What to Pack for a Weekend Road Trip

My cousin is getting married in the Bay Area this weekend, so my boyfriend and I will be taking a road trip up there for our “adventure out of the city” this week. Earlier this month, we made it a point to explore somewhere new or see a place we rarely frequent just to get away from the busy city every now and then. I used to road trip over to San Diego practically every weekend when David lived there, and from doing it so many times, I’ve definitely learned what needs to come with me and what can stay at home. Overpacking used to be a big issue, and I know many are still trying to perfect packing just the right amount for that on-the-go life. Most of the time, I’m able to pack all my essentials in one small luggage and be totally fine (yes, I got over the withdrawals of having to literally bring my whole bedroom since the early days).

With the holidays coming up, I anticipate that many of you will be traveling. From my experience, not overpacking helps a lot because it gives you room to buy fun souvenirs or simply less carrying weight! For those who need a little help simplifying, here’s a quick run down of what I like to bring with me on any weekend road trip this time of year.


MAKE-UP BAG

This one can be pretty tricky, because it’s hard to not bring your entire make-up collection with you, right?! Well, after some years, I’ve managed to narrow down to the bare essentials, which consists of a neutral/versatile eyeshadow palette, mascara, lip gloss, foundation, blush, and a few other little things that can all fit into one travel-sized make-up bag.

CLOTHES

I usually wear 1 outfit (obviously!) and a versatile tote bag, and pack 2 other sets of clothing & a swimsuit. Even if the trip doesn’t necessarily entail swimming, you just never know when or how you’ll end up at the pool or beach, especially now that it’s warm and sunny out! I even learned from my winter road trip last year that I should have brought my bikini with me then… but didn’t have the foresight that maybe, just maybe… I might be swimming during my travels to the east coast. Surprisingly, there were warm areas that would have been doable, but because I didn’t have any swimwear, I missed out! As for clothing, I make sure to pack plenty of undergarments, a strapless and/or sticky bra, and a bralette. Then, I’ll decide on either a dress or tee/shorts combo (for day wear), a shirt/jeans/jacket combo (for cooler nights), and a comfortable fitness-appropriate combo (for any physical activity). Not many outfits, but definitely enough to cover you for the weekend. Technically, you only need two… but if you can fit a third, why not? Just don’t overdo it 😉 For my trip this weekend specifically, I’ll also be bringing a dress to wear to the wedding, of course.

JEWELRY

Not going to lie — I try not to pack too much jewelry, if any at all. The reason for this is because they tend to tangle and I just don’t have the time or patience to deal with that! So, I layer on some versatile jewelry with the outfit I already am wearing… and just basically wear the same thing with the other outfits I have packed. Mix and match. My cousin’s wedding is themed 1920’s/The Great Gatsby, so I’ll be bringing a statement necklace and a feather hair pin to complete my look.

SHOES

Usually, I’ll bring a pair of nice heels, comfortable sandals, and booties (or running shoes if hiking). If you’re more of a sneaker kinda’ gal, then feel free to substitute your booties for these to save room. It’s really hard for me to narrow down my choices on shoes because I feel so attached to my entire shoe collection to leave the rest behind… but gotta do what I gotta do!

HYGIENE & PERSONAL CARE

Can’t forget about hygiene on any trip! I try to keep this as simple as possible (again, it’s hard to not bring my entire face routine items). Staples include deodorant, sunblock, make-up remover wipes, a razor, face wash, travel-sized shampoo and conditioner if I’m not staying at a hotel, some hair ties, and perfume.

OTHER ESSENTIALS

Even when I’m on “vacation,” I can’t NOT bring my laptop. Ever since I got my iMac, I haven’t really been working on my laptop so it will actually feel like I’m working on the go on my laptop this weekend! Other essentials I’m sure to pack are chargers, headphones, and my Instax mini camera!


Have I missed anything? What are the essentials that you must pack for mini vacations or weekend getaways? xx

 

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189 Responses

    1. Thanks, Maryam! I totally agree! Perfume is a must, and so is deodorant 🙂 I am a sucker for overpacking… lol… but doing better!

  1. Such a great post, as always! I’m always sure to pack a bikini because as you said, you just never know when you’ll need one! 🙂 happy Monday!

    1. Thanks, Jasmin! I KNOW! I didn’t expect it to be warm when I went to the east coast in December but surprisingly there were totally moments where I could have taken advantage of the pool/spa. LESSON LEARNED! 😉

  2. How fun, sounds like a great trip and a fab opportunity for photo shoots! =) I am usually a light packer and take only the essentials. I stick to basics and add statement with jackets and shoes and accessories. I love all the essentials you have here. Have such a fun trip Sharon! Can’t wait to see the pics when you get back. xoxo, Christine
    http://dailykongfidence.com/

    1. Thanks, Christine! It won’t be a long getaway, mostly for my cousin’s wedding and attending related festivities but I’m definitely hoping to shoot some stuff of my own while I’m there or on my way back or something 🙂 You literally have the best travel style! Come pack my bag for me babe! 😉 haha! xo

  3. I have learned to condense my makeup bag since I honestly hate doing my makeup on vacation anyway, haha! Jewelry is still a work in progress. I think I want to accessorize and I usually stick with the same pieces and overpack my jewelry :/ I definitely need to take more of your tips into consideration and pack less. Thanks a bunch for this!

    http://www.thebeautybeau.com/

    1. Omg I hate it too… but then vacation is also when I tend to take more photos and want them all to turn out without me looking like a lazy bum who needs way more sleep LOL. I try to just pack the essentials and make do with what I have though!

  4. I’m a sneaker kinda gal so I’ll stick to those, haha. Other than that lil fact I do need to learn how to pack as a normal person again. I actually was able to do that before I began blogging, but now that I’m used to carrying around a suitcase wherever I go for shoots and what not it’s kind of hard to not pack everything in there. I’ve tried to learn to actually try out all the outfits before I travel somewhere and ask myself if I REALLY will use every single garment and try to tell myself I don’t need a whole new outfit for every day in a city where now one knows who I am… But it’s hard. And oh, you did forget one thing… you oughta pack down Babadook too!
    xoxo
    Thomas

    1. I WISH I COULD BRING BABADOOK EVERYWHERE 🙁 It sucks that he is a bit high maintenance in that he requires high heat and high humidity at pretty much all times to maintain his health :/ so he will have to stick around here in LA lol. It’d be a dream to build him an on-the-go enclosure even though that doesn’t sound very plausible since he’s getting so big. Haha!

  5. Great picks, love! I can’t leave the house without at least 3 pairs of shoes so I totally can relate when you say you always feel tempted to bring your entire shoe collection haha! Have a wonderful trip 🙂

  6. I can’t go on any trip without my laptop either! I know vacations are meant for enjoying and not working but I just need to have it with me at all times just in case haha. Love your road trip picks!

    1. Thanks, Jessi! I think bringing versatile palettes is a must as well; my go-to is the Lorac Pro Palette which I use on the daily anyway so it works out really nicely!

  7. These are definitely the essentials for any trip! I always try to pack pieces of clothing that I can mix and match. I used to even do that when I would go to visit B for two weeks in Florida. Even though I was only bringing a bag that was barely bigger than a carry-on, I somehow managed to have space for more than two weeks worth of outfits, because I would double-wear so many of the pieces, just in different ways! It’s even more fun doing that in the fall and winter because layering is so much easier! Love your list! Have a great time at the wedding – a Great Gatsby theme sounds fun!

    Stephanie // SheSawStyle.com

    1. That’s a great idea! Actually when my boyfriend used to live in San Diego and I would go out there on weekends and sometimes stay into the week, I would do the same… just pack a ton of versatile stuff that can be worn with a ton of other things and just mix and match! It really does save a ton of space and allows me to pack lightly. I’ll have to remember to do that this weekend! Thanks for the reminder 😉 xo

  8. All the jewelry pieces you’ve picked out here are to die for! Great taste, Sharon! For me, I tend to overpack on beauty essentials because my skin can sometimes react to drastic weather changes and I just have to be prepared at all times. Thanks for sharing and have fun this weekend!

    1. Thank you dear! I’m the same way actually… I always fear breaking out when I’m going somewhere new/unfamiliar haha

  9. This is a great list. I used to overpack but I couldn’t stand dragging around big bags. lol Sounds like you’ll have tons of fun on this trip with a wedding and some time to explore. I haven’t been to San Francisco yet, but plan to head out there in a month to see family. It feels really weird to travel within country this much lol I’m used to flying out internationally since we don’t have good discount airlines flying within country back in Canada. Haha. Some perks of living in the US. Enjoy your trip!

    Xo,
    Miki
    http://mikialamdoe.com

    1. I am the same way!! I hate carrying big and heavy luggage LOL. So, I’ve definitely forced myself to cut down. San Francisco is a beautiful place, though generally a bit too cold for my liking, haha. I think you’d love your time there though! I’m looking forward to reading a blog post on your visit there next month 😉 xo

  10. What a great post Sharon! I’ve learned so much from you as I ALWAYS over pack when I travel no matter what length of the trip. I only ended up wearing possible half of the clothes I brought :)! I love what essentials you normally pack!

    Sounds like a great trip!! I have been to Bay Area and it’s gorgeous!! Have fun!!

    xo,
    Jo
    http://www.glamfashionbook.com

    1. Thanks, Jo! So glad to hear that you found this post helpful! I am the same way if I don’t try to cut down; I would literally bring my entire room with me! Including my lizard if I could lol 😉

  11. Sounds like an exciting trip — and a Great Gatsby themed wedding?! Sounds so fun and perfect in time for Halloween! Have a blast babe!

  12. LOVE those purple velvet platform heels! Ahhh! Need those in my closet ASAP. Thanks for sharing your road trip picks! Love them all xo

  13. Agree with the swim suit comment! You never know when you are going to need it! And I’m with you on the shoes, its so hard to pick only a few! xx

  14. For makeup I usually go with concealer (because I have dark under eyes that need to be covered), mascara to look awake, & something simple like a sample size foundation or a bb creme. Sometimes an eyeshadow palette if I’m going to be somewhere where I really want to look good. Planning clothes is the hardest part for me. So many weather conditions to account for!

  15. Such a helpful and detailed post babe! I’ve been meaning to write a “What’s In My Bag/Luggage” type post sometime soon and this just inspires me to do it sooner rather than later, haha! I also agree with the jewelry – I try to not bring too much on a trip because I can’t stand the tangled mess either :p Love how you attached all of the products you use/bring on a trip!

    – Michelle Sun
    @missmisschelle
    http://www.missmisschelle.com

  16. Ahh another busy weekend but all in good vibes! Hope you have a lovely little getaway and you get to rest some bit! These essentials are perfect. I used to find myself over packing too, but who wants to lug around a heavy bag of things you won’t actually use? I can’t go anywhere without my laptop either haha but I do make sure to relax in between work if need be. And yess, a bikini is always a must. Never know when you have the perfect opportunity to go for a dip or spend some time soaking the sun. Can’t wait to see photos when you come back!

    XO Jenn
    http://www.jennsemble.com

    1. Thanks, Jenn! I am hoping I’ll have the opportunity for a dip this weekend as I’ve been feeling a bit burnt out lately. I know my bikini will definitely be coming with me regardless haha 🙂

  17. I love road trips, they’re so fun! I totally agree with the shoes part. I have a hard time choosing which shoes to bring with me when I travel. Great post as always. 🙂

  18. my problem overpacking. and I travel almost every 3 months. I don’t think I will ever learn how to pack smart! But still thanks for sharing!

    1. I’m the same way if I’m going on extended travel (i.e. not a short weekend getaway or quick road trip). I will definitely have to practice packing smarter for these longer vacations. So lucky you get to travel every 3 months!

  19. Have a fun time at the wedding love! I cannot wait to see pictures! I am slowly learning how to pack light! I can never seem to do so haha But thanks for the tip! It is much needed! I am the same way when traveling, sometimes I don’t bother packing jewelry because I tend to just misplace them if I am not at home. Haha

    Love Linh
    http://xcapewithlinh.com/the-minimalist-guide/

    1. Thanks, Linh! You’re all about closet minimalism and I’m trying to keep my luggage this weekend minimal too 😉 hehe xo

  20. Great post! I am always guilty of overpacking, so I will try to apply your tips next week, as I am off to Tenerife for a week – hand luggage only!
    I’m quite good at the beauty part and I rarely take jewellery as I hate it when it gets tangled too, but my big problem is shoes!! I never know which to take and always take the wrong ones – if I need flats I only have heels etc…..
    Hope you have/had a great trip and that the wedding went well!
    Julia x
    http://www.thevelvetrunway.com

    1. Sounds like a fun trip ahead love! Shoes are tough because it’s hard to narrow them down, and they seem to take up the most space in my luggage for me. The wedding isn’t until this coming weekend but I have no doubt it will be a ton of fun!

  21. Omg your blog layout is so cool. I was just scrolling up and down for about 5 minutes before I even started reading the post! This is definitely my go-to checklist now for my trip Fort Willam over the weekend.

    1. Thank you so much for stopping by! You’re so sweet! Glad you liked what you saw. Have a wonderful trip to Fort William this weekend! x

  22. I love the layout of this post, and I totally agree on the makeup thing 🙂 hahah
    I also agree on bringing a swimsuit. I have had so many situations where I did not bring one, but wish I did!

    Hope you have fun at the wedding and roadtrip <3

    xo
    http://style-hue.com/

    1. Thank you babe! I am the same way and needed this post as a reminder to take it easy on the packing, haha. xx

  23. I am SUCH an overpacker! I can’t help it! You think I would know better by now since it’s part of my job! I agree with you on the chargers! The more the better!
    Kyla
    wanderlustkyla.com

    1. LOL! Yes, I actually imagined you might be a pro at this since you’re such a jetsetter! I guess I don’t need to feel so bad about my tendency to overpack naturally haha.

  24. That’s such a fun wedding! I try to fit everythign into one suitcase and my suitcase is not a full size suitcase, just meaning it’s not huge. I use that same suitcase for trips that are week long trips plus more or just weekend trips. That way it keeps me in check not to carry too much. I think my probably would be shoes, not so much clothes. I wear the same exact jewelry (which are all studs) and I wear no make up. But I still manage to have trouble packing for weekend trip. I blame it on my travel case, where I keep all my shampoo/conditions/body wash/bandaids. I need to get a smaller one.

    1. I’ve found it helpful to get a smaller luggage if I want to pack light too. It totally makes sense that when your luggage is smaller, you’re really forced to cut down on what you take along. The wedding will be a blast for sure! 🙂 Thanks for stopping by xo

    1. Thank you hun! I need a handy list in my phone too — I think that would help a lot because I tend to forget some things sometimes.

    1. Ohhhhh!!! YES!!! That is true… how could I forget that?! Luckily since you’ve reminded me, I’ve slipped a comfy pair just now before I head off on the road 😉 xx

  25. I am a chronic over packer so I am always curious to read tips on how to pack more effectively! I’m gonna try your way next time. Have a wonderful time.

    1. Thanks babe! It was raining all weekend except the day of the wedding so unfortunately I didn’t get to take a dip this weekend but maybe on my next trip! 🙂

  26. My family & I go on road trips a lot to visit relatives. Somehow, every time, I forget something and I have to rush into to town to go grab it. Its usually multiple pairs of shoes, or my toothbrush, or my hair brush. Its crazy. Anyway, this most was super helpful! XOXO

    1. Lol! That was me… I forgot my strapless bra on my last trip and totally bit myself for it! Ahhhh. Lol. Oh, and toothpaste… like who forgets toothpaste but packs their toothbrush?! Me! Haha

  27. Such a helpful and detailed post! What do you recommend bringing as travel beauty products? I’m on the hunt for some decent mini shampoo’s and conditioners but I can’t take over 100ml! Annoying!

    Emma | Fashion Photographer and Model | https://emmanmh.com/

    1. Thanks Emma! So glad you found it helpful! As for beauty products… I usually get those travel-sized containers and fill them with whatever I need like shampoo and conditioner! These 100ml containers are available in places like Target. I also bring along dry shampoo with me as I don’t wash my hair daily. As for make-up items, I try to just bring smaller palettes so they fit in a small make-up bag 🙂 Hope that helps! xx

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