I don’t think I’m alone in figuring out what to pack for a weekend away at the very last minute. Whether due to a busy lifestyle, or let's face it, procrastination, the somewhat arduous task shouldn't deter anyone from taking a much-needed break. Disconnecting from the daily grind is increasingly important, with technology creeping into every waking moment of our lives and only 54 percent of Americans taking their fully allotted vacation time. Psychology professionals frequently extol the virtues of vacation — such as strengthening your brain's ability to relax and sleep — and recent studies have shown even 24-hour jaunts can provide the same benefits. So designate a date, grab a friend (or not!) and pack like a pro with these tips.
For starters, don't even break out a suitcase — it'll only sit unpacked on your bedroom floor for a week after the trip anyway. Instead, fill a weekender bag with some versatile items you can easily mix and match to suit a range of activities. Just because you're being savvy doesn't mean you can't still be stylish. These key pieces — which you likely either own some variation of already or have been contemplating buying for the season — will take you to most fall destinations in style. With the addition of a few sheet masks, you'll be out the door in no time.
A Chunky Sweater
Wear this while traveling to reduce packing bulk. Pick a neutral hue like oatmeal or camel that can be paired with everything else you're bringing and can stand up to a chilly breeze on a hike or wine-tasting adventure.
A Stylish Sneaker
For everything from shopping to museum-hopping, you'll likely be on your feet a lot. Make sure you have a comfortable pair of shoes so you can get the most out of your trip. There's an abundance of trend-forward styles on the market, so pick whichever style suits you best.
A Double-Duty Trouser
Unlike many trends, the utility trend is, well, utilitarian. As such you can dress these pants up or down, making them the perfect packing essential this fall. Look for versions with unique details, like the asymmetrical zipper on this pair, for added flair.
A Cozy Hat
When braving cooler temperatures and threats of rain, a hat comes in particularly handy and steps every outfit up a notch. Channel the season's western trend with a wide-brimmed felt option. Bonus tip: Invest in a purse charm hat clip that lets you affix your hat to your bag when you're not wearing it.
A Cozy Cardigan
In lieu of a leather or denim jacket, bring a cozy knit style you can wear for day and night. A draped black iteration like this pairs with everything and doubles as a blanket in transit.
A Multi-Functional Bag
Now is not the time to bust out a different bag for every activity. Keep things simple with an oversize tote that's big enough to hold all of your weekend essentials. This style comes with a top flap to conceal your unmentionables while in transit and a coordinated pouch you can use as a clutch in the evening.
A Sheer Knit
You'll want to dress up for dinner, but instead of a blouse, opt for a semi-sheer turtleneck. Layer it over a camisole or bralette, pair with your utilitarian trousers and heeled boots, and finish with a draped cardigan topper. For day, it comes in handy as a layer under any look.
A Statement Boot
Step things up for dinners with a heel. This mid-calf version looks as great under trousers as it will under midi-dresses, and the square-toe feels fresh.
A Knit Dress
The comfort of a knit midi dress is equaled only by its styling versatility. Wear under your chunky sweater with sneakers for day or over your sheer turtleneck with boots and long cardigan for evening.