11 Essentials to Pack for a Smarter Weekend Getaway

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Slipping out of the office a little early on Friday for a weekend of fun? Load up with this essential gear, and you’re halfway to having the best weekend ever.

1. Weekend Luggage

The best thing about a weekend bag is its inherent limitations. There’s no need to worry about overpacking, and wheels won’t be necessary. Astonishingly, wheeled baggage is a very recent invention — the first patent for a suitcase with wheels was filed in 1972.

2. Book

A weekend trip is too short to demand the endless selection of an e-reader, so just bring that book you’ve been meaning to read. For the sake of saving space, maybe leave the Proust at home, though. His Remembrance of Things Past holds the world record for longest novel ever.

3. Swimsuit

No matter what, bring a swimsuit. Even if you don’t think you’ll plan on taking a dip, you’re always bound to change your mind. And be thankful that swimsuit technology has improved – as recently as the 19th century, men bathed in the buff while women hit the beach in loose flannel dresses with baggy flannel pants underneath.

4. Versatile Clothing

Don’t pack too much, but don’t be caught off guard if you’re invited to a formal dinner. Think of it as going Roman — most citizens of ancient Rome wore tunics no matter what the occasion.

5. Camera

Sure, your phone has a camera, but once you take that out you’ll be tempted to check your email, texts, the weather, and your stocks. Before you know it, the weekend’s over. Instead, invest in an inexpensive camera to snap impromptu shots without the temptation. Inventors recently came up with the world’s cheapest camera, made almost entirely out of cardboard.

6. Notepad

You’re bound to make some amazing discoveries, so why not keep a notepad handy to keep track? It’ll also help with basic to-do lists, a favorite productivity and memory trick of Thomas Edison.

7. Gym Shoes

Getting active on a short trip can actually make it seem longer. Pack some sporty kicks and see where they take you — as long as it’s not an ultramarathon. These extreme tests of endurance can take as long as 10 days, which would eat up both this weekend and the next.

8. Stamps

Sure, you’ll probably be back home before your postcards arrive, but everyone loves getting one in the mail. Postage stamps seem like they may be going extinct, but they’ve had a decent run. The modern postage stamp made its debut in England in 1680 thanks to merchants William Dockwra and Robert Murray, who created a system that would deliver letters around London for just a penny.

9. Rain Gear

Not to be a downer, but there’s always a chance for inclement weather. Still, it could be worse, so give thanks to Charles Macintosh, a Scottish chemist who invented waterproof fabrics and the modern raincoat.

10. Sunglasses

But then again, it might be gorgeous all weekend, so bring some shades. People have been wearing sunglasses longer than you think — scientists discovered walrus ivory glasses with protective slits dating back to 1200, worn by Inuit people to block out the sun.

11. Playing Cards

Not only will they offer a fun diversion, cutting a deck and playing high card can help you make quick decisions — no one wants to spend their entire weekend arguing about where to go eat. A deck of cards can also serve as a history lesson, as each suited face card was originally based on a real person (the King of diamonds, for example, is Julius Caesar).

Whatever adventure you’re embarking on, make sure you’ve packed the right gear. To learn more about the new Mercedes-Benz GLA and see what some of your favorite celebrities pack for their own excursions, visit GLApacked.com.