Weekend Travels | Packing Tips and Tricks

Weekend Adventures / Tuesday, March 19th, 2019

I recently traveled to Pittsburgh, PA and used this trip as an excuse to update some of my luggage staples! I was in desperate need of a new suitcase, travel bottles for shampoo, lotion, etc., and a durable over the shoulder bag that I could use while running around the city all weekend.

Here are some tips and suggestions for packing for your next weekend trip!

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Unless I’m flying what they call a “budget airline” (where you pay for every little detail), I will usually take advantage of a carry on suitcase and use a weekender bag as a personal item.

Personal Item Tip: I specifically use a Vera Bradley weekender bag that is approved as a personal item and fits comfortably under the seat in front of you, even when packed to capacity. I usually use this weekender bag for anything I’ll need on the plane – laptop, phone, chargers, wallet, snacks, etc. – and also use it to carry my toiletry and make up bag. Those two items do take up room in my weekender bag, but it’s so much easier to grab those two smaller bags when going through security than it would be to unzip your whole suitcase to retrieve them.

Suitcase: This suitcase was new to me. I really liked it! It looked somewhat small when I first opened it, but fit all the stuff that was stacked up on my couch while packing. It also zipped easily when I was finished packing. It fits perfectly in the overhead compartment of a United plane, which I think most airlines have similar sized overhead compartments.

Two views of the suitcase.
All of the items that I packed in the suitcase. (Only thing missing were two pairs of shoes.)

I did check this bag a few times throughout my trip. (I’m usually the one who will volunteer for my bag to be checked at the gate if there’s a full flight.) The only downside to this suitcase is that it was easily scratched when put under the plane. That’s a complaint that I’ve heard of most hard shell suitcases, so I’m guessing that it’s not specific to this particular one. Even with the ease of scratches, I still highly recommend this suitcase.


Oh, how I wish we didn’t have to follow the TSA rules of the 3oz bottles of liquid! Now, before you say anything, I do love a good travel size of everything. But I have a few things in particular – hairspray, moisturizer, dry shampoo – that are 4oz or 5oz and those would be so easy to pack! But, rules and rules and we must follow them, so we don’t end up being that person who holds up the entire security line.

Travel bottles: I found these bottles on Amazon and they are amazing! They are made of silicone, so they can fit and form into tight spaces and you can fit more into your small, clear bag. They did not leak AT ALL, which was probably my favorite thing about them. I’m in love with these bottles and will be grabbing more to use in the future. (Tip: If you use these bottles, don’t take the entire cap off the bottle. There is a middle part that comes off where you can pour the liquid in from your big bottle. I made the mistake of taking the entire top off and it wouldn’t fit back on the bottle.)

Two of the travel bottles from Amazon.

Reusable toiletry bag: This is a new item as well. The Amazon item that I bought comes with three of these bags, so you could share them with the people you’re traveling with. I went through security in two airports (AUS and PIT) and had no issue at all with using this bag. It also fits A LOT! I fit two of the travel bottles, travel sizes of shaving cream, deodorant, dry shampoo, toothpaste, my nighttime cream, and my under eye masks. And, honestly, the bag itself didn’t take up much space in my personal item/weekender bag. This was an excellent buy and I will be using them for every trip!

Makeup Carry Case: I’ve used this makeup case a few times while traveling and it’s extremely handy. It folds up into a convenient size to be able to pack, but folds out to feature four zipper pouches that fit quite a number of makeup and hair accessories. Tip: For the items I needed to pack in the case, I spread them out equally through the four zipper pouches, so that it folds up very easily.

Everyday Items

I have a few items that I take with me during a trip that I use everyday, and for this trip in particular, I needed to find an over the shoulder bag to carry them all in.

Over the Shoulder Bag: This is the perfect over the shoulder bag for traveling! I don’t use fancy and/or cute bags when I’m traveling because I need my essentials with me at all times, need them to be close by, and I don’t have time to be carrying a cute, small bag that won’t fit anything. The bag that I found on Amazon is great! It can fit a lot of stuff, has plenty of pockets, and is anti-theft and slash resistant.

In my over the shoulder bag, I carry a small travel wallet, tripod/selfie stick (don’t judge), headphones, a portable charger, and whatever lipstick I’m wearing that day. All of these things, besides the headphones and lipstick, can be found on Amazon and are very affordable! I actually wouldn’t recommend buying headphones from Amazon. The experience I’ve had hasn’t been good – they either don’t work or they only work in one ear. I stick to the Apple issued headphones that came with my phone.

I hope these item suggestions and tips help you pack for your next short weekend trip! If you have particular products that you like to use when traveling or if you used one of these products and loved it, please let me know! I’m always looking for the best items to use and want to know if what I’m suggesting is working for you.

Thanks for reading… and Go Penguins!

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