It’s finally happened. You and your girlfriends have aligned horrifically busy schedules to plan a few days outside of the city; needed time to catch up on each other’s lives outside of office politics, bad first dates, long committee meetings, and awful landlords.
After deciding on a destination, booking a place to stay that everyone can afford, and making certain that everyone will arrive home at least four hours before the start of work (as well as reviewing actual screenshots of a paper planner “itinerary” if you’re lucky enough to have friends as spontaneous as mine), you need to pack a bag that can be thrown in the back of a small trunk or kept under the seat of a tightly packed vehicle because let’s be honest – everyone wants to be in the same car for fear of missing out on good laughs and conversation (The first person who offers to drive separately is lying to you.).
Listed below are a few of my favorite things to bring along for the ride, no matter how long it is or where you are going:
1) A Weekender Bag: I know a few ladies who will pack actual luggage to take on a road trip, but I prefer a compartmented bag that I can throw over my shoulder and still fits everything I need. My favorite weekender bag (that is also waterproof!) is Hayden-Harnett’s Voyager Weekend Bag. It has enough compartments for me to separate things I immediately need (chapstick, eye drops, etc.) from those that I don’t and durable enough to withstand heavier weights.
2) A Cooler for Food and Drinks: I don’t know about anyone else, but when traveling, it is often hard for me to find one fast-food restaurant or quick stop that appeals to everyone’s eating habits and restrictions in today’s world of paleo-gluten-free-low carb-high fat eating trends. To make the car ride hassle-free, we often stop at a grocery store before leaving and pick up a few things that people want for the road and destination. I recommend Bed Bath & Beyond’s Metro Picnic Basket – it’s insulated, waterproof, expandable, and fits easily in the front of any car.
3) Sunglasses: Whether you’re sitting on the beach and blocking out the sun or covering up puffy, tired eyes from a longer night, sunglasses are a necessity for any roadtrip. I really love the larger shape and style of Bobbi Brown’s The Gretta in Black/Camel Tortoise or Banana Republic’s Hannah Sunglasses in Black. Both frames are sturdy and can resist scratches from being jostled around in your purse.
4) Sunscreen: I know I probably sound like your doctor or mother when I tell you to pack sunscreen, but ever since I started going for my annual skin check-up, skin cancer (as well as signs of aging related to sun damage) has been on my radar. My favorite sunscreen (that works for your hair and I double as an allover moisturizer) is Clarins Sunscreen Care Oil Spray SPF 30. With this, I don’t even have to pack lotion and even use it lightly on my face. For those ladies with acne-prone and sensitive skin, I recommend Kiehl’s Sun Protector Water-Light Lotion for Face & Body SPF 30.
5) Face Wipes: Yes, the image of you riding shotgun in your best friend’s car with the windows down, your hair blowing in the wind, and the city becoming smaller behind you is mindlessly appealing – the perfect symbol of freedom from your day-to-day routine. But, it’s summer. It’s hot and those locks of hair are more likely to get caught in your face and sunglasses than the movies let on. It’s also much more convenient to wash your face with a pack of cleansing cloths after a long day instead of needing running water, soap, a towel, and to get up from your seat to do so. Ole Henriksen’s Grease Relief Cleansing Cloths come in a 30-pack that conveniently fits in your bag and exfoliates, clarifies, and refines pores (while making me feel “clean”) better than any other brand I have tried.
6) Hair Clip: Whether your hair is wet or you simply want it out of your face (see face wipes comment above), a hair clip is your easiest solution. A clip doesn’t create unwanted creases or hair breakage and actually adds volume to hair when put back. One of my favorites that still allows you to lean your head back against your seat is Goody’s Women’s Ouchless Claw Clips.
7) Dry Shampoo: In every group of friends, there is always that one person that despite being on vacation, still rises at 5am to greet the day. By the time you wake at 8 or 9am, this person will be ready to get coffee or breakfast and will expect you to be ready in less than 5 minutes. On those days when you literally need to just rush out the door or don’t have time to shower (or feel like it), dry shampoo is your go-to. One of the best is Batiste’s Dry Shampoo in Wild. I get more compliments on the smell and volume of my hair when I use this than I do when it is clean.
8) Mascara and Chapstick: It is a rarity that I wear foundation on vacation – or in the summer in general due to the heat and the fact that most of it melts down my chin while sweating anyway. To look awake and more polished than when I woke up, I always apply a long-lasting waterproof mascara to my lashes and a moisturizing chapstick on my lips to keep any sunburn and dryness away. My go-tos are Kat Von D Immortal Lash 24 Hour Mascara and eos Lip Balm in Summer Fruit (I can always find this at the bottom of my purse unlike the countless tubes of everything else!).
9) A Joint Playlist: As cliché of a recommendation as it is, there is nothing better than not having to scan through songs and artists to find one song that everyone can agree on. Have each of your friends choose at least ten songs they are loving and would want to hear and just hit shuffle. It’s actually a lot of fun listening and knowing exactly who requested what. Two of my favorites this summer are Zella Day’s “High” and Little Boots “Better in the Morning.”
Have a great trip and don’t check your work email (at least, not in an obvious manner).