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I love weekend getaways. They can be quite affordable, and I enjoy getting a taste of a destination I might want to revisit. Plus, it’s easier to be a bit spontaneous especially if you’re staying a little closer to home. Just book a hotel, throw a few things in a bag and you’re off! But before you take off, make sure you have everything you need using this weekend packing list.
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You need a packing list for your weekend trip
Don’t be tempted to neglect creating a packing list for a shorter trip just because it’s shorter. It’s just as easy to forget something you’ll need for a short getaway as it is for a major international trip.
While I agonize over packing lists for longer trips (such as packing for a week in Europe), I tend to underthink my packing list for a weekend trip which has caused problems.
I cannot tell you how many times I’ve failed to check the weather forecast or think through potential activities for my weekend away and ended up at my destination unprepared.
(You mean there might be hot and humid weather during my weekend in Savannah, Georgia, even in October??)
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Now, of course, a weekend vacation packing list is not necessarily one size fits all (so to speak). There are different kinds of weekend trips.
To help you as much as possible, this post outlines a basic weekend packing list plus variations for warm weather/beach weekends, cool weather weekends and long weekend packing lists.
Basic weekend getaway packing list
Use this as the base for any weekend away packing list.
See below for variations you can use to adapt your packing list for warm weather, beach weekends, cool weather, outdoorsy getaways and long weekend trips of three to four days.
Follow my tips for packing light to help you prioritize your packing needs if you’re flying rather than driving to your weekend getaway.
- Two pairs of pants (I like to include a pair of dark jeans that I can dress up or down)
- 1 outfit for a night out (dress or skirt/dressy pants with a dressy top)
- 1 simple set of jewelry to go with everything
- 1 pair of comfortable shoes for travel or walking
- 1 pair of dressier shoes or basic flats
- 3 tops (including 1 dressy top or sweater for a night out)
- Under garments
- Slippers or flip flops (for walking around in your hotel room or making a quick trip to the ice machine down the hall)
- Hoodie or cardigan sweater (great for layering either indoors or outdoors)
Semi-sarcastic pro tip: checking the weather report for your destination shortly before you pack is key to packing only the things you’ll likely need and making sure you don’t forget what you’ll want to have with you.
Don’t be like me and forget to pack a swimsuit for a fall beach trip to Hilton Head Island, assuming it would be too cool to swim only to find perfect beach weather when you arrive.
Yes, I’m still kicking myself about that one.
Toiletries and personal items
I never pack shampoo, conditioner or body wash when I stay in a hotel because I know my room will be well-stocked with these items.
You can always request more from housekeeping if you need them during your stay, and I always take home my “leftovers.” They’re perfect to use on my next weekend visit to family.
And since I’m not picky about hair styling tools, I prefer to use the hotel-provided hairdryer rather than pack one. One less thing to forget.
I also save space by taking only the skin care essentials I need for a couple of days. The special treatments and masks can stay at home.
Flying with a carry-on only? Follow my tips for how to pack a toiletry bag for carry-on only travel to make sure you don’t exceed your liquids allowance.
- Essential skin care products
- A few basic OTC medications like Tylenol, Pepto Bismol tablets, sleep aids, etc.
- Dietary supplements and/or any prescription medications
- Hair care products
- Hair styling tools
- Toothbrush/toothpaste/dental floss
These are those extra items I like to pack to 1) make the journey to my destination more enjoyable and 2) make my hotel stay more comfortable.
- Book or mobile device with app for reading e-books
- Snacks for the trip to your destination
- Re-usable water bottle
- Chargers for all devices (plus a spare)
- Pillow from home (if you’re like me and sleep better with it)
And yes, if you are wondering, I do cram my pillow into my carry-on suitcase even when traveling to the other side of the planet.
Pro-tip: when traveling with a personal bed pillow, I use a colorful pillowcase (anything other than plain white) so that I can’t miss it among all the other pillows on the hotel bed and accidentally leave it behind.
Long weekend packing list option (for up to four days)
Use the basic packing list above to get you started, then add items to flesh out your wardrobe for an extra day or two.
- 1 additional “night out” outfit
- 1 additional pair of pants (more casual or less casual depending on what else you’re packing)
- 1 additional top
Use the packing list variations below to customize your list for the season and destination.
Cool weather/outdoorsy weekend trip packing list option
When headed off on a weekend trip in the cooler months (or perhaps higher altitudes) take the basic weekend packing list above and adjust as needed for your destination and weather to include things like:
- Warm and/or waterproof shoes or hiking boots
- Wool socks
- Wool base layers
- Warm coat
- Waterproof/rain jacket
Warm weather/beach weekend getaway packing list option
For a weekend in warmer weather (including weekend beach vacations), use the basic packing list and adjust to include summer and beach essentials such as:
- Waterproof/sweatproof sunscreen
- Bug spray
- Sun hat
- Sandals or water shoes
- Rash guard
- Beach towel if your hotel or resort doesn’t provide them or offer them to rent (keep in mind that many accommodations don’t want you using your bathroom towel at the pool or beach)
So now that you know what to pack, it’s time to have a great weekend getaway!
What are your must-pack items for a weekend away?
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