You’ve narrowed down your hotel options, scoured airline booking engines, and finally pulled the trigger on your next weekend escape. But the real challenge begins well before you set foot on the plane. Unlike longer vacations that grant you the ability to toss every last pashmina and handbag into your oversized luggage, packing for a short weekend getaway can be a true test of fashion discipline. Even on short trips, you’re like to need daytime attire, evening wear, swimwear, footwear, skincare, and on and on — and that’s to say nothing of the cosmetics, books, electronics, and other myriad vacation accoutrements your destination of choice may involve.

Yet checked bag fees are on the rise, while airline and TSA mandates seem to allow fewer and smaller bags-per-passenger each year. Truly, carry-on bags have become the gold standard for savvy travelers. So when packing for a short weekend escape, the million dollar question is: How do you fit all that, in there?

A quick search for “packing tips” returns nearly 27 million results, and let’s face it…you have a flight to catch. So we’ve rounded up a panel of frequent travelers in the fashion, beauty, fitness, and media industries, quizzing them about their best packing tips for a weekend escape. These 12 tips are guaranteed to help you travel chic with minimal baggage, no matter where you’re headed next.

Color Blocking

“Try to pack monochromatic colors, with a base of black or brown so everything will match.” – Becky Strauss, Managing Editor of Sport Diver 

On a Roll

“I always roll my clothes! Sometimes if I have certain outfits planned out (e.g. a tank, shorts, and cardigan), I’ll roll them all in one. The larger radius means fewer wrinkles, and it’s more organized.” – Dena Davis, Certified Personal Trainer and Boot Camp Instructor

“Roll all of your dresses together, with the outside one being the darkest – just in case anything spills.” – Tara Bradley, Senior Editor of Destination Weddings & Honeymoons 


“I bring a purse large enough to double as a second carry-on (most airlines allow one large carry-on and one personal item). It holds everything I need on the plane, and also serves as a beach tote when I’m at my destination.” – Becky Strauss


“I try to always pack a convertible skirt/dress since it can be casual during the day and dressier at night.” – Diane Rice, Photo Editor of Florida Travel + Life

“If you must check a bag, make sure you pack your favorite outfits in your carry-on, including a swimsuit, pjs, a few toiletries, any prescriptions, and a change of clothes. I always seem to lose my checked bags!” – Tara Bradley

Zipped Up

“I keep a small plastic, quart-sized bag from the Container Store fully stocked with my favorite travel-size toiletries, so I can just grab that little bag and go.” – Becky Strauss

“Ziploc bags are great for liquids, dirty laundry, damp bathing suits, even shoes. I pack extra because they always come in handy.” – Dena Davis

Tucked Away

“I tend to pack small things, like jewelry and headbands, inside of clutches. It protects the smaller items and leaves more room in the carry-on.” – Amy Cassell, Travel Blogger and former Digital Editor of Spa

“Stuff your socks and other small garments into your shoes. It maximizes space and preserves their shape.” – Tara Bradley

Common Scents

“I love dryer sheets! Especially Gain ones. Just stuff a few of them in your luggage so your clothes smell fresh and clean on arrival.” – Dena Davis

“Rather than packing delicate perfume bottles, I pack lotions or pressed powders of my favorite scent. Chanel makes great fragrance powders that travel well and won’t put you over your carry-on liquid allowance.” – Diane Rice