How To Pack A Weekender Bag

by Sara Wennerstrom / Dec 15, 2021

As travel becomes a part of our routines once more, we’ve pulled together an updated guide to packing the perfect bag for your next weekend getaway.

Let’s start with the basics: what exactly is a “weekender''?

A weekender is the bag you take with you when you’re traveling for a few nights - ideally two, no more than four. The bag should have enough room to hold your essentials and keep everything organized but be compact enough that you can carry it comfortably over your shoulder or on your arm. It’s best to look for a bag that is larger than a backpack but smaller than an average suitcase. A typical weekender is usually small enough to carry on a flight and either stick under the seat in front of you or stash it above your head. You’ll want to look for an option that has a roomy interior compartment large enough to fit your clothes, toiletries, plus an extra pair of shoes. You also might want one or two exterior pockets to keep your electronics, wallet, passport and a few snacks to have them easily accessible. A couple of our favorite SENREVE options for weekend trips are the Gemelli Tote, the Voya Tote, and the Doctor Bag.

The ideal weekender should be able to uphold its structural integrity through the hustle and bustle of traveling. We suggest looking for a bag made with high quality material and built to be scratch, stain and water resistant. Pay attention to the hardware and closures, as these are arguably the most important part. If these look flimsy, you can assume they will be easily compromised and not worth the money. Look for a weekender that includes two different strap options: a long adjustable strap, similar to this one, to sling over your shoulder or wear it across your body, and a shorter handle to quickly grab or wear in the crook of your arm.

Now that we’ve learned about the bag, let’s talk about how to pack and what to pack.

If you’re a seasoned traveler, you know the importance of feeling prepared for your weekend away. You’ll want the focus of your vacation to be the vacation itself - not worrying about whether you remembered to pack your nightly skincare routine or the correct number of shoes. The secret to perfect packing, especially for a quick weekend getaway, is the age-old adage less is more. Packing for those two night, three day trips all comes down to minimalism: striking the perfect balance between packing only what you need and ditching the idea that you need everything you want to bring. Below you will find the foolproof instructions that will help you create a list of all the things you definitely - and definitely don’t - need when packing your weekender.

Step 1: Do your research.

Whether you are staying at a hotel, Airbnb, or at a friend’s home, it’s always beneficial to look at the amenities offered. Where applicable, call ahead, look at the listing, and scope out what’s available to you. There’s nothing more obnoxious than giving up extra space in your bag for an item that you do not need. A prime example of this would be packing your Dyson hair dryer or your CHI straightener just to show up at your hotel and realize they have something comparable waiting for you.

Step 2: Make a list.

Blindly packing will only leave you disappointed, stressed, and is the best way to guarantee overpacking. Creating a list will free up a good amount of space in both your bag and your brain. Begin your list by considering your destination: are you going to the beach? The mountains? A countryside B&B? Will the climate be cold (think below 50 degrees), mild (anything between 60 - 70), or warm (bucketing anything above 70)? From there, move on to any relevant events during your trip: wedding, wine tasting, family birthday, spa weekend, etc. These events will guide your clothing and shoe choices. If you need some help in creating this initial packing list, here’s a good starting point:

  • Begin with the essentials: Undergarments and toiletries, the items you absolutely need on a day-to-day basis. We suggest you consider your daily routine and use that as your guide. A great travel tip for toiletries is to head to your nearest makeup/beauty counter or store (Sephora is our go to!) and look for the sample sizes of your favorite products. Not only will sample sizes help you to pack lighter, but it also may help you remember to add certain items to your list that you would have otherwise forgotten.
  • After you’ve noted the basics, think back to your planned events. If it’s a surprise weekend trip, we encourage asking for a few details, as you’ll want to be comfortable and present during the trip (instead of wishing you had packed something different). Packing for the weekend is a wonderful opportunity to flex your creative muscles and think about outfit combinations you can make with the smallest amount of clothes. Refer to your master list and start noting what you would like to wear to the weekend’s events. Tops, casual or formal dresses, swimsuits, outerwear, sweaters - you name it. List it all now and plan to make some edits later.
  • Finally, consider specialty items like jewelry, electronics, and snacks. We suggest purchasing a jewelry storage or stasher bag, which can be found in any major department store )or if you are in a last minute bind, on Amazon). This travel piece will save you a lot of energy, frustration, and time that would have previously been spent untangling or searching for the necklaces or small pieces you pack. For electronics, list chargers, cell phone, laptop, iPad, headphones, fitness wearables, and anything else you may need to feel comfortable and stay connected while away.

gemelli tote in black, weekender bag

Now that your list is complete, move on to the next stage of packing.

Step 3: Edit your list.

Go through everything you wrote down with minimalism in mind. Do you really need that extra shirt? Could you get by with only one pair of jeans? Cross out anything that you deem superfluous.

Step 4: Finally, it’s time to pack your weekender bag.

First, separate any shoes you need and place those at the bottom first. We recommend putting your sneakers in a dust bag to protect your other belongings from getting dirty. When it comes to clothes, our top tip is to roll everything. This maximizes space and keeps things organized and easy to locate. On the top, place your toiletries and that extra handbag to take with you when you are there. Our Aria Belt Bag and Alunna Crossbody are our go-tos.

In summary: find out where you are going, make a mental note of climate and activities, create a list (and then shorten that list), roll your clothes, always consider bringing sample sizes, and don’t forget your chargers. It’s also worth mentioning that our Doctor Bag is our current top choice to take with us over the weekend. It’s the best sidekick to take with you on a plane, train or in the car. Bon voyage!