This content was updated for accuracy and relevance on December 25th, 2021.
Whether it’s to a mountain retreat or a beachy Bachelorette, a weekend trip is always a good idea. It offers a welcome change of pace—something to dream about while you doze off on Zoom. Thankfully, from summer Fridays to three-day holiday weekends, there are many opportunities to enjoy the relaxation and rejuvenation that a short trip can bring.
Compared to lengthy vacations, a weekend getaway feels like a breeze. They’re generally more affordable, require less intensive planning, and won’t give you jet lag. But just like with longer trips, it can be challenging to know how to pack for a short weekend getaway—and just as easy to weigh yourself down with poorly organized essentials, uncomfortable luggage, and unnecessary items.
So before you toss your weekender travel bag in the car, pull up the road trip playlist, and explore the cities, mountains, lakes, and/or beaches that surround you, take a look at our guide on what to pack for a weekend trip.
How to Pack for a Weekend Trip
The best part about getting in your car and heading out of town on a weekend getaway? The sense of absolute freedom that arrives as you hit the open road (also, the inevitable pit stop at McDonald’s).
Whether you’re seeking ease or adventure, the condensed time frame of a weekend trip means that you might be packing for a range of scenes—and looks—within the span of a few days. But you can still travel smart (and light), no matter how many beach parties or brunches you plan to cram into the weekend. Let’s explore how.
Consider the Conditions
Even for restless travelers drawn to the spontaneity of a minibreak, it’s important to dedicate the time to pack your luggage carefully and thoughtfully. Scope out your destination and consider:
- The climate
- The weekend weather forecast
- The local style and dress codes
Few things can spoil a weekend, but being caught in a rugged, rainy mountain town in leather slides certainly would. Or at a swanky champagne bar in your college sweats.
Also critical to consider when you’re packing is where you’ll be staying once you arrive. If you scored a room at a spa hotel, you could probably expect basic toiletries like shampoo, conditioner, and soap, as well as a hairdryer.
Booked an Airbnb? It might serve you well to check in with your host to confirm that toiletries—as well as items like towels and linens—are provided.
How to Pack for a Two-Day Trip
They might be pint-sized, but two-day trips are perfect—just enough time to clear your head and forge new connections.
With your precious time away in short supply and so much to see, you don’t want to slow yourself down by overpacking or packing the wrong things.
While the items that you’ll need to pack vary by your destination and your weekend vibe, you can lighten your load by following a few general rules:
- Pack by getting dressed – Traveling in an outfit that transitions from day to night and works with the climate and energy of your destination can leave room in your weekend bag for other essentials, such as snacks.
Think dark jeans or leggings, a tank or tee, a sweater, and a light jacket for an autumnal city escapade. Or a sundress over a bikini for a summery beach weekend.
Opt for cute, comfortable shoes that you can feel good putting miles in during the day, and cocktails in after.
For the clothes you don’t plan on wearing during travel, it will help to know a thing or two about how to pack a suitcase efficiently, like rolling clothes for packing, to save additional luggage space.
- Pick the right bag – Beyond critical? Your bag. Reach for a sturdy, spacious travel tote bag, like The Weekender, that will carry everything you need and keep your items organized as you go. A stylish carryall will make you feel put together wherever your weekend takes you, even if you don’t have time to stop in your hotel room.
- Plan a short packing list – Write down what you need and stick to it. That means one pair of ankle boots, even if you know that both of them would look amazing on those Boston cobblestones. For a two-day trip, here’s a basic weekend packing list that you can (and should) tailor to your needs and includes what you’re wearing on the day you travel:
- 2 tops (including 1 that transitions to night, similar to dress shoes)
- 2 pairs of socks
- 2 pairs of underwear
- 2 pairs of shoes (1 for walking around during the day, 1 that transitions to night)
- 1 bra
- 1 pair of pants
- 1 sweater
- 1 swimsuit (as needed)
- 1 jacket (as needed)
- 1 pair of loungewear, pajamas, or athleisure
- 1 set of simple jewelry (hoops or studs or a necklace)
- 1 small handbag or messenger bag
While your accommodations might come with standard toiletries, you might not find every toiletry you need. Remember to pack your Dopp kit and make sure it’s complete with everything you need to feel your best, including:
- A toothbrush
- Shaving supplies
For two-day trips, you might find that you can pare down your toiletries (you probably won’t be giving yourself a full mani-pedi in your hotel room). Leaning on beloved multi-use products, like foundations with SPF and gentle all-purpose soaps that cleanse your face and body, can also go a long way toward lightening your luggage.
How to Pack for a Three-or Four-Day Trip
An extended weekend trip doesn’t need to mean extended hassle when it comes to packing. By packing smart and packing light, you can make sure that getting there—and staying there—is a breeze.
The same rules as above apply for a long weekend break. You’ll need a stellar, spacious weekend bag and a brief weekend packing list. But additional days away may mean additional nights out, and with them, more ‘grammable moments.
To avoid the dreaded outfit repeat, you can expand your weekend trip packing list to include the following:
- 3–4 tops
- 4 pairs of underwear
- 4 pairs of socks
- 2 pairs of pants
- 1 dress
A long weekend might bring additional downtime. Looking to linger over cappuccinos? Pick up a lightweight paperback and make all your bookish dreams come true. Out-of-office alerts not exactly your thing? Tackle your inbox while you sip a spritz on the hotel rooftop (just make sure to stow your device safely in The Weekender’s padded laptop sleeve).
What to Pack for Every Kind of Weekend Getaway
Whether you’re planning a brief overnight adventure or pushing the definition of “weekend” as far as you possibly can, you know that packing for a weekend trip entails more than just counting the number of days or nights you’ll be away for.
You also need to consider what your trip is all about—where you’ll be eating, and who you’ll be seeing. To help you craft a weekend getaway packing list that fits the vibe of your mini-vacay, we’ll take a look at what to pack for every kind of getaway, from beaches to backwoods.
What to Pack for the Beach
With nearly 100,000 miles of shoreline1, there’s certainly no shortage of beaches to visit in the United States. In fact, with so much coastline, you might even have a beach in your vicinity that’s perfect for a weekend trip.
Between Santa Barbara and South Beach, there’s a beach town for every kind of traveler. Looking for luxury with a side of breakfast burrito? Hit La Jolla Shores. Drawn to rugged dunes? The Outer Banks beckon.
Some beach towns might call for glam surfside dinners and late nights dancing—as well as the dresses and heels to match—while some beaches rock a rustic, relaxed, come-as-you-are vibe. But no matter where you’re headed, expect surf, sun, and sand. And try to pack accordingly.
Beach Basics: Your Packing List
When packing for a weekend trip to the beach, make sure to check in with your lodging to see if you’ll need to BYOBeach towel. Here’s what else you should have on hand:
- 2 swimsuits
- Sunscreen for face and body
- A cover-up or sarong
- A sweater or wrap for chilly evenings
- Aloe vera or aftersun lotion
What to Pack to Go Camping
Getting away from it all—or getting closer—by taking a weekend in the wild? Camping allows you to withdraw from the hustle of city life and reconnect with those closest to you, all in the starry, spooky glory of the great outdoors.
With nearly 417 national park sites nationwide, countless mountain ridges, and forests for days, there’s so much to explore and so much at your fingertips—no matter where you live.2 The best part? You don’t have to pack your hairdryer. And you can probably forget about your heels, too.
The Camping Cut: Your Packing List
The stakes can feel a little higher when it comes to culling a camping packing list. After all, if you forget to pack your toiletries in your duffle bag, it’s not like you can run to CVS for replacements. The good news? No one’s going to judge if you go a weekend without flossing.
Before you head toward your campsite, be sure to call up a local outdoor supply store and ask what you might need to bring to be best equipped for the specific climate and ecosystem you’re visiting. But to get you started, here’s a rundown of our general go-tos to include in your duffle or handy dandy survival sling:
- 1 lightweight fleece jacket
- 1 rain jacket or stylish rain poncho
- 2 pairs of wool socks
- Hiking boots
- Moisture-wicking t-shirts
- Moisture-wicking pants
- Bug spray
- First-aid kit
- Sleeping bag
- Waterproof matches
What to Pack for a Bachelorette
One of our favorite weekend getaways? The girls’ trip.
If you’re planning a Bachelorette or just an excuse to get together after way too long, the group text is probably already blowing up with deets on where you’ll be going out and what you’ll be wearing, when.
Our best tip for packing light and living to the fullest with your besties? Coordination. Share what you plan to pack and then share once you arrive. Someone brings the champagne, and someone brings the curling iron. Fair and fun.
Make the Weekend Count with BÉIS
No matter where your weekend takes you, get there in style. Between chic, durable luggage, packing cubes for organization, go-anywhere overnight bags, and travel accessories designed to take the panic out of packing, BÉIS brings every kind of weekend trip a dose of comfort, style, and class.
The ultimate travel tip: whether you’re museum-hopping or bar-hopping, leafing through vintage clothes, or just leaf-peeping, remember to check the weather, plan your packing list, and pick a weekender bag that’s worthy of your weekend.
Also, are you going to travel with your lovely furry friend for a long vacation? Browse our versatile pet bag collection and pack everything you and your pet will need for the journey ahead.
- "Shoreline Mileage of the United States". NOAA, https://coast.noaa.gov/data/docs/states/shorelines.pdf
- Rocío Lower & Rebecca Watson. "How Many National Parks Are There?". National Park Foundation. Dec 10, 2020, https://www.nationalparks.org/connect/blog/how-many-national-parks-are-there#:~:text=The%20National%20Park%20System%20encompasses,%2C%20American%20Samoa%2C%20and%20Guam