Ladies, grab your road trip packing list. The wide-open road is calling your name. In our opinion, it’s hard to beat the feeling of packing up a car for an adventure. It’s a sure-fire way to break out of your everyday routine and re-energize your soul this summer. Bust out a paper map and chart a course for that off-the-beaten-path getaway you’ve been meaning to take. Perhaps you don’t have a firm destination in mind. Not a problem. Let the sound of tires on pavement and the wind on your face get you excited to explore. Before you press play on “Life is a Highway,” we’re here to walk you through the go-to styles to bring along for the ride. Buckle up and keep reading for our favorite road trip essentials.
Road Trip Packing List: Women’s Clothing Basics for Traveling by Car
The first stop on our fashion road trip: the basics. Think of these as your must-haves. They’re the sartorial equivalent of keeping a water bottle, snacks and a car-friendly phone charger in your center console. No matter the journey, there are a few core women’s clothing pieces you’ll want to check off your road trip packing list. We’re talking about low-maintenance items you can mix, match and layer with ease. Ready to put your style on cruise control? Let’s start with tops.
Road Trip Packing List Basics: Tops
When thinking of things to pack for a road trip, our minds immediately go to light, layerable pieces. This way, you’re all set for an unexpected detour to a different climate. Kick things off with a classic white T-shirt. Go for a relaxed boyfriend fit so you can stay comfortable during lengthy shifts behind the wheel. If you’re itching to integrate 90s fashion trends into your look, opt for a lettuce-hem version. For warm-weather treks, we recommend adding a tank top to your road trip packing list as well. Breathability is key here, so reach for cotton-blend fabrications over synthetics. Headed to a colder locale? Keep a sweater or jacket in the passenger seat. A cable-knit cardigan and a utility-pocket shacket make for easy outfit changes on the go.
Stylist Travel Tip: Before putting together your travel wardrobe, check the care tag on your shirts and sweaters. Choose pieces that are machine washable or don’t require special drying instructions. Err on the easy-care side of things, just in case you need to do a quick spot rinse at a rest stop. You’ll stay low-stress and be back to playing the license plate game in a flash.
Road Trip Packing List Basics: Bottoms
With your simple, yet stylish tops at the ready, load up on bottoms with the same attitude. Choose something that doesn’t get in the way of driving if you’re the road trip pilot. Skip stiff jeans that ride up and heavy skirts that trip you up when you’re putting the pedal to the metal. Instead, select Bermuda shorts that leave your legs free to move or breezy joggers. To the dedicated denim-lovers, this is the moment to take the straight-leg and wide-leg pant trend out for a spin. These more relaxed silhouettes appear on our list of road trip essentials as they make your ride even more enjoyable. If pants aren’t your jam, trade your maxi skirt for a more practical midi length. You’ll still channel that bohemian style of the wanderlust traveler without losing your footing. Speaking of feet, road trip-savvy shoes are on the next exit.
Road Trip Packing List Basics: Shoes
The right pair of shoes is a woman’s best friend. This is no less true when it comes to comfy road trip outfits. You’ll want shoes that are easy to drive in, and perfect for sightseeing once you’re out of the car, too. For the basics, you can’t go wrong with sneakers. If you’ll be hitting the ground running upon landing, feel free to grab an athletic pair with highly cushioned soles. But for the laid-back voyager, a pair of casual canvas shoes or slip-ons will do just fine. Plus, these will be easy to pack away later.
For those who like to give their feet room to breathe, ride along with strappy sport sandals. This way, your toes can roam free without worrying about your shoes slipping off while shifting gears. Not the driver on this excursion? We’re giving you the green light to go barefoot while you enjoy the views whizzing past your window.
Road Trip Packing List Basics: Accessories
No road trip outfit would be complete without a few key accessories. Yes, we’re still covering the bare necessities here. We’re talking about those pieces that not only pull your outfit together, but keep your drive drama-free. For example, a hat. Stow a baseball cap or a Y2K-inspired bucket hat in your glove compartment. Sunglasses are another great accessory to keep the sunshine out of your eyes while navigating. And of course, let’s not forget what you’re packing all of your road trip essentials in: a bag.
A tote or backpack is the perfect way to store all of your basics. Seek out styles with multiple compartments or zipper pockets, so smaller items don’t get lost in the shuffle. Waterproof or washable options are especially ideal if you’ll be storing snacks or water in your bag. Treating your travel pack to a quick clean-up after your sojourn ensures it’s ready to ride along next time. Looks like we’ve come to the end of this leg of our women’s road trip checklist. Now that you’ve got the basics squared away, discover trendy outfits to take your look from 0 to 60.
Road Trip Outfit Trend Watch: Flower Child Aesthetic
We know that when creating a road trip packing list, practicality takes the wheel. But that doesn’t mean style has to take a back seat. Here’s where women’s summer 2022 fashion trends come into play. When the road is calling your name, answer with a free-spirited retro flower child aesthetic. Picture 60s and 70s-inspired outfits with hand-crafted crochet details and voluminous silhouettes, perfect for catching the wind as you cruise. Bring on all things boho style, and queue up your grooviest playlist for this road trip through time.
A Parade of Vintage Prints
When putting together your road trip outfits, leave behind the monochrome monotony. Instead, embrace patterns that are vibrant and kaleidoscopic. If you’re unsure where to begin, take cues from style icons from the era. Wear head-to-toe tie-dye à la Janis Joplin. Put your own spin on her iconic Woodstock look with a jumpsuit or overalls. Another print to add to your road trip checklist is batik. This wax-resist dyeing technique creates beautiful geometric and nature-inspired motifs. Try out this trend with an airy sundress perfect for a roadside photo op. If you’re not ready to go all-in on vintage prints, start small with a paisley bandana. A disco-inspired top with a wavy design styled with high-rise jeans is an effortless take on the flower child aesthetic. Before you know it, you’ll feel like you’re geared up for a VW bus ride.
Cruising With Crafty Details
This flower child trend wouldn’t be complete without handcrafted details. 60s and 70s fashion was replete with DIY elements, and the same goes for this iteration of the trend. Keep your road trip fashion as boho as can be with a fringe-trim jacket and a tassel-topped hobo bag. Want to get even craftier? Layer up that white T-shirt from before with a crochet tank top. Then, partner the look with embroidered denim in a kick-flare cut. Tie it all together with wood-sole clogs or a comfy pair of macrame-detailed sneakers.
Stylist Travel Tip: Looking for an activity to make the long hours in the car go by smoothly? Save a macrame bracelet tutorial to your phone, or print out the instructions before you leave home. You’ll have an on-trend accessory by the time you reach your final stop.
Hit the Breaks With Breezy Silhouettes
From peasant tops and wide-leg pants to maxis, there’s no shortage of airy, comfy road trip outfits. Remember, comfort and fashion don’t have to be at odds with each other. Plus, the more comfortable you are, the more enjoyable your trip will be. Who’s got time for road rage when they’re wearing a no-fuss shirt dress? At least, that’s our theory. Keep your odyssey low-key and easygoing with voluminous sleeves and unrestrictive silhouettes. Enjoy a much-needed stretch break in between driving shifts in a bell-sleeve crop top and paper bag shorts. Take it slow on the back roads while wearing a peasant blouse and wide-leg linen pants. Breathe in the fresh air of adventure and breathe out your worries. After all, it’s about the journey, not the destination, right?
Road Trip Packing List: What To Bring on Long Overnight Trips
Can you believe we’re already halfway through our women’s road trip packing list? We’ve set you up with the basics and filled your tank with the latest trip-worthy trend. Now, it’s time to figure out what to bring on longer trips. This is for the wayfarer who can’t resist taking a vacation from everyday life and seeing the world. Before we dive into what to pack for specific overnight trips, we’ve got three road trip packing tips to share:
- Pack wrinkle-resistant clothes. After multiple days squished down in your suitcase or travel bag, your clothes are likely to crinkle. Minimize the effect with materials like wool, polyester and nylon. If you prefer lightweight fabrics like rayon and linen, consider investing in a hanging bag to prevent wrinkles. Or, lay your clothes flat rather than folding them up.
- Don’t hesitate to pack for unexpected weather. Sudden downpour in the desert? You’ll regret leaving your raincoat or an extra pullover at home more than using up a little extra space in your trunk. Always bring an extra layer for warm-weather trips and one hot-weather outfit for cooler climate destinations.
- Pack pajamas or sleepwear. Even if you’re only planning on car camping or spending one night away from home, this tip is key. Having different clothes to sleep in can leave you feeling more refreshed the next morning.
With that being said, let’s explore what clothes to bring on a variety of overnight trips. Here are some suggestions on what to bring along for national park camping trips, cross-country treks and theme park jaunts.
What To Pack on a National Parks Camping Road Trip
The naturalist and national park champion, Enos Mills once said, “Within the national parks is room—glorious room—room in which to find ourselves, in which to think and hope, to dream and plan, to rest and resolve.” If this speaks to you, then a multi-day U.S. National Parks road trip is no doubt on your bucket list.
For these trips, you may be camping at night and you’ll most definitely be hiking during the day. From Yellowstone to Acadia, comfy road trip outfits are a must. Stick to activewear, such as a coordinating biker short and bra set in lavender. For what to wear hiking, choose flexible, performance-based and weather-resistant clothing. Pull on a pair of tech-fabric hiking pants to protect your legs from brush. Then, add an anorak in safety orange to keep you visible and dry. Above all else, be sure to check the weather forecast for each park on your radar. What works for surveying rock formations at Arches may not work at the peaks of the Great Smokey Mountains. No matter where you are heading, you can stay stylish while on a summer road trip.
What To Pack on a Cross-country Road Trip
An ultimate American adventure awaits: the cross-country road trip. Whether you’re burning rubber for a big move, or going carefree on country roads, it’s the ride of a lifetime. Since you’ll be spending full days driving the open road, keep comfy road trip outfits in your bag. For this trip, bring a little bit of everything. In the case of crossing an entire country, pack a couple more pieces than you normally would. If there’s room in the car, take it.
Accept the opportunity to indulge in the loungewear look. Try out a ribbed tank top and French terry drawstring shorts for hot summer treks. For milder temps, leggings and a graphic tee will do the trick. You can always jazz up your ensemble for breaks to take in local landmarks or while grabbing a bite to eat. Just add a pair of stylish kicks or earrings to give your outfit intentionality. Now you’re prepped to binge that podcast you’ve been meaning to listen to for months while traversing state lines.
Stylist Travel Tip: Though you’ll have nights where you can’t wait to hit the hay, you’ll also have nights when you’re eager to go out. Just in case you’re game for an evening in a new city, have a night-out outfit on hand. Keep it simple by styling a classic little black dress with heels. Partner trousers with a silky cami top and square-toed slides. Say hello to the locals for us.
What To Pack on a Theme Park Road Trip
Adrenaline daredevils, this one’s for you. A road trip to all of the best theme parks in the country is a thrill-seeker’s paradise. The ideal time to go is during warm weather to get the most out of the outdoor experience. Short hemlines and sleeveless choices are your bread and butter. Or, should we say, your hot dog and bun? Stick to shorts and cropped pants so you can keep cool while you’re in line at Disneyland or Hersheypark. Make sure your bottoms have pockets to keep your ride pass on hand, or opt for a small backpack. We vote on skipping dresses, skirts and overly flowy clothing for a safe rollercoaster ride. As always, walkable shoes reign supreme for this particular road trip checklist. Oh, and that hat you stored in your glove compartment earlier? This is it’s time to shine.
Road Trip Packing List: Dressing for Day Trips
Not every road trip is an odyssey, however. Let’s change lanes and think about those short but sweet quests you take on your day off. These are the road trips that run four hours or less with total drive time. In this case, your list of things to bring on a road trip is shorter than if you’re traveling overnight. You might only need one outfit or an alternate piece for when you wind up at your destination. Think something you’d wear for a quick trip to the coast, a mountainside hike or visiting a nearby city. Keep scrolling for our tips on what to wear for each of these brisk outings.
Road Trip Outfits for a Day at the Beach
Grab your towel and sunscreen for a day of fun in the sun. For this day-tripper fashion style, a beach bag is key. A woven straw bag is sure to keep the tropical vibes going. But for an easy clean-up at the end of your coastal getaway, try a nylon or neoprene tote. These materials will also keep your items dry, which is a bonus when packing a change of clothes. Next, footwear. For this watery road trip packing list, we vote sandals and flip-flops all the way. If you plan on dining at an oceanside restaurant before heading home, pack espadrille wedges to dress up your look.
With your shoes and accessories in check, all that’s left to figure out is your beach-ready outfit. Here you can’t go wrong with cooling off with resort wear fashion. Grab a button-down short-sleeve linen top and utility shorts to go over your swimsuit. Or, go even simpler with a one-and-done tiered frock. The more minimalist you pack, the more time you have to swim the day away.
Road Trip Outfits for Exploring the City
Satiate your hunger for bright lights and busy streets with a drive into the city. Once you arrive, you’ll likely be spending most of your hours walking and sightseeing. That way, you’ll get as much out of your trip as possible. We recommend packing light. Take only what you need to avoid fatigue by the end of the day from lugging around an over-packed bag. Plus, you won’t have to worry about leaving things behind in your car.
Ladies, when putting together your road trip checklist for a city excursion, consult your itinerary first. If you’re planning on hitting galleries, museums or upscale restaurants, try your hand at curating chic style outfits. Pair an olive-green mock-neck dress with a moto jacket and sock boots. Is your city trip taking a more casual avenue? Go for a look inspired by French style streetwear with high-waisted denim, an oversized boyfriend blazer and low-block heels. Get ready to turn the sidewalk into your runway.
Road Trip Outfits for a Mountain Retreat
Dreaming of a journey away from the hustle and bustle? Why not make your next drive a trip up into the mountains for a day of quiet reflection. We advise bringing a shoulder bag or hip pack with you to stay hands-free once you’re in nature. Make sure you have enough room for a snack bar and a small notebook for journaling your thoughts.
For this road trip outfit, cozy up in the women’s cabincore craze. As your car climbs up the meandering mountain roads, you’ll feel a temperature drop. Combat this by having a shacket layer on deck and ready to pull over your shoulders. Be prepared for your arrival by wearing corduroy pants and a thermal henley. If you plan on taking on serious trails, add hiking boots to your checklist and drive up in sneakers. Trust us, switching shoes prevents excess mud and dirt from spoiling your floorboards. But if you’re planning on low trail mileage, feel free to leave the change of shoes at home.
Are you ready to start your own fashion road trip? Take your style quiz, order a Fix and don’t forget to ask your stylist for road trip outfits. While you plan your pit stops, we’ll ship five curated items to your doorstep. Try these travel-ready looks from the comfort of your home. Pay for what you keep and send back the rest. Or, head over to Stitch Fix Freestyle™ to instantly buy pieces matched to your style and size. Shipping, exchanges and returns are always on us.