Monica’s mini guide to packing for a weekend away (and what I’d never leave home without)

Monica’s Mini Guide to Packing for a Weekend Away (and what I’d never leave home without)

I’ve made more than my fair share of mistakes while I’ve been travelling but I’m pleased to say that there is one thing that I do pretty well and that thing is packing (except that time I forgot my passport but let’s forget about that.)

I’m one of the rare people that actually loves packing. I love the idea of neatly folding my life into a little bag and taking off to see the world. I really hated lugging my heavy backpack through Asia so it didn’t take me long to get pretty awesome at packing light.

It’s really easy for boys to pack light so I’m afraid this is mainly one for the girls but I’m sure it could come in handy for you guys too:

 Dry shampoo

Think about this: you can pack a teeny can of dry shampoo or you can pack shampoo, conditioner, heat protect spray, hair spray, shine spray, a styling brush, hair dryer and hair straighteners. And if you’re hair is anything like mine you still can’t guarantee a good hair day.

I’m pretty gross while I travel and I’ll go for a few days without washing my hair to avoid carrying all this stuff. Thankfully, dry shampoo has it looking nice and clean in no time. And for blonde ladies, you can be super cheap and just sprinkle in some talcum power. (WARNING: This does not work if you’re brunette. Believe me, I’ve tried.)

 Let’s talk about shoes

If I’m away for a few days I never take any extra shoes with me. If it’s warm I’ll take some smart flip flop/sandals and if it’s cold I’ll wear nice boots. If it’s somewhere in between I’ll wear pumps or brogues. I never take heels because they take up so much space and, let’s face it, you always have more fun in flats.

 Skinny black jeans are my saviour

I’m not getting all emo on you but can you think of a situation where skinny black trousers would be unsuitable? Neither can I. Enough said really.

Dress them up, dress them down, wear whatever you like with them and they look good. And the best thing about these babies is that no one ever remembers them. You could wear them every day for a week and no one would ever notice.

So if you’re struggling for space, take out all those other trousers, leggings and jeans and pack one nice pair of skinnies.

 I’m in love with my iPad

I thought the novelty of having an iPad would wear off over time but it really hasn’t and it comes in so handy for travelling.

I used to take a mini backpack on long journeys that would be filled with books, games, notepads, magazines, an iPod and virtually anything else I thought would keep me entertained. But now I have everything I need in one slim little pouch.

It’s all about the roll

This tip is an oldie but a goodie: always roll your clothes. I really don’t understand how or why but you somehow save a lot of space when you roll your clothes and they will also arrive as crease-free as possible.

And finally…the case

I’m sad to say that I’m no longer a backpacker and I’m more than happy to take a suitcase for a long weekend away. I know that your luggage shouldn’t define what type of traveller you are but we all know it does.

I was recently given this hot pink suitcase to try out during my trip to Ghent. Yes, it’s tiny but this means I wasn’t tempted to overpack and it’s the perfect size for carry-on. I like having separate compartments to keep my clothes away from any potential leaks and I could shove all my dirty clothes together on the way home. It’s a cute little case and there’s no way I could miss this on the airport carousel.

I’m ridiculously forgetful so I have a list on my notice board that I check and check again while I’m packing. Here it is:

  • Passport (yes, it’s embarrassing that I have to have passport on my packing list)
  • Tickets
  • iPad + charger
  • Camera + charger
  • Dry shampoo + comb
  • Make-up + moisturiser
  • Deodorant
  • Perfume
  • Underwear
  • Skinny black jeans
  • 3-4 tops
  • Maxi dress
  • Jumper

 Final tip

 Don’t forget to save some space so you can steal hotel toiletries and buy souvenirs!

Do you have any other tricks to help you pack light for a weekend away?

TheTravelHack

Monica is the founder and editor of The Travel Hack. She began the blog in 2009 when she left the UK to travel around Asia and Australia for two years. She's now a professional blogger and has travelled around the world in search of stylish adventure travel. Monica has recently had her second baby and is determined to prove that travelling with a baby is possible!

SHOWHIDE Comments (16)
  1. Great tips! I especially like the skinny black jeans idea. I’m going to have to get some now. 🙂 I also recommend always having make-up wipes handy. Makes it easy to take off make-up on a long haul flight or if you’re stuck somewhere without a decent sink – or one that you don’t want to use cause it’s too gross.

  2. I NEVER leave home on a trip without Lush’s No Drought dry shampoo. It’s a loose powder so I can’t put it into a smaller container if needed and it smells amazing!

    And I am now going to purchase a pair of black skinnies

    1. I’ve never tried Lush’s dry shampoo but I think I’ll give it a go. I always go into that shop and have a wander round and smell and the yummy things but I’m never really sure what to do with any of it!

      1. I like it better than aerosol dry shampoo. It’s a little messier, but I feel like you waste less. It also has a citrusy smell, which I love, versus smelling like I spilled a pina colada in my hair.

        The solid perfume is also great for travelling, as are the solid shampoo bars.

    1. I’ve only used Batiste because (as far as I know) this was the first brand to make it but there are loads out there now. I’m going to take Melissa’s advice and try the Lush one next. I’ll let you know how I get on 🙂

  3. the tip with skinny black jeans is perfect, but i always pack my perfect black dress in case there is a event when u need to look smart. You should find a dress which fits perfectly for every occasion and u fell like a million dollar while wearing.

  4. If you’re flying with carry on luggage only you won’t be able to take dry shampoo because it’s an aerosol right? Pretty sure that’s not allowed…

    1. That’s true. I should really edit this post to say that I never, ever fly with just carry-on. I don’t mind waiting 10 minutes for my case if it means I don’t need to lug it around the airport or can’t take liquids. If you’ve got blonde hair though, talc works just as well as dry shampoo.

  5. An avid owner and promoter of dry shampoo for years. Although its a shame to see the dreaded no-aerosol issue rears its ugly head again. Talc used to be an option as a blonde, however no longer.

    Does anyone have another suggestion?

    1. I’ve heard a lot of people rave about Lush’s dry shampoo. I’ve never tried it myself but I’ve heard it’s great.
      I have dark hair too but still use talc, you just have to make sure you have a bristly brush to brush it all out.

  6. I love that you said black skinnys- I picked up the greatest, most comfortable pair in San Francisco (I’m wearing them as I write this, at work!) and they’re a life saver for travelling. One more suggestion: I recently discovered packing cubes which are amazing because they really help condense your stuff, and keep you extremely organized.

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The Travel Hack

The Travel Hack is a blog about stylish adventure travel and affordable luxury.

We believe luxurious travel can be affordable and isn't just for the rich. Follow along with our worldwide adventures as we share our trips and tips for incredible travel experiences on a modest budget.