Traveling Light: How to Achieve Packing Perfection for a Weekend Trip

How do they do it? Some people throw a few things together and somehow have exactly what they need. Others, like you and me, spend hours packing and re-packing, agonizing over the weight and whether we are taking too much or too little. We are the ones who invariably run out of something essential and still come home with a load of unused stuff.

Carry It On

If you are going for a weekend, you don’t need to take a massive suitcase. Always travel with just a carry-on case. Time is precious on a short break, and you cannot afford to spend it staring at the carousel or, worse, waiting for your missing case to catch up with you.

A soft bag is much easier to squeeze into the available overhead space and less likely to be taken away to go in the hold.

What you can’t get into your bag, squeeze into the pockets of your coat—you can even get coats with extra pocket space for that very purpose.

Choose Wisely

It all depends on where and when you are going, so don’t use the same packing list for every break. Think things through. If you are planning a relaxing luxury hotel beach break at somewhere like the Hilton Head Marriott Resort and Spa, don’t assume that all you need is swimwear and evening wear; you will find lots of other activities to appeal. If it’s a weekend’s hiking you are planning, you will still want something to wear in the evenings besides boots and woolens.

Research the climate carefully. More often than not, you will have to anticipate both warm and cold days. The secret here is layers. Don’t pack bulky sweaters—multiple thin layers are both more versatile and more effective against chilly periods. A light waterproof is probably an essential at any time.

Above all, remember that the key to clothing choice is comfort. If you have to choose between style and comfort, go for comfort every time. If possible take one pair of shoes you are happy to wear all weekend.

Pack It In

Toiletries need to be selected with care. Not only must liquids be in containers smaller than 100ml, you must also be able to fit them all into one transparent bag. Toothpaste and all creams count as liquids. If in doubt check the airline’s website.

Packing is made easier if you have a system. A really good idea is to have a collection of packing cubes. Not literally cubes, these handy containers make it so much easier to dip into your bag and pick out the items you need, without having to dig through your underwear every time.

Ready to Go

For some people, packing is a chore that has to be endured. For others, it is an essential part of the anticipation which makes a vacation so exciting. Either way, if you are going to get the best out of your short break, give it a little thought and don’t allow your suitcase or its contents to let you down.