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How (and What) to Pack for a Weekend Getaway

How What to Pack

The idea of a weekend getaway sounds exciting, carefree and full of adventure. For some travelers, however, the idea of packing for a weekend away can add unnecessary stress to the mix. 

How much should I pack? Is one suitcase enough? What if I forget something?

It’s important to embrace the idea of spontaneity and adventure throughout the entire getaway-planning process—and that goes for the packing process, too.

Here are five tips to make sure you pack what you need and ditch the anxiety.

  1. Consider Your Mode of Transportation. If you’re flying, try to fit what you need into a carry-on luggage and small tote (the extra “personal item” most airlines allow) so that you don’t need to bother with baggage claim once you arrive at your destination. While this makes the airport experience that much easier, it also means you need to pack light and keep any unnecessary items at home.On the other hand, if you’re traveling by car, you have more space to allow for additional items, if needed. Keep in mind that the idea of a weekend getaway is just that: a getaway. Try to harness the idea of spontaneity and adventure as you consider just how much you need to bring with you.
  2. Consider Your Destination. Take a look at the weather forecast for your destination. Is it going to be rainy, snowy or cold? You’ll need to pack heavier items like jackets, gloves, umbrellas and boots, so you may need to pack less to account for the extra bulk. If it will be sunny and warm, you’ll likely have more room to play with since you’ll be packing lighter clothing. True, weather forecasts are not 100 percent accurate all the time, but it will give you a pretty good idea of what you’ll need to bring with you.
    Also, consider what you’ll likely be doing once you get to your destination. If you’re going to be doing lots of walking and exploration, pack your walking/hiking shoes and anything else you might need. If your getaway is by the water, you’ll want to pack your swimsuit, flip-flops, sunblock and a good book or magazine.
  3. Pack Light. You’ve heard it before: pack as light as you can. If this is truly a leisurely weekend getaway, you really don’t need to pack everything you typically use in your day-to-day, do you? Keep fuss-free (i.e., easily-wrinkleable) stuff at home. If you’re leaving on a Friday afternoon and coming back on Sunday, you really only need to pack one outfit for Saturday, something to wear out on Saturday night, and another comfortable outfit for Sunday that will last all day and get you home. Shoes tend to be the bulkiest items to pack and take up the most room, so try to get by with one or two pairs if possible.Another category that tends to take up a lot of valuable luggage space is toiletries. Most hotels have complimentary bottles of shampoo, conditioner, lotion and face soap (Magnolia Hotels provides complimentary Lush toiletries)—so you really don’t need to bring yours from home. Similarly, most destinations have hair dryers and will even offer guests complimentary toothbrushes and toothpaste if you ask. Visit your hotel’s website, if possible, to see a list of items included in the guest room. For those items that you definitely need to bring with you, consider travel sizes (if possible) and make sure to put liquids into the approved containers required by the Transportation Security Administration if you’re traveling by air.
  4. Pack Smart. Your weekend bag doesn’t have endless space, so it’s essential to use every nook and cranny wisely. Line the bottom of your luggage with your shoes, and stuff socks and underwear inside the shoes to make room for other essentials. Group your items into categories (pants, shirts, dresses) and stack each group on top of your shoes. Tuck makeup, toiletry and ditty bags into the sides where space allows. Place magazines, books, electronics and chargers on top. For the ride/flight itself, carry trip essentials like gum, snacks, headphones and reading material inside a small tote or backpack.
  5. Bring a Taste of Home. Sometimes the best way to truly unwind is to travel with some comforts from home. Consider bringing along a small candle to enliven your hotel room or your favorite throw to snuggle with as you unwind after a long day of adventure. Throw in a couple K-Cups of your favorite brew if your destination has a Keurig machine; if not, a small resealable bag of your favorite ground coffee will make an excellent pot of coffee in most standard machines. A small picture of your loved one—or furry friend!—positioned on the nightstand will undoubtedly make you smile when you wake up. Having some of your favorite things along for the ride can make your trip that much more enjoyable.

At the end of the day, remember that you’re about to embark on a weekend getaway that’s sure to be filled with amazing adventures and wonderful memories. Don’t let the packing process get in the way.