Everyone deserves a weekend getaway once in a while. Maybe you got the chance to use someone’s timeshare, or happened on a cheap plane ticket. When you’re traveling for just a couple of days, it can be hard to figure out exactly what to pack. If you’re flying, you don’t want to pay luggage fees when you’re traveling for such a short time. Fortunately, everything you need for a weekend can fit into one carryon bag! Read on for some tips on how to pack for a weekend trip using only one carryon.
Choose the right bag. Not all bags are created equal! Choosing the right bag will make it easier to fit everything you need. Most airlines restrict carryon baggage to bags that are 22 inches or less. (Check your specific airline — international flights and budget carriers may only allow smaller bags.) Choose a bag that is lightweight, easy to maneuver, and as roomy as possible. Look for pockets and compartments that allow you to stash more in the space.
Choose your clothes carefully — and sparingly. Be realistic about what you will actually wear on a weekend trip. You don’t need a fresh outfit for every activity. Unless you will be engaging in a lot of heavy activity or getting very dirty, you can probably get away with rewearing an item or two. Look at your planned activities, and choose items you’ll wear for each. Lay everything out, then figure out what you can do without. For a casual weekend trip, you’ll likely only need one or two pairs of pants (or skirts), fresh underwear and socks for every day, and two or three clean shirts. If you have something like a nice dinner planned, you’ll need appropriate clothing. Choose items that can mix and match. When possible, choose lightweight fabrics such as jersey that travel well without wrinkling or creasing. If you can, go with one pair of shoes only. If you must take multiple pairs, limit it to two and wear the bulkiest or heaviest the day of travel.
Think layers. The climate of your destination will make a difference here, but think about layers rather than single bulky items. Layers allow you to mix and match different items of clothing, and also allow you to plan for cooler weather (or cold A/C) without having to pack a sweater or coat. If you have to have bulkier items — you’re traveling from and/or to a cold climate, for instance — wear your bulkiest outfit on the day of travel if possible, so it doesn’t have to take up room in your bag. If you must take a warm coat but can’t wear it on the plane, consider a puffer jacket that packs down into a pouch about the size of a water bottle.
Use organizers. Travel cubes and space bags are a great choice here, especially if you can’t avoid putting bulkier items in your bag. Using organizers will help you keep things easily at hand and can maximize what you’re able to fit into your bag space.
Roll, roll, roll. Rolling your clothes is such a classic travel tip that it’s practically cliche. But there’s a good reason for that — it works. Rolling items rather than folding them allows you to fit more into your space. You can also roll items together (such as several Tshirts), which can further save you space. Choosing fabrics that are forgiving helps prevent wrinkles and creases. Compression bags can also help as they suck the air out of clothing and other items and collapse them further.
Think about what you can leave behind. Look through the items you’ve chosen to pack and ask yourself whether you really need to take them all with you, or whether there is a way to get what you need at your destination. Are you going to a fancy hotel? Then use the toiletries they provide, and leave the travel size bottles at home. Ditto the hairdryer. Are you planning on buying a souvenier Tshirt at that touristy destination? Then pack one less shirt that you had picked out. If you’re heading to a resort or high-end hotel, you’re likely to find many of the things you need are available there. If you’re staying with family or friends, you might also be able to leave some of the day to day items at home, too.