When you’re headed out on a weekend trip, packing efficiently is key — ensuring that you still have all your daily essentials on hand, while including items that either have a dual-purpose or are guaranteed to be used, so as not to waste real estate in your luggage.
For shorter getaways, it all starts with a good bag. Totes, backpacks, and duffel bags are your best friend, since they’re compact enough to store in airplane overhead bins or the trunk of your car, all while remaining easy to carry, whether you’re rushing through an airport, train station, or the streets of a new city.
Related: The Best Weekender Bags for Every Style
As for what to put inside your weekender bag, Travel + Leisure editors recommend multipurpose products, such as cosmetics and skincare, as well as space-saving accessories that will help you stay organized on the go. When it comes to style, versatile clothing is another must, especially pieces that can take from a casual day of sightseeing to a night out on the town.
Packing light may not always be easy, but these editor-approved picks are a great place to start when you have a short trip on the horizon. From a well-made, roomy tote to a protective AirPod case to a pair of comfortable joggers, keep scrolling for the favorite items our travel editors won’t leave home without when headed on a weekend getaway.
Rifle Paper Co AirPods Case
“Finishing an audiobook in a weekend is my love language. I started keeping my AirPods in this cute case because it makes me happy every time I look at it, and the clip makes my AirPods easily accessible for a few minutes of listening — whether I’m exercising, lounging by the pool, or packing up. Plus, they’re way harder to lose this way!” — Skye Sherman, Assistant Editor at Large
Best Made Canvas Wonderful Tote
“I used to be a duffle bag guy, but lately I’ve fallen in love with the simplicity of a big ol’ canvas tote. This seemingly simple but beautifully designed bag from Best Made has been in heavy rotation lately for my getaways to the Catskills. There’s always room to stuff one more thing in there, and the duck cotton canvas can survive just about anything — even winter in the mountains.,” — Paul Brady, Articles Editor
To buy: duluthtrading.com, $35 (originally $70)
“When it comes to packing makeup and skin care, I’m a bit of a maximalist — it’s hard for me to pare down to just the essentials. This Charlotte Tilbury palette is great because it has eyeshadow, blush, bronzer, and more in one beautiful, easy-to-pack palette. I’ll also throw these multi-use face sticks from Nudestix in my bag, since — they have a built-in applicator and are’re easy to use on the eyes, lips, and cheeks, and they have a built-in applicator.” — Elizabeth Rhodes, Associate Digital Editor
Vuori Performance Jogger
“The one thing about packing for short trips is that everything in your bag needs to have a purpose so as to not waste precious space — and it’s even best if items have more than one use. That said, I never leave home without a pair of these comfortable joggers in my luggage. They feature a comfy tie-waist, a flattering cropped leg, and buttery-soft, stretchy fabric that moves with you. I’ve worn these joggers as pajama bottoms, workout or hiking pants, and even as part of my travel outfit, since they keep me warm on chilly flights. I love them so much, I own them in multiple colors and have even persuaded many of my friends to splurge on a pair. Trust me on this — you’ll wonder how you ever lived without them.” — Susan Brickell, Senior Editor, E-commerce
To buy: vuoriclothing.com, $84
“Short weekend trips are the perfect time to bring an extra camera along to capture the sweet and fun moments of a getaway. I usually pack light, which makes it easier to put a film camera or polaroid into my bag. With the Polaroid Now, you don’t have to worry about the time of shooting a whole roll of film or developing it later. Plus, creating tangible prints of the trip creates a little something extra special.” — Mariah Tyler, Visuals Editor
Dagne Dover Dakota Neoprene Backpack
“There are some travelers who have a keen sense of packing organization. They have spreadsheets detailing their every outfit and packing cubes and vacuum-sealed what-have-yous to conserve space in their luggage. I’m not one of those people. So, I like a bag that has some level of organization built in; a bag that hands me some sort of organizational rubric and says, ‘here, you can’t mess this up.’ Dagne Dover bags do exactly that. This backpack keeps me organized, making sure my electronics and other immediate necessities are tidy, whether I’m leaving town for a weekend (it’s a great complement to a duffle, because a backpack leaves you hands-free) or longer.” — Maya Kachroo-Levine, Luxury and Experiences Editor
35 Thousand Anytime Reset Set
“Weekend trips typically call for duffle bags and smaller luggage, which means I won’t have as much room for all of the skincare products I want to bring. This three-piece set includes a cleansing balm, a hydrating SPF 30 day serum, and a rich moisturizer, so it doesn’t feel like there are any holes in my routine when I’m on the go — even if it’s just for two or three nights. And the bottles are also travel-friendly, which means there’s more room in my makeup bag for cosmetics, toiletries, and skin care!” — Emily Belfiore, E-commerce Writer
To buy 35thousand.com, $165 (originally $175)
Pyne & Smith no. 17 dress
“The no. 17 linen dress from made-in-California brand Pyne & Smith is a perfect weekend getaway piece. It’s comfortable, flattering, and extra versatile, since it layers nicely under everything (cardigans! Sweatshirts! Blazers! Denim jackets!) and works as well with sneakers for a day of exploring as it does with nicer flats and jewelry for a dinner out. This style is a true wardrobe workhorse that deserves a spot in your bag, especially when you’re packing light for a shorter trip.” — Skye Senterfeit, Deputy Photo Editor
To buy: pyneandsmith.com, $152 (originally $190)
Cadence Travel Capsules
“Once I started using Cadence’s handy capsules for skin care and other toiletries while traveling, I never looked back. The leakproof, airtight containers, which are made from recycled plastic, can hold approximately 14 uses of facial moisturizer, up to two uses of body moisturizer, and up to four uses of shampoo and conditioner, so they’re perfect for quick trips where you want to take all your essentials without filling your bag with full-size (or even travel-size) bottles and tubes. The capsules are also magnetic, so they’ll stick together in your toiletry bag, allowing you to keep your goods within reach at all times.” — Madeline Diamond, Associate E-commerce Editor
To buy: keepyourcadence.com, $74 for a bundle of 6 (originally $84)
Vasque Satoru Moc
“For most weekends, I can typically get away with bringing one pair of dressy shoes and one pair of athletic sneakers — but I prefer if my outdoorsy footwear is something that I can casually explore town in and tackle a trail, if I’m craving nature and fresh air. This cute slip-on has a breathable knit exterior, sock-like upper that conforms to your foot, and plush memory foam footbed that feels like you’re walking on clouds. The tab at the heel makes them easy to pull on, and the grippy, lugged bottom gives you added traction on uneven terrain. I’ve worn these shoes while walking all day sightseeing (up to eight hours) and have also used them as campsite footwear to give my feet a break post-hike. They are ideal travel shoes, since they are sleek and compact, weigh less than a pound, and slide easily on and off at airport security (no holding up the line!). I’ve gotten so many compliments on the pretty rose color too.” — Susan Brickell, Senior Editor, E-commerce
To buy: backcountry.com, $100
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