • Alcohol, antibacterial spray, or liquid
  • Bug spray
  • Cleaning wipes
  • Conforming cotton bandage
  • Cotton balls
  • Crepe bandage
  • Dressing combination pad
  • Emergency rescue blanket (for hypothermia or shock)
  • Fabric or plastic bandages
  • Gauze pieces in different lengths
  • Hypoallergenic adhesive tape
  • Injury dressing or pad
  • Instant ice pack (for bug bites)
  • Instruction or guide on providing basic first aid, including CPR
  • Notebook and pen
  • Personal prescriptions, medications, and other items (e.g., inhalers, EpiPen, etc.)
  • Safety pins
  • Scissors and tweezers

11. Personal care kit

Stock up on toiletries and other personal care products. These include your toothbrush, toothpaste, sunscreen, wet wipes, hand sanitiser, lip balm, comb or hairbrush, tweezers, hairpins, ties, and scrunchies. Also, bring lots of toilet paper and feminine hygiene products.

12. Comfort kit

You’ll also need to take those items that’ll help you enjoy a comfortable and fun ride, such as your sunglasses, blankets (to keep you warm this winter), pillows, eating utensils and travel mugs, reusable water bottles, car window shade, reusable bags, breath mints, and sling bags.

13. Clothes, headgear, and footwear

Take several changes of clean clothes with you, as well as hats or caps and various types of footwear appropriate to the weather and places in your itinerary. Bring swimwear and towels, too, in case you plan on going swimming.

14. Medium and large water bottles

Other than your main drinking water supply, take a couple of portable drinking bottles filled with water. These will come in handy in case you need to go on a hike or are stranded.

Road trip entertainment and media kit

Kids using phones and tablets in back seat on WA road trip.

Put together an entertainment kit that’s sure to keep you relaxed and entertained along the way. If you’re going on a road trip with kids, this is even more essential.

15. Road trip playlist

Create a road trip playlist comprising classics and all-time favourites you and your party can sing along to as you continue your road adventure.

16. Camera and USB chargers

Capture fabulous views and once-in-a-lifetime experiences on camera using photos and videos. You’ll enjoy these mementoes for years to come.

17. Books, magazines, and board games

Chill with your family over some reading materials and board games as you take it easy on your first day at a Western Australia caravan park.

Road trip miscellaneous items

Man and woman sitting on back of car with road trip essential items.

Depending on how far your journey is, you’ll also need to bring the following:

18. Garbage bags

These are great for storing soiled clothes aside from your refuse.

19. Food and snacks

Although you’ll surely be eating at some local restaurants wherever you go, there’s no harm in bringing some food supplies like bread, canned tuna, and instant noodles. Also, bring along your favourite and healthy road trip snacks like granola bars, crackers, dried fruit, and nuts.

20. Cooler

Quench your thirst with your favourite cold drinks by putting these in a car cooler. You can also keep your homemade sandwiches here, as well as other perishable food items.

Time to tackle the open road

So, now you know what to take on a road trip, are you raring to go on your Western Australia adventure?

You know you’re ready when you have the above supplies loaded in your vehicle.

If you are needing to park your caravan while on your road trip adventure, Summerstar Tourist Parks have family-friendly accommodation available across Western Australia.

Happy road tripping!

Frequently asked questions

  • What documents should I bring for a road trip in Western Australia?

    You should always bring your car manual with you, as well as spare tyres, and a roadside emergency kit. These items will be very useful in case of a malfunction or accident.

  • What navigation and communication gear should I bring on a road trip in Western Australia?

    In addition to GPS and Google Maps, you should also bring paper maps, a compass, cell phones, phone chargers, USB cords, and power banks. If you're going off-road or into remote areas, you should consider bringing a portable Wi-Fi device and a UHF CB radio.

  • What personal and medical supplies should I bring on a road trip in Western Australia?

    Some personal items and medical supplies you should bring include cash and cards, a medical first aid kit, toiletries, personal care items, and comfortable clothing and footwear. You should also bring a medium and large water bottle, as well as some garbage bags, food, and snacks.

2 September 2021

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