How I Pack for Weekend Trips


Photo by Sarah Brown on Unsplash

If you’re anything like me you love traveling. Everything about it is exciting, from the planning to the travel to arriving at your destination and having a blast, to coming home completely thrilled and exhausted.

Packing is not usually one of those things that travelers enjoy. I sure don’t. It can be tricky figuring out what to bring, and extremely nerve-wracking worrying if you forgot anything important. The method of travel is a huge driving force behind how I pack. In many ways, airline travel makes you much more efficient when it comes to traveling in other ways. However, traveling by car or similar forms of ground transportation gives you much more flexibility in what you take with you.

Today, I’m going to show you how I pack for a weekend road trip.

Where Are You Going

Think about where you are going geographically, which means what will the weather be there? Are you heading down south where it’s humid? Going North to colder weather or heading into a dustbowl out West? Think about where you’re going and even what states or areas you’re traveling through to ensure that you’re prepared for the elements.

This is important whether you’re going three hours away or ten hours away.

What Will You Be Doing


Photo by Simon Migaj on Unsplash

Activities are going to be the next half of deciding what you’re going to wear. Will you spend your day walking miles through the city sightseeing? Are you planning to start your mornings in the gym or pool? Perhaps your trip consists of a fine gala, networking events, or just plain lying on the beach for as long as you can stand it.

Headed to an amusement park? Running a marathon? You will need outfits not just for a single day but for specific events or activities. For example, you may need to bring swimwear, or gym clothes. Perhaps a suit for that fancy work event. Make sure you know what you plan to do–or might do–so you can pack accordingly.

Clothes, Clothes, Clothes

Now you can actually put your outfits in order! What’s key for me is thinking about the main items: shirt and pant combos, dresses, etc. I always bring one more pair of underwear than I have outfits (for example, if there’s 3 outfits, 4 pairs of underwear). I try to keep bras simple for a weekend trip, and typically just bring two (including the one I’m wearing on my travels). The same goes for socks! If I need some sort of outerwear I choose one that will fit all the conditions I’m facing.

Here’s an example of what I wear on a typical weekend going to an art show.


• I wear a t-shirt and shorts during the road trip and once I get to my destination.

• I then have a pair of lounge/sleep clothes that I can wear around the hotel and to bed. This is usually some lounge pants and a big comfy shirt with fuzzy socks.


• I might wear a sundress – sooo easy


• It’s another shirt and shorts (or jeans if it’s cool) combo.

If you’re wondering about shoes, I do my best on these trips to wear the same pair of shoes the entire weekend. I usually have some Nike slides or flip flops that I can use for the pool or around the hotel. That’s four outfits (counting the sleepwear).


Photo by Lumin on Unsplash

Toiletries Galore

I try not to go overboard here but it’s can be hard, I’m the typical girl in some ways when it comes to toiletries and makeup! I always start off with a list of basic necessities:

  • toothbrush
  • toothpaste
  • mouthwash
  • body wash
  • deodorant
  • lotion
  • facial routine (face wash, toner, moisturizer)
  • sunscreen

Once I’ve done this, I will think about how much makeup I need/want to bring. If I’m just going hiking or lounging on the beach it’s very little, maybe just bronzer, mascara and a brow pencil. But if I’m working or wanting to show off a bit for the gram I’ll bring enough for a more complete face beat.

When it comes to accessories I also keep that to a minimum: one pair of earrings (no more than two), one watch, a necklace if I don’t plan on sweating, and a pair of sunglasses. Additional jewelry is only necessary again if I’m going somewhere that requires more dressing up.


These are items that don’t deal with my person but are important, namely electronics. I usually have a point and shoot camera with me; my cell phone and charger, of course; my planner; headphones, pens, and either a tablet or laptop.

Extras could be anything you need, maybe a travel pillow or crossword puzzles for the long ride in the car, whatever floats your boat.


Kinds of Luggage


Photo by Alex Azabache on Unsplash

I have packed for weekend trips in almost everything: Herschel backpacks, suitcases, weekender bags, duffel bags and small tote bags. It’s truly up to you. When I’m traveling for art shows, the van is typically so packed with supplies and products that I might as well be shoving my belongings in a narrow, cramped overhead. So my number one goal is to be as economical as possible.

If it’s just you trekking across the Midwest in an open trunk, you can take your roomiest suitcase and get to stepping, but if you’re crunched for space, there are a few tips that will help you find packing bliss regardless of what bag you’re using:


  • Fold everything the Kon Mari way. Yes, I know you’re tired of hearing about her but it’s very important. It starts by folding your clothing into one long bar like this:


Then, you fold in half until you achieve a neat square that can stand on end, like so:


  • Next, you want to create an “outfit sandwich.” I know this sounds really funny, but it save me A TON of space! Once all of my clothes are folded, I take the items needed for a single outfit and I lay them on top of one another so they’re in the flat bar in the gif above, and fold them together to create a “sandwich”. This means when I grab this bundle, I have everything I need to wear for that day or event.


  • Stand your clothes on end. Most of the time we stack clothes on top of one another, but if you stand them on end like a book, you’ll save more space. Even if you’re using packing cubes, try standing your cubes on end and you’ll be surprised. This goes for makeup bags, toiletry totes, umbrellas, you name it.

And that’s it! You’re now ready for your next road trip and armed with everything you need to have a fantastic time. Check out my latest YouTube video to see how I pack in action.

I’ll be back with more tips for makeup packing, airplane packing and more!