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It’s safe to say that we’ve all been in the position of having packed a bit too much on a previous trip. Whether it’s backup shoes or an extra iPad, even with our best efforts, sometimes avoiding overpacking is a hard thing to do.

Packing a suitcase is somewhat of a tricky mixture of artistry and science, but when you’re only heading out on a short weekend trip, you really don’t need that much with you. In fact, you should be able to travel with only carry-on.

So if you’d love to learn to pack less but have no idea how to pair down your options, let this be your guide to packing for a 48 hour weekend trip.

Tips To Packing for A Weekend Getaway

Create Your Checklist

Bag Suitcase luggage RF

No trip is too short for a packing checklist – even if you’re only heading away for a weekend. This ensures you don’t miss anything, and don’t need to waste time shopping for a replacement on landing.

Creating a checklist is something that most travelers skip. But physically writing out a list helps you to organize exactly what you’re going to wear each day.

This way, you’re focused on the things you need, not the things you ‘may’ need. And, if you keep the list with you, you know exactly what’s in your suitcase, in the super unlikely (knock on wood) event that your bags get lost and you have to file an insurance claim!

It’s important to do proper research when forming your checklist; info like the weather will help you carry the right type of clothes and shoes. Country specific packing advice is also a good idea, ie if you’re traveling to a conservative country you may need clothes that cover you.

Get an Appropriate Travelling Bag

Bag Suitcase luggage RF

Once you’ve made a checklist and identified everything you’ll need to travel with, you can decide whether you can fit everything in a carry-on, or if you’ll need to check a suitcase. 

When you’re choosing a bag to travel with, ask yourself what type of luggage you will be carrying. A bag should protect its contents, so you need to consider what you’ll be packing, and choose a bag accordingly.

For short trips consider getting weekender bags that will limit what you carry. Bags with a soft exterior increase your capacity to add more stuff since they are able to stretch, while hard shell means you can’t stretch your packing capacity.

The next question you should answer is the indented use of the bag / your type of trip. Are you trekking through the jungle? Will the bag be getting wet? Are you heading out on a business trip?

For instance, going hiking requires a bag that will accommodate your hiking gear; perhaps you need to strap a tent, or walking poles to the back. You’ll be looking for something you can go hands-free with, and won’t get tired carrying on your back.


A practical wheeled travel backpack, with the versatility of a zip-off daypack and generous internal space.

Normally, clothes will take up the majority of your luggage for a weekend trip, so it’s essential to choose and pack wisely. The aim is to avoid carrying too many clothes that you probably won’t wear.

Carrying clothes equivalent to your days away is the best way to go approach packing. For example, if the trip is 2 days, you’ll only need to pack two outfits. 

Ideally, you should pack a pair of jeans, a couple of t-shirts, several pairs of socks and undergarments, light jumpers and appropriate pairs of shoes. Shoes can take up the most room in your suitcase, so try limiting them to one or two pairs.

Use Packing Cubes

Packing cubes are fabric cubes which come in different shapes and sizes usually secured and fastened with a zip. They’re a great way to keep your clothes, accessories and toiletries separated and compact in your bag whilst travelling.

With a massive range of sets, colors, sizes, and fabrics which range from breathable to water-repellant (which holds in moisture and controls odors), these are a great alternative to plastic bags, and an easy way to organize your luggage.

They can also be a great way to separate family / couples clothing from each other. If you buy different colored cubes for each member of the family, you can grab your stuff easily without getting things mixed up. Great if you are travelling with limited luggage or choose to share a bag.


Pack-It Original™ Starter Set


Pack-It Specter Cube Set – 3pc

ProCase Toiletry Bag with Hanging Hook

Megan is an Australian Journalist and award-winning travel writer who has been blogging since 2007. Her husband Mike is the American naturalist and wildlife photographer behind Waking Up Wild; an online magazine dedicated to opening your eyes to the wonders of the wild & natural world.

Having visited 50+ countries across all seven continents, Megan’s travels focus on cultural immersion, authentic discovery and incredible journeys. She has a strong passion for ecotourism, and aims to promote responsible travel experiences.


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