Weekend getaways are great ways to reduce stress, improve your mental health, and just have fun. Whether you’re heading out on a road trip to a national park with friends or enjoying a romantic weekend with someone special, regular two-day vacations can do wonders for your state of mind.

One of the secrets to a successful weekend getaway is knowing what to pack. To make life easier for you, we’ve come up with a packing list that includes the basics you need for a couple of days away from home, as well as advice on how to pack for a weekend trip. So swap your briefcase for a backpack or weekend bag, and head out there to explore new places and make new memories!

What Kind Of Luggage Should You Bring on a Weekend Trip?

Backpacks, weekend bags, and carry-ons are the luggage of choice for weekend trips. You have limited time on your trip, and carry-on luggage allows you to disembark and leave the airport immediately. Backpacks are a great choice, as you can use them for day hikes and outings as well as for travel, and they’re easy to carry through an airport.

Weekend bags have soft exteriors, two handles and often come with a shoulder strap. They’re a little bulkier than backpacks and not quite as easy to carry, but they offer more packing space, making them well-suited for long weekend trips where you need a few more items of clothing.

No matter what bag you choose, there are almost unlimited possibilities for weekend trips both domestically and internationally, so throw a few essentials into acarry-on bag and head out for a weekend of adventure, romance, or relaxation. Or all three, if you want a jam-packed getaway!

What to Pack for a Weekend Trip

Most people know what to pack for a weekend trip. The trick is not forgetting anything, especially if you’re packing at the last minute or for a spur-of-the-moment trip. Working with a checklist ensures you remember everything you need (and don’t get to your destination only to find you forgot to pack socks). The following checklist is a basic example of what most people need for a weekend trip. Use it to double-check your bags before you zip them up and head out for the weekend:

  • One pair of comfortable shoes or season-appropriate footwear
  • One pair of pants or shorts (jeggings and leggings are also options)
  • Two to three tops
  • Three pairs of undergarments
  • Three pairs of socks
  • One item of nightwear
  • One lightweight jacket
  • Swimwear (if needed)

If you’re traveling in winter, substitute a winter jacket for the lightweight jacket and add a pair of gloves, a scarf, and a warm beanie or hat to the list. If the trip is for a formal event such as a business conference, and you need a suit or evening wear, consider using a carry-on garment bag to keep your clothes wrinkle-free.

You’re going to need toiletries for the trip. Hotels will provide soap and shampoo, but you’ll need to bring everything else. Small items like a hair brush or toothbrush are easy to overlook when packing. Your toiletry checklist should include the following:

  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Hairbrush or comb
  • Medication
  • Contact lenses or glasses
  • Basic makeup supplies
  • Shaving kit
  • Perfume/ cologne
  • Deodorant
  • Sunscreen

Frequent travelers often have a pre-packed toiletry bag ready to go with travel-sized versions of their regular toiletry needs. In addition, you’ll probably want to bring an electronic device along. For weekend getaways, we recommend just packing your phone and maybe a pair of headphones. Don’t forget your charging cables!

Other essentials to add to your weekend packing list include your wallet, cash, credit cards, and any documentation required for the trip, such as boarding passes, hotel booking confirmations, and your passport if you’re traveling internationally. For the foreseeable future, you should also pack a face mask, hand sanitizer, and tissues.

How to Pack for a Weekend Trip

Carry-on luggage is ideal for weekend getaways. Whether you choose a weekend bag or backpack, you can quickly pack everything you need if you use these simple step by step packing tips:

  1. Seal toiletries in small containers or plastic bags.
  2. Place items you won’t need immediately at the bottom of the bag. 
  3. Roll up clothing and pack garments tightly together. 
  4. Fill shoes with small items. 
  5. Keep shoes separated from other clothing by wrapping them inshoe bags.
  6. Include a spare bag to wrap up wet or dirty clothing. 
  7. Use the bag’s outer pockets for your tablet and charging cables. Keep your phone,  boarding pass, and passport in a personal item you have with you at all times. 

If you find last-minute packing stressful, prepare your bag a couple of days before your trip. Some travelers print out checklists of items they need for weekend trips and store the list in their travel luggage for easy access. Pack right the first time, and you’ll have a more relaxing trip and more fun at your destination!

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