17 Top Weekend Trip Packing List Items + What NOT to Bring (2021)

Lady in car on weekend trip
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Updated on March 8, 2021 by Asher Fergusson

Getting away for the weekend is exciting, and can offer an incredible chance to reset and relieve the stress of the day-to-day.

Make sure you pack correctly to avoid bringing too much or too little – this guide can help! We’ll go over what to wear, what NOT to bring, and other weekend trip FAQs to help you thoroughly enjoy your weekend escape!

What to Pack for Weekend Trip – 17 Essentials


1. Weekender bag or backpack

Weekender bag or backpack Whether you’re off on a business trip or visiting family and friends for the weekend, you’ll want to bring a carry-on-friendly, accommodating weekend bag. This one is trendy, spacious, easily portable, and will totally become your new favorite travel duffel.

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2. Wardrobe color scheme

Wardrobe color scheme The best way to pack for a quick weekend trip is by bringing clothing items that fit within a particular color scheme. I prefer to bring neutral clothing (gray, black, cream, purples) that I can mix and match. This will help you from packing too many items. It’s usually a good idea to bring one casual outfit, one dressy outfit (if necessary), and one comfortable outfit (for travelling, sleeping, or lounging).

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3. Two pairs of shoes

Two pairs of shoes Whether you’re headed to explore a new city, or to a business conference, you’ll want to bring at least one pair of comfortable walking shoes, and one more dressy pair. This particular pair of sandals can be dressed up or down, depending on the occasion. You can wear them with almost anything!

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4. Colorful accessories

Colorful accessories Since you’re going neutral with your clothing basics, you can spice up your outfits with bright or interesting statement accessories. This scarf gets extra points for its multiple uses (accessory, plane pillow, swimsuit coverup). It’s lightweight, eye catching, and super soft.

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5. Toiletries

Toiletries Don’t let your skin suffer while you’re on vacation. You should always bring your specific cleanser and moisturizer with you, no matter your trip length. To store your toiletries, a top-notch toiletry bag is ideal. This one has a hook so it can hang in the bathroom, and is spacious enough to fit your shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, body wash, cosmetics, etc.

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6. Packing cubes

Hero packing cubes Using packing cubes will turn you into a packing pro. They’ll keep you totally organized, and make packing (and unpacking) a breeze. This set comes with three packing cubes, three laundry pouches, and a shoe bag. Perfect for organizing your duffel, and separating your clean clothes from your laundry.

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7. Sunglasses

Sunglasses Sunglasses are important to take on any sort of trip. Protect your eyes from harmful UVA/ UVB rays with these trendy shades. Reviewers say that the quality is awesome and they feel expensive despite their inexpensive price tag!

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8. Lipstick Sized Portable Charger

Lipstick Sized Portable Charger Nobody has the time to wait for their phone to charge on a wall plug. Make it a non issue by coming armed with this durable case. It holds a full charge, so you can go about your day without worrying where you can next charge your phone.

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9. Windproof Travel Umbrella

Hero UmbrellaYou never know for sure what the weather will bring, so to make sure you get the most out of your short getaway, it’s best to bring a quality travel umbrella. This one is windproof, compact and has a convenient storage case that will keep your other items dry when you store your wet umbrella.

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10. Earplugs + Sleep Mask

Earplugs + sleep mask Don’t let noise or light ruin your perfect night of sleep. This eye mask is contoured to shape to your face, and lightweight enough to prevent pressure on your eyes. It comes with earplugs, too. This is the perfect combination to bring with you on your weekend trip.

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11. Travel Wallet

Travel wallet While traveling, it’s important to have a safe and organized place to keep your ID, money and credit cards. Protect your privacy and your personal information with this RFID blocking travel wallet. This one has enough space for everything, and will keep you extremely organized during your travels.

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12. Glasses/Contacts

Glasses/Contacts If you wear glasses or contacts, you know the struggle of forgetting either of these things! Remember to pack both (just in case) even if you prefer to wear one over the other. This contact case is the perfect size to keep it in your travel bag, and comes with a little travel-sized bottle to put solution in.

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13. Neck Wallet

neck wallet Especially when you’re traveling it’s helpful to have all of your important items safely organized in one place. This comfortable neck wallet will make it easy for you to access your credit cards, passports and other important documents, while making it near impossible for any thieves to pickpocket or grab from you.

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14. Polaroid Camera

Polaroid camera You’ll never regret bringing a camera on a trip. You will use it to capture all the new memories you’re making, places you’re seeing, and people you’re with. This one is a classic. It’s easy to use, and perfect for capturing any moment worth remembering.

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15. Waterproof Cellphone Case

Waterproof Cellphone Case If you’re trip takes you anywhere around water, you might be tempted to bring your phone in with you to take a few selfies. Now you can make it happen with this waterproof pouch. It’s also very useful for the freak thunderstorm and other unpredictable weather!

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16. Swimsuit

Swimsuit (or two) You might find it useful to pack a swimsuit, even if you’re not headed to a beach destination. You might want to unwind in the hotel pool or hot tub. This top is so unique, and you can adjust it with the halter string.

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17. Copy of Important Documents

Copy of important documents Don’t forget your itinerary, plane ticket, or car insurance information (if you’re driving)! This document holder is lightweight, and convenient to carry or keep in your the backpack, briefcase, or bag.

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Other packing list items for a weekend getaway


 

What to wear on a weekend trip


As I always say, when it comes to packing, less is more. Obviously it depends where you’re headed, so while you’re packing at home, try to make a list of the exact activities you’ll be doing, and what you’ll need to wear for them. Pre-planning like this will keep you from bringing too much stuff. For a car or plane trip, come dressed in comfortable clothes that you can re-wear throughout the weekend so that you don’t overpack. Another trick is to wear your heaviest items on the plane, so that your carry on is lighter! Also, remember to always check the weather.
 

What NOT to bring:


1) 🚫 A checked bag – You really don’t need to bring too much on a weekend trip. Even if it’s a three-day weekend, you can probably pare down your luggage to just a carry-on and personal item (purse or small backpack). That way you’ll save yourself the trouble and time of having to wait forever at baggage claim!
2) 🚫 Unnecessary electronics – Unless you’re traveling for business, it can be nice to unplug for a while. Leave your ipad and at home so you can really enjoy the weekend and disconnect a bit.
3) 🚫 Laptop – If you absolutely must bring be online for work-related reasons, think about downloading your important documents to your phone. Before a weekend trip, I like to save all my work in Google Docs so that I can access it anytime on my phone, and don’t have to carry around a heavy computer.
4) 🚫 Too many outfit/shoe options – Don’t overstuff your carry-on or opt for a checked bag if you’re only going for a weekend. Try to really plan out your outfits for your trip while you’re packing. Time flies, and you won’t want to spend your precious vacation moments deciding on what to wear anyway. Pick it all out in advance.
5) 🚫 Books – No need to carry cumbersome novels or guidebooks in this day and age. Invest in a Kindle of other eReader. You can carry a whole library of books in a tiny device that weighs no more than a pound!
6) 🚫 TSA requirements – As always, be wary of TSA requirements if you’re flying. Here is a link to the prohibited items.
 

FAQs about Weekend getaways


1) Should I drive or fly?

Research ahead of time to figure this one out. Look up the prices of flights for that weekend, and compare it to what you’ll spend on gas if you drove. Google maps will approximate the gas total from point A to point B. You should also factor in the importance of having a car at your destination, and check out rental car options if necessary, or try to estimate what you’d spend on Uber or cabs once you’re there.

2) What is the rule for carrying on liquids?

You are allowed to bring a quart-sized bag of liquids, aerosols, gels, creams and pastes in your carry-on bag and through the checkpoint. These are limited to travel-sized containers that are 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) or less per item.

3) What counts as liquids?

Any liquid, aerosol, gel, cream, or paste. This includes contact solution, mascara, hand sanitizer, sunscreen, etc. Keeping your liquids in a separate zip lock bag will make the security process go so much more quickly.

4) How do I choose the right weekend bag?

Think about what you need to bring. If you’re taking your laptop with you, you’ll want a bag that can accommodate it. If you prefer to keep weight off of your shoulders, use a rolling bag. If you’re feeling super low-maintenance, just use your backpack!

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Please note: We have over 200 packing lists covering practically every popular travel destination in the world. Access them all on our packing list overview page ➜