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To be honest, you don't need anything more than carry-on luggage when going away on an overnight trip. But most of us tend to overpack. You know you’ll be gone for just one or two nights but you feel the need to pack more than you need, just in case.
So you end up with unnecessarily bulky and heavy luggage that makes traveling more tedious and sometimes more expensive. Here’s a quick guide to what you should pack for an overnight trip where you’ll be away for max two nights.
If you are planning a longer trip, we have a packing guide for that, too.
Use Compact Luggage
If you are using a big suitcase, you are more likely to overpack. So start by restricting yourself to a small luggage. This can be a suitcase, a duffel bag or a tote bag. If you want to go full minimalist, you can travel with just a backpack.
When you know you don't have space for all the ‘just in case’ extras, you’ll be more choosy about what you pack.
Write a Packing List
Throwing things together at the last minute is a recipe for packing stuff you don't need and forgetting the ones that you do.
So before you pack anything (assuming you’ve not waited to pack until the last minute), write a list of everything you want to pack. Try to whittle the list down as much as possible, especially when it comes to clothing. More on that next.
Figure out what toiletries you really need and what you can leave behind, what emergency items you need to pack, and all the travel documentation you’ll require. Then you can start checking off the list as you pack.
You Don't Need All Those Clothes
Clothes are the main things people overpack when traveling, so be careful when choosing what outfits to carry with you. One or two outfits should be enough for an overnight trip, and you can even pair two shirts with one pair of pants.
Also pack nightwear, some gym clothes if you plan to work out, and a coat or something warm if it gets cold.
If you want to pack ultralight, consider getting one of Hercleon’s antibacterial travel wear. You can pack just one of our no-laundry HercShirt t-shirts or Kribi underwear and it will be enough for your trip. These items are made with odor-killing fabric, so you can wear them for days and they won’t stink.
Whatever you do, avoid the temptation to pack more clothes than you need. If there is an actual emergency and you find yourself without enough clothes, you can do laundry or buy clothes where you are.
The Essentials to Pack for an Overnight Trip
In addition to clothes, here are the other essentials to pack when going on an overnight trip.
- One or two pairs of shoes, including the ones you’ll wear when leaving home.
- A swimsuit and towel if you plan to swim.
- A small pack of essential toiletries like razor, shaving cream, toothpaste, toothbrush and deodorant. Also pack your own skincare products, especially if you have sensitive skin.
- A pair of sandals.
- One or two pairs of underwear and socks.
- Medications you are currently taking or might need in an emergency. You don't have to pack an entire pill bottle. Instead, fill a pill organizer with what you need for the trip and only carry that.
- Don't forget to pack insect repellent if you are going to be spending time outdoors especially in a tropical place. We also recommend carrying a mask to protect you while traveling and in public areas. It’s also great for people with allergies.
- Minimal electronics. Usually, your phone will be enough. You can also pack a lightweight tablet if you want to watch movies or work while you are away. A book or a magazine can also keep you entertained. Don’t forget to pack a charger (with a travel adapter if traveling abroad), a power bank and a paid of headphones.
What To Leave When Packing for an Overnight Trip
Some of the things you should consider leaving behind include your laptop (pack a tablet instead, if you need to work or watch movies), most of your jewelry, certain toiletries like shampoo and conditioner (use the hotel ones) and a hair dryer since most hotels have one.