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Overnight Trip Packing List: Tips + Free Checklist

Posted by Bea Manzano on
Overnight trip essentials laid out on bed ready for packing

Can you manage an overnight trip without a packing list? We wouldn’t even dare. Just you wait till you leave something so basic (yet very important) behind. Even a quick trip deserves an overnight packing list to make sure you don’t miss anything significant. 

This guide is going to be quick and easy. Besides, an overnight packing checklist doesn't need as many things as a weekend getaway. So hang on and lend us a few minutes of your time and we’ll send you off packing like a pro.

Packing Tips for an Overnight Trip

You’ve got one night only. That should be easy, right? Wrong! Many things could still go south if you’re not adequately prepared. It’s one night only. Make sure you pack things right! Here are some tips to help you out.

Tip #1 - Go small or go home

Drop that suitcase. You’re gonna need a smaller bag. Having a small sized bag will allow you to pack less and will keep you from overpacking. This is just a one-night trip! Don’t end up looking like you’re packing for a month overseas. Remember to bring only the essentials of all essentials. Start with the basics and move your way down to the least significant items that you can live without for one night. Ultimately, you can choose between these three types of bags:

Duffel Bag - This type of bag makes packing, carrying, and unpacking your essentials hassle free for an overnight trip. It has a wider space for your necessities to fit. Bonus: It also fits 2 medium size packing cubes so you can pack for 2 persons in 1 bag!

✓ Backpack - No, we’re not talking about that 10-foot backpack for a hiking trip. You don’t need anything fancy. Just a regular backpack will do. Again, this is just a one-night trip. Don’t overthink.

✓ Tote bag - Not the regular ones you bring to the beach. Take the size up a notch, like this Vera Bradley Tote Bag. Tote bags can be used for your daily-grind essentials and it can expand to become the perfect overnight trip bag.

Tote bag and overnight trip essentials in clear packing cubes

Essentially, you are only going to carry 2 bags during your overnight trip. The first one is your purse (for your personal items), and the second one is the travel bag of your choice. Either of the three works best for a short trip. Go with what you’re comfortable with.

Tip #2 - Minimize with Clear Pouches

Yes, you still need to organize your stuff even though it’s just a handful of items. An overnight trip is not an excuse to just cram all your essentials in the bag and go. Organizing for a long journey starts with minimizing things for an overnight trip. No matter the length of your travel, clear cubes and pouches will always be your friends.

Small Cube - Perfect to store your clothes for a two-day, one-night trip.

Circle Pouch Set - Use the larger pouch to keep your phone, cash, keys, cards, and other daily essentials. The smaller pouch can be used to keep your charger, cord or earphones from tangling.

Half Moon Bag - Organize your basic makeup products in a cute and stylish way. This pouch is perfect for your beauty essentials and will keep your overnight bag neat and tidy. 

Starter Set

Tip #3 - The only ‘extra’ you need is an extra small cube

Steer clear away from any “just in case” ideas. That’s the beginning of overpacking. We’re not only talking about clothes here but even when it comes to your toiletries, hygiene kit, medicine kit (yes, you still need one), and snack pack, keep everything light. Use Extra Small Cubes for your simplified toiletries, downsized hygiene kit, personalized medicine kit, or a favorites-only snack pack so you can easily organize them inside your travel bag.

Tip #4 - Despite the weather, wear Layers 

Checking the weather will help you pack appropriate layers and outfits.  Looks like a hot day for shorts? Bring a jacket just in case it gets chilly later on. Looks like a cold day? Layer your outfit with a t-shirt underneath just in case the day heats up. Layers, layers, layers!

Tip #5 - Leave heavy electronics behind

If you’re thinking of entertainment for your trip, don’t even think about bringing your huge Bose earphones or your laptop (unless you’re planning to do some necessary work). Your phone and earbuds are the best for your short trip. Music, movies, books, news, basically, everything’s on your phone. No need to bring paperback novels, magazines, or game consoles. These things are just dead weight.

Tip #6 - Simplify your toiletry bag

Split your holiday-trip-packed toiletry in half and that will be good enough for your overnight trip. Remember, try to pack as light as possible. You’ll be gone and back in a jiffy, so take time to simplify your toiletry using travel size (TSA Approved) containers.

Quart Size Bag

Pro Tip: Keep one ‘travel-ready’ toiletry bag pre packed under your sink and check if something needs to be refilled. That way you don't have to always pack from scratch whenever you go on overnight or longer trips.

Tip #7 - Personalize a "mini meds" kit

Some people may think, it’s just a one night trip, why bother bringing a first aid kit? First of all, accidents don’t pick the kind of trip they wish to happen. Whether it’s for a long holiday vacation or an overnight one, the best you can do is to be ready. For overnight travels, personalize your medicine kit and bring all the important ones. Do you get dizzy during any sort of transit? Take Dramamine. Are you allergic to anything? Pack antihistamine cream or tablets. Do you have sensitive skin? Bring your skin rash cream. You get the idea.

Tip #8 - Mini hygiene kit (#covid19)

You can never be too careful while traveling these days. If there’s one thing the pandemic has taught us, it’s to be keen on hygiene and washing of hands. That being said, always have your hygiene kit at your disposal. Wipe before you touch, and sanitize afterwards. Place your sanitation pack in your purse, along with your other personal items, for easy access.

Tip #9 - Downsize to 10 makeup products

Twenty different makeup brushes, eyeshadow palettes and more seem a bit too much for a one-night getaway, don’t you think? Let’s break it down to what you will really need for a quick overnight trip. Select the items that you think are the most essential. Challenge yourself to bring no more than 10 items in your makeup bag. Can you do it?

Clear makeup bag for an overnight trip

Tip #10 - Three outfits will do

You only need 3 outfits for an overnight trip: one, what you’re wearing for Day One; two, pajamas; and three, change of clothes for the next day. Now, sometimes things take an unexpected turn and you might not be able to stay just for a night (in case of an emergency). Instead of worrying, just bring an extra shirt and extra pair of undies. You’ll be fine! Also, throw in a jacket in case you go out for the night to throw over your Day 1 Outfit. 

Overnight trip outfits packed in royal blue cube

Pro Tip: Lay out your outfits all flat. This helps you decide whether what you’ve gathered is just enough or a little bit too much.

What to Pack for an Overnight Trip - Checklist 

What to pack for an overnight trip

Save this checklist to your phone. Get  your bag ready and let’s pack together. Here’s a breakdown of the essentials that you’ll need for your overnight trip.

Purse / Personal Items Bag

🗹 Snacks & Mints

🗹 Phone, Charger, Earphones

🗹 Power bank

🗹 Wallet (IDs, cash, and cards)

🗹 Hygiene Kit (see list below)

🗹 Makeup Pouch (see list below)

🗹 Small Hairbrush & Compact Mirror

Personal items for purse

Hygiene Kit (all in travel sizes)

🗹 Wet Wipes

🗹 Tissues

🗹 Alcohol Spray

🗹 Hand Sanitizer

🗹 Sanitary Pads / Tampons

🗹 Oil Blotting Sheets

🗹 Face Mask (COVID-19)

Basic Makeup Essentials

🗹 Concealer / Foundation / Face Powder

🗹 Lip gloss / Lipstick

🗹 Blush

🗹 Makeup Remover Wipes

🗹 Mascara & Eyelash Curler

Half Moon Bag


🗹 Shampoo & Conditioner (if destination won’t provide)

🗹 Body Wash / Soap

🗹 Deodorant

🗹 Toothbrush & Toothpaste

🗹 Floss & Mouthwash

🗹 Facial Cleanser

🗹 Moisturizer (Face & Body)

🗹 Contact Lens, Solution & Contact Case

🗹 Hair Ties / Clips

🗹 Razor & Shaving Cream (or shave the night before!) 

Personalized Med Kit

🗹 Vitamins & Health Supplements

🗹 Ibuprofen

🗹 Anti-diarrhea tablets

🗹 Antibacterial ointment

🗹 Motion sickness pills

🗹 Prescription Meds

Clothing Items (Remember! 3 Outfits)

🗹 2 casual shirts / tops 

🗹 1 pair of pants / leggings / shorts 

🗹  1 dressier top

🗹 1 pair pj’s(pajamas /tank top & shorts)

🗹 2 undies

🗹 1 bras (make sure this bra goes with all outfits)

🗹 2 pair of socks

🗹 2 pairs of shoes (one worn in transit, the other packed in a travel shoe bag)

🗹 1 swimsuit (if applicable)

🗹 1 jacket

Discount for EzPacking travel accessories

Now, that was quick, wasn’t it? Remember, take the time to pack and prepare even if it’s just for an overnight trip. People usually think it’s very easy to pack for a one-night getaway that they could do it even a few hours before leaving. That’s where things usually get messy and necessities get left behind. But with this complete guide, tips, and a free checklist, you’re on the right path. Have a great short trip!

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