The 21 Best Weekend Trip Essentials, According to T+L Editors

From skincare sets to belt bags to shoes, this is what you’ll need for your next short trip.

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The Best Weekend Trip Essentials

Travel + Leisure / Alli Waataja

For many of us, packing for a trip is hard — not physically hard, necessarily, but more so mentally. After all, you’re forced to pick and choose which everyday items from your home you simply can’t live without on your travels. Week-plus journeys are a little easier to pack for since you’ll likely be traveling with more luggage, and therefore have more space for all your toiletries, shoes, and such. But when you’re headed out on a weekend trip? Talk about a dilemma.

Rather than having a meltdown (or at the very least, overpacking), take a look at our list of the best weekend trip essentials. Each item was personally chosen by a member of the Travel + Leisure team because it has made life a little easier on our own weekend excursions. From skincare sets to belt bags to coffee starters, these are 21 must-haves for your next short trip.

Hush Puppies Leila Slide Sandals

Hush Puppies Leila Slide Sandals

Hush Puppies

Weekend trips typically call for smaller luggage — so when you're short on space, a versatile pair of shoes you can wear everywhere, and with every outfit, is a must. Comfort-forward shoe brand Hush Puppies tackles all types of travel and events with the Leila Slide Sandals, which perfectly toe the line between casual and formal. Not only do they work for everything from destination weddings to brunches to shopping around town, but they’re also built with a cushioned footbed, memory foam, and reliable traction. 

“I recently started traveling with these comfy heels from Hush Puppies,” associate commerce editor Hillary Maglin said. “They're very casual, yet they feature a 2.5-inch heel and genuine leather, so they look stylish and sensible with everything from leggings to LBDs. Not to mention, the straps are made of ultra-cushy foam, so hours spent on my feet are a breeze when I wear these.”

Price at time of publish: $70

Vodana Professional Triple Flow Ceramic Hair Waver

Vodana Professional Triple Flow Ceramic Hair Waver


Instead of wasting hours on your hair during your next short trip, allow Vodana’s ceramic hair waver to give you beachy waves in minutes that last for days. The small, lightweight waver packs easily into any bag and quickly creates vacation-ready locks. It reaches temperatures of 390 degrees to produce 1.6-inch waves without damaging hair, while a 360-degree swivel cord and one-button operation make it easy to use. 

“Who wants to lug a bathroom worth of hair tools and styling products on a 3-day trip? Certainly not me,” Maglin said. “Instead, I opt for low-maintenance styling with this easy hair waver from Vodana. It's lightweight, durable, and more compact than most hair wavers since it's designed with just two barrels rather than three. I like that it produces subtly wavy, carefree hair that doesn't require much product or have to be touched up frequently on an already time-pressed vacation.”

Price at time of publish: $91

Superegg Rituals Set

SuperEgg Rituals Set


Odds are, you’ll never fit your entire at-home beauty routine into a small suitcase — and even if you could, the bottles and tubes are likely above the fluid ounce limit for most airlines. Instead, throw a travel-size skincare set into your bag, like this luxe option by Superegg. It contains a gentle cleansing foam, biome mist, depuffing face masks, toning serum, and gel-cream moisturizer — none of which exceed 3.4 fluid ounces.

“It's tempting to skip your multi-step skincare routine for a quick weekend away, but Superegg's collection makes it so easy to keep up with your skin health even while traveling,” updates writer Taylor Fox said. “I especially love the refreshing biome mist to give my skin an extra boost of hydration when I forget to drink water while on-the-go. The Hydrogel Eye and Cheek mask is also an amazing and relaxing way to end a long travel day.”

Price at time of publish: $244

Levi's '90s Denim Trucker Jacket

Levi's 90s Trucker Jacket


There’s just something about denim jackets that make them seem appropriate anywhere, any time. We like this one from Levi’s because it’s timeless, comfy, and built to last. It’s also quite functional thanks to multiple pockets large enough to carry essentials like your phone, keys, cards, and cash. Snag it in five sizes and five different shades.  

“I love this jean jacket so much — between March and October, you can pretty much find me wearing this fun, retro style whether I'm running errands or hopping on a plane,” Fox said. “I'm pretty sure my mom had the exact same one when I was growing up, so it brings me a serotonin-burst of nostalgia in addition to being comfortable and practical. I love the two side pockets, but the chest pockets are the absolute best feature when traveling because it fits my passport, phone, and all other items I might need quickly at the airport.”

Price at time of publish: $98

Goldie Locks Essentials Bundle

Goldie Locks Essentials Bundle

Goldie Locks

Prefer your own shampoo and conditioner to the stuff hotels provide? We recommend this hydrating hair set from Goldie Locks. It comes with airline-friendly bottles of shampoo and conditioner that’ll nourish dry strands, as well as the brand’s signature serum that provides shine. The whole set smells like pink grapefruit, sweet orange, and juicy lime, which is just an added bonus if you ask us. 

“For a quick weekend away, this travel-sized shampoo and conditioner set is absolutely perfect,” Fox said. “The square, easy-to-squeeze bottles fit nicely in my toiletry bag and don't take up too much space. I especially love the signature serum for keeping my hair looking shiny and healthy even during long travel days and busy weekends. Plus, this collection smells so good and feels so much more luxurious than the sample bottles hotels usually provide.”

Price at time of publish: $72

Patagonia Men's Nano Puff Vest

Patagonia Nano Puff Vest


Lightweight clothing is key for short trips (and limited luggage space). That said, this puff vest from Patagonia is perfect for chillier destinations. It’s warm yet breathable, stylish, and adds almost no weight to your bag. It’s also windproof, water-resistant, and extremely compressible, so it’s ideal for packing into small backpacks on hikes or camping trips, too.

“My solve for over-air-conditioned spaces, whether I'm on a long-haul flight or a hotel lobby, is this light yet cozy vest,” articles editor Paul Brady said. “It weighs less than a can of sparkling water and packs down to about the same size, meaning it's always got a spot in my weekender.”

Price at time of publish: $179

Malbon X Vilbrequin Women's Fiona Swim Shorts

Malbon X Vilbrequin Women's Fiona Swim Shorts


If you haven’t noticed by now, versatility is key when it comes to short trips and smaller luggage. That’s why clothing that works just as well on the beach as it does in town — like these women’s swim shorts from Malbon — is such a must-have. These fitted shorts feature a drawstring waist, stretch fabric, and a quick-drying finish that allows you to head from the waves to dinner reservations in no time at all. We also love the whimsical beach-meets-golf course print.  

“I'm obsessed with the playful pattern on these swim shorts — hello, octopus! — a cool collaboration between swimwear brand Vilebrequin and Malbon Golf,” editor in chief Jacqui Gifford said. “Swim shorts are a long weekend staple, because you can wear them to the beach, then slip on a white blouse and dressy sandals and go right to happy hour.”

Price at time of publish: $240

Coco Shop Mini Skirt in Multi Flora

Coco Shop Mini Skirt in Multi Flora

Coco Shop

If skirts are more your vibe, opt for this mini from Coco Shop. It’s flattering, stylish, comfy, and perfect for tropical destinations. The breathable cotton is easy to wear and pack, while a high waistband and invisible back zipper will keep you feeling confident on your travels. Whether you pair it with a flowing blouse, a fitted tee, or a tucked-in tank top, the skirt is sure to elevate your style on your weekend away. 

“Mini-skirts are having a bit of a moment right now, and from a travel perspective, they are one of the lightest (and easiest!) things to pack,” Gifford said. “This beautiful piece from Coco Shop, a brand born in Antigua, captures the beachy, colorful essence of the Caribbean in an elegant yet playful way.”

Price at time of publish: $305

Tory Burch East Coast Map Square Scarf

Tory Burch East Coast Map Square Scarf

Tory Burch

How perfect is this scarf for a few days on the Cape, Jersey Shore, or Nantucket? The vintage-style piece features a printed hand-drawn map of the East Coast from Maine to Virginia adorned with a nautical border and the Tory Burch logo. Made of breathable linen with cotton embroidery and felt patches, the 36 x 36 inch scarf looks gorgeous when worn around the neck, waist, or hair.

“When you're by the beach, the temperature can drop quite dramatically at night, even during the summer — which is why it's always great to have a scarf handy,” Gifford said. “This new piece from Tory Burch screams ‘wind-in-your-hair, belt-out-a-song’ long weekend road trip to me: I will go for anything that has a colorful map on it.”

Price at time of publish: $298

Message Shaw Slides

Message Shaw Slides


It’s always wise to travel with a comfy pair of shoes — but when you’re on vacation, you don’t want to toss just any old shoe into your luggage. Comfort meets style with these multipurpose slides by Message. A cork footbed, flexible rubber sole, and stretchy upper work together to prevent blisters, keep the slide in place, and support your foot. Colors range from vermillion to olive, so you should be able to find a pair to match all your travel ‘fits.

“If you're heading on a warm-weather weekend getaway, these cork slides are super comfortable and look a lot nicer than a typical rubber slide,” commerce writer Anna Popp said. “Slides normally slip off my foot, but the fabric upper has a lot of compression to it and it's quite big so it wraps around the foot to prevent it from sliding out easily. I've worn the black color with sundresses and jeans, and the shoes keep the style elevated while remaining comfy on vacation.” 

Price at time of publish: $160

Geologie Travel Skincare Set

Geologie Travel Skincare Set


Skin problems on the go? No problem. This skincare set from Geologie includes travel-friendly tubes of face wash, day cream, night cream, and eye cream boasting ingredients like niacinamide, retinol, and salicylic, hyaluronic, and kojic acids to kick any facial woes you may have on the road. There’s a chance you’ll love it enough to use even when you’re not traveling — in which case, you can actually set up a custom delivery plan.

“To save space in my weekender bag, I always pack this set of travel-size skin care products from Geologie,” Popp said. “I love that the packaging and product are designed to be gender-neutral and user-friendly so everyone can use the cleanser and lotion with ease. The product is very gentle on the skin and the scents are very subtle which I appreciate. I also love that the set can be purchased as a subscription so I can have it delivered to my door every few months or as needed when I travel.” 

Price at time of publish: $55

Outdoor Voices SeamlessRib ⅞ Legging

Outdoor Voices SeamlessRib ⅞ Legging

Outdoor Voices

Lightweight? Check. Stretchy? Check. Compressive? Check. These figure-flattering leggings from Outdoor Voices are truly the whole package. Whether you’re wearing them in transit or stowing them away in your luggage, these leggings remain low-maintenance and easy to travel with. A combination of ribbed compression fabric and a high waistband keep you looking your best, while a seamless, soft fabric blend keeps you feeling your best. Snag them in seven colors including bubblegum and pine.

“I’ve been on the hunt for leggings that are supportive but still relatively relaxed-fitting for long travel days, and I’m happy to report that the Outdoor Voices SeamlessRib 7/8 Leggings check off these boxes,” commerce editor Emily Belfiore said. “Their ribbed, seamless construction makes them incredibly stretchy and comfy to kick back in, whether you’re in the car, on a train, or on a plane. But they still maintain their shape and have a high-rise waistband to keep everything in place, and you don’t have to worry about them falling down when you’re picking up your bag or hitting the trails. Plus, they’re very lightweight, breathable, and stunning, so you can wear them for multiple excursions on your weekend trip itinerary.” 

Price at time of publish: $78

MZ Wallace Metro Belt Bag

MZ Wallace Metro Belt Bag

MZ Wallace

Belt bags, aka fanny packs, are great to bring on short trips because they don’t take up a ton of space in your luggage. They’re also usually pretty lightweight, and they can be worn with a multitude of outfits, which means you can leave other bulkier bags at home. If you’re still of the “fanny packs are dorky” persuasion, consider this one by the bag experts at MZ Wallace — it’s fashionable, versatile, and holds a variety of essentials. 

“Even though I have a vast collection of purses, I always find myself reaching for my MZ Wallace belt bag — especially when I’m packing for quick weekend trips,” Belfiore said. “It acts as a stylish catch-all for everything I need, whether I’m going shopping, headed out to dinner, going on a hike, or meeting friends at the beach. Don’t be fooled by its tiny frame, it can fit a lot more than you’d think.” 

Price at time of publish: $145

LifeStraw Go Series 22 oz Water Bottle

LifeStraw Water Bottle


This high-tech water bottle is designed to be your go-to drinking bottle literally anywhere. Built with a contaminant-filtering straw, you can fill this bottle up with water from a lake, river, or other water source and drink it safely. While it’s perfect for traveling, camping, and hiking, you may just love it enough to use it as your everyday water bottle.   

“I've fully embraced the ‘emotional support water bottle’ trend, and I never travel without my LifeStraw Go Water Bottle,” Belfiore said. “It has the brand's revolutionary filtered straw inside to make any water safe and drinkable. And, it's the perfect size to bring along on long road trips (it fits in cup holders), hiking excursions, and beach days — plus, you can easily pack it into a suitcase or bag so you can have drinking water when you touch down at your destination.” 

Price at time of publish: $45

Sand Cloud Large Turkish Beach Towel

Sand Cloud Sand-free Beach Towel


If you’re headed out for a weekend beach or lake trip, you’ll want to have a durable beach towel on hand — and this one from Sand Cloud is one of our favorites. Not only does it come in three large sizes allowing it to double as a blanket, but it also releases all sand so you’ll never have to worry about returning home with sandy luggage. On top of that, it’s incredibly soft to the touch. 

“An often overlooked but totally essential item for a weekend trip, you'll never regret bringing this super cute, soft, lightweight, and versatile sand-free beach towel,” commerce editor Sophie Mendel said. “I personally own and love this one with the adorable turtle design and it works great as a beach towel or as an impromptu picnic blanket, especially as the weather starts heating up.

Price at time of publish: $48

Outdoor Voices CloudKnit Hoodie

Outdoor Voices CloudKnit Hoodie

Outdoor Voices

Instead of wasting precious space with multiple jackets and sweatshirts, go for this wear-everywhere hoodie. It’s thin yet warm and surprisingly sleek. Whether you choose to wear it in transit, on a morning coffee run, or for an evening on the beach, you’re bound to look and feel good. We also love how incredibly soft it is — trust us when we say you’ll find yourself looking for excuses to wear it.  

“Warm clothes can be bulky, but this thin-yet-insulating sweatshirt from Outdoor Voices packs down well into small bags for weekend getaways,” associate editorial director of commerce Chris Abell said. “It's also great as a layer if your destination’s weather will fluctuate. I love the material — soft, stretchy, moisture wicking — and the look is trim and stylish. I wear this sweatshirt often, and it's great for travel.”

Price at time of publish: $88

Peak Design Packable Tote

Peak Design Packable Tote

Peak Design

Weekend trips call for a very specific type of bag: something compact, but not too tiny; something spacious, but not bulky or heavy. When you’re struggling to find that happy medium, we recommend Peak Design’s Packable Tote. As the name suggests, it easily folds down to pack into your luggage or pocket, and it works for all types of excursions. Our favorite thing about the bag is that the body is made from a single piece of fabric, which eliminates seams, and therefore stress points that could eventually rip.

“Even if I’m only going away for a night or two, there’s a good chance I’ll need an extra bag to take on a day outing or to lug shopping hauls home,” commerce editor Lydia Price said. “This packable tote is perfect since it truly lives up to its name by stuffing down to a size that’s smaller than a deck of cards. The zipper is a must-have feature, which lets me throw it under a train or car seat without worrying about spills. It can handle a lot of weight (and I’ve really pushed the limits) and is even water-resistant. Just overall a very simple buy that comes in handy all the time!”

Price at time of publish: $20

Daybird Tinted Skincare

Daybird Tinted Skincare


You may have used a tinted moisturizer on your face in the past, or perhaps even a moisturizer with SPF. But have you ever used 4-in-1 serum, moisturizer, foundation, and SPF 50 sunscreen? That’s what you’ll get when you toss this multipurpose tinted skincare from Daybird in your luggage. The product goes on sheer while still offering some subtle color, and it boasts mineral and non-comedogenic properties. We especially love that it comes in four shades and is dermatologist-approved. 

“When I'm just going away for a few days, I don't want to pack a 10-pound toiletry bag full of all my skincare and makeup go-tos,” special projects editor Elizabeth Rhodes said. “I'd rather grab something that does double (or triple) duty, like this tinted multitasking product that moisturizes and protects your skin from the sun (thanks to SPF 50) all while offering light coverage all over the face. I love how lightweight and non-greasy it feels on the face, and it layers well with makeup.”

Price at time of publish: $40

Calpak Terra Hanging Toiletry Bag

Calpak Terra Hanging Toiletry Bag


Don’t underestimate the efficiency of a good hanging piece of luggage! Not only do they free up space in your hotel room, but they also essentially convert into a tiny shelving unit on the wall. This one from the travel experts at Calpak is tailored for toiletries, boasting several small interior pockets perfect for travel-size bottles, makeup, and other beauty essentials, too. The water-resistant bag is also equipped with helpful extras like an exterior toothbrush stand, collapsible hanging hook, buckle closure, and top grab handle. 

“​​Many toiletry bags are simply too bulky for short trips, but not this one!” senior commerce editor Morgan Ashley Parker said. “I’d usually just pack body and hair products, skincare, and makeup in three separate bags, but this organizes everything with zippered and slip pockets plus loops for things like a toothbrush and makeup brushes. It’s lightweight with a buckle closure that compresses a less-full bag, and the hook can hang onto a doorknob or even be unfastened to attach to the strap of a packed tote as well.”

Price at time of publish: $56

Pop & Bottle Classic Coffee Super Concentrate

Pop & Bottle Classic Coffee Super Concentrate

Pop & Bottle

If you’re a seasoned traveler, you likely know by now that relying on hotel or Airbnb coffee is a gamble — and it's even harder if you only want iced coffee. In order to get your caffeine fix on the go, throw this Pop & Bottle concentrate in your bag for road or train journeys. It barely takes up any space — but it makes up to 16 cups of coffee in no time at all. Just add a little to already-cold water (or heat in a mug instead) — no coffee machines or morning outings required.  

“It only takes one trip drinking refrigerated, once-hot coffee at a remote Airbnb to look for a better solution,” Parker said. “I love this 8-ounce bottle because you only need one tablespoonful to make each cup so it’s perfect to share with friends and family for a full weekend (and tastes way better than any powdered single-serve alternative). Plus, unlike cold-brew bags, this can be made in an instant with just cold water so there’s no need to plan ahead (and you can even eyeball it in a water bottle mid-road trip).”

Price at time of publish: $17

Planet Goody Hosiery Snag Free Hair Elastics

Planet Goody Hosiery Snag Free Hair Elastics


No matter the destination, travel mode, or length of your trip, hair ties are always a must-have on the go. If you’ve been on the hunt for a reliable style, try this 10-pack from Planet Goody. The snag-free elastics are gentler on the hair than other similar styles, and they come in a range of hues to match most hair colors. We also love that the elastics and their packaging are made of recycled materials.

“I once forgot to pack hair ties for a weekend camping trip, and after a few days in the woods with nothing reasonable to pull my hair back with I realized just how essential this basic item is for me,” deputy photo editor Skye Senterfeit said. “I prefer snag-free, neutral ties like these from Goody (or this thicker version from Anthropologie) and I always pack extras. It's a given that I'll misplace at least two over the course of a weekend away.”

Price at time of publish: $10

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For this article, associate commerce editor Hillary Maglin collaborated with her T+L colleagues to list their personal favorite products for streamlining weekend trips. 

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