You Only Need to Pack These 6 Items for a Weekend Trip

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Even if we can only manage a weekend trip away, a few days is better than none, right? Figuring out what to pack when you’re the type who likes options is no small feat. Before the panic sets in, rest assured you don’t have to be a minimalist to pack for a weekend trip. It’s not about packing less but packing smart. See, everyone has the makings of a capsule wardrobe, a few key pieces in their closet they return to day after day or week after week, their staples.

A short getaway calls for a mini capsule, and style and travel expert and author, Anastasia Pash’s strategy for only packing the essentials is to consider the three Cs: climate, culture, and comfort. “Your weekend capsule needs to be appropriate for the weather, the cultural norms, and local style, and functional and suitable for your activities,” Pash says. If this sounds easier said than done, Pash says the secret is to select a limited number of items that would all work well together and can create three or four looks, depending on your itinerary. “Stick to a color scheme to ensure coordination, and use accessories to stylize.”

Now, let’s review a few must-haves. Ahead, four style experts break down the six essentials they never forget to add to their travel bag.

A Scarf

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Tahirah Goins-Nall, founder of ClothesPetals, a leading fashion styling company in Los Angeles, CA, says that scarves are an unsuspecting hero item all their own. “They double as great blankets, statement pieces, belts, or wraps,” she says of the accessory. “When dealing with limited space, it’s important to make sure that your clothing works for you! This is a great multipurpose piece that can be styled in many different ways.”

Hero Pieces Only

Founder and personal stylist at The Daisy Edit Daisy Barnett says one packing faux pas many are guilty of is packing multiples of the same silhouettes. ”They think they want to make it easy and pack three t-shirt dresses, or three pairs of joggers,” but, she says, this is a mistake. “Let each item be it's own hero—one pair of joggers, one button down, one dress.” This way, you narrow down your options to the best of the best, saving you time you could be spending on the beach rather than in your hotel room deciding what to wear. Not to mention, saving you plenty of storage space.

Solid Color Staples

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In addition to piecing together a capsule wardrobe, Barnett recommends sticking to a color palette while packing for a weekend trip, too. To make things easier on you, the stylist recommends sticking with mostly solids, like black, white, and blush, with only one patterned piece. This is because patterns can “add a complication” to your wardrobe by making it hard to put multiple outfits together.

A Travel Jewelry Box

For Erin Houston, co-founder and stylist at sustainable marketplace Wearwell, a travel jewelry box is a non-negotiable when narrowing down what to pack for a weekend trip. “It’s so easy to get chains tangled or lose things in your luggage when they aren’t stored properly,” Houston says. “Plus, statement jewelry makes it possible to mix up a look when you need to re-wear the foundation of an outfit!”

Your Favorite Cardigan

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As far as designer Lesley Evers, owner and founder of, is concerned, a must-have for any weekend getaway is a cardigan sweater. “[Cardigan sweaters] add a layer of warmth while being dressy enough for dinner, shows, or whatever may be on the agenda,” she says of the versatile piece, adding, “It’s a great piece for flying as well.”

One Matching Set

The saying goes that two is better than one, but Goins-Nall would beg to differ. One of the best ways to get the most out of a condensed wardrobe is to pack a matching set that can be worn together, but also mixed and matched as separates. “This is key for not only vacation but any time you have limited space or a carry-on,” Goins-Nall says. “You’ve literally packed three outfits in one!”

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