Winding mountain roads, a warm breeze, blasting some tunes – this is the quintessential road trip. This past summer, we packed up the kids and ourselves and set out for a week-long excursion in the California Wine Country, beginning in San Francisco. As we crossed the Golden Gate bridge I thought back with fondness of the many memories I had built in the Bay Area, years ago. But this bridge crossing brought a new adventure, with two kiddos in tow and several days ahead to build new memories.
We visited some amazing places, including Calistoga’s Safari West, a unique safari / glamour camping experience.
So what to pack for seven fun-filled days with family and friends? I knew I needed to be practical, but also have enough items to get me through everything from a hike in the mountains to a dressed-up dinner in the city. The key here is casual separates and mix/match layering pieces. I tossed several dresses, skirts and cotton blouses into my suitcase. Using them as basic foundations, I could quickly alter the look based on the activity. Example: An easy skirt and tee creates comfort on a long car ride, and when Birkenstock sandals are swapped for a pair of wedges, the look can take you into dinner. With summer’s light temps, I topped everything off with a jean jacket.
Also much needed are clothes and footwear for being active. Whether going for a run, hiking through beach trails or traipsing through local farmer’s markets, Brooks running shoes and clothing are my current favorites. Brooks shoes and clothes make it easy to transition from your workout to hanging out.
Another important travel essential is the beauty arsenal. What to pack when space is tight, and you want to stay protected in sun or whatever weather you might encounter.
On a trip I always slightly modify my beauty routine. There simply isn’t enough room for all the various creams, serums, powders, cleansers and masks that I can use at home. My skin always needs extra hydration while traveling, so I bring a mix of moisturizers and sunscreen for layering. A few must-have products I keep in my travel kit include:
Cleansing: I have been a major fan of Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant ($54) for years. While I usually use this once a day in the shower, I use it as my sole cleanser while on vacation. Micro-powder gently exfoliates while leaving skin brighter and softer.
Moisturizing & Sunscreen: When visiting a sunny destination, I want to protect skin from pigmentation that can come from too much sun exposure. Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Dark Spot Sun Defense Broad Spectrum SPF 50 Sunscreen ($42) helps prevent pigmentation in an anti-aging formula that goes on smooth and offers full coverage.
Wanting to keep the beauty routine simple while traveling, I often forgo foundation and opt for a tinted moisturiser instead. Elta MD Elta UV Daily Tinted Broad-Spectrum SPF 40 ($30) is a nice formula that offers full coverage and a good foundation for layering on a loose powder or swipe of blush. I like knowing there is some SPF protection there too.
I use HydroPeptide ‘Face Lift’ Advanced Ultra-Light Moisturizer ($78) after cleansing at night. It is full of peptides that help repair skin while you sleep. The formula offers a tightening affect and aids in preventing wrinkles.
Bronzing and Highlighting: Get a sunkissed look without burning with a bronzer, blush, highlighter combo. I am obsessed with IT Cosmetics CC+ Radiance Vitality Brightening Crème Disc ($38). Using the IT Cosmetics Heavenly Luxe Angled Radiance Creme Brush ($48), this creamy product glides on smooth – on cheeks and over the face for highlighting. It adds that finishing touch without heaviness. PS: I am obsessed with all things IT Cosmetics right now – Working on an upcoming post on some of my favorite products by them.
Hair Brush: No need to mess around with extra hair brushes. On vacation, I am all about air-dry locks. But, I must detangle first and love the Conair Brush Strokes Wet ‘N Dry Detangler Brush ($4.99).
What are your road trip packing essentials?