Thanksgiving Travel & Packing Essentials Guide

Unlock the secrets of one-bag Thanksgiving travel with our comprehensive packing guide. Explore curated tips on packing a versatile capsule wardrobe, optimizing space, and selecting the perfect travel bag for a streamlined and stylish holiday getaway. Elevate your travel experience with organizational ease, making your journey as delightful as your destination.

Reading Time: 13 minutes
Subscribers: 24,923

Navigating the Thanksgiving travel hustle can be a daunting task, especially when you’re tangled in a web of multiple bags, battling the crowds, and weathering the holiday madness. It’s a universal struggle: fitting everything you need, from stylish dinner attire to your remote work essentials, into one manageable bag. But, what if there’s a way to triumph over the travel turmoil? Join us as we unravel the secrets to mastering one-bag travel for a smoother, more enjoyable Thanksgiving getaway.


Knack Pack Thanksgiving Travel and Packing Guide





How to Pack Clothes for Thanksgiving Weekend

Clothes are undeniably one of the most challenging things to choose and pack when you’re traveling for a Thanksgiving trip. The requirement isn’t just about stuffing your bag with random clothes; it's about meticulously choosing a variety that serves the Thanksgiving dinner attire, the casual everyday look, and perhaps, an outfit for a friendly game of football. And because the weather is colder this time of year, chances are that your clothes will be a bit bulkier. How do you fit all these clothes without overpacking? The answer: Create a packing list for Thanksgiving to build a 5-day capsule wardrobe. 

A capsule wardrobe is a small but strategic set of complementary clothes, which allows you to interchange pieces of clothing to create a whole assortment of outfits. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by how many different looks you can get from just a few pieces of clothing.

What to Pack for Thanksgiving Weekend:

Knack Pack Thanksgiving Travel and Packing Guide

Getting ready to pack for Thanksgiving break or a long family weekend? Read on for our top recommendations on making long-weekend travel light and easy.

Choose a color palette - Neutral colors such as black, gray, and tan easily transition from one outfit to another. Use all other colors strategically. Add pops of color to your accessories or one area of your wardrobe (such as tops) to show off your unique personal style.

Pick 4-5 basic lightweight tops, long sleeve or short sleeve - You can roll these up tightly to pack while layering them under your other tops. 

Bring only 3 bottoms - Pants are bulky, and people are less likely to notice if you haven’t changed your pants particularly when they’re in dark or neutral colors. Bring one nice pair of pants or a skirt for Thanksgiving dinner. 

Bring two pairs of shoes - Bring a nice pair of shoes for Thanksgiving, and one other comfy and versatile pair to wear everywhere else. Definitely wear the bulkier pair of shoes on the plane to save space in your luggage. 

Hint: Use a Compressible Shoe Bag.

Bring one accent piece - A nice blazer or sweater can be formal enough for most Thanksgiving dinners and you may be able to wear these pieces elsewhere. Even if this piece is colorful, you can layer it on top of your basic, monochromatic clothing. 

Bring one large, warm jacket - Since many of us will be going somewhere cold, a large overcoat that you can throw over all your other clothes is essential. And to save space, wear your bulky outerwear on the plane.

Accessorize - Accessories are a capsule wardrobe’s best friend. Hats and scarves are both fashionable and practical when it comes to cold weather, and jewelry can dress up any monochromatic outfit.

Jamie Orr, Knack's Digital Content Manager, has perfected the art of one-bag travel for Thanksgiving with her Series 2 Medium Knack Pack. Jamie swears by packing a versatile capsule wardrobe its organized compartments, ensuring she's ready for anything from casual morning coffee with the family to the festive Thanksgiving dinner. Jamie's strategic packing transforms her Knack Pack into a mobile closet, where each item, perfectly coordinated, is ready to wear, making her holiday travel as stylish as it is efficient.

Example Women’s Capsule Packing List for Thanksgiving

  • Tops:
    • 4-5 gray, white, or black long-sleeve and short-sleeve shirts
    • 1 nice sweater 
  • Bottoms:
    • 1 pair of jeans
    • 1 pair of leggings
    • 1 skirt and leggings
  • Shoes:
    • 1 pair ankle boots
    • 1 pair sneakers
  • Outerwear:
    • Hat and scarf
    • 1 warm jacket or parka
  • Other:
    • 1 set of pajamas
    • 5 days of underwear/socks

Example Men’s Capsule Packing List for Thanksgiving

  • Tops:
    • 4 gray, white, or black long sleeve and short sleeve shirts
    • 1 button up shirt
    • 1 blazer or sweater
  • Bottoms:
    • 1 pair jeans
    • 1 pair chino pants
    • 1 pair sweatpants
  • Shoes:
    • 1 pair oxford shoes
    • 1 pair sneakers
  • Outerwear:
    • Hat and scarf
    • 1 warm coat
  • Other:
    • 1 set of pajamas
    • 5 days of underwear/socks

>>MORE: How To Make The Perfect Travel Packing List

"This backpack is awesome - I don't travel light and I went from backpack plus hardshell carry-on to just the Series 2 medium Knack Pack for weekend and long weekend trips." - Shane, US



Best Bag Options for Long Weekends

Knack Pack Thanksgiving Travel and Packing Guide

Thanksgiving weekend is a unique travel weekend that requires a unique travel bag. First, let's be clear that if you are planning on carrying multiple bags with you or, if you are flying and planning on throwing caution to the wind by checking big bags, feel free to pack whatever type of bags you want. However, if you want to experience the ease, convenience and flexibility of One Bag travel for Thanksgiving weekend, then read on.

Thanksgiving is among the busiest long-distance travel periods of the year. By checking a bag, you risk lost or delayed luggage, leaving only the clothes on your back for the long holiday weekend. Opt for a carry-on that can stow easily below the seat in front of you or in the luggage compartment overhead. 

Since the Friday after Thanksgiving is not recognized as a universal vacation day, there’s a good chance you’ll want to pack your mobile office. For One Bag travel, you'll need a bag that can accommodate both your work gear and your travel items. That rules out any bag with travel-only function like wheeled suitcases, duffles, and garment bags. 

Travel backpacks are a great option for One Bag travel during Thanksgiving.  However, avoid top loaders and look for travel backpacks that have a clamshell or book opening. Top-loader backpacks make it hard to pack the inside in an organized fashion, and even more difficult to find the items you need after they’re packed. 

Knack Pack Thanksgiving Travel and Packing Guide

Our Knack Packs are built with a separate, hidden expandable travel compartment, which opens like a suitcase so you can easily pack and unpack while keeping your travel items away from your everyday items. And, since most travel backpacks are not designed and built to safely carry your work gear, all Knack Packs include a separate zippered, padded laptop pocket plus tons of organizational pockets in the main, everyday compartment.  

The Series 1 Large Knack Pack is 30 liters when unexpanded, but the expandable travel compartment adds an additional 16 liters, which is the perfect amount of space for packing all of your Thanksgiving weekend clothes and overnight stuff. Like the Series 1, the Series 2 Large Knack Pack expansion travel compartment adds 45% more carrying capacity growing from 30 to 46 Liters. 

>>MORE: The Comprehensive Guide to Backpack Sizes and Liters

"The Medium Knack Bag is A-MA-ZING! It holds everything I needed for a 3-day weekend! It is the best travel backpack I have owned and will now be gifting one to my husband!" -Pily, U.S.



Packing Cube Benefits


Knack Pack Thanksgiving Travel and Packing Guide

After you’ve decided what to pack for your Thanksgiving trip, optimize your packing space by using Knack’s packing cubes. Easily pack and compress your items so when you arrive at your Thanksgiving destination you can simply remove the cubes from your bag and use them like a drawer. Knack’s Packing cubes are made of see-through mesh material allowing you to easily view the items you’ve packed so you only open the cubes that you need. 

We suggest rolling everything you put in your travel packing cubes. However, check out this article full of tips and tricks if you are traveling with a suit or jacket that simply can not be rolled. And don’t forget to dedicate a separate packing cube for your toiletries. Here’s how the Knack team uses compression packing cubes when we travel:

>>MORE:  Packing Cubes Tips and Travel Hacks

"The Knack Packing Cubes are durable yet lightweight and compress really well. I managed to store 4 T-Shirts, 1 Pajama set, 1 convertible pants and a hoodie. Paired with the medium packing cube which had my underwear and socks), I had enough clothes for 5 days." - Marc, Toronto, CA 



How to Pack Your Tech for Thanksgiving Weekend


Knack Pack Thanksgiving Travel and Packing Guide

As mentioned above, depending on the day you travel, you may need to do a little bit of work before or after the holiday which is why it’s important to be able to bring your entire mobile office with you. Here are some tips for packing tech in the Knack Pack:

  • Put your laptop in the padded laptop pocket. Both the Series 1 and the Series 2 Knack Packs have zippered, side-access padded laptop pockets with sling bottoms. Find the perfect Knack for your laptop size here
  • To save space and stay organized, try to find chargers that are compatible with multiple devices. For example, carry just one USB, one USBC, and one Lightning cable which can be used with all your tech.
  • Pack your tablet in the fleece-lined inside pocket so that it won’t scratch. And of course, make sure it’s charged so that you can watch movies if flying.

>>MORE:  Must-Have Features for Your Tech Travel Backpack



How to Pack the Miscellaneous Items


Knack Pack Thanksgiving Travel and Packing Guide

Knack Packs have lots of pockets, which are awesome for all of the little things that you need to bring with you on Thanksgiving weekend like earbuds, a water bottle and a book.

When it comes to toiletries, however, you should make sure that they’re easily removable from your bag and, as we have mentioned, the best way to do this is to keep them in a packing cube. If you’re flying for Thanksgiving weekend, don’t forget that airport security lines during the holidays are long. Make sure that your shampoos, toothpaste, and other liquids follow TSA’s 3-1-1 guidelines.

By traveling with a Large Knack Pack for Thanksgiving Weekend, not only will you save a ton of money in baggage fees, but you'll save the hassle of waiting in long lines so you can spend more time with the people you left home to see!

Rachel, Knack’s head of customer service, masterfully organizes her Series 1 Medium Knack Pack for Thanksgiving travel. She keeps her essentials like an umbrella and granola bars in the front accessible pockets, while a lightweight jacket or sweater conveniently tucks away in the main compartment alongside her favorite book. The interior mesh pockets are precisely arranged with her wallet, lip balm, and Kleenex, as well as practical items like cords, band-aids, and thumb drives, ensuring each item is easily reachable and visible throughout her journey.

"I love my Knack bag. I can carry everything I need for a long weekend getaway. There are tons of pockets to separate liquids, electronics, clothing, shoes, cosmetics, medication, etc." - Roberta V, U.S.


Packing for Thanksgiving doesn’t have to be a hassle. Knack’s universe of multi-function travel products help make your holiday travels stylish, organized and easy. Click here to explore our array of options and to find the perfect Knack Pack for your Thanksgiving weekend.

>>MORE: How To Organize A Backpack For Travel

We Want to Hear From You

We’d love to hear your favorite travel experiences using a Knack Pack. Drop us a line at and we’ll share your comments with fellow Knackpackers in a future blog.  Don’t forget to tag @knackbags and use #knackbags on social media!

Share Article

Learn More About Knack

Laptop & Travel Backpack In One Bag