One of the best trips to plan in my opinion, is a weekend trip! They can be pretty inexpensive if you plan them right, you get to see a large part of a new place in a short space of time and you have lots of travel options – I can guarantee there is a great place to visit one hour from you or ten hours from you! Matt and I have been very lucky to already have gone on so many weekend trips – from staycations to country breaks to city trips – and we have so many more we’d like to plan in. My tips are (as always) pretty personal, and centre around couples weekends away as that is what we like to do, however there is something for everyone in this post. I really have learned to love packing for short trips, and I’d love to share with you how I do it…
Packing for a weekend can be pretty stressful, especially if, like me, you are a serious over-packer! The weather (especially if this is a UK trip) is likely to change throughout a two/three day period, you need to have space to bring back any purchases and you also want to have options! I have started to look at packing for one or two nights away as a challenge to do a mini capsule wardrobe – I love the idea of having a capsule wardrobe IRL but honestly, I could never do it. Matt and I always take individual suitcases but generally share on toiletries like shampoo, shower gel, etc.
I would really recommend in the weeks, especially the days, leading up to your trip you Tip #1 check the weather. The last thing you want is to be caught out without shorts when it’s boiling hot or an umbrella when it’s pouring rain every day. I am pretty sure if you look at a weather app every half an hour it will show a different forecast for the same place, but it is a good rough indication of what the weather will be like. To be honest, if you’re going anywhere in the UK, it’s probably always a good idea to bring an umbrella and a pac-a-mac. Note to self: buy a pac-a-mac.
The kind of accomodation you book for your trip is completely dependant on what kind of trip you’re planning. Tip #2 book a hotel/air bnb that suits your needs for that specific trip. If Matt and I are going away for a romantic weekend or a staycation we are looking for something a little more luxurious as we’re likely to spend a little more time in the room. We really love Hotel du Vin hotels and have been fortunate enough to stay in several locations already. These hotels can be a lot more expensive, but we definitely feel that we pay for the quality here. When we’re exploring somewhere further from home or our schedule is jam-packed, a standard hotel will generally do the trick – and by saving money on your hotel you have more to spend during your trip!
One of the most exciting things about taking a romantic trip away with my boyfriend is planning what we’re going to do in the build up before we go. Tip #3 have at least an idea of things you’d both like to do, and options that fit with whatever weather you may face. Matt and I scour Trip Advisor and Instagram location tags a lot for ideas, as well as a good few Google searches. I love to find blogs/vlogs of people visiting cities as you can get a little inside knowledge before you get there. For one of his stocking fillers last Christmas, I bought Matt this book, and we’ve took lots of inspiration from here too – hopefully one day we can work our way through the whole book! It’s also often cheaper to book tickets for any museums/tours etc you’d like to do online before you go, and it saves time queuing when you arrive.
Tip #4 Make a packing list! One thing I cannot stress enough is the importance of writing down everything you need, then the actual packing process is already much easier. I love lists in general; I am such a planner and routine-based person that lists just help to get all the thoughts out of my head and I can then focus on the task at hand. I tend to make a packing list around a week before my trip, then I can add/remove items from it as and when required. For our last break to Belfast, Matt’s mam and I packed his bag literally a few hours before we left for the airport (he’s spoilt), and it’s so much harder to think on the spot of everything you’ll need.
Obviously the essentials are going to be your clothes, shoes, toiletries and the important miscellaneous items – eg your phone charger! Tip #5 Do not forget your phone charger, or you will spend the first two hours of the trip on a wild goose chase for an Apple shop. Been there, done that. I’d highly recommend investing in a portable charger too, as long days out, excessive Google map usage and lots of photo taking (got to get them Insta’s, am I right?) is more than likely going to leave you with a dead battery.
Your luggage situation depends on a) the length of your trip, b) the method of travel and c) how much can you (and/or your wonderful amazing boyfriend) physically carry? Enjoy this picture of Matthew hoisting our suitcases up 1000* steps on our first city trip together last September (it was to Edinburgh; one of our favourite cities to visit and somewhere we are hoping to go back to very soon).
*possibly a slight exaggeration
For real though, the amount of luggage you take with you is actually very important. Larger luggage bags/suitcases means more room to take crap you probably don’t need, and also means more to drag in/out of the car/plane/bus/taxi/spaceship. Tip #6 for any trip up to three nights/four days; one small cabin sized suitcase each, and a large tote bag is all you need. I have been guilty of taking all but the kitchen sink with me for one night, but seriously packing too many items is just unnecessary and I can guarantee you won’t use them anyway!
I always use a backpack or large tote bag as hand luggage on short haul flights as you can fit in all the necessities (Tip #7 a spare pair of pants is always a necessity!) but they’re not too big that you start sticking in items you really don’t need. You can check out my essentials – and non-essentials – for a flight in this post! Matt also tends to take a backpack if we are flying, or if we are driving/getting the train he’ll put anything he needs in my bag. Girlfriend perks, eh?!
I’d highly recommend Tip #8 packing a small cross body bag (the one linked in this post is my go-to!) and a canvas tote bag in your luggage as these two items can come in incredibly handy. I tend to use my cross body bag day and night on short trips; it goes with any outfit and it’s hands free (let’s be honest, I need my hands to be free for 1: holding Matthew’s hand, and 2: eating any and all of the delicious baked goods we find on our travels). Never has a sentence summed me up more. Canvas bags are great because they can double as a beach bag, a gym bag or a bag to put dirty clothes/shoes in for coming home, as well as many other things! Tip #9 is one I’m sure you’re all aware of: roll, don’t fold! Rolling your clothes means you can fit so much more in, and it’s also really good for ensuring your clothes stay as wrinkle-free as possible.
A sneaky Tip #10 would be if your hotel doesn’t have an iron (or you just can’t be bothered) ‘ironing’ your clothes with your straighteners works a treat! I’ve also hung dresses up in the bathroom after a hot shower which helps to let the wrinkles drop out – both effective methods and both very quick. Matt and I always tend to Tip #11 wear the bulkiest of our items to travel in, although if our journey time is any more than three hours I couldn’t wear jeans! I like to be comfy at all times and will opt for leggings. (Side note: people who sit around the house in jeans genuinely baffle me – how do you do this?!) Tip #12 is no matter the weather, take. a. scarf. They double up as a blanket or a pillow, they’re fashionable, they’ll keep you warm – and they always can jazz up an outfit! In the Autumn/Winter months I’d take a big ol’ thick scarf but in the Spring/Summer a thin one will do. I’d never travel without a scarf, to be honest.
Here is a very simple idea of what I would pack for a two night/three day city break:
- Crossbody bag with all my handbag essentials eg purse, phone etc
- 1 x coat/jacket (weather dependent)
- 1 x hoodie/sweatshirt
- 1 x scarf
- 1 x blue high waisted jeans (or possibly shorts)
- 1 x black high waisted jeans
- 1 x comfy trousers
- 1 x black leggings – ideally Lululemon or Under Armour as they’re so comfy
- 4 x t-shirts – it’s nice to have a little bit of an option, and they’re so small they squeeze in easily
- 1 x shirt/blouse for the evening
- 1 x dress for dinner and drinks
- 1 x pair of black heels that go with said dress and jeans
- 1 x comfy shoes – either Vans or Converse
- 1 x swimsuit – if you’re planning on going in a pool/hot tub, one is enough!
- Underwear – and don’t forget socks! Also, been there and done that
- Toiletries and makeup bag (remember if you’re flying all liquids/creams/gels must be under 100ml and packed in a small clear bag)
- Comfy clothes/pj’s – I only will pack pj’s if the hotel we are staying at doesn’t have robes as I like to get ready in something comfy and still be warm
- The miscellaneous: medication, straighteners, hair brush, chargers, laptop/iPad, sunglasses, umbrella etc
Toiletries are a category you can really save space on. Your 100 step skincare routine does not need to be included – you’ll be fine for a few days with just the basics. For me I find that my cleanser, moisturiser, eye cream and serum are more than enough. Tip #13 take mini sizes of everything you possibly can! Feel Unique do minis of a lot of products which is much better than hauling along your full sized everything. Save up any sample sizes you get, buy minis on offer in Boots/Asda etc, buy the Christmas limited edition mini sets of your favourite brands and take any samples you don’t use from hotel stays. Matt and I do stay at Hotel du Vin hotels often – I know we are very lucky to do so – and they always have tons of toiletries in the room, more than we’d need for a week! Their brand of choice is Ren; one of my favourites, and we always take what we don’t use whilst we’re there.
Also, if you’re staying somewhere like Hotel du Vin with a bath in the room (I highly recommend – taking a nice hot bath together is the ultimate start to a couples weekend) don’t forget bubble bath! Also a gift idea for your partner would be the Molton Brown minis set – I got Matthew one of these also as part of his stocking fillers last year and it’s come in so handy.
One thing I cannot stress enough is you need to Tip #14 leave some space in your suitcase. You will more than likely do some shopping, whether that’s souvenirs from your trip, some new clothes or as many of the fancy Haribo you can find (why is all the Haribo you can’t buy in the UK so much nicer?!) you’ll be thankful you didn’t bring that extra pair of trousers or the ski jacket just incase. To be honest, even if you don’t go shopping, there is some weird thing that happens when you’re packing your case to come home – everything seems to double in size and things that fitted perfectly fine before don’t seem to fit in the same space.
Something I would highly recommend squeezing into your luggage, especially if you’re heading for a romantic weekend away, is a bottle of bubbly. Slightly frivolous, but #Tip 15 take champagne with you! Most hotel rooms have champagne flutes anyway (or you can request them), but why pay the ridiculous prices in the hotel?! When Matt and I are heading for a romantic weekend, eg booking a nicer hotel with a roll top bath, it’s a must-have for us. Priorities.
A bubble bath + champagne + my boyfriend = the happiest you’ll ever see me!
I’m sure there’s loads more important things to remember when it comes to packing but those are definitely some of the most important from my experience. I hope you’ve found at least some of this post helpful and I’d love know if you have any tips for me?!
Where are you planning to go on your next trip?
Thanks so much for reading!