"Each product we feature has been independently selected and reviewed by our editorial team. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn a commission."
Let’s be honest; we all need a weekend getaway from time to time to quell the anxiety of our stressful everyday life. There is an endless ocean of options ahead of you. You might want to go camping in the countryside, fly to Paris for two days, or visit a luxury spa. These options have one thing in common, and that is making the weekend trip packing list that can make you pull your hair out.
As trivial as it sounds, preparing a packing list for a weekend trip is an intricate business. As we do in all parts of our lives, we tend to overthink and pack whatever we can under the motto just in case. We then realize upon returning that we didn’t even touch the bottom half of the items in the bag.
The biggest challenge is to come up with a weekender packing list that is lightweight, yet convenient. If you are an overthinker who carries their home on their back on every weekend getaway, a packing list can spare you a lot of trouble.
If your coffee is brewing and your suitcase is wide open, we present a detailed guide to help packing for a weekend trip.
Weekend Trip Packing List: Clothing
If you are confused about what to wear, a pair of jeans can simplify things and give you the first clue on how to pack light. The main advantage of jeans is that you can wear them with almost any color of t-shirt, shirt, and jacket. Colorwise, black, and denim are the most easily-matched. Then, you can choose matching t-shirts and accessories in the blink of an eye.
A side benefit is that if you are going to wear them most of the time, they don’t even have to take up space in your backpack. This creates extra space for your pajama pants that you can wear before going to bed.
You are going to need the perfect combination of comfy and stylish tops for your weekend trip. A tank top creates an ideal foundation for your outfit. You can wear them indoors, in nature, or at a casual gathering with friends, and during any season – on its own or with layers on top.
Besides their wide area of use, we also love them because they absorb the sweat around the armpit, so you can lift your arms without being self-conscious about your smell. One tank top for each day is an absolute must, especially in women’s packing list for a weekend trip.
What we can definitely recommend is a hoodie or a cardigan because both are the types of comfortable clothes that you can wear on various occasions.
Whether you are feeling chilly on a summer night, going out for a walk early in the morning, or visiting with family in the spring, there is no instance where a hoodie will look absurd.
Socks & Underwear
Socks and underwear always fall under the category of just in case, and we tend to pack twice the number we need. They won’t necessarily turn your backpack into a dumbbell, but bringing just the right amount can create space for other small items.
The rule of thumb is to bring one pair of socks and one underwear for each day unless you are going hiking, rock climbing, or any other activity where you will burn calories. In those scenarios, you can bring an extra of each to wear after taking a shower on that day.
Weekend Trip Packing List For Every Season
Chances are, you are going to want to cool off at a beach, in a swimming pool, or a crystal-clear lake. Although skinny dipping sounds incredibly tempting, not every occasion is appropriate for that. So, we suggest that you bring a swimsuit in any case.
If you are traveling in summer, you can replace jean pants with jean shorts that will match with just about any top.
The main challenge of deciding what to pack for a weekend trip in transition seasons is the unpredictable weather. The most convenient method for autumn and spring is to pack clothes so that you can wear them in layers, take them off/put them on as often as you like. If you are traveling in the rainy season, packing a waterproof raincoat would be a wise decision.
There are a few items that you can pack to have an extra layer on your clothes. These are;
- Thermal leggings under your pants to keep your legs warm
- Thermal socks
- A jacket
- A knit cap
- A scarf
Occasions-specific Dress and Suits
There might be occasions where you would have to dress more formally on a weekend trip than usual. You could be going to a wedding, a conference, or a graduation ceremony. If that’s the case, you should pack your suit or dress along with the rest of the clothes.
The good news is that you can replace some of your casual clothes with the occasion-specific outfit. For instance, you wouldn’t need an extra pair of jeans and a t-shirt if you are attending a wedding and its after-party throughout the weekend.
This is our favorite part because you only need one pair of shoes, and those will go on your foot, not into your backpack. Unless there is a formal occasion requiring you to wear formal shoes, you should prefer comfortable and breathable sneakers.
Weekend Trip Packing List: Medicine and Toiletries
Whether it’s a weekend trip or an overnight trip, the packing list can swell drastically when you carry a full makeup table or a pharmacy. Instead, you should make a calculated guess about what exactly will be useful for you.
In addition to your regular medication (e.g., an SSRI), you can think of the most common conditions, such as headaches, and an upset stomach, when putting medicine into your travel packing list. To save up some space, you can cut out pieces of blister packs to contain the exact amount that you need.
As far as your toiletry kit goes, you should follow similar logic and only pack the toiletries that you will use. Here is a list of what to pack for a weekend trip.
- Sunscreen (essential, especially in summer!)
- Soap and shampoo (unless they are available at your booked accommodation)
- Shaving gel and razor (this should be on every men’s packing list for a weekend trip because you never know)
Weekend Trip Packing List: Gear
The hamster wheel of corporate life brainwashed us into thinking we need to be working all the time, even when we are traveling. That’s why you might feel a strong urge to pack your laptop(s) and every other digital device you have just to stay connected.
Here is the deal, though, you are going away only for two days. Your tasks and to-do lists will be precisely where you left them when you are back. Our point is that you will overload your luggage if you pack all your electronics with the assumption that you will work.
If you are going with a group of people, you can bring decks or boardgames to unleash your inner extrovert.
Weekend Trip Packing List: Packing Tips
Based on our experience of weekend trips, we have put together some packing tips.
- Do you lose just about any small item in your deep well of a suitcase? That might indicate a lack of organization, which you can solve by grouping your things in packing cubes.
- If you are flying somewhere, make sure that your bag adheres to the size and weight restrictions so that you can take it onboard. This will save you a significant amount of time caused at the baggage claim sections.
- Only pack groceries if you are going away into the wilderness. Otherwise, you can go shopping at your destination, so why buy it beforehand?
- A small handbag can be used to put personal items.
- If you are going to hike, you can also bring a smaller backpack that you can put food and drinks to have during the hike.
Weekend Trip Packing List: FAQ
The ideal list is as follows:
1 pair of shorts or pants
2 tank tops
1 pair of comfortable shoes
For slightly longer weekend trips, the ideal packing consists of 2 bottoms and 3-4 tops so that you can combine them in various ways during your trip. You should bring at least one jacket for cold weather. Finally, you can pack two pairs of shoes and a pair of flip-flops to complete your outfits.
Although rolling seems easier and is believed to create extra space in your suitcase, it also generates wrinkles, especially on cotton and linen. You can fold your clothes following their creases and still create space in your bag.
Conclusion: Weekend Trip Packing List
As you can see, packing for a weekend trip doesn’t have to be rocket science. With a bit of common sense and brief planning, preparing the things to pack for a weekend trip shouldn’t take longer than half an hour. Hopefully from now on, you won’t have a stiff neck and aching shoulders because of your excessively heavy backpack.