Heading out for the weekend? Use this weekend packing list to figure out what to bring on your short getaway. Pop everything into a small travel backpack and hit the road.
You’re heading somewhere for the weekend, maybe visiting friends or family, seeing a concert, cutting the rug at wedding, or attending a graduation. Just Friday through Sunday and then back home again. Nothing too complicated, or open ended, about this trip. So, packing should be easy, right?
The hardest part for most people is my biggest secret: pick out the clothes you’re going to wear each day before you leave. You’ll need to do a little research on your destination, itinerary and the weather. Figure out what you’ll need then take exactly that.
Leaving behind all the “just in case” items is tough. I’ve packed workout clothes thinking I might squeeze in a run and once packed two dresses for a wedding so I could decide which one to wear when I arrived. In retrospect, I should have spent 30 seconds and made the decision before I left.
Basic Weekend Packing List
If you’re just looking for a quick checklist, here’s a basic weekend packing list you can modify for any type of getaway:
- 1 pair of comfortable shoes for the entire weekend (boots, sneakers, or sandals depending on the trip)
- 1 pair of pants or shorts to wear all weekend
- 2 t-shirts or casual tops for Saturday and Sunday
- 1 dressier top for Saturday night
- 2 pairs of underwear
- 2 pairs of socks
- Bras as needed
- Phone charger
- Toiletry kit
- Eye mask
- Water bottle
Optional Add-Ons For Your Weekend Packing List
Need more specifics? Scroll down for more details on what to bring when going away for the weekend and tips to keep your list light and simple. But first, let’s take a look at what to pack it in.
Best Backpacks for Weekend Travel
Outbreaker Laptop Backpack ($225)
The Outbreaker Laptop Backpack is the perfect bag for a minimalist or long weekend getaway to Las Vegas.
At 27L, you’ll have just enough room for a couple of days worth of clothes, your essential electronics, and toiletries.
This bag will let you move smoothly through your travel day and spend more time at the pool or roulette table than you do standing around the baggage carousel.
Setout Divide Backpack ($179)
As someone who likes to do a little shopping in the endless malls between the casinos, I enjoy having the ability to zip open the expansion section on the Setout Divide and pack that new Desigual dress for the trip home.
The Setout Divide is the perfect flexible carry on for a weekend trip.
What to Pack for a Weekend Away
1 Pair of Shoes
You’ll need one pair of shoes you can wear all weekend. During the winter, I always bring a pair of boots without heels. They’re sturdy for walking and work with most winter outfits.
For warmer trips, look for comfortable sandals or sneakers. Since they don’t take up much room, toss in another pair of sandals or flip flops if you’ll be at the beach or pool.
Shoes or boots can be worn on the plane or in the car if you’re driving. Volia! No space used in your backpack at all.
1 Pair of Jeans or Pants
Most weekends, I will take one pair of jeans to wear the entire weekend, working my shirts and accessories around that single pair. Plan on bringing them clean and taking them off only to sleep.
For alternatives to jeans, see our list of the best men’s travel pants.
3 Tops: 2 Casual and 1 Dressy
Pack three tops in total. Choose a top for the day on Saturday. Usually mine is some variation of a travel t-shirt or a casual sweater.
For Saturday evening, bring a dressier shirt that can still work with jeans. Think something you’d wear to a bar or restaurant. For men this typically means a collar. For women, the shirt depends on your look.
On Sunday, plan to wear another causal top or t-shirt or a simple, comfortable travel dress. Ladies, be sure you have the exact bra you need for each shirt.
1 Suit, Dress, or Occassion-Specific Outfit
If you’re going to an event, such as a wedding, graduation or show, you may need to toss in a dress or a suit (handy suit-packing tips here). This might be less efficient for packing, but do you really want to go to a wedding in jeans?
Jewelry and Accessories
Bring the jewelry and accessories you’d usually wear with your chosen outfits. Unlike packing for a longer stay, you don’t need to worry about mixing and matching.
2 Pairs of Socks and Underwear
Pack the precise number of socks and underwear you need for 2-3 days. I recommend a spare pair of socks if there’s a lot of walking planned. Fresh socks can be a game-changer after a long day of stomping around.
Winter and Fall: Jacket, Leggings, Hat, and Scarf
For winter and fall weekends, you’ll want to add a warmer layer. Check the weather before you go to see exactly what kind of temperatures you’re preparing for. Then, grab one jacket you can wear for the full weekend and thermal leggings to wear under your jeans. Also, pack a hat and travel scarf just in case.
Pajamas and Book
Don’t forget pajamas and phone charger. I always forget pajamas and a phone charger. Be sure you also have a book or your Cards Against Humanity deck.
Phone, Charger, and Earbuds
When it comes to technology for weekend trips, ask yourself “Do I need that?” Most weekends planned for fun (not work) travel, I get by with just my iPhone and charger. Bring a Kindle or tablet if that makes you feel less techno-naked. Pack that laptop if absolutely necessary. Earbuds, I cannot live without; luckily, they’re light.
Weekend Toiletries Checklist
Only bring toiletries that you’ll use, not everything under your bathroom sink. Essential toiletries you’ll always want to bring for a weekend getaway include:
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- Contact solution
- Basic makeup
- Soap, shampoo, and conditioner (if not provided by your accommodation)
Confession: I use other people’s shampoo when I stay at their house. I also use hotel shampoo. C’mon, it’s free! Sometimes I don’t wash my hair for a whole weekend and pack a baseball hat instead. Often that extra 30 minutes of sleep or breakfast is totally worth it.
Be sure to pack those personal items you don’t share or others may not use. For me, that’s contact solution, hair gel, mascara, and a toothbrush. Those are the core four things I need to look, and function, like a human.