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City break packing list: What to bring on your next city trip

It's the night before your holiday, you're standing in front of an empty suitcase and you haven't a clue of what to put in it. How often have we gone on holiday and then noticed that we’ve forgotten something important? Or come back from vacation and realised that we packed 20 pounds of stuff we didn’t need? To make sure that this doesn’t happen on your next weekend away we've put together the ultimate packing list for your next city break.

If a city packing guide isn’t what you’re looking for, you can check out our other guides for packing. For instance, our packing list for a hiking holiday, packing list for a beach holiday, and packing list for a winter holiday might interest you! Or head to our vacations page to plan a completely different type of holiday.

1. Tickets, money, and documents (and, of course, more documents)

The important stuff. You can’t board a plane without your passport, and you can’t buy a coffee in any city without a bit of money. Here’s a tip: always bring your IDs and documents with you. If you don’t feel comfortable bringing the originals with you, take a photo of them or have a PDF scan on your phone. Just make sure a stranger isn't able to unlock your phone.

  • Credit card/Debit card

  • Cash (foreign and domestic)

  • Phone number of your bank if you need to lock (or unlock) your card

  • Consider bringing a bum bag to keep all your things in (all the hipsters are doing it)

  • ID cards: Identity card and/or passport

  • Driver's license (if you have one)

  • Student card (if you have one)

  • Health insurance card and, if necessary, proof of health insurance abroad

  • Any medical prescriptions (in case you need them)

  • Train ticket or plane ticket

  • Hotel confirmation (with the address on it)

  • Visa (if required)

  • Maps if you need one—I’d recommend downloading an offline map of whatever you’re visiting

2. Toiletries

For toiletries, of course, it's all about what you need and what you use—everyone has their own routine. We've listed a few basic things that most of you will want to carry in your luggage. But no matter what you bring with you, please remember that in your carry-on bag you can only carry bottles with a capacity of 100 ml and you must put them in a transparent zip bag. Don’t be that person in the security queue.

  • A zippered toiletry bag

  • Shower (shampoo, conditioner, shower gel)

  • Razor (the disposable ones usually make it through security, but double check w/ your airline to make sure)

  • Deodorant

  • Toothbrush and paste

  • Moisturiser (hand, face, body)

  • Sun protection (We’re pirates against skin cancer. Check here for some tips)

  • Lip balm

  • Cotton swabs

  • Brush/comb

  • Hand sanitiser

  • A towel (best ones are microfibre towels - they dry quick)

3. Clothes

Most of us often take too much in your bags. Pack only the bare essentials and spare yourself the unnecessary weight. Most city breaks are for a weekend or a little more, but even if you are travelling for more than a week, you often do not need more than a few days worth of clothes. No matter where you are in the world, you'll almost always have the opportunity to wash - even if it's only in a hotel sink. Your wardrobe may vary depending on the season, but make sure you always wear comfortable, broken-in shoes!

  • Trousers, shorts/skirt (or a kilt if you’ve joined the tartan army)

  • Belt (if required)

  • 2x T-shirts and long sleeve tops

  • Pullover (worth having for a cold flight)

  • Rain jacket

  • Underwear

  • Socks

  • Pyjamas

  • Sunglasses

  • Hat (For warmth in winter or to shade the sun in summer)

  • 2 pairs of comfortable (!) shoes

  • Flip-flops (for the shower or the beach)

4. Cosmetics & utensils

  • A hair scrunchy

  • Make-up and make-up remover

  • Feminine hygiene products

  • Contact lenses + accessories

5. Travel items

  • Sleep mask

  • Water bottle you can refill

  • Combination lock for your luggage (especially important if you are in the hostel)

  • Book or magazine (Here’s some inspiration)

  • Glasses (if you need them to read your new book)

6. Technology & accessories

Technology make seem like a luxury but having Google Maps on hand is an essential part of any city tripper's itinerary for a weekend break. Avid amateur photographers will also want their camera on hand. Charging these devices is also of course necessary, so make sure to bring an adaptor if it's needed.

  • Mobile phone + charger

  • Powerbank + charging cable (Definitely recommend for longer trips)

  • Headphones

  • Adapter for the socket

  • Camera + battery, charging cable u. SD card

  • Possibly laptop or tablet + charging cable

7. A travel first-aid kit

There's nothing is worse than being unwell while travelling, so pack a few medical essentials for your trip. What you need depends, of course, on your destination and the season (for example, if you need mosquito spray). But first think about your individual medications, especially those you need to take regularly.

  • Personal medication

  • Wound and blister plaster

  • Pain and fever remedies

  • Something to calm a gippy tummy

  • Allergy pills (possibly nasal spray and eye drops)

  • Ointment

  • Mosquito repellent

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