duffel bag

How often do you find yourself taking a last-minute trip?

When you do take one, do you end up running around like a chicken with its head cut off trying to gather all your stuff, praying you don’t forget anything?

If you’ve ever thought to yourself, “There’s got to be a better way!” you’re not alone. The struggle is real.

But there’s a better way to handle spontaneous trips in the future: create your own “go bag.”

Below are answers to some questions you may have.

First and foremost…

traveler with backpack

What exactly is a “go bag?” 

According to YourDictionary.com, a “go bag” (also known as a “bugout bag”) is:

A bag or backpack with emergency supplies for use in an emergency evacuation and kept in a readily accessible location.

It typically contains everything you’d need to survive for seventy-two hours.

Sounds ominous, right? Well, that’s because bugout bags were originally created for use in the event of a disaster. Most people who have one at the ready have jobs that require them to be ready to travel at a moment’s notice.

For our purposes, a “go bag” will help us be prepared for impromptu overnight or weekend trips. We want to be able to “grab it and go.”

By making yourself travel-ready, you will allow more spontaneity into your life. (I know I can use more spontaneity in my life!;))

What’s the best kind of bag to use for a go bag?

The key to a good go bag is to keep it relatively small and light. A backpack, small duffle bag, or carryon is ideal.

There are tons of great options out there. 

What should I pack in my go-bag?

The more items you can keep packed in your bag at all times, the better. The items with a * next them are good candidates.

Toiletries* – The most important items – and the most time-consuming items to gather – are your toiletries.  Keep a toiletry bag packed with all of your essentials so you can grab just the bag versus all of the individual items you’ll need. Here are the essential toiletry items I keep in my “go bag” toiletry case:

  • Toothbrush & toothpaste
  • Soap
  • Shampoo, Conditioner, Lotion (I like to keep mine in these squeezable bottles)
  • Deodorant
  • Glasses/Contacts & Contact Solution
  • Aspirin/Pain Reliever
  • Antacids

– A last-minute trip can go horribly awry if you forget the medication(s) vital to your well-being. If you take any prescriptions, be sure to pack them. Over-the-counter meds can be purchased at most drug stores.

toiletry case

Identification – If you’re like most women and men, your ID is with you at all times. However, sometimes we may take it out of our wallet for one reason or another. Be sure to double-check before hitting the road.

Money & Credit Cards – These items should already be in your purse or wallet, but as with your ID, it’s always better to check. If you don’t typically carry much (or any) cash, make a pitstop at your bank or an ATM on your way out of town.

Electronics* – If you have an extra phone charger, portable battery, and earbuds, put them in a small bag or pocket in your go bag and leave them there. Items like these are typically left behind. 


  • 2 Pairs of Pants or Jeans
  • 2 Shirts
  • Underwear & Undershirts or Bras
  • Socks
  • Shoes – Tennis shoes & 1 other pair
  • Jacket or Sweater 
  • Something to sleep in 

Are there any other items I should include in my go-bag?

Yes. There are a few things you may want to add to your bag. While not crucial, these items may come in handy.

  • Travel umbrella* – I highly recommend sticking a small umbrella in your bag. I can’t tell you how many times I wished I’d packed one! There’s one in my bag now.
  • Small First-Aid Kit*
  • Small Flashlight*
  • Reusable Water Bottle*

I have a small bag packed and ready to go and it’s been a huge help! My BF and I often decide at the last minute to take an overnight trip.

Having my go-bag packed and ready allows me to leave the house quickly, enabling me to spend more time experiencing new things and less time packing.

Do YOU have a go bag? If so, how long have you had one?
Share in the Comments below.

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