Whenever I book a getaway, two questions usually spring to mind.
The first is normally, “How many adventurous activities can I cram into my trip”, followed by the age-old question of, “What am I going to wear and how much can I take with me?!”
In an ideal world, my whole wardrobe would travel with my wherever I go and i’d have infinite outfit options. However, in the world of baggage limits, weight restrictions, and the fact that it’s not really okay to travel with 5 bags for a 3-day trip (unfortunately!), I guess you just have to think practically and narrow it down to a few key items.
This week i’m heading to Ottawa for a few days so I thought it might be a nice idea to share some of my weekend essentials and packing tips. I’m excited not only because I get to explore a new city, but also because I’m meeting my parents there who I haven’t seen in over 5 months! I absolutely can’t wait and they’re heading back to Vancouver with me too so it’s going to be a fun few weeks.
Wherever you’re travelling, there are certain items that you shouldn’t travel without. If you’re packing for a weekend getaway, read on for my essentials & some of my best packing tips for your trip.
The number #1 essential when packing for your weekend away is, of course, a good travel bag! I recently received a beautiful red carry-on from Victorinox, and I absolutely love it. I got the Spectra Expandable Compact Global Carry-On, and not only is the colour lovely, the design is really sleek and it’s the ideal size for a weekend getaway.
It feels so sturdy and well-made, and has spinning wheels so you can maneuver it with ease. It also has an interchangeable zippered mesh divider wall, as well as a padded electronics divider which is designed to hold your laptop and iPad. I always travel with my laptop but when I carry 10,000 other things in my handbag, it can get a little heavy (and it kills my back – girls, you know the feeling!), so I know that’s it’s protected in my carry-on but it’s easy to grab when I need it. Inside the door, it also has pockets for your chargers, devices, notebooks, documents, and anything else that you need to keep organized.
The Spectra case is the perfect size for a 2-5 day getaway and it’s cabin-friendly too. I can’t wait to travel with it and I love that it’s super light, plus, it’s also extendable which just means I can fill it with more shoes & clothes! Woohoo!
When you only have a small carry-on to work with, you have to think strategically when it comes to outfits. Plan out what you’re going to wear each day or for each activity, and check the weather forecast so you know what to pack. Opt for staple and versatile items that you can wear more than once to maximize outfit choices. Wear your heaviest items when you’re travelling to save weight and space, and pick comfy shoes that won’t kill your feet the whole weekend. I’ll likely take 3/4 pairs of shoes – a pair of heels, espadrilles, sandals, and maybe another pair of day shoes. Choose shoes that will go with most/all of your outfits, and try to wear your chunkiest/heaviest shoes when you travel.
How many gadgets you take is really up to you, but I definitely recommend rounding up your devices the day before you travel and make sure that you have all the wires, there’s enough space on your camera/GoPro, and that everything is charged up before you leave. Keep all of your chargers and tech accessories together (like wires, batteries, cards, etc) in a ziplock bag or a pocket, so you can easily find what you need. I’ll be taking my camera (Olympus Pen E-PL5), my super lightweight Manfrotto tripod, my iPod, GoPro, my laptop, and obviously the 500 chargers that come with it. I’ll also be taking my RAVPower External Battery Pack which gives about 8/9 iPhone charges, so i’ll never run out of battery on my travels.
When it comes to beauty products, you don’t need to take your whole cosmetic bag, but you will need a few essentials. Don’t forget products like deodorant, shampoo & conditioner, hair spray, moisturiser, cleanser, toothbrush/toothpaste, moisturiser, and makeup. If you’re flying to your destination and only taking carry-on luggage, don’t forget the 100ml liquid restrictions.
If you want to save a bit of money, you could always buy clear, unmarked travel containers and use the existing products you have instead. You can buy small travel bottles at the drug store or even at the pound/dollar store, and they’re great for things like shampoo, cleanser, moisturiser, and liquid foundation. Make sure to write the product name on the bottle too, just in case security wants to test it. I’ll also be taking my waving wand for my hair, a few make-up brushes, spare contact lenses & solution, cotton buds, cotton pads, and a nail varnish in case I need to touch up throughout the weekend!
It’s easy to get carried away with accessories, but when you’re only going away for a few days it’s best just to keep things simple. A watch is always a useful (and stylish) accessory when you’re travelling, and stick to just a couple of pieces of jewellery that will go with most items. Don’t forget a pair of sunglasses, and a hat is always nice especially if you’re escaping to the sun. A clutch is also a good idea if you plan to go anywhere fancy in the evenings.
My Best Packing Tips
Roll, instead of fold. This allows you to tuck clothes into the corners of your case and you’ll be able to fit much more in, plus, you tend to avoid as many wrinkles & creases.
Use clear, ziplock bags when you can. These are useful not only to carry your liquids, but also for holding things like beauty products (also good to stop any leaks), cotton buds/pads, jewellery, wires/chargers, make up brushes, and other items that you want to keep organized. Take a couple of plastic bags with you for dirty shoes or laundry as well.
Make the most of any space you have – that means packing items inside of other things! I always stuff my socks/underwear in my shoes to save space, and if I’m taking another handbag, i’ll try to fill it with items.
Save precious weight with a light travel bag. The Victorinox Spectra Expandable Compact Global Carry-On is under 3kg, which means I have more weight for my essentials.
Buy at the airport – especially items that are over 100ml, or that you don’t want to be included in your weight. If you’re travelling as a couple and you think you’ll use a lot of shampoo, for example, buy this at the airport once you’ve gone through security as you can buy larger bottles. Remember, though, you won’t be able to bring it back with you, so this only really works with more disposable products.
Make the most of your allowance. Most airlines (except super budget airlines like RyanAir) will allow you to take a carry-on bag, as well as a personal item such as a handbag, rucksack, camera, or laptop bag.
Remember to weigh! Many airlines will have a 10kg cabin bag restriction, so don’t forget to weigh it before you travel.
What are your best tips when it comes to packing for a weekend getaway? Drop me a comment in the box below and check out my latest YouTube video!