I rarely spend a weekend at home. I’ve taken my motto to “never waste the weekend” to an extreme and my next free weekend is currently in May, which is three months away, so I’m one of those people who seems to have a bag permanently packed for a weekend away. That means that I feel like I’m in a position to smugly describe myself as a packing pro, ready to head away on an adventure at a moment’s notice.
Apart from all the obvious items, like socks, underwear and my day to day clothes, there are a couple of parts of my wardrobe which I always pack without fail to ensure I’m prepared for any weekend, whether I’m heading abroad or somewhere in the UK.
1 Pair Of Trainers. I used to care about my footwear but now I prioritise comfort over fashion. Don’t get me wrong, I still wear Nikes but I’m less precious about how I look in a dress with trainers when it means I can walk for miles without suffering the consequences.
2 Pairs of Gymshark Leggings. Similar to my relationship with trainers, I used to prioritise fashion over comfort by wearing tights. However I quickly discovered, as I began to travel more, that leggings are a failsafe option for all types of travel as they’re just so comfortable, can be worn on their own and don’t really look any different to tights. My favourite are my black Gymshark Fit Leggings which are just as good for leisure wear as they are in the gym. I always pack two pairs so I can layer up if needed!
1 Berghaus Waterproof Jacket* Weather, particularly in the UK, can be a tricky thing to predict but luckily my Berghaus Fellmaster waterproof jacket covers all bases. It’s waterproof and windproof to help protect me from the unpredictable English weather. It keeps me surprisingly warm but it is also lightweight, meaning it can be easily be rolled up into a bag or tied around my waist if the sun does shine. There’s nothing worse when exploring than being caught out by the weather - and as a final bonus, it’s bright pink!
1 Thermal Underlayer. Nothing can ruin a weekend like being cold. That freezing feeling sinks into your bones and can turn any exciting weekend into one of misery, simply because you forgot to pack enough layers. That’s why I always pack a thermal underlayer to keep me toasty is the weather turns cool. Mine are from Tesco, who sell them for just £12 but you can pick them up anywhere. That extra layer can make all the difference!
I always have a travel toiletries bag packed and ready to go for the weekend. If I’m heading somewhere with shampoo and conditioner already there, I’ll skip these but I always pack makeup, makeup remover and a couple of skincare items. Finally, I’ve honed what feels like a reasonable capsule toiletries collection; not too much but not too little that if I end up going on an unplanned fancy night out or run into someone I know, I feel underprepared.
Some Powder Make Up. Most of the time, I fly hand luggage only and over the years, I’ve learnt to cut my makeup bag down to the basics. I’ve also slowly switched some of my makeup over to powder versions, to reduce the amount of liquids I need to squeeze into those clear plastic bags. Easy switches include changing eyeshadow sticks or creams for eyeshadow powder or highlighter or blush creams for a mini powder palette. The Rimmel HD 5 pan eyeshadow is my favourite option which doesn’t take up much space in my makeup bag.
1 Multi-Purpose Cream. I’m not great at fancy lotions and potions but when I’m travelling, I always make sure I stick to one cream that can used in a variety of ways. My favourite is the Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream, which works as a hand cream, moisturiser overnight and primer.
1 Travel Toothbrush. Perhaps it’s just me, but I had never realised how long toothbrushes were until I spent every Friday night trying to cram one into my makeup bag (or perhaps my make up bags are very small!) I finally admitted defeat and bought a travel toothbrush and it was one of the simplest but best things I did. It folds up to half the size, I never forget it because it’s always packed and ready and it has the added bonus of ensuring the bristles stay clean too.
The Game Changers
There are a couple of other items I always take away with me that I like to modestly describe as “game changers.” These items are not essentials; I could make do without, but boy, do they make life so much easier!
1 Pair of Mini Hair Straighteners. I generally let my hair do its own thing but my fringe always needs to be straightened. My Babyliss nano hair straighteners remain one of my best buys for weekends away. They save me so much space compared to packing my GHDs every weekend and they are perfect for a quick taming of my fringe before I head out exploring.
2 Laundry Bags. I picked up some laundry bags on a whim a couple of years ago but they’ve helped me get so much more organised when I’m away for a weekend. These simple zip up bags are perfect for shoving my dirty laundry in to keep things separated whilst I travel. I normally pack two – one for whites and one for colours. They’re washable so I don’t even need to empty them when I get home – they can go straight in the washing machine, ready to be cleaned for the next trip!
1 4-plug European Extension Lead Adapter. Are you ready? Because this tip is my best! If, like me, you often travel with lots of electricals, they all need charging. So I bought this extension lead which plugs direct into a European plug socket but has charging sockets for UK electricals. It allows me to charge up to four items at once and takes up barely any room in my rucksack. No more hunting for adapter plugs the night before a flight!
All in all, I feel like I’ve refined my packing technique and now, I can pack for a weekend quickly and efficiently. It’s taken me a while to get to this point but now, I’m a packing pro! What about you? Can you get ready for a weekend away in minutes or do you still panic at the thought of what to take on a trip? What are your top packing essentials?