Packing Tips: Skincare Essentials for Road Trips


Getting ready for a long-awaited road trip can make anybody giddy with excitement, and part of that fun is gathering your vacation essentials for a hassle-free and enjoyable trip. Whether you’re planning a winter destination later on in the year or getting ready for a summer trip right around the corner, one thing you should never forget to pack is your skincare essentials. Here are some items you should never go without on a trip! Also, make sure check out the 15 Female Travel Products we always travel with.

Broad-Spectrum SPF


No road trip would be complete without a trusty sunscreen. More than just protecting you against painful sunburns, SPF can prevent irreversible damage, premature aging, and cancer risks that result from sun exposure. However, grabbing the first bottle of Coppertone you see on the shelf at the store may not guarantee the right kind of sun protection. A guide published by the Food and Drug Administration recommends using a sunscreen that has filters that block both types of ultraviolet radiation (UVA and UVB), so it might be good to do some research first on which brands have these filters. Your sunscreen should also be at least SPF 15, with higher SPF values providing better UV blockage.

If you don’t want to come back from your road trip with dull, crepe-y skin, then applying (and reapplying!) an SPF like this oil-free Neutrogena sunscreen reviewed on Allure is a must.

A Natural Moisturizer

No matter where you go for your road trip, temperatures and air conditions are likely to fluctuate. Some places will zap the moisture right out of your skin, and this is where moisturizer comes in to provide the hydration needed for plump, healthy skin. It can help reduce breakouts and other issues caused by excessive dryness, like flakiness and redness. When picking out a moisturizer, Pretty Me’s review of the popular AR Vitamin E cream emphasizes the importance of natural ingredients such as beeswax and sunflower seed oil. These options are gentle enough on the skin and provide a good amount of hydration. Remember that even those with oily skin need to moisturize, so don’t forget to pack one for your trip!

Lightweight Eye Cream

Although moisturizers can be used all over the face, the skin around your eyes is the thinnest and tends to dry out more easily. A lightweight, hydrating eye cream will provide relief to dry undereyes and reduce any puffiness from lack of sleep — a common thing on road trips! Eye cream doesn’t have to be expensive, so something like this RoC retinol eye cream featured on Byrdie is a perfect lightweight formula for those on a budget.

Oil Blotting Sheets

Achieving the dewy look is all the rage these days, but there’s a big difference between having glowy, radiant skin and looking like an oil slick. The travel-friendly Sway Matte-Je-Stick blotting papers listed on Cosmopolitan make it easy to touch up throughout the day to keep you looking fresh.

Unscented Moist Towelettes

There’s often no time for a multi-step skincare routine when you’re on the road, but that doesn’t mean you should neglect essential steps such as removing your makeup or the dirt from the day. Throw a pack of gentle moist towelettes into your bag to use whenever — before eating, at the beach, or before you go to bed. Going with fragrance-free options is your best bet to reduce unwanted skin irritation.

A Gentle Cleanser

Clean skin is essential to healthy skin, especially during road trips where dirt and sweat can clog your pores. The Tatcha Rice Enzyme Powder, featured on Condé Nast Traveler’s list of powdered cleansers, is a great alternative to your traditional cleanser. It leaves your skin feeling clean and smooth while doubling as a gentle face mask to clear your skin of any impurities.


While our US Road Trip Guides will help you stay on course, skincare might be the last thing on your mind as you zip across the country. But do know that a little goes a long way in keeping it radiant and healthy during long drives and sleepless nights with the right routine and dependable products. By having these essential items on hand, it won’t be long before your friends start to wonder how you manage to still look fresh and dewy, even after a tiring road trip!

Irene Hudson

Irene Hudson