Here’s what to pack for a long weekend getaway


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Whether you’re jetting off to Las Vegas for a long weekend, heading to a destination wedding, or simply traveling for business, you’ll want to make sure you have all your essentials packed and ready to go.

While it’s important to make sure you have everything you need with you, you also don’t want to overpack, especially given the high costs associated with bringing extra baggage. For a long weekend away, a carry-on bag and personal item should suffice. Experienced packers may even be able to get away with just a backpack that fits under the seat, which most airlines will allow you to bring free of charge.

To ensure you don’t forget any of the important things, we’ve compiled an essential four-day packing list that includes everything most people will need for a long weekend trip. We’ve also provided some suggestions for bags that stand out from the pack, so you can select trusty luggage that will last for many trips to come. Let’s dive in.

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Your carry-on bag

The right carry-on bag helps keep your items secure and can also help you avoid baggage fees. That’s why it’s important to choose a carry-on that meets your needs and fits in your budget. To find the best carry-on bag for you, consider what you’ll need to bring, if you need to pack any valuables, how heavy of a bag you can handle, and any special features that might make your trip easier.

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Pack these essentials in your carry on

  • Jeans — two pairs
  • Dress pants — two pairs
  • Shorts — one pair
  • Bathing suit — one to two sets
  • Long-sleeved shirts — two
  • T-shirts — three to four (Pro tip: Merino wool t-shirts are quick-drying, easy to wash out in the sink, and don’t retain odors, meaning you can bring fewer!)
  • Undergarments — four to five pairs
  • Socks — four to five pairs
  • Dresses — one to two
  • Dress shoes
  • Sneakers or walking shoes (Pro tip: Choose an easily packable pair, such as TOMS or Converse.)
  • Toiletries/makeup
  • Chargers/adapters
  • Sweatshirt
  • Pajamas/nightshirt

  • Jacket (Pro tip: Choose something packable with a great warmth-to-weight ratio, such as the North Face ThermoBall Jacket.)

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Your personal item

Personal item

Most airlines will allow one free personal item that fits under the seat in front of you, but you’ll need to make sure it meets your airline’s size requirements, or you could end up paying extra. Airlines have varying requirements, so be sure to check on this before choosing the right bag for you.

Your personal item is sure to stay with you throughout the flight, unlike your carry-on bag, which can sometimes be checked if there isn’t enough space on your flight. That’s why it’s important to keep your valuables in your personal item. You should also pack your personal item with things that you’ll need to access, like your phone, wallet, and medication.

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Things you’ll want to pack in your personal item

  • Boarding pass
  • ID/passport
  • Wallet
  • Phone
  • Charger
  • Laptop
  • Tablet
  • Bag with liquids
  • Bag with jewelry
  • Extra pair of socks/underwear
  • Extra t-shirt
  • Neck pillow
  • Eye mask
  • Headphones
  • Medication

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Some of our favorite carry-on bag brands

We love these bags for a number of reasons …

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The Standard 35L Carry-On Backpack

  • Features a 3-in-1 design, so you can choose how to carry it
  • Ergonomic to save your back
  • Dedicated laptop pocket to protect your computer
  • Attaches easily to rolling luggage
  • Locking zippers
  • Water bottle pocket
  • Keeps your items organized
  • Expands to fit even more

Shop now

Image Credit: The Standard.

The Away Bigger Carry-On

  • Lightweight yet durable
  • Two compartments for separating clothing from shoes and toiletries
  • Hidden laundry bag
  • Compression straps
  • Ejectable battery that can charge your phone five times
  • TSA-approved lock
  • Quiet, 360-degree wheels for easy mobility
  • Available in a variety of colors

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Image Credit: Away.

The Pacsafe Venturesafe Carry-On

  • Locking cable
  • Deluxe locking system
  • Puncture-resistant and slash-resistant
  • Compression straps
  • External attachments for bulk items like jackets or yoga mats
  • Keeps your items organized
  • Internal attachments for wallets and keys
  • Fits a 15” laptop

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Image Credit: PacSafe.

The GeniusPack Aerial Hardside Spinner Carry-On

  • 360-degree spinner wheels
  • Separate laundry compartment
  • Top and side handles
  • Keeps your items organized
  • Compression straps
  • Push-button, telescoping handle that is rubberized for comfort
  • Scratch, stain, and impact resistant
  • Very lightweight (only 6.2 pounds)

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Image Credit: GeniusPack.

Some of our favorite personal item brands

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Peak Design’s Everyday Sling 5L

  • Can be worn two ways: crossbody sling or waistpack
  • Easy to access without removing the bag from your body
  • Dividers for easy organization
  • Weatherproof shell
  • Padded tablet sleeve
  • Small and lightweight

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Image Credit: PeakDesign.

The Tortuga Setout Laptop Backpack

  • Clothing compartment
  • Easily attaches to rolling bag handle
  • Laptop and tablet sleeves
  • Weather resistant
  • Locking zippers
  • Removable sternum strap for comfort
  • Water bottle pocket that zips flat
  • Shoulder straps that can be hidden away

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Image Credit: Tortuga.

The Away Everywhere Bag

  • Easily attaches to rolling bag handle
  • Comes in a variety of colors and fabrics
  • Removable shoulder strap
  • Waterproof pocket for an umbrella
  • Laptop pocket for a 15” laptop
  • Six interior pockets for easy organization
  • Hidden phone pocket

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Image Credit: Away.

Haerfest Travel Backpack

  • Easily attaches to rolling bag handle
  • Available in a variety of colors
  • Padded laptop compartment
  • Outside pocket for easy access to phone/travel documents
  • Beautifully designed and attractive

Shop now

Image Credit: Haerfest.

Don’t forget your credit card!

Now that you know what you’ll need to pack, consider using a travel rewards credit card to pay for your airfare and hotel. Certain cards offer rewards you can use to offset the cost of your trip. A welcome offer could even pay for your entire four-day getaway! Beyond that, you’ll also earn points you can use towards future travel and enjoy perks that will make your trip more comfortable. 

You may also want to consider these airline credit cards if you fly frequently. And if you travel abroad frequently, it may be worth looking at some of these credit cards with no foreign transaction fees.

With the right luggage and a trusty travel rewards card, your next four-day weekend trip will be a breeze. Pack light to avoid baggage fees, ensure that you have all your essentials so you’re not caught off guard at your destination, and book your trip with the card that will earn you the best rewards. When you travel like a pro, you can stress less and put your energy towards enjoying your time away.

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