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How to pack: 7 packing tips for a long weekend break

How to pack for a long weekend awayThere is nothing quite like the excitement of finishing work, with the promise of a long weekend adventure ahead of you. But how to pack to ensure the best use of limited space?

But we often view packing for a long weekend break as more troublesome than preparing for our main travels – it can feel so much more restrictive.

With the best colours and types of clothing to take with you, as well as gadgets designed to make your luggage look more minimalist, these tips are designed to make the chore of packing quick and easy.

Whether you have an impending “staycation” in the countryside or have planned a fabulous mini-break to explore the city sights in a far-flung country, here are our top tips for stress-free packing.

Often take off for a long weekend? Share your tips for packing for a few days at the end of this feature.

How to pack – seven tips

1. Neutral clothing works best

How to pack - pack neutrals such as black jeans to transform your look from day to night | Pic: Lisa Leonardelli

This has to be one of the most useful packing tips you will ever come across. Always rely on the neutrals such as black jeans, which are easily transformed from exploring in the day to dinner and drinks at night.

Simply change your top, add some jewellery and a (neutral) clutch bag. Also it works to apply the 2:1 rule, two tops for each pair of trousers or jeans.

2. Layering up

How to pack - layer up with cotton clothing for an instant cool or warm effect | Pic: m01229

Cotton clothing is perfect as not only is it light, it folds down easily too.

Weather a bit unknown? Stack up on your cotton garments and you can instantly transform from a cotton vest for warmer climes or add a long sleeved t-shirt for added warmth, without the need for bulky jumpers.

Instead of packing a raincoat, take an umbrella with you. And if it’s really cold, pack a scarf as well as thermal or normal leggings or tights to wear under jeans for an instant hit of warmth without the weight.

3. Select the right luggage

How to pack - use a holdall or backpack to fit more in for a long weekend | Pic: Design Initiative

Ditch the hard shell suitcase and opt for a soft holdall – particularly for a trip near close to home.

You can always squeeze a little bit more in around the edges, and it will fit snugly under your seat on a train or plane. Just leave bulky shoes or boots at home – or wear them for the journey.

4. Leave hair straighteners at home

How to pack for a long weekend, lose bulky items like hair straighteners | Pic: Justus Blümer

Women’s lives were transformed forever with the invention of hair straighteners, and for those of us tormented by frizz, these are usually the first things to go on the packing list.

But for a long weekend, they are a bit bulky. Instead, use John Frieda Frizz-Ease 3-Day Straight semi-permanent formula. Before leaving home, spray on after washing your hair, dry and straighten as normal for three days of permanent frizz-free hair.

5. Dispense toiletries, dispense with weight

How to pack for a long weekend - dispense with heavy toiletries

Don’t carry big bottles of toiletries with you – dispense shampoo, conditioner, moisturiser and more into smaller silicone travel bottles to reduce weight, and if you’re flying they’ll fit airport security restrictions for hand luggage.

6. Lose the plugs

How to pack, invest in a dual USB charger for all in one charging and less plugs in your luggage, such as this one from Amazon

If you are jetting off to foreign shores, pack just the one travel adaptor, along with a two USB Power Adapter Wall Charger.

Charge two of your devices at once, and depending on the TV at your hotel, you can sometimes charge your phone from the back of the TV set.

No need for lots of bulky adaptors, just remember to bring the right cables with you.

7. Use your phone to capture the moment

How to pack for a long weekend - ditch the camera, take your phone

Cameras have long been a staple on our packing lists, but like the transformation from disposable to digital versions, phones have also been subject to some serious camera updates.

Leave the digital camera at home, and use your phone to capture key moments. Budding photographers with an iPhone need not lose out either, as the Olloclip 4-in-1 Lens allows you to take pictures with wide angle, fish-eye and other photo effects. Simply clip the lens over your phone and start snapping.

Discover more packing tips in our features how to pack: seven tips for your next trip, and seven tips for your cruise packing list.

Do you have other ideas of how to pack a long weekend? Leave your suggestions below…

Some images used here are licensed under Creative Commons 2.0Lisa Leonardellim01229,Design InitiativeJustus Blümer


Lover of all things travel, Lorraine can often be found whiling away hours on Pinterest (so easily done!), looking for new places to visit or new spaces she can make over at home. Throw in a good book, delicious food and wine, combined with great company, and she is a happy soul indeed!

Follow Lorraine Loveland

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