What to Pack for a Weekend Trip
A quick getaway trip is always a good idea, but the first thing to remember when you’re putting together your weekend packing list is that you're going away for a weekend, not a week. So, you’ll want to pack light! You don’t want to spend your short getaway lugging around all the unnecessary items you tossed in your bag last minute as you ran out the door.
Packing for a weekend trip may feel overwhelming. You may be thinking, “what should I pack?”
Relax. We’ve done all the heavy lifting for you so that you can just pack and go – and have more time to plan what you’re going to do while you’re away.
DO YOUR HOMEWORK (IT’S EASY, WE PROMISE!)
First, think about what your plans are for the trip, and always check the weather in advance so that you can arm yourself with items you’ll need for any outdoor activities, formal events, or anything else you may do.
If the weather is warm, great! You can stick to base layers. But, if it looks like you could anticipate some cold or rainy weather (because let’s face it, the weather isn’t always perfect), you’ll know to grab an extra jacket or umbrella.
Use this knowledge to save yourself some stress by creating a simple weekend trip packing list beforehand (more on that in a sec!).
THE BEST BAGS TO TAKE ON A QUICK TRIP
Choosing the right bag is a major piece of the packing puzzle, but how do you know what type to take on a quick trip? Ask yourself these two simple questions:
How long will I be gone? In this case, it’s a quick weekend trip, but if you plan on tacking on an extra day or two, you’ll need a bag to compensate for the extra clothing, etc.
What’s my mode of transportation? Train? Plane? Car? If you’re flying, you’ll need luggage that meets the TSA requirements — especially if you’re taking just a carry-on. For a road trip, you’ll have to consider how much room you have in your car. Train travel is convenient, but you have to remember that you’ll be whizzing around the station with your bag. (Don’t forget that you’ll have to get it up off the platform and onto the train.) With that said, you’ll want to make sure you have a compact, lightweight bag or backpack.
At the end of the day, there’s no need to lug a big ‘ol suitcase if you’re only taking a quick trip. Not to mention, you’re liable to overpack! (Don’t forget to check out these packing tips so you can maximize space and keep your clothing as wrinkle-free as possible.)
Weekend bags, rolling duffle bags, and backpacks are the perfect solution for packing light. And by opting for a cross-functional day bag like one of our crossbody bags, you’ll be able to stay both stylish and organized. (Plus, you’ll avoid weighing down your shoulder with a bulky purse. We all know how those have a habit of turning into a black hole any time you search for a specific item.)
WEEKEND PACKING LIST (YOU’RE WELCOME!)
When it comes to what to pack for a weekend trip, always think about the power of layers!
By packing items that you can mix, match, and layer, you can get the most out of every article of clothing (and save some space). And hey, this may even leave you with some extra room to mix it up with that unique statement piece. (Hello, gorgeous leather jacket!) Or maybe you can bring a necklace, watch, cuff links, or tie.
Need to be able to dress up in an instant? Packing a sharp blazer or cardigan or some dressy shoes can take your everyday outfit from casual to restaurant-with-a-reservation-ready. Gentleman can pair a crisp button-down with a smart pair of jeans (jacket optional) for an easy yet sophisticated look. Presto, change-o!
Not sure exactly what to take on a weekend trip? We’ve got you covered. Here’s a basic packing list for a weekend. Obviously, you can adjust accordingly to create a personalized travel essentials list based on where you’re headed and what you’ll be doing.
- One pair of comfortable kicks to walk around in and one dressier pair if your plans require them
Whether you’re sightseeing or hiking, you’re going to want a pair of comfortable shoes that don’t cramp your style while making it easier for you to enjoy your trip comfortably. Unless you plan on spending your nights holed up in your Airbnb or hotel, it’s always a good idea to bring one dressier pair of shoes just in case you end up going to a nicer restaurant, the theater, etc. You may even make this decision after your there, so it’s always better to be prepared!
- One to two pairs of pants or shorts — ladies can swap these out for dresses or skirts
Consider the weather. If it’s hot, opt for shorts, breezy sundresses, or skirts. If it’s chillier, pants are obviously the better option. You may even want one of each! In terms of the style of these pieces, what activities will you be doing? If it’s wine tastings and fine dining, surely you’re going to opt for dressier options than if you were biking and picnicking all weekend. Just use common sense here, and you’ll be ok!
- Two t-shirts, or casual tops
Choose these two core pieces to match the aforementioned pants, shorts, or skirts options. If it’s going to be extra hot where you’re going, pack an extra top in case one gets a little too, um, sweaty. Ladies, if you plan on wearing dresses all weekend, you can skip this step!
- One dressier top (like a button-down or blouse), dress or skirts
It’s a good idea to have at least one dressier piece with you in case you have that impromptu dinner or other special moment that requires you to spruce yourself up a bit, whether that’s a nicer dress for a woman or a button-down for a man that can be paired with a nice pair of jeans.
- Two to Three pairs (each) of applicable undergarments.
This means underwear, socks, tights, bras. These are all relatively compact and lightweight items, so you can sneak an extra pair or two in your suitcase (especially undies and socks) if you plan on freshening up mid-day.
Maybe you’re hot and sweaty after a day of sightseeing or participating in sporting activities — it’s always good to be prepared!
- One pair of pajamas
Warm-weather PJs are easy to pack, but if it’s going to be chillier (or downright cold) where you’re traveling to, avoid packing bulky pajamas — save those for at home. Opt for thinner, lightweight flannel or thermal PJs to keep you cozy.
- One hoodie, pullover, or sweater
The weather can change at the drop of a dime, so having one neutral piece that, ideally, matches the outfits you packed is a good precautionary measure if the weather forecast doesn’t turn out as expected.
- One weather-appropriate jacket or coat
Weather-appropriate means if it’s going to be chilly and rainy, pack a raincoat. If you’re going skiing, obviously you’ll need a warm, lightweight coat. Spring and fall are tricky because the weather could go either direction, so choose a jacket that falls somewhere in the middle.
- Electronic accessories such as a phone charger and noise-canceling headphones or earbuds
You may be on your phone all day long, but folks often forget and leave the charger behind, so that’s why it’s on this list. Earbuds are essential for watching movies or listening to tunes while getting in a little exercise on your trip. Noise-canceling headphones make even a coach ticket on an airplane feel like first class—bonus points for alleviating the effects of jet-lag, calming an anxious flyer, and reducing ear fatigue.
- Eye mask
Whether you want to snooze while you’re en-route to your destination or your hotel room or Airbnb doesn’t have blackout curtains (hello, sunshine!), a simple eye mask can make the difference between getting a good night’s sleep or being restless.
- Cosmetics and one necessary styling tool
Ladies, don’t go crazy here. There’s no reason to bring more than one of the necessary staples in your cosmetic routine. Again, consider your plans. If you’re going camping, you can leave that ruby red lipstick at home. For bulkier, heavier cosmetics like a bottle of foundation or large face powder, transfer a small amount (enough to get you through the weekend) into a travel container. While most hotels and home rentals have a hairdryer, you may need a styling tool. That’s fine, but keep it down to one.
- Toiletry kit — TSA-friendly if you’re flying with a carry-on
Avoid full-sized bottles of anything and transfer your applicable products into travel bottles. Don’t forget essential items like a toothbrush, toothpaste, and a razor.
- Refillable water bottle
Staying hydrated is key no matter where you’re traveling, how you’re getting there, or how long you’ll be gone. Many airports have water stations where you can refill your own bottle instead of being forced to purchase pricy H20 in one of the shops.
TAKE WHAT YOU NEED, LEAVE WHAT YOU DON’T
Clothing aside, when considering what things to bring on a road trip, it’s important to think realistically about what you actually need for the weekend.
Like your computer, for example. Can that work wait until you’re back in the office on Monday? If so, feel free to leave the laptop and tablet at home.
We all love a useful travel accessory – but do you really need it? When it comes to cutting down on the accessories you’re packing, make sure that you’re only bringing the ones you consider mission-critical, like an eye mask (do not disturb!) or USB charger.
ADDITIONAL WEEKEND PACKING CONSIDERATIONS
Obviously, you can adjust your packing list accordingly. You’re not going to pack the same for a hiking trip as you would a friend’s beach wedding. There are also those special trips where a cookie-cutter packing list isn’t going to cut it. For example:
Add a bathing suit, sunnies, and sandals if you’re headed to the beach.
Romantic getaway? You may want to swap out those flannel pajamas for something a bit more alluring and a date night ensemble is a must.
If you’re taking a girls’ trip, you’ll want that “going out” outfit.
When packing for a cold-weather destination, try to choose clothing that’s warm without being bulky — like thermal wear, for example — so it doesn’t take up as much room in your suitcase or bag.
Road trip? Don’t forget the water and snacks.
The bottom line: use common sense. The most important thing is not to overpack no matter where you’re traveling to! Here’s how.
After reviewing your weekend packing list, if you’re in need of luggage or are looking to upgrade your current pieces, you’ll find stylish travel bags to meet your travel needs when you shop at Briggs & Riley.