Going on a road trip is basically a summer tradition for me and my family. Over the years, I've travelled various distances in the car both inside and outside of the US. I have compiled a brief list of some of the items that have been essential for my family on each one of our trips.

1. A Downloaded Playlist.

This is arguably THE most essential component of this list. Whether it be a playlist of top hits, classic jams, throwback tunes, or summer songs, having music to blast in the car can make the time during your trip pass by faster. Downloading the playlist is also important because you don't want to have to worry about losing service or using all of your data streaming. Be careful who you let download the playlist for the trip though because you could end up listening to Taylor Swift's new songs on repeat.

2. Reusable Water Bottle. 

While it is far more convenient to bring a case of single-use plastic bottles in the car for your road trip, that is definitely not environmentally conscious and it can be expensive. Having a reusable water bottle lets you bring your favorite drink and ensures that you always have something to keep you hydrated on the road. Plus, it can simultaneously save you money and help save the planet. For example, when you get to the hotel or place you're staying, you already have a bottle to fill and you don't have to use the $10 plastic one the hotel provides.

3. Snacks. 

You do NOT want to be stuck in a car while you're hungry. You also do not want to have to spend money on mediocre gas station snacks or fast food, so make sure you pack your cooler and snacks before hitting the road.

4. Blanket

This is geared more toward the passengers of the car rather than the driver, but bringing a blanket is a quintessential part of taking your road trip nap or staying warm when your family blasts the air-conditioning.

5. Chargers.  

When driving in the car with multiple people, the more chargers you have the better off you'll be. Listening to music, using the GPS, and everything else you do on your phone will take up a lot of battery.

6. Headphones.

Sometimes after spending multiple hours in the car with the same three people you just want a little space or time to yourself. Since that isn't physically possible, having some great noise-cancelling headphones can provide that illusion and give you a quick break.

7. Trash Bags. 

No one wants their car to look like the local dump once the road trip comes to an end. Having a trash bag in the car during the trip designates a spot for collection and definitely makes clean-up easier at the end.

8. Sunglasses.  

Having the sun in your eyes while you're driving or sitting in the car is not fun (AT ALL), so make sure you pack a good pair of sunglasses.

9. Cash. 

Toll roads, the menace of road trips. If you don't have an EZ pass for tolls, having small bills and coins on hand is essential to getting through the tolls without a problem. Plus, having cash on hand is also convenient if you want to stop to get gas or have something to eat.