Packing Light for a Weekend Trip

About a week ago, my boyfriend Jason and I took a weekend trip to stay with his family. It was such a nice, relaxing getaway and felt great to get out of the city. We were only gone for a few days, so I didn’t need to pack much. However, I am a serial over-packer so this was a bit of a challenge for me! I always feel like I need to have several options and end up packing my entire wardrobe.

This time, I made an effort to plan my outfits carefully and only bring what I thought were the complete essentials. In this post I’ll show you what I packed and the outfits I wore, as well as share some tips that I learned from packing light.

My Weekend Trip Packing List

I used my favourite clothing app, Stylebook (affiliate link) to create my packing list and plan my outfits. It was also mentioned in my recent 12 x 12 Challenge article. I honestly use it all the time! It’s especially great when it comes to packing for a trip. You can select the pieces you want to bring, create outfits, and check off each item as you pack it.

Because it’s the beginning of fall, I wanted to make sure I had some layers as the weather can change at any moment. I also wanted to have outfits for going out as well as just cozying up at home. I ended up bringing exactly 20 items from my closet including clothes, shoes, and accessories for the weekend:

  • Three tops
  • Three bottoms
  • Three pairs of shoes
  • One sweater
  • One jacket
  • One scarf
  • One bag
  • A few accessories

Even though it was challenging to pack less than normal, I ended up being happier with what I brought because I’d put so much thought into it.

Overall I felt like this was a good amount, but I could probably have packed a bit less. I ended up using only one pair shoes, so bringing three pairs took up a lot of unnecessary space in my bag. But I was happy with the outfits I had and didn’t feel like I was missing anything at all. Even though it was challenging to pack less than normal, I ended up being happier with what I brought because I’d put so much thought into it.

The items I packed gave me four outfits for the weekend: two daytime looks, and two more casual outfits for lounging at home or exercising. I used each item one to two times across the four outfits. This worked out perfectly and I loved not having to think about what I was going to wear each day. Planning ahead made sure I brought everything I needed – nothing more, nothing less.

Planning ahead made sure I brought everything I needed – nothing more, nothing less.

What I Learned & Tips for Packing Light

This was the first time I made a truly conscious effort to pack light for a trip, and I learned a lot. Here are some thoughts and tips from my experience.

  1. Plan and coordinate your outfits beforehand. Firstly, planning your outfits is essential to packing light as it helps you pack everything you need without missing something. You’ve already put the thought into it, and you have fewer options to decide between. So, you can just enjoy your time without missing something or worrying about what to wear. Aim to wear each item 1-2 times to get the most mileage out of what you’re packing.
  2. Consider your activities and the weather. This one seems like a no-brainer, but sometimes we’re not fully honest about what we plan to do. Are you really going to do intense workouts while on a relaxing weekend getaway? Do you really need a pair of heels when you’ll be spending a lot of time walking around or in casual settings?
  3. Limit yourself to one weekend bag. At least for shorter trips, aim to pack in whatever you could carry on to a plane. Typically that’s one bag and a small personal item like a purse. This should hold everything your bringing, including your clothes, toiletries, electronics, etc. Using one smaller bag helps keep things contained and is a lot easier to carry!
  4. Use re-usable bottles for toiletries. Buying tester-size products is expensive and potentially wasteful. Instead, put things like shampoos and lotions into a re-usable bottle. You’ll save a landfill from some excess packaging as well as use up what you already own.
  5. Cross off what you didn’t wear or use for next time. I like to keep a list of things to pack for certain trip types, weekend getaways being one of them. The best thing to do when I get home is cross off anything I didn’t use from that list, so that I know not to bring it the next time around.

In the end, packing light really showed me which pieces I truly love in my wardrobe. Prioritizing only those few items that are considered essential really gives you a great sense of your personal style. If you’re looking to trim down your wardrobe, a great exercise would be to pretend to pack for a trip. Use an actual bag or suitcase and only ‘pack’ the items that you consider essential.

I hope you enjoyed this post and learned something new! What are some of your tips for packing light? Let me know in the comments below!

Until next time,

Emily xx

Featured photo by STIL on Unsplash

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