woman traveling with weekender bag and scarf

How to Pack for a Long Weekend Trip

When you’re planning your long weekend getaway, it’s important to find that sweet spot between bringing enough to wear and keeping your luggage light. A 3 or 4 day trip like Thanksgiving is all about finding the right travel bags and maximizing the space that you have.

If possible, we recommend that you stick with a carry-on sized bag and ditch the whole bag-check process. With a short vacation, you don’t want to risk your luggage getting lost. Plus, with some smart packing, you should be able to fit everything you need in your carry-on and your purse or personal item. Here are some tips to keep your packing streamlined!

1. Make a List

This part is easy but essential. The more you plan, the less you need to pack and the less you have to lug all over the place while you’re traveling.


2. Check the Weather

Don’t land at your destination and discover that you’ve packed all the wrong things. Check the weather at weather.com, look up the 10-day forecast, and strategize. Here in the Bay Area, we see a lot of tourists on the Golden Gate Bridge, freezing in shorts in our unexpected summer fog. Weather forecasts aren't fool-proof, but at least you can get a solid idea of what's to come.


3. Choose the Right Carry-On

We’re definitely biased, but you cannot travel without our 100% cotton canvas overnighter bag. rockflowerpaper owner Katie Smith loves to travel (check out her trip to Sardinia), and she kept all your traveling needs in mind.

On one side of the tote, you’ll find three exterior pockets for your snacks, water bottles, and anything you need to access easily. If you happen to be traveling with rolling luggage, the other side of the overnighter features a sleeve that you can slip over a rolling luggage handle to make zipping to, from, and inside the airport a breeze.  

Inside the bag, we also provided an inner sleeve for your laptop plus a zippered pocket. We topped it off with strong handles and a detachable shoulder strap. Whether you’re adventuring by plane or by car, this overnighter will become your best new traveling companion.

4. Pack with a Plan – and Try Travel Cubes!

How you pack is just as important as what you pack. We suggest you pack your overnighter in layers.


Plan your outfits for each day, and if possible, use each piece more than once (excluding undergarments and socks – pack an extra two days of those). If your outfits for the weekend share the same color palette, they’ll be easier to mix and match. You can stick with neutrals for the basics – blacks, greys, khakis – and then splurge on some color with accessories, like a lightweight, beautiful scarf.


Bottom layer:

Create structure at the bottom of your overnighter with an extra pair of shoes - if you need extra. For a weekend, we suggest you wear your comfy shoes on the plane and then pack a pair of dress shoes. If your weekend happens to be in a warm climate, a pair of flip flops or sandals won’t take up much extra space. To keep your packed shoes from getting anything else dirty, wrap them in plastic bags, shower caps that you collect at hotels, or a travel cube (ours are machine washable!). Also use the space inside your shoes to stash extra socks or small bags of jewelry.

There’s a large sleeve inside your overnighter which can fit your laptop, but if you’re traveling computer-free (lucky!), you can use this slot for items like sandals and slippers.


Middle layer:

Pack an extra pair of pants/jeans, a heavy sweater, and less delicate apparel like your comfy t-shirts.


Top layer:

More delicate pieces like undergarments, a dress for dinner, and your toiletries go on top. If you’re checking in your bags, you can layer your toiletries within your clothing so that they are less likely to get crushed by other people’s luggage. However, if you’re carrying-on, it’s handy to keep the toiletries on top, since you’ll have to remove your liquid items when you go through airport security. Remember the 3-1-1 rule for bringing liquids on a plane: 3.4 ounce (100ml) bottles or less (by volume), which all go in 1 quart-sized, clear, plastic, zip-top bag, and just 1 bag per passenger placed in a screening bin. You can also keep your liquids in your personal bag/purse.

The top layer is where you’ll discover the beauty of travel cubes. Not only do they help you stay organized (never lose a ball of socks in your luggage again!) and keep everything protected and clean, but they also help you un-pack with ease. The travel cube can go directly from your overnighter and into the drawers at your destination.

Try rolling instead of folding any garments you put in the travel cube to save space and avoid wrinkling. When you get home, you can pop the cubes in the washing machine with the rest of your clothes, so that they’re fresh for your next vacation.

5. Speaking of Fresh…

A nice little touch is keeping a small sachet of potpourri or even a dryer sheet in your luggage, to keep your clothes smelling nice on their journey.


6. Pack the Small Stuff – Or Pick It Up at Your Destination

Take the time to transfer your favorite, larger, liquid hygiene items like shampoos and lotions into travel size containers. If you’re not picky about particular brands, and you were about to purchase sample-sized items or a travel toothbrush from the drug store, consider waiting to purchase them at your destination. Imagine how much lighter your carry-on will be without all that extra liquid.


7. Organization Makes Your Life Easy

To keep even smaller items organized, use zip pouches like our canvas cosmetic bag trios and our relaxed pouches. They’re great for makeup and jewelry. If you can, keep your long-weekend jewelry collection tight and me mindful and intentional about which pieces you bring. Small zip pouches are also perfect for smaller electronics and all their chargers.

8. Bring a Laundry Bag

Stuff a small laundry bag or garbage bag into the nooks of your luggage to keep your dirty clothes separate.


9. Maximize Your "Personal Item"

If your everyday purse isn’t normally a big tote bag, switch it up for your plane ride. You can always stow a smaller purse or clutch in your overnighter. A big tote for the plane allows you to keep all of your essentials nearby. We like headphones or earbuds, a book or e-book reader, your quart-sized bag of liquids which might include eyedrops and face lotion to stay moisturized, face/hand wipes, chapstick/lipstick, and big scarf like our plaid wraps that you can use as a blanket when they crank up the cold air.

Our cosmetic bag sets were made for organizing the contents of your tote bag, and they can match your tote, too! If you’re really opposed to bringing a large carryall on the plane, we suggest wearing a light jacket that has zippered pockets for carrying more of your essentials.


10. Bring a reusable water bottle.

A huge impulse buy at the airport is a bottle of water after you’ve gone through security. Considering the huge environmental problem that all of our plastic water bottles create, try to adopt a more sustainable water habit. Put one of our reusable blu bottles in your tote bag, leave it empty, and after you’ve gone through security, find a soda fountain or food/drink vendor where you can fill up. It’s certainly a little more effort on your part, but you’ll so feel so good about it.


Have a fabulous trip! If you take any of our clothing, scarves, or tote bags on your trip, please remember to tag photos on social media with #iamrockflowerpaper so that we can see them. We'd love to feature you!