An overnight stay, that's one night and two days at the most. You won't need to take much, you'll just throw a few essentials in your bag, right? Then why do you always end up with a huge bulging backpack that weighs a ton and includes everything but the kitchen sink?
I sometimes think packing for a short trip is trickier than packing for a two week holiday. Unless travelling by plane, you won't be restricted by weight regulations, so it's tempting to overfill your bag. You will take lots of 'just in case' items because you know you can squeeze them in. But a few hours into your journey (especially if there's lots of walking involved) you will start to notice how heavy your bag is and how sore your shoulders feel, how much your back aches, and how tricky it is to fit through doorways!
I'm travelling down to London today and I'm trying really hard to limit what I take with me. I know there will be lots of jumping on and off public transport and getting around the city on foot. I'd rather do it pain free whilst knowing I still have everything I need...
Your Packing List
The clothes you'd like to wear on your journey, whether you're travelling by train, car, coach, plane or boat, you should be comfortable and wear layers. Even if you're heading somewhere warm, a light weight jacket or cardigan is essential as it can get really chilly on trains or planes.
I like to wear a pair of skinny jeans with a loose fitting top, trainers or flat shoes, a leather jacket, and simple jewellery. I'm not going to be taking any extra jewellery, accessories or another jacket.
If you're planning a meal or drinks out that evening you might want to take something dressier with you. Go for something that's light, easy to fold/roll up and won't need ironing. You may want to take a second pair of shoes, heels or fancy flats, but pick a pair that aren't heavy.
NEXT DAY CLOTHES
I tend to wear a pair of jeans a few times before washing them. Unless they get dirty there's really no need to wash your jeans after each wear. So I'll take a different top to re-work the outfit. Taking a dress can cut out the hassle of having to pair two things together. Don't forget clean underwear!
TOILETRIES & MAKEUP
I take lots of sample size products and miniatures. Think carefully about what you'll actually need. I can get away with no hot tools for my hair for a few days which really saves room in your bag. I freshly wash and style my hair the morning of travel and with a bit of dry shampoo on the second day it holds its style fairly well. You can read my post on packing a beauty bag which goes into much more depth with tips and tricks for slim-lining your toiletries.
Don't forget the misc bits everyone forgets; SD cards, headphones, a phone charger, tickets/travel docs, maps or printed instructions, pain killers, sun cream, anti-bacterial hand gel and a few snacks.
My Packing Tips
Roll your clothes instead of folding. This trick works with soft cotton flexible items, but if you're packing a pair of jeans it's better to fold them neatly and squash flat. Rolled clothes can be stuffed into funny dips or pockets in your bag to maximise your space. Podge socks, underwear and other small items into shoes. Pack clothes together in their 'outfits' so you can pull out what you need easily. Put what you'll need first at the top of your bag and what you'll need last at the bottom of your bag.
I hope some of these ideas were helpful, and encourage you to take less away with you next time you travel!