You just can’t beat any time away from home to relax and recharge. However, let’s be honest. When it comes to what to pack for an overnight trip, we’ve all ended up either taking far too much or forgetting an absolute essential at least once.
Even though we’re only talking about one night here, there’s often just as much preparation involved as seven nights away. You just don’t need to take quite as many things!
Whether you’re treating yourself to a spa break or exploring a new city, here are the things you need to pack to have a super enjoyable 48 hours or less.
1. Health Essentials
Health comes first, people! In this day and age, it couldn’t hurt to take some hand sanitiser or wipes on your trip. A face mask could also be handy for big crowds or public transport.
Oh, and if there’s one thing that can ruin any trip, it’s a sudden headache that just won’t go away or an unexpected injury. Ouch.
Carrying a mini first aid kit* full of plasters, bandages and cleansing wipes won’t guarantee that you have a totally accident-free overnight stay, but it will certainly help put your mind at rest.
Just add tissues, lady supplies and any important medication like contraception or painkillers and you’re good to go.
When deciding what to pack for an overnight trip, your phone is a given (duh). That said, there’s no point in taking it without its charger. We recommend investing in a portable power bank like this Miady one* so you can charge up anytime on the go.
As for the slightly less necessary electronics, ask yourself if your accommodation will have a TV. And if so, are you likely to use it in just one night?
Depending on your answers, you may need to take your tablet or laptop, especially if you’re mid-way through a series on Netflix or Disney Plus.
Likewise, if you think you might want to capture some memories — and you don’t want to take your phone everywhere with you — don’t forget your camera.
But one electronic you can definitely ditch is the travel hairdryer. Even if you plan on washing your hair, most hotels and Airbnbs will have one anyway giving you more space for an extra pair of shoes…
3. Two Outfits
Strictly speaking, you only need two outfits for an overnight trip — the one you go in and the one you come back in.
To save bag space, stick to the same bottoms and change your top (making three pieces total). Alternatively, take two one-pieces (like a dress, jumpsuit or playsuit) for an even more streamlined travel wardrobe. Bonus points if you can wear the same pair of shoes for both outfits!
Keep any accessories to a minimum by selecting versatile pieces that will match both of your outfits. Basically, harness the power of layered jewellery or a good headband and you can’t go too far wrong.
Watch out for the weather if you’re opting for a UK staycation. The trick is to pack layers if you’re to have any chance of staying one step ahead of Britain’s famously unreliable forecasts.
What layers you take will depend on what you have in your wardrobe already. However, a good place to start is with:
- A lightweight cardigan or rain jacket if you’re going away in Spring/Summer
- A sweatshirt or hoodie underneath a coat or rain jacket if you’re going away in Autumn/Winter
Don’t forget to accessorise! Add your trusty winter woollies for cold weather and your sun hat or cap for warmer weather.
5. Glasses or Contacts and Sunglasses
If you wear glasses or contact lenses on a daily basis, it’ll come as no surprise to hear that they should be right at the top of your packing list.
Own several pairs and not sure which to take? Easy — keep it simple by choosing the pair that goes best with all the outfits you’re planning on taking.
If you’re going away for the night, you’re probably going to want access to the products in your everyday skincare routine at the very least.
Use mini travel bottles* to save space in your travel bag. You could even make the most of the accommodation’s shampoo and conditioner to save yourself even more bag real estate.
7. Hair Accessories
What to pack for an overnight trip 101: a bobble or scrunchie that won’t kink your hair. There’s nothing worse than sweeping your hair off your face and into a pony during the day only for your do to be totally ruined by nighttime.
Enter: the invisibobble*. Waterproof and durable, get one of these in your bag (or on your wrist) pronto if you want to minimise the time needed to restyle your hair.
Even the best hair ties can’t tame those pesky flyaways, though, so be sure to take a bobby pin (or 150)* along for the ride too.
When it comes to deciding how much makeup to take for an overnight trip, it all depends on what you’re doing.
If you’re going for a natural makeup look, a lightweight BB or CC cream infused with SPF should suffice, such as Tarte Cosmetics’ Skin Treat Poreless Tinted Moisturiser*. Then you may want the following:
- Concealer, like Tarte Cosmetics’ Shape Tape*
- Mascara, like Tarte Cosmetics’ Maneater*
- Eyelash curlers, such as Tarte Cosmetics’ Picture Perfect Combo*
- Lip balm, such as Nars’ Afterglow* in various shades
Better yet if you stick to travel-sized bottles or tubes.
9. Tickets or Confirmations
Finally, you’ll need to take along tickets or booking confirmations for anything you’ve pre-booked.
Nowadays, most confirmations will be emailed to you but we recommend printing any important documents for accommodation or transportation. After all, it’s always better to be safe than sorry and who knows how good your WiFi will be.
What to Use as a Bag for Your Overnight Trip
We recommend packing the above items for your overnight trip in a sturdy bag.
If your trip involves travelling by train or bus or if you’re planning a journey that involves a lot of walking, a simple backpack is a good bet. This Gymshark one* evenly distributes the weight across your back and shoulders for comfy carrying.
Although you may find that a carry-on suitcase* works better for plane or car rides (although it’s unlikely you’ll be able to fill it). Better yet, stick with the handy weekend bag or gym-style duffle*.
Just don’t forget to take a smaller handbag for carrying around the essentials while you’re away. No one wants to be the one carrying a bulky weekend bag everywhere you go, even if you do unpack it at your accommodation as soon as you arrive. Trust us, you’ll thank us later.
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What to Pack for an Overnight Trip: Final Thoughts
Planning what to pack for an overnight trip will definitely require a little more thought than your average day out. Even so, it doesn’t need to be a tricky process.
Basically, consider the weather and try to streamline your packing list as much as possible. Or simply refer to this handy checklist the next time you’re going for an overnight trip and you’ll get it spot on every time.