Tis the season for short trips with family and friends. It’s also the season for drastically overpacking yet forgetting to pack randomly important things in the process. It’s called a “weekender” bag, but let’s be honest: short trips aren’t always over a weekend. Sometimes it’s a mid-week jaunt to see your relatives before the New Year begins and you’re still “plugged in” to work during your visit. Or, it’s catching a quick flight where you can’t logically rationalize checking a bag so you need the essentials with you as you glide through that TSA check.
If you’re reading this, it’s not too late. Bevel Code has some key tips to packing for short trips. Here’s everything you need to pack your weekender bag.
Give your bag some space.
Weekenders are NOT suitcases. Their spaciousness is limited. So when it comes to packing the bulkiest items, ask yourself what’s essential for the few days you’ll be away? This is especially important when it comes to clothing and shoes. Maximize space by packing fewer pants with more tops to mix and match. Don’t forget your underwear! And if you’re headed to a warmer climate, your swim trunks.
It’s gotta be the shoes.
Some weekenders come with their own separate shoe flap to slide them in separately. However, if they don’t, do NOT put your shoes at the bottom of the bag upright and soles down. This cuts your space in half. Place your shoes sideways in the corners of the bag, soles facing the sides so the dirty bottoms don’t mess up your clothes. If you can, use shoe sacks to protect your clothes (and your shoes) or even Zip-Loc bags. Ball up socks and underwear and slide them into your shoes to add even more space.
Don’t bury your laptop.
For some strange reason, many think that it’s ideal to place a laptop at the bottom of their bag and build on top of that. This may work if you a) Don’t plan on using your laptop at all and/or b) are not flying during your trip. Have you ever seen that guy awkwardly clawing through his bag in front of the TSA? Chances are he’s digging for his laptop to place it on the security conveyor belt during check-in. Don’t be that guy. Besides, a laptop within reach makes for a more entertaining flight.
Bring only the toiletries you absolutely NEED.
You know you need your Bevel products and blade and your favorite cologne, along with your toothbrush, hair brush and your beard comb if you have a beard. However, a few days with family and friends means that they probably have shampoo and toothpaste already handy. Maybe some body wash, too. It doesn’t hurt to ask beforehand if you can borrow some items, but if you prefer to bring your own, use travel sizes or pour them into travel bottles.
Here’s a pro-tip: if you’re filling your own travel bottles, don’t fill them to the top, especially if your trip doesn’t warrant that much shampoo. Also cut a bar of soap in half or a quarter for just enough for the trip. It makes your bag unnecessarily heavy otherwise. Keep them all together in a Zip-Loc bag, and if you have a front zipper pouch on your weekender, keep them in there in case of accidental leaks.
Use your pockets.
Slide vitamins, medications, sunglasses, belts, keys, and other small items (this doesn’t include jewelry or money) in your folded pants pockets. This adds more space. Just don’t forget they’re in there when you unpack your pants or else everything will go flying.
Keep important items in safe places.
Have your travel documents (driver’s license and/or passport, itinerary, boarding pass if you’re flying, etc.) together and within reach, along with your wallet. Make photocopies of your license and passport and place them in a different part of your bag. If your real docs get lost, these will come in handy. Keep your small electronics (along with chargers and battery packs) in their own pouch for protection.