So you’re going on a girls weekend, you don’t know what to pack and your first instinct was probably, “Pack everything I own!” Woah, slow down there amigo. Before you go out to stock up on packing boxes, take a moment to read this carefully constructed list of what to take with you, otherwise, we both know you’re inevitably going to pack at least 5,000 things you do not need.
Before we get started with the official ‘what to pack’ list, I offer you this sage advice: Allow enough time to pack so you can let your bag/suitcase/150 litre chest sit overnight then double-check what you’ve packed. It’s the same sort of concept as ‘don’t go to the grocery store when you’re hungry’. A 24 hour cool-down period and re-audit of your packing will help you realise you don’t need to take three pairs of boots and 64 bikinis on a 2 night trip to the Gold Coast.
If you are going somewhere warm and tropical keep your bikini packing to a minimum. Yes, it’s tempting to pack every hot bikini you own, but don’t. I operate on a maximum of three which means I have one I’m wearing that day, one that’s wet from yesterday and still drying and one for tomorrow. Pack a (ONE) sarong or kaftan too and a beach towel.
Do NOT pack that studded leather skirt with see-through mesh panels you bought five years ago and are saving for ‘something special’. If you haven’t worn it by now, it’s time to put it on eBay sista, cos you aren’t wearing it anytime soon and especially not on this trip. Want to know what you should pack? Go look in your laundry basket, that’s the stuff you actually use, so wash it and pack it immediately. Keep it simple, pack lots of basics and things you can mix and match. Operate on a maximum of 2 outfits per day and remember, you don’t need to pack that second nice dress ‘for dinner’ because you will not wear it – trust me.
Alright Carrie Bradshaw, step away from the shoes. When it comes to packing shoes you have got to keep it real, you should only pack one pair of flats, one pair of sandals and one pair of walking shoes. At an absolute stretch put in a pair of heels, but only do it if you know you have plans to go somewhere they are appropriate. Do not pack them ‘just in case’.
Definitely, pack an underwear or delicates bag, it’s the best way to segregate your bras and undies from all your other crap and it comes in handy if you need to put washing into the hotel or friendly laundry place around the corner.
Less is more, so try to stick to packing the basics. Think about taking a great all round cleanser, a toner and a moisturiser. These three essentials will you get you by just fine, so try to avoid the temptation to pack every beauty product you own and have been hoarding under your bathroom sink or in that draw.
Fancy skin care
There’s nothing more girly and fun than popping on a face mask and sitting down to have a giggle with your friends, so I recommend taking a share-worthy face mask with you. My personal all-time favourite is love lettuce from Lush, in fact, their whole range of face masks is divine! A face mask or exfoliant is particularly great if you’re going somewhere beachy.
Arrange to share big bottles of shampoo, conditioner and treatment with your gal pals. This means instead of each of you lugging around bottles of the stuff, one person can have them in their luggage and you can all share the goods. If you want to splash out, get one of those special hair masks you leave in for 20 minutes, sit in the tub and pamper yourself!
When I travel with girlfriends we always forget to hair-pool! Instead of packing a hair dryer, curling wand and straightening iron each, divide it up and have each person bring one item to share. It’s a space saver like you would not believe.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve packed and completely forgotten to take deodorant with me, massive fail. If you’re planning a trip to a warmer climate or a holiday with lots of sweaty activities, consider packing a hard-working deodorant. Just picture yourself pushing through a sweaty crowd at the local markets… argh!
Don’t forget to pack a decent lip balm, not just for chapped lips but because a good lip balm can have a thousand uses. Consider taking a tub of Vaseline from Vaseline Australia, as you can put it on scratches, skin irritations, insect bites and other nasties.
Wine and snacks
If you’re taking a road trip to go somewhere local with gal pals, consider chipping in for a few bottles of sparkling wine and snacks to have at the hotel or resort. There’s nothing better than capping off a day of fun activities than sitting on a deck with your best friends unwinding with a glass of wine, chatting and laughing.
Don’t forget to pack essential medicines like paracetamol, ibuprofen, antihistamine and gastro-stop and any lady-products you may need, there’s nothing worse than being caught in a foreign country and having no idea what to buy.
Organise your jewellery, medicines, cosmetics and toiletries using clear plastic containers. It means a leaky bottle is confined to a small, cleanable space and your jewellery doesn’t get knotted around your clothing. It’s also a great idea to pack clear snap lock bags and a few plastic bags for any wet/dirty items or small things that need to be kept separate.
Spend the money investing in a non-greasy lightweight high-SPF sunscreen just for your face, because we all know how much we hate using the thick, greasy body stuff on our faces! Also, pack a tube of high-SPF body stuff for the rest of your body and to take in your handbag with you. My favourite is Cancer Council sunscreen.
Even if you have a handbag, take a tote bag with you too and roll it up and keep it in your handbag. It’s perfect for taking to the beach or filling up with all the great things you buy at the markets or popping your dirty shoes in after a hike.
Phoebe is a travel writer and photographer with a love for storytelling and making people laugh. Matt is a videographer and photographer with a passion for the great outdoors and big adventures. Together we inspire big adventures through our guides, videos, vlogs and photographs. Find out more about us here.