How to Pack for a Weekend Trip: Best Tips & Techniques

29 November, 2023 / words by IALH Editor

Image via: @naomianwerr

Packing for weekend trips can become challenging as you may get confused about issues like what it is you need to pack, whether what you are packing is essential or not, and any other concern. However, one thing you do know is that you need to pack light and smart. 

Because of this we have put together some tips on how to pack for one and some essential items you will need.

A weekend getaway is often for two or three days, so the way you pack is going to be very important. What you have to pack doesn’t have to be heavy or much, also doesn’t have to be too light or small. Having just the right balance is what matters. 

When people say pack efficiently, this means selecting the right luggage, prioritizing essentials, limiting yourself, and rolling your clothes. When all these are covered, you are good to go on your weekend getaway.

Understanding the Essentials of Weekend Trip Packing

Here’s a rundown of what to bring on a weekend trip:


  • 3 outfits 
  • 3 sets of underwear
  • 1 pair of comfortable pants, leggings, shorts, or leggings 
  • 2 casual tops
  • 1 dressy top
  • 1 sweater, coat, or jacket
  • 2 pairs of shoes
  • I set of Pyjamas


  • Moisturiser
  • Facemask
  • Tissues
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Sunscreen
  • Hand cream
  • Toothpaste & toothbrush
  • Perfume
  • Lipstick/lip balm

Packing Smart

Packing smart and light offers numerous benefits, some of which include:

Convenience: Packing light makes it easier to move around, whether it’s through airports, on trains, or walking to accommodations. 

Savings: Traveling with less luggage can save you money. Checked baggage fees are charged by many airlines, and packing light can help you avoid them.

Flexibility: Light luggage allows for more transportation possibilities. You can easily use public transportation, stroll longer distances, or visit places that may be inaccessible if you carry big suitcases.

Freedom: Traveling with fewer luggage gives you greater freedom and spontaneity. It allows you to be more agile and versatile because you are not burdened by numerous belongings.

Backpacks vs. Suitcases: Pros and Cons

When deciding between a backpack and a suitcase, it is important to consider the pros and cons of each to make an informed decision based on your traveling plan.

Backpacks pros

  • Mobility and hands-free

Travel backpacks allow you to move around freely with both hands, making them ideal for navigating busy airports, crowded streets, or uneven terrains.

  • Comfortable

High-quality travel backpacks have padded shoulder straps and back panels to ensure a comfortable fit over time.

  • Compact size 

Backpacks are often more compact and can fit into small spaces, making them ideal for navigating public transportation.

  • More long-lasting and secure

Backpacks are made to be strong and secure, with your belongings attached to your body while you wear them.

  • Budget-Friendly

Backpacks can be brought aboard airlines as hand luggage, saving you from checked baggage fees and probable carousel wait time.

Cons of Backpack

  • Carry with you everywhere

The main disadvantage of using a backpack instead of a suitcase is that you must carry the bag everywhere you go, which can be cumbersome, especially if over-packed.

  • Limited capacity 

 Backpacks have less space than suitcases, making them unsuitable for extended travel or travellers who like to bring a range of outfits.

  • Wrinkled clothing

Clothes packed in a backpack are more likely to wrinkle due to the way they are stored. 

Pros of suitcases

  • Security 

Each suitcase has a different level of security. Some have a place to put a lock on the zipper, whilst others, like briefcases, have a combination lock built into them.

  • Suitcases have enough storage space 

Suitcases have plenty of storage space and are easy to manoeuvre, especially with wheels.

  • Spacious options

 Larger suitcases provide adequate space, making them ideal for individuals who want to have a variety of wardrobe options.

  • Wrinkle-free clothing 

Properly packed clothing in a suitcase is less prone to wrinkle, making it an excellent choice for those looking to maintain a polished look during your weekend.

  • Easier to clean and maintain

Suitcases are easier to clean and maintain than backpacks since stains and spills can be wiped away.

Cons of suitcase

  • Cumbersome

Suitcases can be difficult to transport, especially when trying to put them into overhead compartments on trains or buses.

  • More extra baggage fees

When traveling with a suitcase, you are more likely to face additional baggage costs, especially if you return with more items.

  • Heavier

Suitcases are heavier, which might be an issue when trying to stay under luggage weight constraints.

  • Bulkiness

Storing a suitcase might be more difficult, especially in smaller lodgings or when space is limited.

Folding vs. Rolling Clothes: Saving Space in Your Bag

The debate between rolling and folding clothes when packing for a weekend trip is a common one. However, whichever one you choose, you can still save space in your bag.

When you fold your clothes, they are neat and organized, you get fewer wrinkles, and are easy to unpack. On the other hand, when you roll your clothes, you will be able to see your clothes, get fewer creases, pack fast, stuff and store easily. 

Toiletries and Personal Items: Packing What You Need

Here are some guides to help you pack what you need without overloading your luggage: 

  • Make a checklist
  • Travel sized toiletries
  • Hair essentials
  • Skin care product
  • Personal hygiene items
  • Medications
  • Personal items

Miniature Toiletries for Short Trips

Here is a list of common miniature toiletries for a short trip:

  • Travel-sized toothpaste and toothbrush
  • Travel-sized body and hair wash
  • Miniature skincare product 
  • Miniature comb or brush
  • Travel-size facial tissues or wipes

Organizing Your Personal Items Effectively

Here are some tips to help you organize your personal items effectively:

  • Use a traveling-friendly organizer
  • Use packing cubes
  • Label your items
  • Keep essentials in your luggage
  • Pack according to frequency of use
  • Pack light

Keeping these in mind will ensure that you don’t leave anything important at home!

Gadgets and Entertainment for the Journey

Here are some of the gadgets and entertainment options for your weekend trip:

  • Noise cancellation headphone
  • Bluetooth speaker
  • Travel adapter
  • Power bank
  • Portable charger
  • Laptop or tablet
  • Power strip

Compact Entertainment Options for Downtime

Here are some portable and space-saving entertainment options to keep you entertained when you have some downtime during your trip:

  • E-readers
  • Compact board or card games
  • Foldable travel cheese board
  • Podcasts or audiobooks

Preparing for the Destination: Research and Planning

Effective research and planning are important components of a successful trip. Here is a guide to help you plan your journey:

  • Understand the local culture
  • Research the destination
  • Check visa and entry requirements
  • Research transportation options
  • Internet connectivity options
  • Explore points of interest

By investing in thorough research and planning, you set a foundation for a more pleasurable and stress-free weekend tip.

Checking Weather and Activity-Specific Needs

For a successful trip, it is important to check the weather and activity. Consider the weather when planning activities. Ensure that outdoor activities are timed to coincide with ideal weather conditions and that you have backup plans in case of unexpected changes. 

Cultural Considerations and Local Norms

Look for cultural events, festivals, or festivities that are taking place during your visit. Attend these events to learn about local customs and to broaden your cultural experience.

The Importance of a Final Run-Through

The final run-through is important for a weekend trip for two important reasons: It ensures essentials are well-packed and reduces the chances of forgetting items. Also, having a final run-through is a proactive measure to enhance your traveling experience.

Creating and Using a Packing Checklist

Here is a step-by-step guide for creating and using a packing checklist:

  • Start early
  • Categorize item
  • Review before packing
  • Double check
  • Consider the duration
  • Check items off as you pack

By following this guide, you will enhance your packing efficiency, and reduce the likelihood of forgetting essential items.

Tips for Packing Light and Avoiding Overpacking

You can pack light by following these simple guidelines:

  • Weigh your luggage
  • Mix and match clothing
  • Pack the must-haves, not the nice-to-haves
  • Bring versatile instead of special-case item
  • Use a packing list
  • Use packing cubes

By following these guidelines, you can pack light and avoid overpacking


IALH Editor


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