So you’re going on the trip. That’s always good news, even if you’re not a big fan of your destination. But a weekend trip can be surprisingly difficult to pack for. It exists in a strange space between overnight trips and vacations.
You’ll still need to pack all the essentials, and you probably won’t have much room for too many extras.
Here’s our What to Pack for a Weekend Trip Checklist, everything you’ll need for a fun, carefree escape.
And if you’d like to make travel a permanent part of your career, you should take a look at this article on the subject.
Clothes should be at the absolute top of your list. Even if you’re heading out on a camping trip or a solo trip, you should have one outfit for each day that you’ll be gone.
For a weekend trip, that usually means packing two full outfits: two sets of underwear, two shirts, two pairs of pants or shorts, and two pairs of socks.
The forecasted weather for your destination should also play a major role in what you choose to pack. If you’re expecting cold weather or incredibly warm weather, take this into account.
For most of the year, you should also plan on bringing at least one light jacket or versatile sweater that will work for different situations.
Toiletries are always a must, even if you’ll be staying in a hotel where many of them will be provided to you.
Plan to pack deodorant, a bar of soap, a small amount of shampoo, a toothbrush, toothpaste, and any personal hygienic items or medications that you use on a regular basis.
Arriving at your destination and realizing you didn’t need to bring any of these items is never a problem. But being caught without these basic items when you really need them can be cause for disaster.
Wallet, Money, and ID
These items should be fairly obvious when it comes to any packing list, but they still need to be mentioned here.
Make sure to bring your wallet and at least one form of ID. You should, of course, bring your credit cards and make an effort to carry at least some cash, in case you run across a cash-only business of some kind.
These items are still important even on a camping trip, where at first they may seem unnecessary.
Keep in mind that your whole trip won’t be taking place at your destination. You have to get there and you have to get yourself home. This will likely involve some amount of driving, flying, or a combination of both.
You’ll need all of these, no matter what. There’s just no reason to leave them behind.
Tech and Devices
This section of the list definitely have some flexibility. The number of devices you’ll need while on a weekend trip is entirely up to you.
A cell phone should always be on your list, as well as any charging cords you’ll need for it for the duration of your stay.
But a laptop computer, for example, is a maybe for many kinds of trips. If this is a business trip, you’ll likely need a computer. But if you’re heading to visit family, you may not need to bring one at all.
Then there are other peripheral electronic devices that are a priority for some while seeming unnecessary to others. For example, many people prefer to travel with a set of comfortable headphones.
Others may see headphones as unnecessary for a weekend trip and would prefer to save space for other items.
If you have any electronic item that requires batteries, make sure that you bring plenty of backup batteries!
Snacks may not be a must-have item for many trips, but you can save some money over your weekend trip by bringing a few with you.
These can be especially helpful if your trip requires a good bit of driving and/or flying. Instead of taking a break to find something to eat on the road, you can simply grab the snacks you brought along and keep moving.
To help maintain energy during your trip, opt for relatively healthy snacks with low amounts of added sugars.
If you’re driving, it’s also never a bad idea to have at least one gallon of water with you in the car at all times.
Supplies Specific to Your Trip
When packing for a weekend trip, it’s important to keep in mind the real purpose of your trip and what you’ll be doing for most of it.
If you’re going to be camping, you’ll need to bring a few obvious supplies like a tent, a sleeping bag, and some basic tools for starting a fire or getting yourself out of emergency situations.
But if you’ll be staying close to civilization for a business trip or a family visit, then you likely won’t need any real supplies outside of the basic items you use every day.
If you’re headed on a weekend getaway to a local tourist attraction, then you should most likely pack light. You also may want to bring a bag that would be easy to carry throughout the day, carrying water and a few other essentials.
Side Note: Leaving Room for Extras
In closing, we just wanted to add a quick side note, namely that you should leave room in your packing list for the unexpected.
Even if you’ve been steadily packing days before your trip, you should always try to leave extra room for items that you may want to take in the last minute.
This holds true for your return trip as well. If you’re likely to bring items home, such as gifts or souvenirs, you should keep yourself from filling your luggage for the departing trip.
You should also prepare yourself for the possibility that you may need something during your trip and just not have access to it.
That’s not the result of bad packing habits or poor planning, it’s just how life works sometimes.
Hopefully, the missing item will be a minor convenience and not a more serious item. Do your best to accept little mishaps like these and keep calm to avoid further problems of any kind.