Packing for a weekend getaway is a fine art that takes some practice to get right. I always used to either pack too little for a weekend trip and get caught short of something.
Then, on my next weekend trip, I would pack too much to make up for it and end up with a heavy bag to carry around. But, eventually, through trial and error, I managed to get my weekend packing list down to a T.
To save you the hassle, I am going to share with you my weekend trip packing list that I took so many years to master.
I’m not sure why I am being so generous. Some suffering is part of having an ultimate packing list for weekend trips, but joking aside, here is the weekend packing list to end all others.
The first step to having the ultimate weekend packing list is having the right bag for your trips. Now, a weekend bag should not be a checked bag, a duffel bag, or a beach bag, it should be a carry-on bag that works as a travel bag, day bag, and more.
Basically, it should be one bag that does it all from hiking in the mountains to hanging out at the beach, and not a bag you have to hang around at baggage claim waiting for.
The bag I choose to use is a fully waterproof 28-liter backpack with a laptop sleeve, sternum strap, and a removable waist belt.
I spent more than two weeks in Switzerland and France with just this small bag, so it is more than enough to pack everything you need for a weekend getaway. I went paddle boarding with it, swimming, hiking, and more – it is very versatile.
Next up on your weekend packing list is clothes and this is where it can all go wrong. Clothes are the bulkiest items in your bag, so you have to plan carefully.
A weekend trip usually involves leaving on Friday and coming home on Sunday, so you have 3 days of clothes to pack for a weekend. Packing light is always wise, so wear all your bulky items on Friday and on Sunday when coming home.
I always pack one spare of essentials too, just in case I spill a drink on myself or something else like that. I am clumsy! Remember, you will be wearing some things on Friday, so not all of this is going in your bag.
As you can see, this packing list is minimal, and you should be wearing or carrying the bulkiest items when you travel on Friday.
This includes your shoes, or the bulkiest pair of shoes, trousers, jumper, and jacket. You will need these if you are flying as airports and planes are cold, if you overheat, just hang the extra layers on your backpack.
When it comes to packing toiletries for your weekend trip, your weekend packing list should be minimal.
The first step is to think about where you are staying. Will there be toiletries you can use there like shampoo, conditioner, and shower gel? If so, leave them at home, and usually, between staying in a hotel or with a friend, these things are always available.
Also, shave the morning before you leave, so on Friday morning in this example then there will be no need to carry any shaving gear with you at all.
Here are the toiletries I pack for a weekend trip and some extras depending on your personal needs:
Remember that all of these need to go in your carry-on for your weekend trip so any liquids need to be under 100 ml in volume.
You are going to want something to do while traveling to and from your weekend trip, which might mean some gadgets are necessary.
I like to use travel time to catch up on work being self-employed, so I always carry my laptop but you don’t have to add that weight to your weekend getaway carry-on if you don’t want to.
When it comes to streamlining your electronics and gadgets, just remember you can watch Netflix on your phone so you can leave your laptop or tablet at home.
Here are the essential gadgets and electronics to pack:
As you can see, there are a lot of “if” options here and you can go on a weekend getaway with about half of them just fine, but it depends on where you are going and what you like to have with you on weekend trips.
When it comes to entertainment, your packing list in the “Electronics & Gadgets” section should have you covered. You can read a book, listen to a podcast, watch a movie or series, listen to music, and use the internet too.
There isn’t any need to add any more entertainment items to your packing list or to your carry-on backpack. But, you can always buy some entertainment items on your travels and a pack of cards is fun to pack for a weekend if you are not traveling solo.
Here are some easy entertainment items to bring with you or buy on the road:
Traveling without your important documents can be the end of your weekend away if you are traveling abroad or on a plane. These are things you can not forget to pack for a weekend so be sure they are on your packing list and in your carry-on.
These days you don’t need to print any booking confirmations as most flights, hotels, and other establishments accept seeing a digital copy.
Make sure you have them in your emails on your phone and take a screenshot of them too in case you need to present them in a place with no data signal or WiFi.
Health essentials are another vital thing on your packing list for weekend getaways. You don’t want to forget anything that will make your trip more enjoyable, like your contact lenses for example.
Here are the health essentials you should consider bringing with you:
Don’t pack more than you need for your short trip. You might only need to take 3 multivitamin tablets and 3 rehydration tablets for example. Decant what you may need and don’t take the whole pack.
There are always a few extras that you need to consider packing for a quick weekend trip. A lot of them can depend on where you are traveling to, what you plan on doing, and the weather. Just remember, pack smart!
No matter your destination, chances are you are going to need one or two of these things with you.
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Roger is a little obsessed with travel. He has been to over 40 countries, broken 3 suitcases and owned over 10 backpacks in 12 months. What he doesn't know about travel, ain't worth knowing!