Your weekend trip is almost here. You have your reservations set for a few days of fun. All that’s left to do is pack and head to the airport!
As funny as it may seem, short trips often present the biggest packing challenges. It’s easy to take too much. Overpacking may not seem like that big a problem (what’s a few extra shirts?). But, you’ll be unhappy if your luggage has to be checked because it doesn’t fit in the overhead compartment or if that souvenir you bought puts your bag over the weight limit.
So, while you might be tempted to pack it all, paring down to the essentials will lighten your luggage and simplify your trip. Here are some packing tips for what to take — and what to leave at home — the next time you get out of town for the weekend.
Take: A small carry-on
Leave at home: Any bag you can’t easily carry
Your trip is short as it is. So don’t waste any time struggling to get your bag out of the overhead compartment or waiting for the baggage carousel to finally start up. Pack the smallest carry-on you have so you can get out of the airport and start the fun as soon as possible.
Pro tip: Before you hit the skies, look up your airline’s maximum carry-on dimensions. Anything oversized will automatically be checked and may incur an additional fee at the gate.
Take: ID, credit card, cash
Leave at home: All the other stuff in your purse or wallet
Are you the type who keeps stuffing receipts and gum wrappers in your purse or wallet until you can’t close it anymore? A weekend getaway is the perfect time to clean all that out. Be sure to pack your IDs, money, and other important documents, but leave the rest (like those umpteen pens and that loyalty card for your neighborhood coffee shop) at home.
Take: Travel-size toiletries
Leave at home: Shampoo, conditioner, anything your hotel won’t provide
Staying in a hotel? Leave the toiletries behind altogether. Many hotels provide everything you need, including shampoo and conditioner, shaving cream, and even toothpaste.
If you do take your own toiletries, keep in mind that you can only carry on one quart-sized bag of liquids, limited to 3.4 ounces per item.
Take: Mix and match outfits you can layer
Leave at home: That extra pair of shoes
For just a weekend, adopt a minimalist perspective. Pack enough clothes that you can mix and match to create two to four outfits. If you find you’ll need more than two pairs of shoes — an everyday pair plus a pair for your main activity (e.g., hiking boots, dress shoes, sandals) — revise your outfits.
Pro tip: To keep your bag as light as possible, wear your heaviest clothes and shoes on the plane.
Take: Your phone and phone charger, a small book or magazine
Leave at home: Your laptop, iPad, your copy of War and Peace
Definitely don’t forget your phone and charger (and download your favorite Spotify weekend playlist — perhaps Weekend Beats). But before you pack your laptop, iPad, and books, consider if you’ll actually have time to enjoy those things — or if they’ll just take up precious room and weight.
What are some of your favorite short-term packing tips? Tell us in the comments below!
Flying out of Denver for the weekend? Don’t let parking take too big a bite out of your budget. Reserve your spot at ParkDIA for under $6/day.