Route 66 packing list

A journey along Route 66 is a bucket list adventure for so many people.  Making sure you have everything you need will be the difference between a stress free trip and something that can turn into an unenjoyable chore.

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When driving the road you’ll want to have a couple of the things at the forefront:

  • comfort for long journeys and potentially hot weather
  • easily finding where you’re going!


Let’s take a look at some of the things that you’ll want to have on your road trip with this Route 66 packing list:

Guide book

Ok, before even I want you to think about clothes and other sundries, I want you to seriously consider getting a good guide book for the trip.  I know we all have internet, Google Maps and all that jazz but believe me, having a good, old fashioned guidebook you can check will be so helpful.

The reason for this is because Route 66 has changed so much over the years – not how it looks, but where the road actually goes.  Some of it changed into the Interstate, some of it branched off into little towns, sometimes there were a few different versions at the same place!  If you don’t have a guidebook or you don’t know where you’re going beforehand you might find yourself on the I-40 and miss a good deal of what you came all that way to see.

One highly recommended guide book is EZ66 Guide that you can see above.



I also have a post just about Route 66 maps and guides…  You can check it out here




When you’re travelling Route 66 you’ll likely be staying in a different hotel or motel each night and bringing your luggage in from your car each time.  For that reason you want to make sure you’re not travelling with too much stuff.  The other thing you should do is make sure that your chosen vehicle will accommodate your luggage that you decide to bring.  It’s one thing thinking you’ll save money by getting a small rental car and quite another when you realise you’re travelling with your suitcase on the backseat because it doesn’t fit anywhere else.

So have a think whether a bigger car will make sense or pare down what you’ll take.

  • consider hard sided luggage – your belongings will be protected as you constantly take things in and out!  I find they are easier to organise too – essential if you’re in and out of them every day.  We used rucksacks on our trip and they were quite annoying – we’ve since changed!!
  • Packing cubes are a lifesaver when living out of a suitcase – you can have a cube with your night or comfy clothes when you’re done for the day and know exactly where they are.  We got different colours for each person so no getting mixed up too – I recommend eBags ones like these.  We’ve had ours over 8 years now and they are still going strong!
  • If you’re flying in to your start point to drive Route 66 then I also recommend some digital scales that will weigh your luggage.  I’m someone who always worries I’ve brought too much back so this can really calm my nerves before checking my bags!!



If you haven’t already sorted your car rental…  Check out prices here (even if it’s one-way)


Clothes and Shoes


Comfort is the name of the game on a road trip in my opinion.  This is a long journey and depending on how long you have to take the trip you might find you’re spending a lot of time sat down!

You’ll also want to bear in mind the time of year when you’re planning to go and any attractions you’ll be wanting to visit.  We went in August which I’ll say right now is probably not the best month to explore Texas!

So with that in mind here’s some ideas of what clothes to pack for your Route 66 trip:

  • Cool clothes – vests, loose t-shirts
  • jeans/jean shorts
  • Light coverups – air conditioning can make you get cold quickly so having something light like this to cover you up when exploring museums, going for a meal or simply heading into the grocery store is a good idea.
  • Hat – don’t forget to cover your head especially when you’re in the hotter states
  • plenty of underwear – unless you have time to do a laundry load in the middle of your trip you’ll want enough clothes to see you through.
  • Sunglasses – especially for the driver!  Get prescription ones if you need them.



Cameras and Gadgets

Cameras change so often but right now we’re using a Panasonic which was inexpensive and is quite small – it still has the ability to get other lenses so there’s scope to grow with this camera.  A more recent model is here.

Battery banks are always a good idea (along with the connectors for your gadgets) –

Car chargers that will accept a USB port are also worthwhile getting – newer cars might have ports that you can use to charge your mobile phone as you go but unless you’re sure these are an inexpensive and small item that could potentially be very useful.



Health & Toiletries

Sunscreen is essential, even in cooler months you might find that you’ll need protection in some of the hotter states.

Taking small versions of your regular toiletries is a great idea since you’ll be in a new place most nights – many of the mom and pop motels won’t have toiletries there for you.  Mini versions will save you space and if you can bring everything out in your toiletry bag then it makes life so much easier!

If you can’t buy travel sized versions get some travel containers to pack.

A travel first aid kit is also a good idea!

If any of you get travel sick being in a car then some solutions that aren’t pills are travel bands like these – there is mixed reviews on whether they work, but if you suffer might be worth a try.  Route 66 doesn’t have many winding roads that last for a long time (except near Oatman in Arizona) so hopefully you won’t need them.

Wipes are essential on any road trip and especially when you’re in warm states – they can help you freshen up, clean up sticky situations and are just so handy to have around!



Other stuff

Day pack or large purse – I like the Travelon brand of anti theft bags which are great no matter your destination.

Refillable water bottles– highly recommend the Chilly’s brand – I’ve had mine a number of years and still looks new!

Light rain jacket – you might not need it, but it’s good to have in case!

Travel adaptors if you’re coming from outside the USA

Travel pillows are a great idea if you anticipate days with lots of driving hours


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