What to pack for a weekend.. vs. packing for a vacation..

My last post was about travel.. But I feel like I should go more in depth about what to pack i.e. for a weekend getaway vs. taking a vacation.  Whether we like it or not, flying all the time is becoming more & more complicated.  We can no longer carry liquids on airplanes, & now most major airports in the US have body scanners instead of metal detectors.  Which makes it more complicated for us: how do we pack? I’ve been traveling pretty much my whole life; I took my first flight when I was 8 months old.  A year hardly goes by without me getting on an airplane somewhere.  Yet the dynamics of flying obviously has changed a lot.  I’m going to tell you what I pack for a weekend trip (a carry on luggage, with my liquids separately), and what I pack when I go on a real vacation.


What to pack for a weekend: Get a small carry on luggage, if you don’t already have one.  What I bring with me for a weekend trip: my backpack, carry on suitcase, & my purse. If you’re only traveling for a weekend, having a carry on suitcase will speed up your check in process at the airport; for you won’t have luggage to pick up.  Especially if it’s a domestic flight when you land, you literally can go from the airplane, to the airport, & then to the exit without batting an eye.  For a weekend, you will need 4 outfits, maximum, and don’t forget shoes, socks, & undergarments!!  For some women, they only use the carry on for long trips as well.  This is a personal choice, but I’m just informing you of what I usually bring when I pack Tip: People tend to forget but it’s important to have a plastic bag with you inside your carry on / luggage for your dirty clothes.  (Keep reading on for more details on that later)

Another tip: Always, always check the weather of your destination RIGHT before going.  This indicates what you should pack.  Is it hot/cold?  You don’t want to pack your summer clothes only to find out that you chose wrong & end up freezing.  Obviously, if it’s hot, pack summer clothes, if it’s cold, your winter clothes.


What to pack in the little plastic bag:  I will tell you what I put in mine (actually I pack all of these every time I take a trip, what varies is the size)  Shampoo, conditioner, facial soap, shower gel, mini toothpaste, & a mini shaving cream.  If you want to bring lotion/facial cream/perfume it must go in this bag too.  You can easily pick up the plastic bag, and basic travel bottles at a dollar store.  And Target / Walmart, also. FYI: Remember you MUST take out your little plastic bag & put it on the conveyor belt.  if you bring a laptop / computer you will have to take that out & put it on the  belt too.  As much as I don’t like it, they will also ask you to take off your shoes as well.

Above: Travel containers found at Walmart, the bag w/4 containers, $2

Travel sized bottles from Target, $1 each

Tip: Utilize the travel section of Target & Bed bath & beyond the best you can.  Personally I always need mini shaving cream, & I like the small squeeze bottles.  Use a sharpie and write on the bottles what they are, for you’ll probably forget in the shower.  If it’s shampoo, then write ‘SHAMPOO’ in big  black letters on the bottle.

Above: Travel hairbrush, usually around $2, travel deodorant $1, makeup wipes $2

Things I put in my carry on that are NOT liquids: (so this saves me space in the little bag) toothbrush, floss, razor, deodorant, & makeup wipes, & a small hairbrush. Another tip: if you need deodorant, bring a solid travel sized one.  More liquids/aerosols will only complicate things.  Also bringing makeup wipes is more convenient than a bottle of makeup remover.  Makeup remover is another bottle of liquid that you will have to worry about leaking; & you can just buy a small pack of wipes for your trip.  Neutrogena & Aveeno make good ones, but some women prefer baby wipes.  The great thing is that these are NOT considered liquids, so they would be 2 less things to ram into the little plastic bag. My staple that I always carry with me when I travel: My backpack (which is also laptop friendly).  There I would bring my ipad, & pillow.  Sometimes they are really picky at the airport & insistent that I only bring TWO carry ons.  So sometimes I have to go is stick my purse inside my backpack.

For a vacation: Ok this is when I have to bring out the luggage.  What I bring for a vacation: My backpack, my purse, (if I really need it) the carry on suitcase, and my check-in luggage. This is where you don’t have to worry about the little plastic bag; stick all your toiletries in a weekender, & stick it in your luggage & not worry about taking it out again! Find out if your airline allows you to have one or two.  Most nowadays limit you to one.  For me this is a must have (I didn’t even realize what they were called:) packing cubes!  If you simply can not afford them, my mom actually has packed clothes inside pillow cases. Hey why not?  No one is really  looking in your suitcase but yourself.

Above: Packing cubes, size varies, around $30

For years now my family & I have been using suitcase bags to hold our clothes.  I think it’s a bad idea simply just to pack your clothes directly into your suitcase.  For me this is great, one bag for day clothes, another bag for intimates.  Pack your shoes in clear plastic bags.  And always, always bring an extra plastic bag for dirty laundry.  Worse case scenario the conveyor belt rips open your suitcase & your clothes spilling everywhere for everyone to see.  Bring a bag with you & keep your clean & dirty clothes separate. Tip: You save more space if you roll your clothes. How much should I pack?  Obviously, if you’re going for a week, pack enough clothes for a week.  If 2, then pack for 2.  But I think that should be the MAX.  If you’re going on vacation longer than 2 weeks, it is probably wise to find a place to do laundry on your trip.  It will be hard to fit more than 2 wks worth of clothes into one suitcase.


How they pack clothes in the fashion industry:   Rachel Zoe, the celebrity stylist who travels constantly for award shows & fashion week, wrote on her website that she actually packs like this: she puts all her outfits on hangers, & groups them inside plastic garment bags (from the dry cleaners).  I think this would be the best way to pack if you’re traveling for work.  (This minimizes wrinkling.)  You would need slim hangers, to minimize the space in your suitcase, but if you want to pack this way I think it’s best to use the wire hangers (also from the dry cleaners) to save space, & you know they won’t break or snap inside the suitcase, vs. plastic ones.  Actually in the fashion industry this is how people pack for trunk shows.  BUT I don’t pack this way.  I still have the fear that my suitcase would get damaged & everything would fall out.  (It doesn’t happen often, but it does happen.  It happened to my mom once years ago.)  Of course, however you want to pack your clothes, is up to you.

Above: A Sonia Kashuk weekender from Target; The larger sized silicone travel sized bottles, 3 oz, $15 at Amazon

This is when I bring out the weekender!  Now I need the larger size bottles.  The same ideas as before (as in the little plastic bag, see above), but now in larger bottles.  Bring what you need will last you your trip, (a week, 2 weeks, etc.)  I find if I have all the essentials, I don’t need to worry if I run out.  If you’re on a longer trip you will probably find places i.e. to pick shower gel in case I need to.  I find it nice to pick up a perfume / soap at whatever exotic location I happen to be in.  But this is optional.

Tip:  When you’re finished packing it’s best to put your weekender inside, at the very TOP of your luggage.  Remember they’re all liquids in there & are best if not crushed at the bottom.

A good idea: It might be a good idea to bring a fold up duffel bag inside your luggage.  I don’t know about you, but there are times when I do shop a lot when I’m abroad.  Or I have lots of gifts to bring back home.  The duffel bag can be used as your 2nd check-in piece.  Keep in mind that most airlines will charge you for a 2nd piece nowadays.  Another thing to keep in mind because that a duffel bag is a soft, bag, you can really only pack clothes in it.  (If you pack shampoo in it, your bottles will break open or leak)

Another tip: Go easy on the makeup.  Unless you’re a makeup artist & need to bring tons of it with you; I always bring an eyeliner & lipstick, I’m ready to go.  If you want to bring things like eyeshadow/blush, bring a small compact & it MUST go in your purse / carry on.  I highly DON’T recommend putting makeup in the suitcase.  Suitcases really get knocked around from airport to airport.  If you put eyeshadows/blushes in there & they are not packed properly (best packed wrapped up inside your clothes), they will shatter into pieces smaller than chalk.

The best place to put sensitive items: I’ve seen people pack perfume, bottles of wine, into their suitcase successfully.  The key?  Pack them well inside your clothes.  Think of your clothes as a cushion for fragile items, & wrap them inside.   And it’s best if you leave things like that unopened.  You don’t want to find wine splattered all over your laundry.

Important tip: If you do want to carry things like these, because they are liquids you will have to pack them in your suitcase, not your carry on, for the security officers will find them & make you throw them out.  (Even if they are duty free & unopened) I hope this has helped you!  Pls read my previous posts on ‘what to pack when you fly’ & ‘makeup bags’, for I’ve written all kinds of things on travel.  I write hoping for the best, navigating through life, the most affordable way possible.


travel beach woman 2

Shopping: Check below for links

Luggage at Target, where you can find carry ons & large size

Makeup bags at Target, where you will find weekenders

Packing cubes at Amazon

Large silicone 3 oz travel bottles

The Zoe project: How to pack like Rachel Zoe

More related articles on travel:

SKINCARE FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD!! Embrace your individuality!!

How To Make Traveling Affordable! Some Tips & Tricks You Can’t Find Anywherelse!

What to pack when you fly…

What to wear when traveling between time zones!! And still look fashionable!

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