Packing List for a Weekend: How to Pack For a 3-Day Trip

Everyone deserves a vacation to relax and unwind. However, not everyone has the luxury of taking a whole week off—so just a weekend getaway will suffice. A three day trip, or even just a night, is a fun and exciting way to break up your summer—no need to feel stressed out or guilty, it is time to indulge.

Depending on the purpose of your trip, whether it’s to take in some new scenery, nurture your artistic sensibilities, escape a polluted urban atmosphere, or just break away from the norm, you will need to be prepared. Packing for a weekend trip can be tricky, but the best way to be ready to roll when the weekend comes around is to put together an itinerary. This way, you are less likely to end up disappointed with how you spent this brief amount of time.

But what exactly do you pack in your bag? Rothy’s here to help. Follow these tips to make sure your trip goes smoothly.

Tips to Help You Pack For a Weekend

Once you have a good idea of your plans for the weekend, it’s time to put together a packing list. Packing lists started well in advance of the trip will likely be the most representative of all you would like to accomplish, even if that is sleeping all day, due to the additional time spent contemplating the entire journey.

If you leave on Friday, you will need enough clothes for approximately three days and two nights—this should be your starting point when you are planning your trip. When it comes to clothing, you don’t need to overdo it. Especially if you’re trying to fit everything into one bag. We recommend bringing one pair of very comfortable and versatile shoes, such as The Driver. Pack three outfits, three pairs of underwear (an extra pair or two never hurts), one set of pajamas and three pairs of socks.

If you’re planning on going out to dinner at least once on your trip, consider bringing an additional outfit that is better suited for a restaurant than your typical comfortable clothes. However, if you are struggling to decide which outfit to bring and are starting to feel that you are overpacking, consider rolling your clothes before putting them into your suitcase. Another option is to invest in packing cubes, which not only help you fit more into your bag but they also help you stay organized once you arrive.

packing cubes are always a good idea

What should you leave at home?

The best packers understand what they should or shouldn’t leave at home when trying to fit more things in your suitcase. If you are staying at a hotel, leave the shampoo and conditioner at home. If you run out while you’re there, simply go to the front desk and ask for a few more of those travel sized bottles. Hotels also usually provide hairdryers as well, so feel free to leave yours at home to free up more space.

what items do travelers forget to bring

Toiletries are some of the most forgotten things when it comes to packing for a trip. Check out this list of items and check them off as you pack to make sure nothing is left behind:

  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Sunscreen
  • Makeup
  • Prescription medications
  • Hair care products
  • Deodorant
  • Perfume/cologne
  • Razor
  • Phone charger

After you’ve packed all your essentials—i.e. your clothes, shoes and toiletries—and you still have more space in your bag, you can start packing miscellaneous items. Depending on the goal of your trip, these items may change. Here’s a list of optional items that may make your three day vacation a little more comfortable.

Miscellaneous Items

  • Book (or mobile e-reader)
  • Refillable water bottle
  • Snacks
  • Pillow from home
  • Blanket from home
  • Rain jacket
  • Umbrella

Another factor to consider is what type of environment you are traveling to. Is this a beach vacation or a mountain getaway? Do you plan on sitting by a pool for hours on end or are you going to lace up your sneakers and hike up a mountain? Where you are going and what you have planned should dictate the other types of items you are bringing. If you are going to the beach, you will need a pair of sandals. If it’s going to be chilly where you’re going, don’t forget to pack warmer clothes. Review the following list of items before you zip up your bag for good!

Summer Getaway

  • Running or hiking shoes
  • Bathing suit
  • Sunglasses
  • Sandals
  • Beach towel

Winter Trip

  • Jacket or coat
  • Thick socks
  • Scarf
  • Hat
  • Gloves

Long weekend

  • Additional outfit
  • Additional pair of socks
  • Additional evening outfit

Best Bags For Your Getaway Trips

Rothy’s Weekender bag is a great option when packing for a trip as it is made for this exact instance, with quality compartments for different types of belongings made sturdy enough to fit everything you need. It fits several days of clothing, toiletries, and accessories in the main compartment, and optional colors include camel and black.

The best part about the Weekender bag is that once you’re at your final location (whether it be a hotel, Airbnb or a friend's house) it can be emptied out and used as a lightweight beach bag or tote. It also has a detachable strap and you can use it as an activity bag on walking tours and for hiking.

A Rothy’s Mini Handbag is perfect for a day trip due to its compact yet roomy size. The Piano Keys Mini, for example, in ivory, black, and light camel, somewhat resembles a work of art and straps on for activities and sporting all day. It is also spiffy enough for evening activities.

Many frequent travelers pack only as much as they can fit inside a carry-on bag and view this as a way to beat the system. And, of course, waiting for baggage claim, worrying about one's possessions, and paying fees can be a serious downer. It also makes sense then to pare down to carry-on baggage only when traveling on a very short flight as part of an overnight trip.

For those overnight trips, Rothy’s has you covered with The Overnighter, a bag that has an adjustable, detachable strap and top handles. And if you’re flying somewhere, you can stow it under the seat in front of you or in the overhead bin of most airlines.

However, if you do plan on checking your baggage, remember there are some items that are safer on your carry-on or on your person.

don’t pack these in your checked bags, only carry ons

Final Notes

The ultimate packing list will coincide with a scheduled itinerary where each item packed directly correlates with the trip’s activities. It's also a good idea to try and begin your weekend trip packing list as far in advance as possible as a way to first record and to ensure participation in all of the activities you want, which will certainly help with deciding what to pack. And as the trip plans evolve, you reduce the chance of being caught out while you're away.

Weekend trips are a necessary part of living a healthy and fulfilling life. Get the most out of your trip and reference a packing list before you head out. And, worst case scenario, if you forget something you can just purchase it when you get there! The most important thing to remember is to actually use the time away from home to relax.