Travelling in the winter can be fun. Whether you are heading up to the mountains to go skiing or snow tubing, or you are escaping the northern winters and heading south to warm up, a winter road trip can be challenging. You have to contend with unpredictable weather and less daylight for driving which can cause even the most seasoned traveller to stress out.

Winter Road Trip Tips

Don’t worry, although you can’t predict the weather on your next winter journey, experience has taught me to take precautions that will help in case you have any emergencies along the way. Before you hit the road this winter, ask yourself a few questions:

Am I prepared if the highway is closed and I had to stay overnight in my car?  What if my car slid off the road or broke down in the freezing cold?

Taking a few precautions and prepare for the “what if’s” before you head out on your road trip is crucial and could possibly save your life (or at least take some of the stress out of your journey).

Here are a few things that you should pack when hitting the road in the winter.

Water and Snacks

Have you ever seen those 50 car pile-ups on the freeway or a gridlocked road where all the cars are spinning their wheels? You probably have seen it on the news and say, “those poor people are going to be stuck there all night”! These are the perils of winter travel and unfortunately, it may lead to you being stuck in your car for hours or even days. Prepare for that situation with these tips:

  • Take a gallon of water for each person in the car.
  • Take non-perishable snacks along. Protein bars are great for this!
  • Always carry cash (you may need to stop somewhere for food that doesn’t take credit cards or buy food from a fellow traveller)

Savvy road trippers will always have a small cooler with food and even a Heated Smart Travel Mug with Temperature Control 16 Ounce, 12V Adapter – Stainless Steel.

Extra Blankets and Coats

Another important tip is always have a warm winter coat available. We are all guilty of this. You may just be driving a short way or you are heading south to warmer weather and will be stuck in the car. Why bring a winter coat if you will just leave it in the car? Bring one anyways as if you get stuck or need to walk to safety, you will not freeze.

Another thing to keep handy in the trunk is a few extra blankets. Down blankets are a great choice, but if you don’t have a lot of storage space, any blankets will do. They even have this Electric Car Blanket- Heated 12 Volt Fleece Travel Throw that plugs into your 12V receptacle so you can stay toasty warm.

Emergency Kit

Your car’s standard emergency kit should always include flares and jumper cables, but in the winter there are a few other items that may come in handy in an emergency. After you purchase a Thrive Roadside Assistance Auto Emergency Kit + First Aid Kit – Triangle Bag with the basics, make sure you add these items in as well.

Hot Packs

These little HotHands Hand & Toe Warmers fit perfectly in an emergency kit or overnight bag. When opened, they become warm and can heat up to 8 hours. These inexpensive mini heaters can be put in your gloves or boots to keep your hands and feet warm.


Having a multi-tool around in case of breakdowns or emergencies is a good idea. They fold up and don’t take up a lot of space and replace a bulky tool kit. We highly recommend Leatherman’s Raptor multi-tool  with oxygen tank wrench, strap and ring cutters and a carbide glass breaker. Available for $87.99 at

Winter Road Trip Tips Leatherman Raptor

Portable Battery Pack

In an emergency your cell phone can be a life line. Unfortunately, it also has a battery life. Have a fully charged highly reliable Anker 20100mAh Portable Charger  with you at all times. This will allow you to recharge your devices and keep your sanity while you are travelling.

Travel Games

OK, so these aren’t really critical in an emergency, but they can come in handy! Whether you are travelling with kids or friends, having some games to pass the time will be helpful. These travel games are made to be small in space but full of fun!

Small Shovel

We hope you never have to use it, but if you find yourself in a precarious situation that you literally need to dig yourself out of, having a shovel is handy. This Power Foldable Shovel collapses and only takes up a small amount of space in your trunk.

Head Lamp

Having an powerful head lamp is always handy, especially if you are stranded and its dark outside.   Ledlenser’s MH2 model provides excelling lighting and will be ready for anything you need it for in your travels.   Available for $33.75 at


Winter Road Trip Tips Outdoor series MH2

Lock De-Icer

There is nothing worse than waking up in the morning, walking out to your car and the door locks are frozen. I highly recommend keeping a Liquid de-icer in your car, but a mini de-icer in your purse as well. You can’t road trip if you can’t get in the car!

Don’t let our post scare you away from winter road trips. The majority of them go off without a hitch. We just want you to be prepared in case you hit a few bumps in the road.

Packing Tips for a Winter Road Trip


What items would you add to this list?


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