Before we moved to California, we did a lot of traveling all over the country and even out of the country. But once we moved here, we were suddenly so close to so many amazing destinations that we’re able to scratch our constant travel itch with lots of roadtrips. We’ve traveled to Palm Springs a ton of times, we travel to Phoenix and Las Vegas to visit our families a couple of times per year, and we’ve taken trips to San Diego, Laguna Beach, LA, Santa Barbara, and more.

Since we rarely road tripped up to this point, I was the worst packer and would basically just shove our whole life into the car since there was no fifty pound limit. But after all these trips, I have a few things figured out and am sharing them today!

1. Comfortable clothes. I hate traveling in pajamas, even though they’re super comfortable. But it makes me feel so awkward when we stop at a restaurant to eat, or even just at the gas station for a bathroom stop. So instead of pajamas, I go for pieces that are comfortable, easy to move in, but are real clothes. Jeggings, a comfortable tee, and an oversized blanket sweater (that can double as a pillow or blanket) are my three best friends for road trips. You look put together, but still are comfortable enough to take a nap. Oh, and I always bring a hat to throw on since riding in the car for hours never made anyone’s hair look good.

2. Don’t forget the shoes. Sneakers are always my go-to comfortable shoes, but for roadtrips, make sure you wear a pair of slip on sneakers because tying and untying your shoe laces every time you get in and out of the car is just a pain. And make sure you throw a pair of socks in your bag to slip on once your shoes are off so your feet stay warm.

3. The right bag. I need something that’s big enough to carry snacks, my water bottle, my laptop, and all the other things I tote around, but without being so huge that it weighs a thousand pounds. I love this one.

4. Reliable Electronics. Since I work from home and run my own business, I always have to bring my laptop on trips with me. I have tried working in the car so many times over the years, but my laptops get so hot, run out of battery quickly, or are just too big for my lap. So when I got the Dell XPS 13 laptop, I instantly knew it would be a traveling game changer. It’s crazy fast with its Intel 6th gen core i7 processor,  its battery life is an insane 18 hours, it’s so tiny but has the same size screen as my other laptop (13 inches) since it has the “InfinityEdge,” and its brightness capabilities and amazingly vibrant colors make it so easy to see while driving in the car. I can easily throw it in my purse and carry it around since it’s so lightweight and small. And then when I’m done working, I can pass it back to my kids to watch a movie.

5. Healthy snacks. There is nothing that makes me want to snack more than sitting in the car for hours. My kids and my husband feel the same way. So I always make sure we have a stock of snacks before we head off anywhere. Some of our favorites are dried fruit (especially mangos and pineapple), mixed nuts trail mix with dried cherries or cranberries, cliff bars, veggie straws, and fruit leather. We’d love to know your favorites too!

photos by rad and happy || created in partnership with Dell


  1. Meghan Flinn says:

    Love your outfit! But I just can’t do any kind of reading while driving… I just get too car sick. Makes for boring car rides!

  2. Natali says:

    Comfortable clothes and the right bag are so crucial for me when I’m traveling! Great post and you look beautiful in this comfy and casual travel outfit. 🙂


  3. Paige Cassandra Flamm says:

    A laptop with an 18 hour battery? I need that in my life.



  4. Holly Guski says:

    Love your post! And I couldn’t agree more with every single item you have on your list! As a family of 6 with 4 young boys, Snacks, wipes, and entertainment are our must have travel essentials! We love to play “I spy” and use a color or something that sounds with a certain letter. We try to limit them playing games and watching TV/Movies as much as possible. But on longer Road Trips it’s great to bring the portable Car DVD player that has two screens so all the boys can see. And we rent RedBox movies along the way! That way we can watch new movies they haven’t seen and eat some snacks and return them at the next RedBox rental stop along the way. Always having a spare set of clothing with little ones is a must as well! Not only for them, but for mommy and daddy too. You never know if they might have a blowout, car sick, etc.. So we just have a tote we keep in our van that always has a clean shirt for us and an outfit for each of the boys!

    • Merrick says:

      Fantastic ideas! Love the redbox along the way idea — so fun. Thanks for sharing!

      • Holly Guski says:

        It truly makes it fun for the boys. And a nice little leg stretch for along the way as well. I have to say my number one dream travel Essential would truly be a Lily Jade bag. As a growing family with baby #5 on the way. It’s been on my wish list for so so long. I love being super organized. And these bags are made for a mommy just like me. I’m not sure if we were supposed to pick one of your 5 favorite travel essentials to comment to win. Or comment with our own. But I did mention that my number one must have would be my Lily Jade bag if I owned one. Not only for travel. But for everyday use. Thank you so much again for this great post. And amazing and very loving and generous chance at an absolute dream come true. You’re family is so beautiful and I love your blog posts and IG page as well.
        Much love,
        Holly & family

  5. Lisa says:

    Healthy snacks is my top for sure what a great list

  6. Laurie Hacko says:

    Comfortable clothes for sure! My pillow , o always take my own pillow. A small cooler for the car.

  7. brandi says:

    I can not be in the car for a long time without comfy clothes! My #1 must!

  8. Jennifer says:

    I love listening to Adventures in Odyssey when on long car trips!

  9. Erin Ritter says:

    My must have is a super big, comfy blanket! Snuggling in a big blanket is perfection.

  10. Jen Ryan says:

    A perfect traveling bag is essential! A scarf is another ‘must have’ for me!

  11. Cebre says:

    I love love love the dark chocolate sea salt KIND bars. They’re protein bars which sounds gross but actually is delicious, and this breastfeeding mama needs her protein! Also a comfy pair of jeggings, a portable charger, and my kindle.

  12. Shannon Raby-Vazquez says:

    Camera, comfy clothes/shoes, snacks, wipes, chap stick.

  13. Kimberly S says:

    I’m definitely with you on your favorites! I always layer with a cardigan/tee and usually leggings, comfy shoes, my iPad and phone along with healthy/gluten free/soy free snacks! Green tea is usually a fav as well.

  14. Nicole Deardorf says:

    I’m definitely with you on your favorites! I love the dark chocolate sea salt KIND bars.

  15. JDelasquez says:

    We’ve roadtripped with our pups a ton over the years, but being pregnant with twins has changed priorities a bit. Now, a memory foam travel pillow is a must, as are flip-flops in case my feet swell a little. Also, a charged power bank just in case and a medium cooler filled with healthy drinks + snacks loaded with healthy fats so we’re not tempted by sugar-heavy convenience store junk. Regardless, a backpack full of car and survival essentials is always with us for emergencies: jumper cables, thermal blankets, flashlights, matches, utility knife, etc. (husbands are really good at knowing what’s necessary for emergencies). =)

  16. Lori Killeen says:

    We are always stocked with healthy snacks too! Our must have for road trips!

  17. Marian F. says:

    Snacks! All the snacks! Never leave the house without them. My kids are always hungry so having some healthy snacks on road trips is a must.

  18. Sarah Elyce says:

    Healthy snacks so we don’t stop for fast food.

  19. Jill says:

    Comfortable clothes is a MUST! Seeing as I’m also pregnant that couldn’t be more true!!!!! I hate when I see people in their pjs like serious- there are regular clothes that are comfy!!! Leggings&tunics all the way with a cute comfy sweater over it!!!

  20. Jennifer Odom says:

    Comfortable clothes are my no. 1 essential and pjs are a no go! 🙂

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