Grey duffel bag, white sneakers, tube of sunscreen

I’m a Travel Editor, and This Is What I Bring on Every Weekend Trip

These are my weekend trip must-haves.
By Madeline Diamond
April 27, 2021
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These days, weekend trips and short getaways are some of the best ways to travel. And whether you're headed to the beach or the mountains, it's always helpful to pack light in order to streamline your travel experience so can focus your attention on your new surroundings rather than your overstuffed suitcase. Overpacking is a habit I've been trying to break for years, and since I write about travel gear for a living, it's something I've had plenty of time to think about. I am by no means a perfect packer, but I've been able to identify some versatile essentials to bring on every trip that cut down on the desire to pack your whole closet.

Keep reading for the items I bring on every weekend trip.

Sleek Yet Spacious Luggage

Grey canvas duffel bag and black small square toiletry bag
Credit: Courtesy of Retailers as Credited

When it comes to luggage for a weekend trip, I'm always going to opt for the Catalina Deluxe Weekender from Lo & Sons. It's the perfect size — at 18 inches long, 16 inches tall, and 8.5 inches wide, it has plenty of room for all my essentials without ever feeling bulky, whether you're tossing it in the trunk of the car or stowing it in an airplane's overhead bin. One of my favorite features on this bag? The separate zippered bottom compartment that's perfect for storying shoes or bulkier items like sweaters.

As far as toiletry bags go, it's easy to overpack cosmetics and skincare products, so I find that a more compact bag helps me pare everything down to just the essentials. The Small Toiletry Bag from Away packs beautifully inside a duffel or suitcase. Its two zippered compartments inside allow you to see what you've packed, and I love that the coated interior is easy to wipe down, should you encounter any spills.

Versatile Wardrobe Essentials

White sneakers, black t-shirt, olive green midi tank dress
Credit: Courtesy of Retailers as Credited

When I'm trying to avoid overpacking, my biggest recommendation is to pack layers that can help you make the most out of every outfit. I'm all for a lightweight top that can be layered underneath a sweater for chilly mornings then revealed for a new look for dinner, as well as a flattering pair of jeans that I can dress up or down. For summer, a breezy dress can take you far (i.e., from day to night), and will barely take up any room in your luggage. Comfortable intimates are another must — Andie's new launch includes some of my new favorites.

For a weekend, I try to keep it down to two pairs of shoes: one for everyday sightseeing, walking, etc.., and another either for athletic activities or dressier attire, depending on what type of trip I'm taking. Varying by season I'm usually wearing a pair of Adidas Stan Smith sneakers or Chelsea-style boots daily and packing a pair of running shoes or sandals in the bottom compartment of my duffel. If you're going somewhere where outdoor activities will be a big part of your trip, you can, of course, plan around that and make room for your favorite pair of hiking boots or shoes.

Multitasking Skincare & Beauty Products

Sunscreen tube and lip and cheek beauty stick
Credit: Courtesy of Retailers as Credited

For a weekend away, you'll want to pare down your routines as far as skincare, makeup, and grooming go as much as possible without sacrificing the products that make you feel comfortable on a daily basis. For me, that means opting for multitasking products, like a tinted sunscreen (I love Supergoop's Glowscreen, which has very light coverage and adds a glowy finish) and a dual lip and cheek color stick.

Madeline Diamond is a Brooklyn-based e-commerce editor at Travel + Leisure, and she's constantly fighting the impulse to overpack for her next trip. You can follow her on Twitter @madgdiamond and Instagram @madelinediamond.

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