How we pack for short road trips

Jon and I like to visit the Southern Interior, especially during the summer. Here’s how we pack for the few days we’re there.

It’s funny to think about my feelings on travelling. On the one hand, I don’t want to bring too many things because it can be too much to look after; on the other hand if I decide to exclude something, who knows when I’m going to need it!

I’m sure I’m not the only one who harbours such feelings, so I thought I’d go ahead and share my tips and tricks for packing for a short getaway.

How do you define a short getaway?

My husband Jon and I like to head out to the Southern Interior every once in a while to visit family. We generally stay with his parents in Salmon Arm, whether that’s at their home or at the family cabin. These trips go for two nights and two-and-a-half days. We always drive the 430+ km it takes to get from our place in Metro Vancouver — we never fly because that would mean we’d have to fly to Kamloops, and then rent a car afterwards. This is also the kind of packing we’d be doing if we were to spend a night or two in Seattle, which, while going over the border into another country, is only about 250 km from our home.

The main contents

Jon and I each have our own backpacks to tote around. We also pick items we can turn into multi-day outfits, as we have access to laundry facilities in both places. Where we skimp on outfits, the opposite is the case for our undergarments: I pack one pair of underpants for each day we are away, plus one more pair to be safe. The same goes for socks, unless I’ve condemned myself to a weekend of flip flops (which I have done many a time, mostly with no regrets). Underpants are small enough that I can roll them into the front pocket of my backpack; other articles of clothing go in the larger compartment. In the summer this is usually 2-3 pairs of rolled shorts, 2-3 loose t-shirts, an extra bra, a bathing suit and a hoodie. If I need to pack nicer clothing — like a dress for a wedding — I pack that separately in a garment bag.


Recently we devised a system to pack one reusable bag’s worth of stuff (with a few extra plastic bags for wet things) — this is usually a medium-sized bag. We pack shampoo, conditioner, dry shampoo, body wash & a loofah, along with Jon’s travel kit he got from Fossil. The kit has stuff for both of us in it, including an oscillating travel toothbrush (with one head for each of us), deodorant, floss, Q-tips, cotton pads, a travel-size shaving soap, two razors (one for his face and one for my legs) and band-aids.

As for the rest of my toiletries, I have a make-up cube that I pack with me, and I will usually take my toiletry bag that I tote to work, which already has a hairbrush and lip balm in it.

Other stuff

I have to take my hair straightener and my Dyson blow dryer with me, just in case. I have frizzy hair so it always helps to have these two things with me in the event I’d like to style my hair. If we need hairspray, or an extra pair of shoes, we bring out Jon’s smaller duffel bag (it’s about three feet long and a foot-and-a-half wide, with about a foot-and-a-half of depth) and throw whatever else we need in there — though we don’t generally have to resort to this as there’s usually enough room in our backpacks for a few extra things.

We also bring a couple of books (I usually bring no more than three) and our laptop just in case I need to do some blog work.

What do you like to pack for a quick road trip? Leave me a note in the comments!

8 responses to “How we pack for short road trips”

  1. Water bottle some energy bars, thin out my wallet

  2. Lorraine Meltzer Avatar
    Lorraine Meltzer

    What about shoes? Do you only take the pair you are wearing?

    1. Yep! Generally we stay close to the cabin so it’s often only one pair of shoes. I usually end up in flip flops (being in the water a lot) but I will sometimes leave runners in the trunk in case we decide to go out on a long walk or if I want to go for a jog. 🙂

      1. Lorraine Meltzer Avatar
        Lorraine Meltzer

        What about flying trips? Those are the hardest to pack for since we try to take only a carry-on bag each. Shoes take up so much space! Any hints?

        1. Oooooh maybe this calls for another post! I have a few things I do (use shoes as packing space – stuffing smaller items in there) but I’ll see what else I come up with in the next bit as well are hopping a plane to Toronto in a few weeks!

        2. Lorraine Meltzer Avatar
          Lorraine Meltzer

          Looking forward to your creative ideas.

  3. We take similar short trips to the Okanagan. I always pack way more than I need…I like having options, but do try to sort through things before we go, like my purse and makeup bag. Things like travel size hair products, toothpaste, fragrances etc, stay in the toiletry bag ready to go. Curious about your makeup cube!

    1. Good on you for sorting through your purse…I’ve been so bad with that lately and the last few trips I took stuff I didn’t need. 😕 As for my make up cube I actually need to replace it as it’s pretty ragged after a year and a half of constant use (I got it for $2 from the site Wish) but I’m looking to replace it with something similar to this: (I hope this link shows up!)®-Toiletry-Portable-Organiser-Bathroom/dp/B01NA9K6C3/ref=mp_s_a_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1533739315&sr=1-6&pi=AC_SX236_SY340_FMwebp_QL65&dpPl=1&dpID=51lZ35zjBiL&ref=plSrch

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