With children in college faraway, distant friends, and an elderly mother, I make a lot of weekend trips. I try to visit them for special occasions or just for fun, but I also never know when I’ll have to hit the road and visit somebody in the hospital--that’s part of being the in-between generation in a family. In the past year I drove to Los Angeles in the middle of the night when my daughter went to the ER and flew to Texas when my mother was in the hospital. (Everybody’s fine now, thanks.) Here's how I make sure I'm always prepared for a last minute weekend trip.
I use my Lululemon gym bag as my weekend bag, and I keep it ready to travel. It’s the old version of this one. It has a large inner pocket with zippered detachable makeup bag, shoe bag, end pockets, front zip pockets, tiny front pockets for phone or travel docs, back mesh pocket, strap for yoga mat (or jacket), and three ways to carry it--short handles, medium handles, and shoulder strap. There are a lot of bags out there that will fit the bill, but this is the one that works for me. The new model is slightly different.
This bag is ready to go to the gym or pool everyday, and ready to go for a weekend trip with a few minutes packing. I keep a fully functional morning shower kit in there. That includes makeup, teeth supplies, razor, deodorant, hair supplies, sunscreen, and shower shoes. I also keep a swimsuit, swim cap, and goggles in there because I swim for fitness. I use up the makeup in this bag slower than my regular kit I keep in the bathroom, so I replenish the bathroom stock with items from the gym bag, and put newly purchased supplies in the gym bag. That way, nothing gets old in the bag.
When it’s time to pack for the weekend, I just put in my clothes, prescription meds, shoes, and book or Kindle (with power cords) and I’m ready to go. For a weekend, I take two bottoms, three tops, underwear, socks, pjs, a sweater or jacket, scarf, a special occasion outfit if needed, and shoes. Outerwear if necessary.
I maintain a very well-stocked purse, so I just take along my regular purse for weekends. I always have sunscreen, lotion, dental floss, cough drops, squirrel-sized Vaseline, nail clippers, decongestant (I have a tricky ear), tweezers, lipstick, face powder, earbuds, comb, breath mints, and emergency chocolate. This is my daily purse, or this one if I have to haul extra stuff such as a book or newspaper, or if I’m volunteering for my kid’s event and need toys to amuse myself all day.
Having these bags ready to go frees me up to make quick decisions and go on a short trip with no fuss. Urgent trips happen from time to time, but now I’m ready for them. Also, if there’s a big sale on tickets to somewhere fabulous, I’m one step closer to fun.