Heading out of town for a last minute long weekend trip or embarking on a four-day cruise is just the thing to give you a break from daily stress. Packing for your four-day trip should also be fairly stress-free. Creating a packing list can help assist you in the packing process and ensure you don’t forget any crucial items. Resist the urge to pack a complete outfit with matching shoes for each day -- everything you'll need for four days should fit into a duffel bag or small, carry-on suitcase.

Here are some basic packing tips when it comes to packing light for a four-day trip.

Basic Clothing

Pack clothing basics, and plan to mix and match them. Bring two pairs of pants: one pair of khaki or black pants, plus a pair of jeans for casual outings. If you expect warm weather, bring two pairs of shorts and a pair of longer pants. If you're headed to a cool locale, bring two or three long-sleeve shirts, but pack four short-sleeve tops for a hot location in case you sweat and don't want to re-wear them. If you plan to have a dressy evening out or attend religious services, bring an appropriate outfit. A man should bring a collared shirt and tie to pair with black pants, while a woman should pack a wrinkle-resistant dress or top-and-skirt combo. Bring a cardigan sweater or sweatshirt to layer over any outfit.

Other Clothing Items

Pack five sets of underwear and socks in case it rains and you need to change. Bring an all-purpose jacket; in most climates, a waterproof nylon coat in a dark color will keep you warm and protect you from the weather. In winter, pack a wool coat, which will look more appropriate with all your clothing than a puffy parka. You'll likely only need two pairs of shoes: sneakers and dress shoes to pair with your upscale outfit. If you're headed to the beach, add a pair of sandals or casual flip-flops to your suitcase. Don't forget one set of lightweight pajamas.


Packing cubes allow you to organize different types of clothing items into separate cube-like containers, allowing for a neater bag and more space than you might have originally thought your carry-on bag had. If you use packing cubes, you can group t-shirts together in one cube, pants/shorts in another, and undergarments and swimsuits in the others.

Personal Items

If your hotel provides toiletries, you won't need to bring basics such as soap, shampoo and body wash. Even for four days, you will need hair products like a hairbrush, deodorant, moisturizer that's right for your skin type, contact lens solution, feminine hygiene products, birth control, shaving cream, a razor, and a toothbrush, toothpaste and floss. Buy miniature travel versions of your favorite products, or buy travel-size squeeze bottles and fill them from your full-size bottles. Store all your toiletries in a sealed bag to prevent leakage. If you are flying to your destination, make sure you follow the TSA rules when it comes to packing liquids in your carry-on bags. To provide for further organization when it comes to personal items, include a toiletry bag to separate these items from your clothing and shoes. Pack at least five days worth of any prescription medications, sunscreen and a bottle of aspirin. Bring over-the-counter medications for allergies and motion sickness if you think you'll need them.

Everything Else

If you're headed to the beach or your hotel has a pool, pack a bathing suit. The hotel will likely provide towels. Prepare for any weather conditions by packing an umbrella, a hat, a rain poncho and sunglasses. Bring a single paperback, a kindle, or a few magazines to read in your downtime. Pack your cell phone and don’t forget to pack the corresponding phone charger. You may also choose to bring a reusable water bottle. Unless you're planning to work, consider leaving your laptop at home. It can be damaged in travel, and on a short trip, you'll be too busy to use it much anyway.

Hand sanitizer and any vitamins you like to take daily are also valuable items to bring if you want to ensure you are staying in good health during your travels.


If you’re someone that struggles with sleep during travel periods, it might be a good idea to bring an eye mask and neck pillow to help you sleep. You could also bring earplugs to block out sound or headphones to drown out background noise with music.

Even if you are packing at the last minute for your short trip, it shouldn’t be too stressful; especially if you have prepared a travel packing list to organize your thoughts and get the job done fast and efficiently. Remember, you will only need a small bag for this type of trip. Sure, longer trips might require full suitcases, but quick four-day getaways simply require carry-on luggage or small duffel bags.