One of the most repetitive tasks in the journey of life is having to pack for a sleepover/weekend stay. It can be daunting projecting and differentiating between what is absolutely needed and what is not, especially when storage is an issue. Even when it is not, it can still be difficult knowing what to take or leave. The past 15 years have seen me travelling regularly, making mostly short trips each time. This has built my bag-packing sense and skill, hence instinctively,  I know what is a yes or no item for travel when I see one.

The following points can help towards making an informed decision.

  1. Have a plan: Sounds academic but projecting how the next few days will look takes the edge off the confusion. The choice of what to pack for such a trip should be based on planned activities, events, special circumstances, etc. Other things that you may want to put into serious consideration as they would impact the quality and seamlessness of your trip would be for instance if you require medications in the course of your day, if you have medical condition(s), if you are on your period during the trip, if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, if you are on a special diet, or are travelling with young children. There are must-pack travel items for the different scenarios that may apply to you hence you have to ensure all these and sometimes more (depending on what the trip is for) aid your packing essentials. The dynamics of life have had me travelling internationally for a few days at least twice a month. For instance, normally at home, I take a 600ml bottle of smoothie every morning or alternative mornings. This bottle also functions as a water bottle for me, so I can keep tabs on my drinking every day which starts at 6 am with 500ml of water. In view of this, my smoothie machine and the bottle are must-packs for me.
  • Keep it simple: Only essentials need to go in the box. Things that cannot be bought, or easily replaced (at least over the weekend) should be packed. While it is impossible to bring all things ‘needed’, the goal is to bring the least number of things needed to make a comfortable stay. For instance, taking nightwear is not necessarily important if one sleeps in birthday suits (😊) but underwear is non-negotiable. But, if you’d be sharing a room with someone who isn’t your spouse, then you may need that sleepwear so you don’t affront your roommate’s sensibilities. Not everyone is comfortable baring their all in front of others hence sensitivity and consideration of others as well as respect for privacy are also part of the package to take with you – good thing is, these don’t take up any space in your bag! Things like toiletries can be transferred in travel-size containers without taking the bigger jars. Depending on location be it an international or local trip, a stay in a hotel or with friends/family, please check/ project what is absolutely needed and bring those along. For example, would bedsheets or a blanket be needed? Would you need to take an extra pillow with you? Remember, keeping it simple is key! This brings to mind the song from the cartoon movie Mowgli. A part of the song says:

            Look for the bare necessities

            The simple bare necessities

            Forget about your worries and your strife

            I mean the bare necessities

            Are mother nature’s recipe…

I’m sure we get the drift. Needed essentials only!

  • Trial: After mapping out clothes to bring along, especially for an event, try them on before packing. Surprises can happen, avoid them! This rings true especially if the travel is for a major dress-up event (aka owambe – I mean this word means ‘a state of being present’ and what is the exact point if your dressing does not make a statement? just kidding!). Some time back, I attended a birthday event and packed this dress. On the morning when I wore it, I realized my underwear (brassiere) was popping out, and no matter how much I manoeuvred I knew abandoning the dress was the best thing to do. Needleless to say, an alternative plan for a dress was sought. Thankfully I could not make up my mind at the time I was packing, so I brought two dresses along. If you are in want of space, while packing, please try that dress on with every accessory and be sure you are good to go! This will help to avoid stories that touch.
  • The essentials and the list: After deciding what goes or does not go, write a list. It is easier to think on paper than think and pack. There is a tendency to miss taking some needed items. My list of essentials looks like this, but is not limited to:
  • Underwear- depends on the number of days.
  • Shoes – indoor, outdoor.
  • clothes – easy/loungewear is often missed while thinking of the bigger items of clothing.
  • toiletries- toothbrush, paste, bath bombs/salts, make-up routine for females, shaving items for men, hair accessories.
  • Nightwear, hair cover and a shuteye (if you need a blackout)
  • Jewellery,
  • phone charger, air pods, earphones, a mobile internet device and a power bank.
  • Journal/notebooks/laptop/current read/book
  • Portable speaker – this one is very key for me!
  • Laundry bag – nothing fancy. Can be a store bag to keep used clothes.
  • Snacks – the body has a way of not behaving itself sometimes.  Just the fact that we change environment can put us under a subtle stress mode, making us crave extra snacks. Snacks are a must-pack especially if you have children travelling with you!

It is worth mentioning that travelling with kids can be very daunting, but planning is key. Kids need more items than adults need, in addition to entertainment. Keep this in mind when packing for them.

For international travel, the first thing I pack is my passport (without it, no travel will happen 😉), and then, all other things on my list can follow. Post-pandemic, the queues at the airports have been horrendous, hence, one of the things I do, whenever I travel, is to pick up an extra clear bag, several really, so I can have my liquids packed from home and ready to go through security. In addition, have all COVID documentation at hand, not only in soft copies.

So go ahead and enjoy that weekend getaway. Enjoy that trip/vacation. Much love.❤️


Modupeoluwa Iroju-Williams ( Sobukunola) is a Medical Doctor who currently works in the fast-paced Emergency Medicine department and with a wealth of experience in Obstetrics and Gynaecology and other aspects of Medicine.

She holds a Masters in E-health and Telemedicine Management, a diploma in Women’s Health, in Sexual Health Education and has other academic qualifications.

She is quite passionate about health education and pursuing a healthy lifestyle, especially in people of colour with limited knowledge on health. She is a public speaker, a motivator per excellence, and is an upcoming lactation specialist (certification in view).

Mentoring and counselling come naturally to her, and she has mentored hundreds of students through their time in medical school. In her ‘intentional’ spare time, she sings, swims and sleeps!

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