How to pack for a 3 day trip: image of suitcase being packed

How to Pack For a 3 Day Trip: Carry-On Only

Figuring out how to pack for a 3 day trip can be challenging. You don’t want to be left in a situation where you don’t have the right clothes; you also don’t want to take half you’re wardrobe with you. I used to be terrible at packing for short trips until I entered a long-distance relationship. Every month for a year and a half, I would jump on a plane for a long weekend away from home.

After so many 3 day trips I came up with a step-by-step process for packing and making sure I would have everything I needed in my carry-on ($20 for checked luggage over 18 trips is $360) without over packing. I’m no longer long-distance but still use the method for mini holidays around New Zealand, works trip and even my 3 days trip to Singapore earlier this year.

1. Start with a good carry-on.

If you’re planning on doing a lot of travel with only carry-on luggage, it’s worth investing in a decent piece. I love a lightweight suitcase with rolly wheels. If you invest in a decent quality one, it should last you for years just make sure it’s fit with most airline guidelines. I got mine 9 years ago, and it’s still going strong.

2. Choose an additional piece.

Airlines usually allow you to have one carry-on and a “smaller personal item”. I typically go with a backpack. Make sure it can fit your laptop and any item that you might need easy access to during your journey. I find a backpack more comfortable to manage when moving through the airport and it allows me to keep my hands free for my rolly bag (and coffee, which is a must for early morning flights).

3. Decided on your plane outfit

When choosing a plane outfit go with something that is comfortable but can transition to normal day wear in case you want to go straight into doing activities as soon as you land. Have a warm layer you can easily remove, and if you need a jacket, include it in your plane look rather than taking up space in your bag.

4. Pack your day 2 and 3 looks

Your day 1 outfit will usually be your plane look. Next, we move on to choosing your day 2 and 3 looks. I like to decide set outfits based on what I’m planning on doing each day and try to pick clothes which I can mix and match if possible. If you plan the clothes you’re going to wear; you’re less likely to overpack with “just in case” clothes.

5. Add your comfy clothes or pyjamas.

After a day of doing stuff, there’s nothing better than relaxing in your temporary home, putting on some comfy clothes and having a chill evening. Make sure you pack your comfy clothes and or pyjamas. Even if you don’t spend much time in them, it’ll be worth it.

6. Toiletries and skincare

Add your toiletries and skincare. I like having one bag for makeup and a separate one for skincare, toothpaste etc. Make sure you check if there is any restriction on the number of liquids or size. If you need to grab some reusable travel bottles for things which are too big or bulky.

7. Underwear

I don’t feel like I need to explain this one.

8. Extras

Now it’s time to grab anything else that is specific to your trip. Going to the beach? Pack your swimsuit. Heading somewhere where it might rain? Add a raincoat or umbrella. Planning of a night out? Grab some “fancy clothes”.

9. Put it all together

Now that you’ve chosen all your clothes, I’d recommend laying everything out on flat surface (like your bed) and seeing if you’re missing anything. This a great way to see everything you’re planning on taking and decide if you need to add or take away.

Once you’re happy with your selection, set your plane outfit aside and start packing. I like to roll my outfits together and try to layer things based on when I’m going to use them. Start of the trip at the top, end of the trip at the bottom. The last thing I add is my toiletries as I usually need to use the morning of the trip.

Know you know how to pack for a 3 day trip. Enjoyed these tips let me know if the comments?

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