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Weekend Trip Packing List: What To Bring on Your Getaway

Everyone needs to get away once in a while. Even if you don’t have lots of resources or time, a weekend trip can be a good way to de-stress and explore a new area for a short time. While a weekend getaway can be relatively easy to plan and execute, you’ll still have to spend some time packing. You won’t want to waste any of your precious vacation time running to a store to purchase something you’ve forgotten.

Check out our weekend trip packing list with some basics you’ll need, regardless of where you are going. Then, at the bottom of the post, we link to all of our packing lists. What you bring for your short trip will depend on the type of trip (beach, theme park, city), so be sure to look at the right list.

Disclosure: This weekend packing list post contains affiliate links. A purchase/click through one of these links may result in a commission paid to us at no additional cost to you. All opinions are my own.

Handwritten vacation packing list drawing

Packing List for a Weekend Away

Where are you going on your weekend away?

First, you’ll need to start with where you are going. This dictates the type of clothes you need to pack, as well as other items you may need, like beach towels and comfortable shoes. You’ll also want to think about the type of plans you have. If you are going out to nice dinners or shows, you may want to include more than one pair of shoes and other nicer clothing items.

Don’t forget to check the weather forecast at your destination before you leave. This may change the types of clothes you bring, and you may also want to include an umbrella and/or rain poncho.

Open suitcase on the floor with hands putting toiletry bag inside.

Driving or Flying?

Are you driving, flying, or taking a train to your destination? It’s much easier to pack up a car for a quick road trip, and you can also bring along larger items you may want, like cases of water and fitness equipment. You won’t have to be as mindful of the weight of your bags or how many you bring.

If you are flying or taking a train, you’ll probably pack light and need to bring the right bag. You may decide just to bring a carry-on bag if you are flying. In that case, you’ll want to have a nice-sized personal item to use as underseat luggage so you can maximize space in your larger carry-on luggage

In your personal item, it’s a good idea to put things you’ll need during the flight as well as any important things. This includes any prescription medication, books, headphones, portable chargers, hand sanitizer, credit cards, and travel documents. That way, you won’t have to get up and open the overhead for anything you may need – and you’ll have these items with you if they end up having to check your carry-on suitcase.

Some budget airlines charge an extra fee for a checked bag or don’t include it in the lowest fare. So check our specific flight information in advance so you aren’t surprised when you check in.

Weekend Trip Bag

I’d either recommend a duffel bag or a wheeled suitcase for your overhead bag. A duffle bag is more likely to fit in the overhead space if the flight is full but can be a little more challenging to carry around the airport (especially with a heavier personal item).

When I pack for a weekend trip, I am very careful about packing my carry-on so that everything fits. I always roll my clothes and usually use packing cubes to compress everything. I try to limit how many pairs of shoes I bring because those usually take up a lot of space.

Keep in mind that if you pack everything in carefully, you’ll have to do the same on the way home. While I usually just toss my dirty clothes in a laundry bag and bring them home in the bag, that can be tough to pack. So always make sure you leave a little extra space in your bag (that helps with souvenirs too!).

As a side note, we recommend bringing your own laundry bag with you. While many hotels have offered plastic bags in the past, I haven’t seen them in my hotel room the last time I’ve traveled.

Type of Clothing

When I go on a longer trip, I usually bring a few extra items of clothing so that I’ll have options. For a weekend trip, you probably won’t have a ton of space in your bag. So you’ll need to think about your specific plans and make sure that you have the right outfits packing all of your plans.

If you don’t have plans that require a dressier outfit, consider bringing things in neutral colors so you can mix and match outfits. A pair of jeans can also be worn more than once if necessary so you have more options.

Toiletry refillable bottles in front of globe

Packing Toiletries

If you travel often, I recommend keeping a packed travel bag of toiletries ready to go. Because liquids, gels, aerosols, and creams have to be 3.4 ounces or less to be carried through airport security on a flight, you’ll have to get travel-sized items for most of your toiletries. Save these in a toiletry bag and bring them out whenever you are packing for a trip.

Before you go, you’ll want to pull out the bottles and make sure they are filled enough and aren’t expired. Add in any jewelry or makeup that you may want to bring for your trip.


You’ll always need to travel with some basic identification, as well as cash and credit cards. These days there are even more things you may need, so make sure you’ve packed everything required. You may also need your flight information, boarding passes, confirmation letters, and passports (for international travel).

Other Essentials

Here are some other things you may need:

  • Several pairs of pants
  • Important documents
  • Rain jacket
  • Shirts/sweaters
  • Underwear
  • Pair of pajamas
  • Day bag/purse for a day trip
  • Hair brush
  • Hair dryer/straightener
  • Comfortable shoes
  • Portable phone charger
  • Charging cords for phone/watch/tablet
  • Bathing suits (if going on a beach trip or using the hotel pool)
  • Water bottle
  • Lip balm
  • Insect repellent and Sunscreen
  • Coat you are traveling in cold weather

Packing lists

These are just a few of the things you’ll want to pack. For more essentials, download our packing lists – while we can’t guarantee these lists will include everything you need, they are a good start.

We’ve separated the lists by type of trip, so start with the one that is most appropriate for your weekend getaway. Then, there are two list types for each trip – a master list and a child list. Use one master list for your group, and then a child list for each additional person.

More Packing Tips Resources: Looking for more packing tips and recommendations? Here are all of our posts including packing lists, product recommendations, and ideas for specific trips.

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