Packing for Weekend and Short Trips



I just wrote a post about how I went from packing 4 bags (2 large checked luggages, 1 carry on, and a backpack) on one of my first trips abroad to paring down to only a carry on and a purse for the rest of my travels.  This method of packing works for me when I am visiting cities for 2 weeks or 2 months.

I don’t often travel internationally – usually only once or twice a year.  However, I do many weekend trips.  For me, weekend tips encompass trips downtown to see BF, or trips back to my parents’ place, visiting my sisters at their university campus, or even a weekend trip south of the border (hello, USA!).   I was also inspired by Miss Minimalist’s post on her Extreme Light Travel.

In this post, I will talk about how I pack for these weekend trips.  Depending on where the weekend is being spent, I may use a backpack (USA) or a purse (BF’s or sister’s place).

If I am going south of the border, I would be walking around more, and a purse holding everything would not be very comfortable for my shoulder.  Especially if we check out of the hotel early to wander around the rest of the day.  When I go to my sister’s place, I can usually empty out my stuff if we head out for the day.

When I first started dating  BF, I hated bringing a lot of stuff with me when I visited.  Partly because I didn’t want him to think I was high maintenance, but mainly because I was lazy and hated lugging so much stuff with me.

The things I pack in my backpack or purse is pretty similar.  When I am traveling south of the border, I do pack a set of pajamas which I skip when I stay at BF’s or my sisters’.  I do re-use clothes, and that might not work for everyone, but it works for me.


  • 2 underwear and/or socks in a ziploc bag
  • 1 set of pajama’s (sometimes)
  • 1 shirt
  • 1 hat (sometimes – USA)

I am usually wearing the same pants and sweater (or cardigan) over the weekend.  No biggie for me, as long as I am not playing basketball in them.  I wear the same pair of shoes, so they are usually comfy runners or my Clark’s Artisan sandals.


  • Quick-dry travel towel (sometimes)
  • Makeup bag: pressed powder, blush, eye liner, eye shadow (sometimes)
  • Fold-up brush or comb
  • Contact lens case topped with solution
  • A travel sized package of face wipe (sometimes)
  • Moisturizer packed in sample containers I re-use (sometimes)
  • Toothbrush
  • Travel sized toothpaste (if needed)
  • Eyeglasses case
  • Sunglasses and case
  • Lip balm
  • Hair tie

I don’t pack shampoo, conditioner, soaps, cleansers with me on these trips.


  • Cellphone (fully charged)
  • Ipod shuffle (sometimes)
  • Digital camera (sometimes)


  • Small wallet: credit cards (VISA and Mastercard), bank card, driver’s license, cash
  • Keys
  • Reading book (sometimes)
  • Small notebook
  • Small water bottle (sometimes)
  • Snacks 🙂

These is more of a master list of everything that I may bring on a weekend trip.  As you can see, I need to pack more for south of the border, but I usually don’t bring the entire list.

These are pictures of my packing for this week’s weekend trip for Mother’s Day*.

I packed my book, cell phone, my leather camera case (I’m using the camera :P), glasses case, make up bag, a change of under garments and socks, iPod shuffle, re-usable bag, and two gel packs (for my sister to try for our half marathon next weekend!).

They all fit into this bag   🙂  that I got over Christmas.  It’s a medium size, and I love it!

Note*: When I didn’t have a car and had to take public transportation (back in university and when I first started working), that’s when packing light really helped me.  Now, I am a more lenient since I can also bring “luxurious” items with me, such as my laptop when I go home for the weekend, but I try to still keep it simple 🙂

4 Responses to “Packing for Weekend and Short Trips”

  1. Jersey Mom Says:

    You have a great list for packing light for weekend trips. I like traveling during the summer; usually the clothes are much less bulky. 1 big sweater takes up as much space as 2-3 casual summer dresses.

  2. buttonjar Says:

    That’s a great bag. Actually that’s one thing I often do as motivation to pack lightly: Pick a bag you love, and then make yourself stick to that space! Great post 🙂

  3. @Jersey Mom:
    Agreed. That’s one of the reasons why I don’t like to travel in the winter.

    In addition to having to pack less stuff but use more space, I also have to venture outside the comfort and warmth of my home. No thanks 🙂

    The flash actually distorted it and I couldn’t a good picture of it online. It’s the perfect size, colour, style and it even has compartments! 🙂

  4. The great topic, and very helpfully. thanks

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