Expert Advice

A 3-Step, Long-Weekend Packing Strategy for Your Next Mini-Vacation

A self-proclaimed, long-weekend warrior shares her secret to stress-free packing

Apryl S
Shot of a woman relaxing with her feet up on the luggage.

The great thing about vacation ownership with Hilton Grand Vacations is that it isn't one size fits all. Some people take fewer but more extended vacations, and others find it easier to sprinkle shorter getaways throughout the year.  

As someone whose vacation style consists of 10 to 12 long-weekend trips per year, I've figured out how to pack efficiently. 

Here's my mini-vacation packing strategy so you spend can less time packing and more time vacationing on your next long-weekend getaway.  

Step 1: Keep a handy packing list

A notebook with "packing list" handwritten at the top, laid atop of clothing.  

When packing, there are four separate categories of things to pack:

  1. Clothes. This category includes the obvious items like outfits, pajamas, undergarments and accessories like jewelry and shoes. It also includes specialty clothing such as swimwear, winter or hiking gear, etc.
  2. Toiletries. These items are for personal hygiene and medication, such as shampoos and lotions, and include specialty items like sunblock, bug spray and sanitizing wipes.  
  3. Leisure items. Think of this section as supplemental items you may want to take with you, like books or electronics like a portable speaker, tablet or laptop (charging cables included).
  4. Food. This category is relevant if you're going on a vacation where you're not planning on dining out. Some examples include going on a trip such as camping or spending a long weekend at a Hilton Grand Vacations property where you can prepare meals conveniently in your suite kitchen. You may need to create a separate packing list around the meals you plan to cook and snacks you want to have on hand. Of course, you can always skip this step and have Hilton Grand Vacations stock your fridge for you.

Within these four categories, create a checklist of things to pack and the amounts needed. I have an ongoing electronic checklist broken down by category to reference while I pack.

This way, I don't have to spend time overthinking what to pack each time I travel. Also, I tend to keep a bag of toiletries only for travel so that I don't have to keep packing and unpacking these items between trips.

Step 2: Only pack what you need

The beauty of a long-weekend getaway is there's no need to be prepared for everything. It's just a few days, after all. Try to avoid carrying excess. 

Worst case scenario, there's typically a store nearby where you can buy emergency items. My rule of thumb is to pack as if you were flying without checked bags:

Overhead shot of a woman laying out an outfit including shoes, pants, shirt and accessories.    
  • Think about the number of days you will be traveling and pack clothes only for those days.
  • Pack toiletries in 3 oz. or smaller containers.
  • Allow each person in the family to bring a small bag for leisure items and try as much as possible to consolidate all clothing in as few carryon suitcases as possible.

Step 3: Coordinate your vacation outfits based on your shoes

Silly as it seems—hear me out. Of everything we pack, shoes can take up the most space in your luggage.

So, when you're picking your outfits, stick to a color scheme or style of clothing that centers around one or two pairs (if necessary) of shoes.

The result is lighter luggage and less to think about when it's time to get ready. 

Read If You've Got 3 Days, We've Got 8 Must-See Hilton Grand Vacations Travel Destinations for mini-vacation travel inspiration.


Apryl S

A Member with Hilton Grand Vacations since 2014, Apryl is a passionate traveler from Northbrook, Illinois, and an Owner at Elara, a Hilton Grand Vacations Club. She enjoys vacationing in her favorite destination, Hawaii, where she has fond memories of reconnecting with old friends at Lagoon Tower by Hilton Grand Vacations Club. Apryl enjoys exploring the world most with her husband and children. Whether it be skiing the slopes of Colorado, enjoying the beautiful beaches of Hawaii, or tasting their way around the globe, Apryl and her family are fueled by adventure. "We travel so much that we now have to make sure that we have a couple of weeks in between each trip so that we don't get burned out on vacation!"

Popular Articles