What to take with you when traveling by car

What to take with you when traveling by car

You have planned everything: bought air tickets, booked a hotel room (or maybe even several),

purchased insurance and rented a car via the Internet. Your suitcases are packed, everything you need is in place, you’re ready to go! But just in case, let’s go through the list of things that you definitely need to have with you if you plan to travel by car.


We won’t remind you about passports and insurance, but we need to talk about a driver’s license separately.
First, check the expiration date of your rights. It must be at least 1 year old, otherwise difficulties may arise at the car pick-up point. And they certainly won’t give you a car with an expired or temporary license.

Next, search the Internet to see if your Russian license is suitable for driving a car in the country you are traveling to. The fact is that Russian licenses are accepted only in countries that signed the Vienna Convention on Road Traffic in 1968. Others require an international driver’s license (IDP) – a light blue booklet in which all the driver’s information is described in eight languages. This is essentially a certified translation of your driver’s license, signed and stamped.

You can get an IDP at any traffic police department in your city, it will take from 20 minutes to an hour, the finished document will be handed out on the same day. The validity period of the IDP is 3 years.

Smartphone, navigator, chargers

What to take with you when traveling by car

Photo: @deffyall

At a car rental office, you will probably be offered to rent a navigator or pay for the use of the one already installed in the car. Save money: take your navigator from home or simply download the appropriate program to your phone. And don’t forget to download maps of the required areas in advance, even in Russia, so that the device works without the Internet.

It is also important not to forget chargers that connect to the cigarette lighter or have a USB connector.

It might also be worth taking a dash cam, especially if it makes you feel more confident behind the wheel. Just keep in mind that in some European countries, for example, in Germany, Austria and Sweden, using a DVR is not recommended – it’s not exactly illegal, but it’s not encouraged.

Cash and credit card with sufficient limit

If you rent a car, you probably already know that you will need a credit card with a fairly large limit. The fact is that when renting, the rental office will block a deposit on the account, which is at least 1000 euros, but in any case several times higher than the cost of renting the car itself. And this amount will be released only after you return the car (and sometimes this takes several days). So make sure to take a credit card with a limit of at least 2000-3000 euros.

It’s a good idea to have cash with you, and a small denomination, especially if you plan to use toll roads or stop at gas stations. This way you will avoid unnecessary difficulties if the card machine turns out to be inoperative or the terminal temporarily has no connection with the bank.

Discs with music or a cord to connect a smartphone to the radio

What to take with you when traveling by car

Photo: @benceboros

If the journey is long, it’s easy to get bored on the road. Of course, almost all rental cars have a radio installed, but it’s not a guarantee that you will find a radio station to your liking, and if you plan to travel to remote cities, the choice may be reduced to one or two options. So it’s best to take your music with you. And since it is difficult to predict whether the issued car will have a disc reader, it is better to take both discs and a smartphone with downloaded music. If you have a portable speaker, great – take it, and all issues will be resolved immediately.

Water and food + small cooler bag

Clean bottled water should always be in your bag – you can use it to quench your thirst and wash your hands. Sandwiches, vegetables, fruits or some snacks will not be superfluous. And if possible, bring a small bag to keep the cold out. It is not necessary to take a full-fledged car refrigerator; bags with walls lined with special foil are often enough so that food does not spoil during a few hours of travel.

First Aid Kit

Surely you will take it with you on your trip anyway, but a reminder will not be superfluous. Be sure to take an anesthetic, an antipyretic, a sorbent drug, an antihistamine, as well as a motion sickness remedy, wet wipes, local disinfectants, bandages and plasters. If you or any of the passengers are taking specific medications, it is also important not to forget them: it may be difficult or even impossible to buy them on the spot.

Optional items that will make travel more convenient

What to take with you when traveling by car

Photo: @brina_blum

Traveling by car will become incomparably more convenient if you take comfortable clothes and shoes with you, for example, a soft tracksuit and sneakers. Small pillows and blankets for passengers are also useful, especially if you are traveling with children.

If you are traveling to a hot sunny country, stock up on a special windshield cover in advance, which is installed during parking. It is made of material with a reflective surface, thanks to which the car heats up less.

What else should be in the car

When you rent a car, check if these items are in the trunk:

  • Fire extinguisher
  • Rope
  • Warning triangle
  • Spare tire

Checklist for the trip

1. Driver’s license (international if necessary)
2. Credit card with a large limit
3. Cash, preferably in small bills and coins
4. Navigator or phone with loaded maps
5.Chargers for all necessary gadgets + cigarette lighter adapter
6. Music discs, a cable for connecting a smartphone to a car radio or a portable speaker
7. Bottled water
8. Snack food
9. Comfortable clothes, a blanket, a pillow – not necessary, but will make the trip more comfortable
10. Anti-motion sickness tablets + small first aid kit (painkiller, antipyretic, sorbent)
11. Wet wipes + disposable tissues

Preview photo: @samuelfoster_co_uk

You can easily find hotels and book a room on OneTwoTrip.

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