Putting together a weekend trip packing list can be as easy or hard as you make it. I know once upon a time I would take everything but the kitchen sink, because “you never know when you’ll need a unicorn onesie.’ AMIRIGHT? I mean, who shows up to Cancun for spring break with an 80 pound checked bag that includes 10 pairs of LONG JEANS? Me. But I have since changed my ways.
The truth is, weekend getaways are designed to be effortless and give you a brief moment of relaxation, spontaneous fun or a planned event. No part of stressing about your weekend trip packing list is going to let you enjoy yourself. Through many years of trial and error, I have narrowed down what to take and what to get rid of.
When you sit down and start planning your weekend trip packing list, think “minimal, but doable.”
Weekend Trip Packing List: Tips
These are the things I take into consideration before I pull out the luggage and start grabbing things:
- What is the occasion? This sets the entire tone for packing.
- What type of clothing will I need? Formal? Winter? Summer? Casual? etc.
- Do I need to bring any special gear like ski equipment, golf clubs and/or flamingo floaties?
- Do I have enough space in my lodging for a hard suitcase or should I bring a soft sided bag (this has only happened to me once on a sailboat where I could not bring a suitcase because the berths were tiny)?
- Plan out your outfits and pack 1-2 additional ones JUST IN CASE. You do not need 50 outfits for 3 days.
- If you over pack your clothes, you spend too much time stressing about what to wear and constantly changing, creating an even bigger mess.
- Are you doing a weekend cruise?
- Your weekend getaway is short, should you bring books and activities to do? Think about how you are going to spend your time away.
- Are you leaving the country? If so, grab your passport and print off a few extra copies.
- Are you in cold weather and moving to warmer weather? You will need to pack for both since you’ll be returning.
Weekend Trip Packing List: MUST HAVES
These are the bare necessities for a weekend trip. If you are on a specialty trip, you will need to adjust for that. But if you think back to the first paragraph, make this trip easy. Don’t overdo it and bring only what you need.
- Comfortable walking shoes
- Plenty of undergarments
- Tooth brush and tooth paste
- Shampoo and conditioner
- 3 shirts
- 3 bottoms
- Chargers for electronics
Weekend Trip Packing List: Leave at Home
Let’s be honest with ourselves right here. If we don’t use it at home and have never used it on a trip, what are the odds we will use it now? Unless you got it for this specific trip, leave it at home. Furthermore, get rid of it if you aren’t using it.
- If you have no intention of dining anywhere nice and the occasion isn’t formal, don’t pack a bag of fancy items you won’t use. You run the risk of losing or damaging these items and just being over packed.
- This also includes jewelry. You do not need to outfit the Queen for a month. Be reasonable in your packing.
- Shoes. For a weekend trip, you should not need more than 2 pairs of shoes and that includes the ones on your feet. However, there are some caveats: formal weekend, weddings, variance in weather extremes, and so on. It would be near impossible to wear 10 pairs of shoes over 3 days. It CAN be done, but why bother? It adds more stress.
Weekend Trip Packing List: Bonus Items + Items Commonly Forgotten
- You should bring a camera if you want to document your travels (I know I like the photo memories). I love this Olympus camera.
- Swimsuit if there is a pool/beach/spa
- SPF if you are going to be in the sun
- Soft sided bag if you are in compact quarters
- A suitcase if you have plenty of room
- Garment bag if you have formal wear or clothing you don’t want to jam in a bag
- Specialty skincare items
- Hair styling items: blow dryer, flat iron, etc
Weekend Trip Packing List: Before You Go
Of course before you venture off on your trip, there are a few things you should do at home to keep things in order:
- Let your bank and/or credit card company know of travel plans (if you are going out of the country)
- Make sure lights are off
- Turn off anything that is set to auto when you are home (coffee pot, alarm clock, etc)
- Let someone know you are out of town and where you are going
- Set up some sort of system where someone knows your itinerary and call them at a certain time to check in
- If you have packages coming, let a friend know so they can scoop them up for you
- Make sure windows and doors are locked
Weekend Trip Packing List: Printables
Lastly, I made a printable weekend trip packing list that I use myself when planning. In addition, I have a blank list ou can print as well and fill it out yourself. Feel free to print it out and use it as you wish. I left some blank lines for you to add additional items and make notes on the packing list.
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