How To Pack For A Weekend Getaway

Woman traveling in airport

Weekend getaways should be the easiest of all to pack for, right? After all, you know where you’re going, what you’ll be doing, and what the weather is. But the truth is, packing for a short trip can be a challenge. Instead of packing just what you need, you may be tempted to pack as much as you can fit into a carry-on bag to take advantage of no check-on fees. 

Use this guide to combat the problem when packing for a weekend getaway.  

Choose the Right Travel Bag

Packing right begins with the right travel bag, and not just any old duffle.  Is it time to get a new one? These days, unisex backpacks and bags specifically for women are available that are optimized for packing your stuff with easy access in-flight, and TSA check-in-friendly. Look for one that is front loading to keep your things organized and large enough to use on longer trips. 

Make a Packing List ( And Stick To It)

How to Pack for a WeekendCarefully make a packing list that will include everything you’ll need.  A weekend packing list should include three outfits (one for going out), one pair of shoes, three pairs of socks, three sets of underwear, and one set of pajamas. Add a swimsuit and flip-flops for the beach or pool in warm weather or a jacket, hat, scarf, and gloves if it will be chilly at your destination. 

Lay everything out first, and then place the bulkiest items at the bottom of your bag. Fit smaller items like socks and underwear into random spots. For example, socks can be stuffed inside shoes or jacket pockets. Then add everything else around it. 

Pack Layers and Clothes that Match

For cooler or changeable weather, pack clothes that can be layered. Include shirts and tops that can serve as a base layer and a middle insulating layer to wear underneath a protective jacket. 

Pack outfits with patterns and colors that can be mixed and matched. Another option is to choose neutral colors and add a few colorful items for accents. 

Your Other Gear

My Travel Gear Packing ListPack travel-size bottles for toiletries such as shampoo, lotions, deodorant, a toothbrush, and toothpaste in a TSA-approved pouch.  Ladies should pack makeup in a clear makeup case. Pack accessories like beautiful jewelry and hair clips in a separate pouch.

Pro tip: thread necklaces through a straw and close the clasp to keep them from getting tangled. 

If you’re traveling with a partner consider sharing. For example, one person can pack sunscreen and the other can pack insect repellent.  If necessary, you can always purchase what you need at your destination. 

Don’t overpack electronics. Leave your work computer at home and pack a tablet. Anyway, most phones these days have all the capabilities you’ll need. 

Roll Instead of Fold ( And Use Packing Cubes)

Folding your clothes increases the chance they’ll be wrinkled upon arrival. Roll them instead. You’ll have fewer wrinkles and more packing space. Roll items as tightly as possible. 

Consider using packing cubes or space-saving compression cubes to organize your stuff. They can be used for shoes, toiletries,  accessories, and more. Use clear packing cubes to help you find items more easily. 

Make the Most of Your Travel Outfit

If flying to your destination, wear your bulkiest outfit on the trip. Include a lightweight jacket with zippered pockets. The pockets will provide extra space for smaller items such as your phone, wallet, boarding pass, and other small travel essentials. The zippers will keep items secure while going through airport security. 

If you get too warm, remove a layer after takeoff and store it underneath the seat in front of you or in the overhead compartment. 

Pack at the Last Minute

This last tip for the last minute may be difficult, especially if you’re a Type A person. But you will pack more efficiently if you wait and pack the night before your trip. If you pack sooner, you may be tempted to add frivolous, unnecessary items. Remember, make your list and stick to it. Don’t add any “just in case” stuff. 

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