What to Pack for a Girls’ Spa Weekend

I confess, I am one of those people who makes lists. It helps me feel organized and on top of things, and that in turn helps me feel relaxed.

In the spirit of relaxation, I aim for minimal packing when I go on a spa retreat. I and two friends have had an annual tradition (and sometimes semi-annual when inspiration strikes!) of going on a weekend spa retreat. We started this at least 20 years ago, deciding to all spend a weekend together every summer instead of buying each other birthday gifts. My girls’ weekend retreats have always been an important highlight of my summers.

After a few years, the packing list for these spa getaways has been well refined.

Here’s my packing list for a spa weekend with the girls:


  • Toothbrush and toothpaste;
  • Brush/comb;
  • Hair elastics;
  • Face wash and moisturizer (don’t need to bring much for the spa, because there are usually samples available that are fun to try);
  • (optional) shampoo and condition for those (like me) who are fussy and want their own brand, or you can opt to use the ones provided by the hotel.


  • Bathing suit;
  • One set of pyjamas;
  • One pair of comfy pants;
  • Two tops (one sleeveless or short sleeve, one three-quarter or long sleeve);
  • Nice dress or top and skirt option (you only need one, you can dress it up with a scarf or jacket and make it look like a different outfit. If you are spa-ing right, you only need this for dinner anyway);
  • One sweater or jacket;
  • One nice scarf or some jewellery to wear in the evening;
  • Underwear (one pair of underpants per day of stay);
  • (optional) two pairs of socks (only if it is cold where you are going);
  • Sandals for by the pool and pedicure (much more comfortable to have your own than using those disposable flip flops ones the spas use, plus then there’s less use of disposable items. If you know the spa where you are going provides re-usable sandals, you can omit this item);
  • Indoor shoes (I like a plain flat, like a ballet flat, which can double as a slipper, or be worn with a dress for dinner; if you like to dress it up a bit more with heels, then another flat shoe would be a good idea).


  • Beach bag (doubles as a pool bag or spa bag to bring your change of clothes, pedicure slippers, or and other goodies you want with you while lounging);
  • Book (and reading glasses if you need them);
  • Sunglasses if you will lounge outside;
  • Tablet and charger;
  • Wallet, credit cards, some cash for tips, any hotel or spa gift cards and loyalty cards.

And that’s it! All of that can fit into a weekender bag or carry on size.

In all honesty, we end up spending a whole lot of time wearing the robes provided by the spa, so multiple changes of clothes are really not necessary. Because my girlfriends and I like to share a hotel room to maximize our bonding time, there’s no extra space for over packing. At the end of our weekends, we often take stock and see what we packed that we didn’t use, or see what we forgot and had to borrow.

About Jocelyne Smallian-Khan

Jocelyne is pretty much always up for a trip, a dance, a game of cards, reading a book, a cup of tea, or a glass of wine (not necessarily all at the same time, or in that order!)

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