Last updated on August 30th, 2018 at 10:24 am
As the cold dark nights gradually give way to warmer, sunnier days it’s natural to start thinking about holidays, especially with the school holidays not so far away. So, if you’re looking to get away just for a short break, you might opt for a weekend away. Whether choosing to stay in the UK or opting for a city break on the continent, a spa weekend or a country retreat, one thing remains true for all, and that is just how much (and what) should you pack?
Hand Luggage Only
It’s wise to consider buying a smaller holdall when you’re going on a weekend break as this will force you to only take essentials and will speed up boarding at airports.
Whilst this may seem restrictive, it will save you time in choosing what to wear, which make-up to use and how to wear your hair which will maximise the time you have for enjoying your new surroundings.
For men, again, it’s all about the essentials, with a wet shave razor, shower gel, a toothbrush/paste and hair product being all you should need for a couple of days.
Learning how to pack a weekend bag is in fact an art form in itself. Unlike with a suitcase, you do not need to place your clothes neatly in folded piles. Instead, you can take your folded clothes and roll them into a sausage shape, placing them next to each other like bricks. This will give you lots more space should you need to pack to account for changeable weather conditions.
What to Pack for a Weekend City Break
With many exciting new urban redevelopment projects being recently completed, a city break is now more appealing than ever. There’s Liverpool, with a whole range of free amusements including a fascinating Titanic exhibition; there’s Manchester with the redevelopment of Salford Quays; or Newcastle with its captivating ‘winking-eye’ Millennium Swing Bridge, plus many more. All of these have some delightful waterfront bars and restaurants, too. These are just a handful of destinations you could choose for a couple of days away from it all.
As you’re only going to be away for two nights you need only take the minimal amount of clothes. When packing a weekend travel bag, often the difficulty is not so much in choosing what to take but what to leave behind. Two sets of underwear, one pair of jeans or trousers, two tops, one pullover/hoodie and no more than two pairs of shoes (some sturdy boots for day, and maybe some dressy heels or ballet pumps for evening), plus a spacious handbag, should be all you need really. If you’re staying in the UK and the forecast is reasonable, you shouldn’t require any more than these. Don’t pack your whole makeup bag, just a small bag with your foundation, lipstick, eye make-up, and cleanser/toner, hairbrush and of course your toiletries. Take straighteners only if you absolutely need them and don’t take a hairdryer as even the most basic of budget rooms tend to offer these as standard.
If you’re going somewhere particularly romantic, like Paris for instance, you may choose to include some evening wear. Some subtle make-up will be perfect and will not in any detract from the stunning dress you’ve chosen especially for the occasion. Do remember though that Paris is in northern France and so temperatures can dip, especially in the evening, so take along a coat or shawl to shrug off the evening chill.
What to Pack for a Country Weekend
If you’re headed for the country, strong shoes, wellies or walking shoes are advisable; leave the stilettoes at home, unless you’re going to a particularly nice hotel. For a standard country break you may just need you to take a warm woolly jumper but depending on where you’re headed you may want to think about other essential items.
If you’re headed for the hills or mountains be sure to pack a quality lightweight windproof and waterproof jacket for windy or wet weather. On higher ground you will be grateful for a good pair of fleece-lined gloves and a hat and scarf to keep out the chilly breeze. Even on a warm day, temperatures can be significantly lower in the hills and in remote areas and so it’s a good idea to be well prepared.
If you’re planning on walking or hiking, consider investing in a good quality pair of walking shoes or boots. These should be a slightly larger fit than your normal shoe size as you will want to be able to wear them with thicker boot socks. An elasticated sports sock with a fluffy hiking sock over the top works well and reduces rubbing and blisters. Before you go away, wear them around the house so as to wear them in. Many modern walking shoe fit much more like a trainer than a traditional walking boot; even so, wearing them before you get onto the trail is always advisable.
Depending on your destination, the items you need to take will vary. If you’re staying in a cottage, many appliances such as hairdryer and iron will be provided as standard. If you’re roughing it in a B&B, hostel or tent, you may have to dispense with a few creature comforts in order to reduce the weight of your backpack, especially if you are going to be carrying it all day long. You will be far more appreciative of a light pack than of having straight hair or flawless skin after a day’s worth of hiking!
What to Pack for a Spa Weekend
When considering what to pack for a spa weekend, it is tempting to think that you need pack hardly any clothes at all as you will be spending most of your time in a bathrobe! Whilst this may be true in part, during a spa weekend, unlike a spa day there will be occasions, such as mealtimes, when you’ll need a couple of outfits to wear.
Dress for your surroundings, smart but practical, dependent on location. Your spa hotel will likely encourage comfortable clothing including yoga bottoms, lounge pants/jogging bottoms, T-shirts, sweatshirts and hoodies. Trainers and sports shoes are often allowed too but are usually restricted to dry areas only, for hygiene reasons.
For wet areas and poolside, a comfortable pair of women’s flip flops is a useful addition. Whilst towels and bathrobes are usually provided, you may prefer to bring your own. However, doing so, will take up a lot of room in your luggage so think carefully before packing them.
Should you wish to take advantage of gym facilities, some light and comfortable gym wear may be in order but don’t feel obliged to buy a whole new set of Lycra running gear if you’re only going to be on the treadmill for 20 minutes. A baggy T-shirt and some yoga pants will be perfect for this purpose. For the guys, a T-shirt and shorts will be suitable for most things. A clean change of clothes after a strenuous massage will be welcome too. And of course, swimwear is a must as times not spent in gym or the spa will be likely spent relaxing in the pool.
You should also be sure to check whether there is a dress code before packing to ensure that you have appropriate attire for mealtimes and when moving about the resort. As much of your time will be spent sitting around, it’s also a good idea to bring some reading material, such as that novel you’ve never got around to finishing, to occupy your time whilst you relax.
What to Pack for a Weekend Ski Trip
When planning a weekend skiing trip, there are certain items you will be able to hire once you arrive at the resort, such as ski boots, skis, ski gloves and skiwear. You should also be able to find a decent pair of ski sunglasses to avoid the glare.
However, in preparation, there still a few essential items you must pack when planning a weekend on the slopes. Whether travelling north to the Cairngorms, or south the Alps, temperatures will be low in the mountains and so a good quality base layer is a must. Modern base layers differ from traditional thermals as they are designed to wick moisture away from your body as you perspire but still retain body heat. Many outdoor retailers supply these so don’t feel obliged to go to a ski specialist as the prices are likely to be much higher, but the quality will be very similar.
It’s tempting to think that a large jumper or hoodie will be enough for keeping out the cold, but in freezing conditions, the trick is to layer up with several thin layers of clothing. Start with a base layer, then add a t shirt or long-sleeved top, then a shirt, a thin jumper or fleece followed by a thicker sweater or fleece jacket. You may feel a little too warm as you prepare in your cabin, but it’s worth experimenting with these until you find a combination which works for you. You’ll be grateful of being cosy once you’re actually up on the mountainside.
With skiing, much of the atmosphere of the holiday comes from the après ski (literally the after-ski) experience. You’ll want a base layer under your trousers, and thick layer on top with a good quality pair of polarized sunglasses to divert the glare of the sun reflecting off the snow. As the sun dips behind the mountains and the glasses overflow with glühwein, a good quality pair of woollen gloves and a funky Peruvian style woolly hat will keep the chill off your ears, whilst the alcohol warms your blood.
With any short break, the trick to efficient packing is plan, plan, plan. Know where you’re going, what you’re going to be doing and what the temperature is likely to be. Even for a brief city break, if you’re going to be doing lots of walking around museums or galleries you’re going to want comfortable shoes.
Country walks are nice, but you don’t want to ruin your nice new trainers walking through a muddy field so again, think ahead and pack accordingly. And while most spas provide bathrobes, a pair of flip flops will be essential for the wet zones. Lastly, a good strong pair of boots will be welcome for keeping out the cold up in the mountains.
Wherever you plan on going, enjoy yourself and think ahead, plan ahead and pack light.
If you’re heading off on a weekend break this spring, take a look at our selection of travel bags. They’re just the right size for short breaks and super-sturdy too!