What Should You Carry In Your Emergency Travel Kit?

Are you thinking about hitting the road to car camp across the state? Great idea! But, let’s talk essentials beyond clothes, snacks, and playlists. 

You need to have an emergency travel kit. This kit is exactly what it sounds like—a collection of items you bring along when you travel to handle any unexpected or emergency situation, like a flat tire or a minor cut. Your kit's contents might change based on where you're headed, how you're getting there, and your personal needs. But certain items are universally useful.

In this blog, we’re diving into the key things you should have in your emergency travel kit.

Do You Need an Emergency Travel Kit?

Yes, you definitely need an emergency travel kit.

No matter how well you plan, the unexpected can always happen. Flat tires, delays, weather changes, or even a simple scrape can turn your trip into a nightmare if you're not prepared. An emergency travel kit helps you handle these minor issues on your own and keeps you safe until you can get more help. These kits are especially useful in remote areas where help might not be readily available.

What Should You Carry In Your Emergency Travel Kit?


Credit: Envato Elements/ davidpereiras

Here's a list of items you need to pack in an emergency travel kit:

1) First Aid Kit: Band-aids, triangular bandage, adhesive tape, antiseptic wipes, gauze pads, cotton balls, tweezers, hydrogen peroxide, scissors, antibiotic ointment, pain relievers, and other essential supplies. You never know when minor cuts might need attention. Make sure to check the expiration dates before packing first aid supplies.

2) Roadside Assistance Gear: Jumper cables, a spare tire, a tire jack, a tire pressure gauge, a reflective safety vest, and road flares (so other motorists and travelers can see you).

3) Flashlight and Extra Batteries

4) Water and Non-Perishable Snacks: Keep bottled water and snacks like energy bars or nuts.

5) Blankets and Warm Clothing

6) Portable Charger and Cables

7) Personal Hygiene Items: Hand sanitizer, toilet paper, a toothbrush and any other additional personal items.

8) Important Documents: Have copies of your ID, car insurance, and any roadside assistance membership details handy.

9) Multi-Tool or Pocket Knife for minor repairs.

10) Map, Guidebooks and Compass

11) Personal Medications: Any prescription medications you take regularly, as well as over-the-counter medications for common ailments like allergies, motion sickness, or stomach upset.

12) Emergency Contacts: A list of important phone numbers, including family members, healthcare providers, and local emergency services.

13) A loud whistle to signal for help if you're lost or in distress.

14) Emergency Blanket

15) Personal Protection Items: This may include items such as pepper spray, a self-defense alarm, or a small personal safety whistle.

16) Insect Repellent

17) Heavy Duty Gloves

18) Flat-Head and Phillips Screwdrivers

19) Sunscreen

20) Wet Wipes

21) Hand Sanitizer

22) Thermometer

Factors to Consider When Creating Your Emergency Travel Kit

When putting together your emergency travel kit, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Your kit should be tailored to your trip specifics and personal needs. Here’s what to consider to make sure your kit truly has your back:

1) Destination and Climate

Think about where you’re going and what the weather will be like. Different environments require different gear.

If you’re heading to a place with cold weather and snow, pack extra blankets, thermal wear, and maybe even snow chains for your car. If it's a hot and sunny location, don't forget sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses. If it looks like it's going to rain, don't forget waterproof clothing and an umbrella.

Also, consider the terrain – will you be on smooth highways or off-road trails? For rough terrains, include tools for tire changes and quick fixes.

2) Length of Your Trip

For short trips, you might need just the basics: a day's supply of water, some snacks, and a basic first aid kit. However, for longer journeys, consider packing additional supplies. Plan for several days' worth of non-perishable food, extra water, and maybe a bigger first aid kit with more stuff. It’s also a good idea to include extra hygiene products and a few changes of clothes.

3) Number of Travelers

If you're traveling alone, you can focus on just your needs. But if you're with family or friends, you'll need to multiply those essentials. More people means more water, food, and medical supplies. Calculate water needs at about one gallon per person per day.

Also, consider everyone's dietary needs or restrictions when choosing snacks and food. Don’t forget to pack enough emergency blankets, and perhaps even a larger first aid kit, to handle cuts, scrapes, or other minor injuries.

4) Consider Local Wildlife and Plants

Research the area you’re visiting to understand these risks and prepare accordingly. If there's a chance of encountering bears, a bear spray should be in your kit. If snakes are common, think about adding a snake bite kit to your gear. Similarly, if the area is known for poisonous plants, include a guide to identify these plants and carry calamine lotion or hydrocortisone cream for skin irritations.

Where Should You Store Your Emergency Travel Kit?


suitcases packed in a car
Credit: Envato Elements/ AveCalvar

It's best to keep your emergency kit where you can grab it easily. A good idea is to stash it in the main part of your vehicle, like the trunk or under a seat if it fits. For smaller items or things you might need urgently, like a flashlight or first aid kit, store them in the glove compartment or a side door pocket. If you’re traveling in a larger vehicle with compartments, choose a designated, well-known spot everyone knows about.


Packing an emergency travel kit is crucial before hitting the road for any adventure. Consider factors like your destination's climate, the length of your trip, the number of travelers, and potential encounters with local wildlife when tailoring your kit. The goal is to have a variety of items that can help you tackle unexpected situations.

Ready for the road but not sure where to start with your emergency kit? Check out Emergency USA. Our complete emergency kits are designed for emergency preparedness. Our kits include first aid supplies, tools, and more, all packed into a compact, easy-to-store bag. Shop with us today.