With the rising price of airline tickets, more people are hitting the roads for vacations, which isn’t a bad thing. Although gas prices are up as well, road trips are often the more thrifty vacation choice — and there is so much to do and see on the way to a destination. Nothing is better than a summer road trip and stopping at all the state signs to take a picture of the driving progress you have made.

If you are planning a road trip any time soon, then it is very important to make sure you have your car packed and ready to go. Here are 10 road trip essentials. Read now and thank us later.

what to bring on a road trip

1. GPS and Atlas
It is a road trip, so most importantly you need to know how to navigate the roads. A GPS can usually take you anywhere you need to be, but you may run into situations where having a good-old road atlas will prove helpful. I highly recommend you take both.

2. Good Tunes
Mix CDs or new iPod playlists are essential for a trip on the road. Windows down and jams up is the way to go!

3. Cooler of Food
Packing a cooler full of food, snacks, and drinks will save you a lot of money that you would probably spend at gas stations and unhealthy drive-through restaurants. Of course, it is nice to stop and eat sometimes, but you can at least pack some lunches and snacks.

4. Reading Sunglasses
Are you sharing the driving time with someone else? A pair of reading sunglasses would be great for reducing glare and protecting your eyes from the sun (especially on a long drive), and would also be helpful when you are in the passenger seat reading a good book!

5. Books
Did I mention books? You will have lots of time in the car, so don’t forget to pack some books, magazines, or your e-reader.

6. Camera
Preserve memories by taking photos along the way.

7. Car Maintenance Products
You will want to make sure your car is in tip-top shape before heading on your journey, but you should also be prepared with a spare tire, extra fluids, and maybe even some light bulbs — just in case. Also, be sure to give a spare set of keys to someone else in the car in case you lose yours or lock them in the car. Having AAA, OnStar, or some type of road side assistance could be a lifesaver on a road trip.

8. Blankets and Pillows
Let’s face it, the car gets really uncomfortable after a while.

9. Cleaning Supplies
Some type of wipes, a roll of paper towels, and a good Tide pen will serve you well on a road trip, especially if you will be eating in the car. You might also want to keep your toiletries bag handy for easy access at rest stops.

10. First Aid Kit
Safety is first! Be safe on the road. Be sure to include any prescription medications  you need and your health insurance card.

I know I said that this would only be a list of 10 essential road trip items, but I feel like I need to sneak one more in and that is… a smile! Good luck exploring the infinite abyss (10 points if you can name the movie reference).