Use this packing list for an overnight trip so you don’t forget the essentials
It’s far too easy to overpack for short trips. That why you need an overnight trip packing list.
With a solid overnight bag list, you’ll be able to keep organized and not forget anything important.
With just an overnight trip, the temptation to overpack can really strong. Let’s avoid that if we can.
Ready for the list? Just keep reading!
Need help planning your overnight trip? Check out our list of the essential travel planning resources.
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Packing list for your overnight trip
Use this overnight trip packing list as the basis for creating your own list for each of your trips.
Of course, you don’t need to follow this list exactly. It’s designed to be customized. Use it as a starting place.
The key thing is to keep it simple.
You only need to pack two outfits at the most:
- One outfit that’s appropriate for whatever activity or occasion you have during the one evening of your trip.
- One outfit for anything you have planned the second day.
For overnight trips, my preference is to pack only one pair of pants and then wear home the next day the same pants or even the same outfit that I wore for travel the day before.
Pajamas—a simple lightweight set of pajama bottoms paired with a T-shirt like this works. Something like these would work well.
One pair of shoes for whatever you have planned for your trip. Make sure they work with whatever outfits you are taking.
- I usually just take one bra with me for overnight trips…the one I wear to travel to my destination.
- 2 pairs of underpants. I always pack a spare pair.
- Optional: camisole
Socks—to work without whatever shoes you have packed.
- Ultra low cut liner socks like these are great to wear with flats or even slip-on casual shoes like Vans or TOMS.
- I love to wear these liners with athletic shoes.
- Wool socks like these are perfect for outdoor activities in cold weather.
Jacket or cardigan to keep warm in case of sudden weather changes, cold event venues or restaurants, etc.
Optional clothing you could pack for an overnight trip
If your hotel has a gym and you enjoy working out when you travel make sure to take your workout clothes with you.
Or if you want to check out your hotel’s pool, add a swimsuit and coverup to your packing list.
If you have room, consider packing a pair of flip flops or slippers for wearing around your hotel room or in case you need to make a quick run down the hall for ice.
- These are my favorite flip flops. I almost never travel without them…unless it’s the dead of winter.
- These are my absolute favorite slippers.
For a trip of just one night, keep skincare, haircare and makeup products to a minimum.
I always recommend that you just use your hotel bathroom product amenities when possible.
That means you won’t need to pack shampoo, conditioner, soap, or perhaps even a facial cleanser or body lotion.
Pack a basic toiletries bag with only the essentials:
- Foundation—get one with SPF in it like this.
- Concealer—I love this one because it lasts. All. Day. Or try a “foundcealer” like this to save even more space since it’s a foundation and concealer in one.
- Makeup sponge—this one is a great affordable option.
- Powder—this talc-free powder travels well.
- Eyeliner—this retractable pencil makes a great travel companion.
- Eyebrow pencil—this affordable version of more expensive pencils is one of my favorites.
- Eyebrow gel—a good brow gel will help you look made up even when you only have a few minutes to get ready. This one is my favorite.
- Mascara—a tubing mascara like this one is great for travel since it doesn’t smudge.
- Lip gloss or lipstick—or both. They’re small.
- Disposable razor
- Daytime moisturizer with sunscreen—this one is SPF 50, works well under makeup and doesn’t leave a white cast.
- Night cream—this is one is my favorite.
- Toner—I enjoy traveling with a hydrating toner like this one.
- Cotton rounds—these are perfect for applying toner and whatever else you need.
There are a few other things you might want or need to pack to make sure you have a good trip.
- Charger for phone and other electronics
- Prescription medications
- Essential dietary supplements or over-the-counter medications
- A few first-aid items. You can bring a small selection of things from home or purchase a compact first-aid kit designed for travel.
Things you can leave at home
- Multiple outfit options for every possible scenario
- Extra shoes
- Large makeup bags
- Extra electronics (e.g., don’t pack a laptop AND a tablet)
- Hair dryer. Use the one provided by the hotel.
- Shampoo, conditioner, and soap. Use the hotel amenities.
- Multiple jewelry options
Minimize your overnight bag
I find that the danger of overpacking is strongest with short trips. And overnights are no exception.
Because it’s so easy to overpack for overnight trips, I recommend you use the smallest bag you can but still have room to pack the things you genuinely need.
Using a small bag will help you to avoid the temptation to overpack, because you simply won’t have room.
A small rolling carry-on bag like this one makes a great overnight bag.
A large tote bag like this popular weekender would also be great for a short one-night trip.
Get your overnight bag list organized
Why do you need to get organized for your overnight trip? All you have to do is toss a few things in a bag, right?
But when heading out on an overnight, it’s so easy to simultaneously overpack and yet forget important items.
So, pause for a few minutes to think about what you really need. What plans have you made for your trip?
- A nice dinner out?
- A special event like a concert?
- Outdoor activities like hiking?
- Do the accommodations you booked include pool or gym facilities that you want to use?
Final thoughts on the overnight bag list
When traveling for just an overnight, try to resist the temptation to overpack. You don’t need multiple outfit options “just in case.”
But you don’t want to go to the opposite extreme either and not give any thought to what you need to take with you.
That’s how you forget to pack essentials in your overnight bag.
The packing list in this post is all you need to make sure you that you pack well for your short trip.
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