Please note that the links throughout this post are affiliate links which means I get a few pennies if you make a purchase through my link.
So, if you’re a regular here, you know we just did a two-week road trip to Southern California. Packing three kids, hubby and I and all our STUFF into the car for two weeks was no easy task, so I thought I’d recap some of my must-haves for a trip like this and share them with you!
1 / TEE SHIRT DRESS
I wore a similar-to-this tee shirt dress every day that we went to an amusement park or day out sight-seeing as it was HOT in California. This was the simplest way to be comfortable AND cool for me. I got my dress like this at Target in the springtime for a whole lot less than the version I have linked up here.
I kept our travel documents, itinerary and any printed tickets in my travel wallet up front in the car in my travel tote with me. This holds everything you need on a road trip or any type of family vacation.
3 / POUCHES
I have many, many pouches to organize my totes, purses, duffle bags and backpacks – depending on if I’m flying or driving. I have pouches to separate lip glosses and beauty items from medicines, travel cords and chargers, pretty much one for every need. I even have one just for my headphones and earbuds.
Pack one pair of sandals you can take from day to night. These Tory Burch Miller Sandals were the only dressier shoes I brought on our trip and I loved them. They are cute for day, and dressy enough with a dress or jumpsuit for the evening, plus they’re really comfortable AND fold flat.
You can’t go on a family vacation, or any type of vacation, for that matter, without a cute pair of sneakers. If you’re planning to exercise on your trip, be sure they’re the kind you can actually work out in, but in my case – these white fashion sneakers would have been perfect!
7 / DUFFLE BAG
My sister in law suggested we use solely duffle bags for everyone’s luggage on this trip since they’re more squishable in the back of the car. I didn’t want to purchase all new luggage in the form of duffle bags for the entire family for this trip, but I did use a duffle bag for all of my toiletries, accessories, and cosmetics for this trip and it worked out amazing. I was never digging through my suitcase for anything other than clothing.
Packing for two weeks is tough! I made sure to do laundry mid-way through the trip so we all only needed to pack for one week, but I’m not a light packer so I went and got some squish bags (probably not the correct name for these!) for this trip. They are like large Ziploc bags that you fold and lay your clothing into, and then roll up to squeeze all the air out. The result is a LOT of space saved in your bag or luggage! I got mine at Winners, but here’s a similar set.
9 / PACKING CUBES
These are especially good for kids. My kids do their own packing and have for years (they can start as young as 7, just make them a list and double-check what they’ve packed!) My 12 year old loved having packing cubes on this trip as it helped her stay organized.
10 / WASH + WEAR BAGS
I *love* my Wash+Wear bag (mine are attached to each other, I bought it at the Gap outlet years ago.) like these as it helps me stay organized with underwear. Once laundry day comes around, it’s so easy to grab your ‘wash’ bag, and they also allow you to easily tell at-a-glance how many clean pairs you have left!
If you have three kids, you always need an extra bed (unless you book two hotel rooms or a suite, of course), so this single folding mattress is similar to what we travel with on road-trips with the kids when we’re staying in hotels.
I carry a larger purse that I wouldn’t have wanted on my shoulder all day at Universal Studios or San Diego Safari Park. Truthfully, I looked for a basic black fanny pack or ‘belt bag’ for theme park days, to wear cross-body style, but I didn’t look for one in-time so I didn’t find one. I did use my Louis Vuitton Pochette Accessories as a cross-body with a longer strap and it worked perfectly. It was just large enough to fit my phone, a mini-wallet and lip-balm and kleenex.
13 / A BACKPACK
Whether you have a stroller or not, a backpack for the family on theme park days is a must. Pack bottled water, tickets, a change of shoes, and any other essentials in one backpack. Want something a little more fashionable if you’re the one in charge of carrying the backpack? This one by Tommy Hilfiger is VERY cute.