Last Updated: November 21, 2022

Weekend Trip Packing List (Essentials + Tips)

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.

Weekender Bag

TETON Sports Explorer Backpack Full Internal Frame - Adjustable Backpacking Travel Gear - Water-Repellant Rainfly Cover, Sleeping Bag & 3-Liter Hydration Bladder Pack Storage - Black (2021), 65L

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.

Clothes

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.

  • 4 x underwear
  • 4 x socks
  • 1 x flip flops (hot places only)
  • 1 x shoes for all occasions (ladies add another pair for going out)
  • 1 x casual trousers
  • 1 x going out trousers (dress for girls)
  • 1 x shorts/swimming shorts (hot places)
  • 4 x t-shirts
  • 1 x smart shirt
  • 1 x warm jumper
  • 1 x lightweight jacket (for the plane mostly and if it’s cold)
  • 1 x light waterproof jacket
  • 1 x sarong
  • 1 x travel towel
  • 1 x Pajamas
  • 1 x winter coat (cold places)
  • 1 x scarf (cold places)
  • 1 x beanie (cold places)

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.

Toiletries

Toiletry Travel Convenience Kit, Premium Toiletries Accessory Set, Quality Personal Care Wellness Hygiene Essentials Unisex Traveling Bag, TSA Approved Toiletry's Accessories Kits, 20 Piece.

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:

  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Perfume/Cologne
  • Face wash
  • Face moisturizer
  • Deodorant
  • Hairbrush/comb
  • Sunscreen (sunny places)
  • Basic makeup (ladies)

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.

Electronics & Gadgets

Anker Portable Charger, 325 Power Bank (PowerCore Essential 20K) 20000mAh Battery Pack with PowerIQ Technology and USB-C (Recharge Only) for iPhone, Samsung Galaxy, and More

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:

  • Cell phone
  • Cell phone charging cable
  • Headphones – earbuds are the easiest
  • Earbud dock charging cable
  • USB plug for charging everything
  • Kindle or e-reader – if you like reading
  • Travel adapter – if you are going to a foreign country
  • Tablet – if you really need it
  • Powerbank – if you know you won’t be near a power source

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.

Entertainment

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:

  • Playing cards
  • Magazines
  • A real book
  • Newspaper

Important Documents

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.

  • Wallet
  • Credit Cards
  • Cash
  • Driving License – (ID and car hire)
  • Passport – international travel only
  • Vaccination Certs (if required)
  • Booking Confirmations (if required)

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

First Aid Only 298 Piece All-Purpose First Aid Emergency Kit (FAO-442)

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:

  • Contact lens gear (if you wear them)
  • Paracetamol/Ibuprofen
  • Any prescription medications
  • Multi-vitamins
  • Rehydration tablets – great for hangovers and fighting dehydration
  • First Aid Kit
  • Mask – if requires
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • First aid kit

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.

Other Travel Essentials

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!

  • Sunglasses
  • Reusable water bottle
  • Hat
  • Swimming shorts
  • Glasses (backup for contact failure)
  • Insect repellent
  • Rash guard
  • Personal item
  • Hiking boots
  • Water shoes
  • Dry bag – if your backpack isn’t waterproof
  • Camera

No matter your destination, chances are you are going to need one or two of these things with you.

Tips for Packing On A Weekend Trip

  • Check the weather forecast in advance. If it is guaranteed to be sunny on your weekend vacation then you can drop things like a waterproof jacket
  • Try to only bring one pair of shoes, and one pair that are comfortable walking shoes and that you can wear out on the town too, and on a hike. Shoes are the heaviest and bulkiest item on your packing list so reducing them is a good idea
  • Plan your outfits so you can pack light. See what you can borrow if you are staying with a friend, as they probably have a spare rain jacket for example
  • Wear the heaviest and bulkiest things while you travel to save space
  • Packing cubes do come in handy and help you save space
  • You can always buy things at your destination if you need to
  • Choose the right bag that does it all, depending on your needs. A waterproof backpack is best in my eyes for exploring cities and nature

RELATED POST: EUROPEAN PACKING LIST

About the Author Roger Timbrook

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!

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