I know this isn’t a particularly original thought, but here goes: I love going away for the weekend. Nothing beats a change of scenery, and when you throw in some good company and some even better wine… well, all these things are good for the soul.
But every single time I take a weekend trip, there’s one thing that causes me enormous grief: packing. Managing to put together a collection of outfits that will (a) accommodate weather variations, and (b) fit into a modestly-sized suitcase or bag alongside everything else I need is quite the challenge.
Sartorial woes aside, there are some weekend getaway essentials that ease the stress of packing because they just so happen to be useful AND space-conservative. Here are 11 items worth having in your bag:
1. A lightweight scarf (the bigger the better).
Essentially, this will be the Swiss army knife of your weekend getaway. Aside from wearing it around your neck or around your shoulders (or around your head as a disguise for day-three oily hair), it’ll serve a number of more practical uses.
Impromptu picnic in the park? Your scarf is now your rug. Found yourself on the beach? You’ve got something to lie on. It can also be balled up and used as a neck pillow in the car/train/bus/plane.
This big, soft, pale grey ASOS scarf looks perfect for the job.
"The Swiss army knife of your weekend getaway." Image: ASOS.
2. Sunscreen with a hint of tint.
Depending on your destination, weekend weather can be hard to predict - even our beloved weather apps betray us sometimes. This makes outfit selection hard, but rest assured there’s one thing you’ll always need in your bag: sun protection. And that doesn’t just apply to Snow Whites like me.
A high SPF sunscreen is a non-negotiable, and packing one that has a slight colour to it is extra smart (one less thing to pack in your beauty bag, see?). I’ve been using Hamilton’s Everyday Face SPF50 for years - it’s affordable and does the job.
Slip, slop, slap. Image: Chemist Warehouse.
Anyone who’s tried to pack for a weekend away knows toiletries are deceptively space-consuming. The trick is to find products that’ll multi-task.
The latest member of Garnier’s Micellar Water family, Micellar Water in Oil, is quite the over-achiever in this arena. Not only does it serve as a soothing, no-rinse-required cleanser - it leaves your skin feeling very soft and hydrated with no tightness - it’s also got all your makeup removal needs covered, meaning less bottles to carry around in your bag.
Micellar water has always served this dual purpose, but adding argan oil to the mix has upgraded it to ‘triple threat’ status as it nourishes skin at the same time . The formula can now take off even the most painfully stubborn scraps of waterproof eye makeup (it also removes all sorts of waterproof and stubborn makeup, not just eyes) without too much effort on your part, meaning you’re free to live a life devoid of morning panda eyes. (Side note: it also smells delightful.)
"Micellar water has always served this dual purpose, but adding argan oil to the mix has upgraded it to ‘triple threat’ status." Image: Priceline.
4. Hand sanitiser.
Sure, it’s not glamorous, but hand sanitiser is an essential - you never know what roadside public toilet horrors await you on the drive to your destination, after all. Plus, keeping your hands clean can also prevent you from coming home with a sniffle.
Essential. Image: Priceline.
Saw this one coming, didn’t you? I honestly don’t know how I travelled or even got through the working week before I was introduced to dry shampoo. If you play your cards right by washing your hair the day you leave for your weekend away, a travel-sized bottle of dry shampoo should carry you, and your roots, the rest of the way.