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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

How to Pack for a Weekend Getaway

Most travelers aren’t content never taking a vacation or even slaving away all year to wait for their annual trip. In fact, aside from the usual two weeks, it’s hard to make it through day-to-day without getting away a few other times throughout the year. We tend to take a few days here and there a couple times a year. You might not think you have the funds to do it, but if you step back and take a look at your travel style you can find ways you can cut corners, meaning you’ll need a smaller budget to fund these long weekends. There are plenty of ways to save money, no matter where you go or how you get there. If you’ll be road tripping on your getaways, like I did on my trip to Bend, Oregon, then you can find tips for saving on drives here and here.

When you fly to your destination, one of the easiest ways to save – time and money – is by traveling carry-on only. You don’t need much for a few days, which means you can pack quickly, skip the airline counter check-in and ignore the baggage carousel upon arrival. I always have a packing list to help me keep the number of items down and also to make sure I don’t forget any of the essentials. I know when I get to my destination I can probably buy whatever I missed packing, since a weekend getaway isn’t going to take me that far from home (like, I probably am not going to Bali or Columbia), but I’m adamantly against spending money for things I already have. Here’s how to build your packing list:

Instead of even travel-size shampoo/conditioner, these samples can work for a weekend getaway

Normally, I take this 3oz hand cream, but these two sample packs are more than enough for 3 days
Save those samples
I know I’m not the only one that has a bag full of samples and trial-size health and beauty items. Every purchase I make from Sephora or other department store makeup counters comes with mini sizes of beauty products. I also sign up for many freebies online. When I travel, I go through and see what I can use and then pack it in my 3-1-1 or toiletry bag. I’m never going to use a full-size thing on a two-week trip, much less just a few days, so there’s no point bringing a whole container of anything, be it toothpaste, moisturizer or shampoo.



Pare down your beauty routine
Even with all your travel-size items, it still smart to take less. If you have an extensive morning routine at home, see what you can just get away with. I don’t load up on the makeup normally, so I figure there’s no point in taking a bunch of unnecessary items that I’ll probably not use. I know when I wake up I’m going to do the bare minimum so I can hurry up and get on with my day. Four or five products are all I need: moisturizer, foundation, powder, blush and mascara (optional). See what things you can do without. If you are an eye makeup kinda girl, look for makeup palettes that have everything you need in a neat little package, so you don’t have to pack everything separately.


Decant, decant, decant
Sometimes you can't find samples of your fave products, but you don't need to waste space by bringing even a large travel-size container. In this case, I say decant. Eric has a fantastic shave cream from Kiehl's, but it takes very little for each use, so I put some in a travel pot and kept the actual container at home. This makes it doubly perfect for traveling.


Pack multipurpose items
I love it when things do more than one thing. Cheek tint that is also a lip stain. Tinted moisturizer with SPF instead of sunscreen, moisturizer and foundation. A maxi skirt that can also be worn as a dress. A tablet for games, books, email and internet. All these things are perfect companions for your carry-on bag, because they take up less space.

My Vegas attire: shorts, capris, dress, 3 tops, fancy sandals and a
pair of  ballet flats (to be worn on the plane)

Mix and match
As always, when you coordinate all your clothing, it’s super easy to pack in a carry-on. Two bottoms and three tops can mix and match to make SIX outfits. That’s way more than you’ll need for a long weekend. Don’t forget that what you wear in transit can also be rotated in as needed. And shoes! You should take two pair – max. Make sure they are both comfortable enough to walk in all day. Don’t be like my coworker who told me that she had 16 pairs of shoes she wanted to take with her to Mexico on a four day trip. Sixteen! I don’t even think that many shoes would fit in my carry-on and if they did, there would be no room for anything else, except maybe socks and underwear. Her trip was for a wedding, so aside from what she needed for the ceremony, she could have survived with a sun dress, a pair of shorts, her bathing suit and some flip flops. Learning to pack efficiently is important and can save you a ton.

That’s it. Think about what you truly need with you for three or four days and be realistic. Don’t play the “what if” game. What if I go out to a fancy dinner? What if it gets really cold? What if I want to go clubbin’? Did you plan for those things? Do you normally just change plans at the last minute? Sometimes it seems like it might be harder to pack for a short trip than a long one, but with some practice, it can be super simple. Just think, if you don’t bring something that you thought you could live without, by the time you miss it, you’ll probably already be back home.

Yup, that's my actual packing list!
This trip we’re taking two bottoms, three tops, a pair of sandals/flip flops and a pair of walking shoes (my sandals are walking shoes, so I’m also taking a pair of ballet flats) each and our packable jackets. I threw in a travel dress to wear to dinner with family. All that and our toiletries fit into our rolling carry-on, so I’ll be taking a the new Travelon Signature Messenger (review coming soon) to carry my regular purse stuff, important documents, netbook and snacks, and Eric will be carrying the Travelon Urban Tour Bag for the iPad, his 3DS and bottle of water. That’s it. We are traveling light. Staying at two places in three nights requires us to be able to throw everything in our bags and go quickly.

What are some of your favorite ways to travel light?
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