What do you bring for such an awkward length of time?
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Thanksgiving is rapidly approaching, getting closer and closer with each falling leaf. But before you can dig into the feast and give thanks with your family and friends, you’ve got to take care of one daunting task: packing.
What you pack for Thanksgiving break can really make or break the trip. You have to prepare for all weather conditions and activities—and hopefully not forget a single thing. It’s seriously a chore. Plus, that’s not even to mention that Thanksgiving is an awkward four-day weekend that introduces the fairly complicated task of not overpacking. You’ve got to resist the urge to jam a carry-on with a week’s worth of clothes and whittle down an entire vanity of makeup. It sounds impossible, but surely it can be done.
When planned with careful consideration, your entire Thanksgiving wardrobe can fit into a duffel bag or small suitcase. It’s all about simplifying your beauty and fashion routines. To help you pack smart, these fashion and beauty editors, experts, and enthusiasts share their must-haves for an extended weekend getaway.
When I find a pair of jeans that I absolutely love, I never want to take them off! So wherever you’re headed, and for however long you’ll be away, pack one or two pairs of your very favorite jeans to mix and match with different tops and sweaters.
Erica Simone Schnell, Beauty Influencer
I love a 2-in-1 makeup remover and cleanser like the Garnier SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water. A 2-in-1 product leaves more room in my suitcase and makes makeup removal on trips very easy while not neglecting my skin from the routine that it’s used to.
A go-to, everyday eyeshadow palette is a must. I usually pick a palette with multiple shades, like the Morphe 15D Day Slayer, that gives me options like shimmers and mattes but is compact.
A pair of casual sneakers and a pair of fall boots that can be paired with multiple outfits are essentials for light packing and convenience. You can’t go wrong with a pair of jogger sweats either, because they can be styled casually and are comfortable to wear after all the Thanksgiving eating!
When I’m packing for a trip in general, I try to narrow it down to pieces I can layer and switch around. I always bring a black leather jacket—it’s a staple piece! For the colder weather, I’ll bring a long trench (nude or cream color), my fave pair of jeans, and booties. I will normally pack a band tee to wear with the leather jacket, and maybe a dressier top if things get fancy.
And don’t forget the sweats! You have to have something to lounge in. I always remind myself that if I forget something, I can probably buy it once I’m there. Overpacking isn’t the worst thing ever...
Amy-Rose Walker, Beauty Expert & YouTuber
There are some things I cannot be without, even if it’s just for a long holiday weekend. Makeup is number one! I love my Deck of Scarlet #05 Palette because it has beautifully pigmented lip, cheek, and eye colors all in one, and you can create multiple looks with it. I like to think of it as my must-have beauty tool kit since all I need is the one palette wherever I go. Best of all, I don’t need to pack up a ton of beauty products, which weigh a ton and can easily leak in my overnight bag.
Wherever you are headed, ’tis the season for scarves. They make the best #travelstyle pieces. It’s a pretty accessory when you’re on the go and a soft pillow or blanket when you are traveling.
For long trips, I’ll usually throw half a dozen different bags in my luggage. But when it comes to a short Thanksgiving weekend, just stick to the basics. A tote is a must for traveling (especially with kids!), but I always bring a crossbody as a nighttime option. You never know where your weekend will wind up!
Katie Dupere, Bustle Fashion & Beauty Associate Editor
When packing for such an awkward length of time, I force myself to pack in a weekender bag so I am not overpacking. I bring mostly casual clothes, which are heavy on the sweaters and leggings this time of year, and a simple dress for anything fancy that might pop up. I always pack a pair of flats, a pair of heels, and a pair of boots. In case you couldn’t tell, I am a shoe girl! For skin care, samples are your friend and save a lot of space in that cramped weekender.
Regardless of how long you are packing for, I think the biggest thing to remember is to be intentional. Everything you pack should have a purpose—or multiple purposes—so you aren’t traveling with extras. Plus, you are going home. Your family has a washer and dryer you can steal for a load or two! It’s totally fine.
Olivia Muenter, Bustle Fashion & Beauty Editor
I always try to pack the most comfortable things I own, plus one dress I know I feel great in. This usually means sweatpants, a shift dress, black leggings, big sweaters, and one nicer dress.
Jean A. Balk, Chief Creative Officer of Miss A.
A black tee and comfy black leggings are my go-to for travel. You can mix these in as a base to any outfit so you don’t have to bring as many clothes.
I also keep AOA Rose Water Makeup Remover Wipes in my bag to cleanse my skin anytime. Another travel essential is the Hydrating Sheet Mask in case my skin acts up during travel, especially if flying somewhere.
Sarah Khan, Travel Writer
For skin care, I always have a travel-size jar of Vaseline in my purse—chapped lips on the plane are the worst. Then I pack my Mario Badescu Vitamin C Serum, Algenist Eye Renewal Balm, Olay Total Effects Moisturizer with SPF, and some Tonymoly Sheet Masks for post-flight hydration.
For makeup, I always keep it simple, but even more so when on the road. My travel staples are IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Undereye Concealer, Almay Liquid Eyeliner, and the Tarteist Glow to Go Palette. And my hair routine definitely gets abbreviated when I’m traveling. I usually pack some OGX Argan Oil, then just decant some Devacurl Ultra Defining Gel into a smaller bottles.
Kara McGrath, Bustle Fashion & Beauty Deputy Editor
I always bring one really excellent pair of sweatpants, my favorite pair of jeans, a good sweatshirt, and a couple t-shirts. Thanksgiving is pretty chill at my parents’ place, so I stick to basics I know will work for any sort of last-minute hangouts I plan with friends from my hometown.
For beauty, I bring moisturizing face masks! My childhood home is mainly heated by wood stove, so the air is super duper dry. My favorite to wear overnight is the Laneige Water Sleeping Mask.
Bethany Brill, Makeup Artist
The key to my beauty routine for a weekend of resting and eating until I feel sick is lots of multi-tasking. My go-tos are hard working products that can keep me looking fresh and groomed all the while fitting in my limited carry-on space. Multi-sticks are a top pick, like eye-and-cheek color like Smashbox’s L.A. Lights Lip & Cheek Color. You can save space on not having to bring brushes, and its long-lasting finish gives a natural flush that keeps me looking well rested (even if I’m not!).
Dry shampoo is another lifesaver. I’m in love with the Arrojo ReFINISH Dry Shampoo. I wash my hair the morning I leave and refresh throughout the weekend, so I save space on not having to pack a hair dryer or a special shampoo. Trust me, guests appreciate when you don’t take over the bathroom for an hour while you style your hair!
Erin K. Simmons, Beauty Blogger
Ceramiracle is a must-have. It keeps your skin hydrated and protected while traveling and possibly going into harsher weather, especially drying weather that comes with the colder temps. It’s easy to layer and works very well with other skin-care products. You can customize the kind of treatment you want depending on what your skin needs at the time. You can just use a couple drops, or use half the dropper and sleep in it to really pamper and hydrate the skin.
Ali Grant, Founder of Be Social
Thanksgiving weekend activities can be unpredictable, so my Chila La Barra Bag is versatile for anything I could do with friends and fam. My skin always acts up when I travel, so I have to bring Le Prunier Plum Oil. It keeps my skin sane during hectic travel, plane rides, and more. Plus, it’s compact. A little goes a long way, so it’s all you need in the moisturizer category.
Bringing a big perfume bottle doesn’t make sense, so I pack my Riddle Oil Original in 8ML. T3’s Featherweight Compact Dryer is also a must if you want to keep your hair in check, and it fits easily in your suitcase.
Afshan Shaukat, Makeup Artist & Beauty Expert
The first thing I pack for a long holiday weekend is makeup, and a good brow is essential. Luscious Cosmetics’ BrowLuxe Tool Kit is my all-time favorite, whether traveling or not. The all-in-one portable tool kit slips easily into my purse and is packed with everything I need when on the go to shape, define, fill, and set my brows.
Christine Cameron Koehler, Founder of Flora 1761
I always dress up for a holiday, but weekend travel requires comfort, too. I live in my Nike Blazers on the road. My fashion travel essential for cooler weather is a Rag & Bone cashmere poncho, great as a layering piece for a crisp fall day and doubling as a blanket in flight.
When it comes to your holiday travels, the moral of the story is pack your best multi-taskers. Whether it’s a versatile pair of jeans or an all-in-one beauty kit, multi-purpose pieces will lighten your load and make getting ready on the go a breeze.
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