Weekend Trip Packing List (15 Essentials + What to Bring)
Deciding what to include in your weekend trip packing list doesn’t have to be difficult. Weekend trips are awesome for getting a taster of a new place – whether it’s the town next door or a quick flight away.
As a Puerto Rico local who loves to travel, I’m huge on taking weekend trips around the island. But no matter where you’re traveling to, I’ve put together a universal weekend packing checklist to make sure you remember all the essentials for that weekend getaway.
Oh, and if you need to fit all your essentials into a carry on bag, check out my carry on packing list.
Table of Contents
- Weekend Trip Packing Checklist
- Clothing to Pack for a Weekend Trip
- Weekend Trip Packing Tips
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Weekend Trip Packing Checklist
Travel Bag Pack
If you’re someone who prefers a travel backpack to a carry on bag, then I totally get it. A travel backpack can fit your entire weekend trip packing list and allow you to get around easier.
The Osprey Porter 46 Travel Backpack meets carry-on guidelines and has a large interior compartment with a u-line zipper. It even comes with extra space to fit those more robust long weekend packing lists.
See our full Osprey Porter 46 backpack review for more details.
Compression Packing Cubes
Whether you’re an over-packer currently in recovery or just owning your packing style, you have options. Packing light is the simplest way to pack for a weekend trip, but over-packers can use compression packing cubes to fit an additional piece or two of clothing in their carry-on.
Even during a short weekend trip, you wouldn’t want to carry your luggage everywhere you go. A day bag is perfect for carrying just the essentials for travel, without lugging around a big bag.
The Tortuga Setout Packable Travel Daypack is perfect because it folds itself into a small pocket so it fits in your baggage, and you can use it while hiking or as a beach bag.
Whether you’re going to the beach or unexpectedly get caught in the rain, traveling with wet clothes can be a huge bummer. This is when wet bags come in handy! The Babygoal Wet Dry Bags feature two pockets that separate wet and dry clothes, prevent any humidity, and keep unwanted odors from spreading around.
This blanket covers all your beach needs! It’s water-resistant, sand resistant, quick-drying, lightweight, and is big enough to fit the whole family.
Whether you’re headed to New Jersey’s beaches or the beaches in SoCo, you’ll need a beach blanket on your packing list.
The POPCHOSE Beach Blanket is large enough to fit a few people. Plus, it’s lightweight, water-resistant, and features sand pockets to weigh it down.
Use a great pair of sunnies to protect your eyes from UV rays, while staying fashionable.
No matter where you’re headed, the sun will follow you everywhere. Polarized sunglasses are necessary to protect your eyesight and your skin from UV rays.
The FAGUMA Polarized Sports Sunglasses have 100% UV Protection combined with a lightweight design that will make you forget you’re wearing them.
If you’re planning outdoor adventures on your weekend trip, then I highly recommend an action cam. Professional cameras are great but are seldom waterproof, and it’s hard to stash them incognito in your pocket.
The GoPro HERO10 Black is waterproof, records in 5.3K video resolution, and it even takes 23 MP photos, so it’s a must-have in your weekend packing list.
Water Filtration Bottle
Water safety is a general concern among travelers, and sometimes it’s better to be safe than sorry. An easy way to make sure your water is potable is to include a water filtration bottle on your weekend packing list.
The GRAYL GeoPress 24 Water Purifier Bottle can easily purify 24 ounces of water without any extra setup, and it eliminates everything from viruses to pathogens. Check out our Grayl GeoPress review for more information.
Sunscreen is one of the things that cant be missing from your weekend packing list, especially if you’re going to spend time outdoors.
The Solimo Sport sunscreen lotion is SPF 50 and it protects you against UVA/UVB rays. This sunscreen is also octinoxate and oxybenzone free which means you can use it while snorkeling, swimming, or scuba diving.
Quick Dry Towel
This towel packs small and dries you completely after a beach day or shower.
Whether or not you should bring a towel in your carry-on for a weekend trip is a decision that usually depends on how much space it takes up.
The Rainleaf microfiber towel makes this decision easy. It absorbs more water than its weight, is quick-dry, and comes in a small pouch to take with you on a day trip.
First Aid Kit
A quick weekend getaway is not exempt from accidents, which is why you should always have a first aid kit with you.
The General Medi first aid kit is compact and lightweight. The red pouch sports a clamp that attaches to your backpack, and it comes with 110 small pieces from medications to bandaids. Just remember to take out the scissors if you’re traveling carry-on only.
Hand sanitizer became an essential packing list item after 2020, but it’s easy to forget your usual travel-size hand sanitizers while you’re on the go.
The Purell travel size bottle comes with a wrap carrier that you can easily attach to the outside of your backpack or belt. In contrast with other sanitizers, this one features a delicate formula without harsh ingredients that affect your skin.
This portable battery bank quickly charges multiple devices at the same time.
If you plan to have long days of exploring or are going to a place with regular power outages, then you should pack a battery bank.
This Anker portable charger features three ports that can charge your phone or tablet multiple times. This power bank comes with its own USB cable as well as a travel pouch.
A waterproof bag is essential to pack for a weekend trip near water! A waterproof bag can keep your phone, passport, and belongings safe and dry.
The iRunTech waterproof pouch is translucent, touch-friendly, and fits other personal items besides your phone in one bag.
VisitorsCoverage is a travel insurance marketplace where you can quickly compare quotes from hundreds of insurers -- all it takes is a minute to enter your details!
While travel insurance isn’t something you can pack for a weekend, it’s definitely something many people want for on any trip abroad. Many things could ruin your quick trip depending on where you travel to. From hurricanes to fires and sports injuries, travel insurance can help you deal.
If you’re taking a quick trip to Mexico, for example, you’ll want to consider insuring your Mexico trip.
Wherever you are going for the weekend, you can easily find and compare quotes at a site like VisitorsCoverage.
Other Puerto Rico Essentials to Pack
- Facial Sunscreen
- Driver’s License or Valid Photo ID
- Passport for international travel (See my Puerto Rico Passport Requirements Guide)
- Covid Vaccination Card (Some concert halls and hospitals ask for it)
- Proof of insurance if you’re renting a car
- Cash (US Dollars)
Clothing to Pack for a Weekend Trip
Though your weekend packing clothing list will depend on where you’re heading, the time of year, and the climate, there are some staples that you should bring.
So what clothing should you pack for your weekend trip? Here is a quick clothing checklist for a weekend:
- 1-2 shorts (climate dependent)
- 1 pair of jeans
- 1 skirt or pair of dress pants for a fancier evening
- 1–2 t-shirts
- 1-2 tank tops
- 1 bathing suits
- 1 beach cover-up
- 1 light rain jacket
- 3-5 pairs of underwear
- 3-4 pairs of socks
- 1 pair of flip flops
- 1 pair of water shoes
- 1 pair of sneakers or hiking boots
- 1 sunhat or ballcap
That’s a quick list of what your weekend packing list should look like, but are some specific things that will make your vacation even better:
Beach Cover Up
Warm weather weekend trips can include a visit to the beach and a restaurant on the same day. But, returning to the hotel to change is time-consuming, and with such a short weekend getaway, time is of the essence.
This Wander Agio Beach Coverup is ideal to throw on after the beach. With a breathable fabric and a casual dress design, it’ll make you feel comfortable and ready to move on with your day.
This light rain jacket is packable in its own pockets.
If you’re traveling during the rainy season, then your ultimate packing list should include a light rain jacket as showers might surprise you anywhere, anytime.
This BALEAF Rain Jacket is lightweight and waterproof, and it has multiple pockets to store your belongings and essential documents. Its best feature is that it’s packable, so it fits easily on your duffel bag or backpack.
Bringing water shoes on your weekend trip is optional, but if you feel uncomfortable being barefoot on the beach or the river, then you might want to include at least one pair in your weekend packing list.
The WateLves Water shoes have a rubber sole with a strong grip for slippery surfaces and are also quick dry.
If you’re going to be outside a lot on your weekend trip, then you definitely want ample sun protection. Besides wearing sunscreen, another way to protect your face is by using a sun hat. The Columbia Bora Bora Booney is unisex, blocks UVA and UVB rays, and is breathable, so it keeps your head and hair dry and odorless.
If you’re planning on doing some hiking on your weekend getaway, then you’ll want to pack sturdy shoes for hiking that are also breathable.
The Columbia Hiking Boots are lightweight without sacrificing safety or comfort. They are also waterproof, which makes them great to conquer different types of terrain.
See our full hiking packing list for more essentials.
Weekend Trip Packing Tips
Regardless of which season you’re traveling, you’ll probably be spending most of your weekend getaway outside or exploring a new city. Unless you plan on going on a night out or to an event, keep your luggage light and pack just the essentials.
The secret behind packing for weekend trips is bringing multi-purpose pieces. For example, swimwear can double as undergarments when you’re outside, and quick-drying activewear can be used for outdoor exploring or for a beach trip.
Having a cute outfit for travel pictures is great, but being able to skip baggage claim with a carry on during your weekend getaway is even better.
Keep a Color Palette
Another way to save space in your luggage for a weekend trip is by choosing a color palette when you’re packing. Making sure all your clothing pieces match and are interchangeable will keep you from packing one-time outfits.
Pack for Your Destination
Before you head out on your weekend trip, check the weather of your destination. If you’re going on a weekend trip to a convention, concert, or business meeting, then it’ll look different from a beach vacation.
Bring Comfortable Walking Shoes
When you pack for a weekend trip, whether it’s to Disney World or Puerto Rico, you’ll have to make sure the one pair of shoes you bring are comfortable and match most of your wardrobe. Flip-flops are great for visiting the beaches, but hardly be comfortable when hiking.
Wash Your Clothes
If you suddenly want to extend your short trip, or you just want to take only clean clothes back home, then definitely do laundry in your destination. You can keep your bags light and enjoy the weekend without worrying about how to move your checked bag from one place to another.
Leave Most Toiletries Behind
If you’re traveling with a carry-on or personal item, bringing toiletries means buying travel-size containers if you want them to go through airport security.
If you’re staying in a hotel room during your weekend trip, then you’ll get soap or body wash, shampoo and conditioner at no extra cost. Save space, and forget about possible spills in your bag.
👉 More Packing Lists:
- Carry On Packing List
- Mexico Packing List
- Puerto Rico Packing List
- Colorado Packing List
- Chicago Packing List
- Digital Nomad Packing List
- Seattle Packing List
- Disney Packing List
Now you know everything you need to know about your weekend trip packing list! Have fun on your weekend trip!
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