Ultimate City Break Packing Guide for Women: Top Tips & Hacks

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Are you wondering what to pack for a city break? Pre-planning your city break packing will enable you to pack smarter and travel lighter.

The key to great city break packing is to look stylish whilst not overpacking and saving space in your luggage.

City break packing can be a challenge – especially for women. You want to be prepared for all scenarios – unpredictable weather, spontaneous adventures and romantic dinner dates, all while keeping your luggage light and easy to manage.

City break packing guide for women

As a travel journalist, I’m always on the road and need to travel light so that I don’t have to drag loads of luggage around on work trips.

As I’ve travelled to over 70 countries, I’ve picked up various packing tricks and hacks that can help you travel better and not be weighed down by unnecessary luggage items.

If you want to pack smarter and travel lighter, read this comprehensive guide and also download my Travel Goals podcast episode on packing.

Let me help you pack smarter and ensure you have all the essentials for your next city break adventure.

City break packing essentials

If you’re flying to your city break destination, buy a cabin bag that meets the airline bag size and weight requirements.

Airlines enforce strict regulations on carry-on luggage dimensions, so check your free and paid bag allowances.

packing list for city break

Another good starting point when curating your packing list is to consider the length of your trip and plan how many outfits and toiletries you will need based on that length.

This bumper packing guide contains some of my favourite and recommended travel products. It will help you determine what you must pack for your next trip.

Weekend city break packing list

Packing lists and travel planning go hand in hand. Once you know what destination you are visiting, what the weather will be like and what activities you might like to do, you’ll have a clear idea of what you need to pack.

We discuss how to pack smarteron my travel podcast – Travel Goals. Subscribe now and catch up on all episodes.

Subscribe to the Travel Goals Podcast now

packing list city break

Some of my favourite city break packing hacks include:

  • Buy a small and compact cabin bag with double-spinner wheels
  • Wear your heaviest clothes to the airport
  • Use compression packing cubes to save space
  • Pack laundry bags to separate dirty clothes
  • Bring travel-sized toiletries rather than full-size
  • Use an electronic organiser for all your chargers
  • Use a travel-size luggage scale to weigh your luggage before check-in

City Break Luggage

A small, lightweight carry-on bag is smart for a weekend city break. Reduce the amount you pack by only taking hand luggage, saving time packing and money on baggage fees.

You’ll be able to breeze around the airport and to your destination without being weighed down by 25kg of luggage.

When planning a city break trip abroad, it’s important to check the luggage restrictions of the airline you are flying with.

Budget airlines often chop and change their luggage policies [I’m looking at you, Ryanair]. So you should always check your baggage allowance before you fly.

Cabin Luggage suitcases

The Cabin Max Travel Hack Cabin Suitcase and the Travel Hack Hybrid are great cabin bags for short city breaks and weekend getaways.

The Travel Hack Cabin Suitcase has a 28-litre main compartment with built-in packing straps and handy zipped internal pockets to help you separate and organise your luggage.

For female travellers, it also has an integrated compartment designed to hold your handbag as you go through the airport.

The Travel Hack 30L Hybrid is suitable for most major airlines and perfectly sized to avoid EasyJet’s new hand luggage charges for hand luggage bags over 45x36x20cm.

City Break Backpack

Check out the Cabin Max Memphis 30L Backpack for a stylish city break backpack.

Carefully designed to comply with the new ‘free’ under-seat cabin bag rules of airlines like EasyJet and Wizz Air, the Memphis is stylish and saves you money by avoiding cabin bag charges. 

Compact yet surprisingly roomy, this swish backpack has a large 24L internal capacity with a built-in packing compression zone system for smartly squashing clothes down. 

Packing pros will love the selection of pockets for storing tech, travel essentials, water bottles and chargers.

There’s even a discrete rear ‘secret’ pocket to stash passports and documents to reduce travel stress safely. 

Packing Cubes

Organise your packing system with travel packing cubes that allow you to sort your laundry from fresh clothes and separate your shoes from your underwear.

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Layout all your travel items before putting them in your case, and then group them into clothes, underwear, gadgets, toiletries, etc.

If you put them into separate packing cubes, you will be super organised when arriving at your destination and can hit those city streets much faster.

Travel Document holder

A travel documents wallet is essential for any globetrotter, and a good one should organise all your IDs and tickets neatly.

These small wallets are designed to hold essential travel documents such as passports, boarding passes, visas, credit cards, and ID cards, keeping them safe, secure, and easily accessible.

My favourite document holder is the Lifeventure Mini Travel Wallet. It’s an eco-friendly, zipped travel wallet with 7 card slots and an external zipped pocket.

This stylish wallet is made for travel and holds passports, a smartphone, tickets, boarding passes, and more.

City Break clothes packing list for women

To save space, I often pack smart casual clothes that can be dressed up and down with scarves, jewellery and accessories, depending on the occasion.

When packing for your city break, try limiting yourself to a selection of versatile pieces that you can mix and match to create various looks.

Going on a short city break and wondering what to pack? Pre-planning your city break packing will enable you to pack smarter and more efficiently while still looking stylish.

capsule wardrobe for a city break

Pip and the City

A capsule wardrobe for a city break packing is a smart and efficient way to travel light while still looking fabulous.

The concept revolves around selecting a limited number of versatile clothing items that can be mixed and matched to create outfits suitable for different occasions during the trip.

For a 3-day city break, a well-curated capsule wardrobe might include a pair of classic dark-wash jeans or trousers, a couple of comfy yet chic tops, and a versatile dress that can be dressed up or down.

packing list for city break

Guide to Rome | City of legends, ruins and romance

Also, a lightweight blazer or jacket can elevate any outfit while providing an extra layer for a cooler evening.

Wear your heaviest clothes/shoes to the airport to save space!

What clothes to pack for a 3 day city break

  1. Tops:
    • T-shirts or blouses: 3
    • Light jumper or cardigans: 1
  2. Bottoms:
    • Jeans: 1
    • Shorts or skirts: 1 (if the weather is warm)
  3. Dresses or jumpsuits: 1
  4. Outerwear:
    • Jacket or blazer: 1
    • Light, packable raincoat: 1
  5. Sleepwear:
    • Pyjamas: 1
  6. Underwear:
    • Underwear sets: 4-5
    • Bras: 2
  7. Socks: 3 pairs
  8. Shoes:
    • Comfortable walking shoes: 1 pair
    • Dressy sandals or flats: 1 pair
  9. Swimwear: 1 swimsuit/bikini
  10. Accessories:
    • Scarf or shawl: 1
    • Sunglasses: 1
    • Hat or cap: 1
    • Handbag or crossbody bag: 1

City break Coat

Try packing a neutral-coloured, versatile coat or jacket that will go with all your outfits. You can also wear it to the airport if you’re flying and save on packing space.

If you visit a city during the spring or summer, you might get away with packing a nice blazer, lightweight trench coat, denim jacket or khaki jacket.

A high quality winter coat is one of the most important items when visiting a cold destination for your city break.

You want to stay snug when rocking around a city in the winter.

Want winter packing tips? Check out my Winter holiday packing list article for tips on packing in cold climates. 


Vicar's Close Wells

Dresses are ideal for spring and summer city breaks as they are light to pack, easy to roll and can be dressed up with accessories.

If you pack 1-2 dresses max for your short city break trip, you can always add a jacket, cardigan and accessories to your cool ‘city girl’ look.

Travel fashion Accessories

You can always pack a few lightweight and bold accessories to add to your mix-and-match city break outfits. 

It’s essential to pack the right travel fashion accessories that strike a balance between style and practicality while still travelling light.

Here are some of the accessories I pack on a city break:

  • Chic Crossbody Bag: Opt for multiple compartments to organise your essentials. Look for a design that complements your outfit, and ensure it’s spacious enough to hold your wallet, phone and essentials.
  • Fashionable Scarf: A lightweight scarf adds a touch of elegance to your outfit and comes in handy during unpredictable weather or chilly evenings.
  • Sunglasses: Shield your eyes from the city’s bright lights with stylish sunglasses. Opt for classic shapes that suit your face and can be paired with different outfits.
  • Wide-brimmed Hat: Stay chic and protected from the sun’s rays with a wide-brimmed hat.
  • Minimalist Jewellery: Keep your accessories simple with a few minimalist jewellery pieces.
  • Reusable Shopping Tote: For days spent exploring local markets, carry a compact shopping tote that folds up into your main bag.

City break toiletries

My advice is to pack small and smart when it comes to city break toiletries. Instead of buying full-size shampoo, conditioner, and body wash, I use shampoo bars and Refillable travel bottles.

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They are much smaller than normal-sized bottles and can be used repeatedly.

For a 3-day city break, I would aim to pack these travel sized-toiletry essentials:  

  • Toothpaste
  • Deodorant
  • Moisturiser
  • Body wash
  • Shampoo and conditioner
  • Hairbrush
  • Travel size makeup and remover
  • Travel-sized perfume

Reusable water bottle

Save money and reduce plastic waste by travelling with a reusable water bottle on your next city break. 

I love the Bambaw Steel Water Bottle. It has a minimalist design with stainless steel and a sleek bamboo lid. In many European cities, you can fill your water bottle at airports, cafes, and train stations.

City Break travel tech

There are a few travel tech essentials that you can pack to enhance your city beak.

Try to think about the pieces you will need the most and what your most lightweight items of travel technology are.

Here are some of the tech essentials to pack:

  • Portable power bank
  • Lightweight laptop or tablet with charging cable
  • Compact camera
  • Bluetooth headphones
  • Kindle for on-the-go reading
  • Universal travel adapter to charge your devices
  • Smart luggage tags for easy bag identification

Tech Accessory Organiser

A travel tech organiser is a game-changer for properly packing cables and small electronic items like memory card readers.

Say goodbye to tangled cables and neatly sort your cables in a handy travel organiser.

I love the tomtoc Electronic Organizer for keeping all my travel tech organised and neatly packed on the road.

This sturdy organiser is made from water-repellent, eco-friendly polyester fabric and has 13 pockets to store cables, everyday gear, or travel essentials.

Bluetooth headphones

Wireless headphones are ideal for a city break; they pair with your device, are lightweight, and you can wave goodbye to tangled cables.

If you are in a new city, you can use them to navigate. Simply connect them to your device and use Google Maps to explore the city.

I love these Bluetooth Soundcore True Wireless Earbuds for listening to music and podcasts on a city break.

They have 10 hours of battery life on a single charge, with a case that extends it to 30 hours.

You can also use the Soundcore app to customize the controls and choose from 22 EQ presets. Another awesome feature is ‘Find My Earbuds,’ where a lost earbud emits noise to help you locate it.

Pack a Kindle

city break travel tech Kindle

I’m an avid reader and love nothing better than reading at an airport, on a train, or in a busy city coffee shop. It’s probably my favourite thing to do.

If you are travelling light, then make sure to pack a Kindle reading device and have a vast library of e-books in a single device.

The new Kindle Paperwhite is lightweight, has a much longer battery life, and is waterproof! So you can take it to the pool or the beach without worrying about it getting splashed.

Get audible audiobooks

Love audiobooks? Try Audible for just 99p for 3 months and listen to your favourite books and podcasts on holiday.

Audible offers a diverse collection of audiobooks, podcasts and original content that you can listen to wherever you are/

One of Audible’s key features is its extensive library of audiobooks, spanning a wide range of genres, from classic literature and best-selling novels to self-help, biographies, and educational content.

Audible’s Whispersync for Voice feature seamlessly synchronizes audiobooks with Kindle e-books, allowing users to switch between reading and listening without losing their place in the story.

What Camera to take on a city Break

If it’s not on Instagram, then it never happened. Don’t miss out on making your friends uber-jealous by forgetting to pack a quality camera for your city break snaps.

Here are some top recommendations for the perfect camera to pack for your city adventure:

  1. Sony RX100 series: The Sony RX100 series is a line of premium compact cameras known for their excellent image quality and portability. These cameras feature a 1-inch sensor, which delivers stunning images even in low light conditions.
  2. Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark III: Canon’s G7 X Mark III is another excellent choice for a compact and lightweight camera. With a 20.1-megapixel sensor and a fast f/1.8-2.8 lens, it delivers impressive image quality in various lighting situations. The camera’s flip-up touchscreen is perfect for vlogging or capturing selfies against the backdrop of city landmarks.
  3. Fujifilm X100V: If you’re looking for a superb image-quality camera, the Fujifilm X100V is a top contender. It features a 26.1-megapixel APS-C sensor and a fixed 23mm f/2 lens —a versatile choice for street photography and cityscapes.
  4. Panasonic Lumix LX100 II: This Camera has a large Micro Four Thirds sensor and a Leica-branded zoom lens, offering excellent image quality and versatility.

DJI Osmo Pocket

I love the lightweight DJI Osmo Pocket for taking awesome travel photos and video clips on city breaks.

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DJI Osmo Pocket is a small and mighty camera gimbal that is perfect to use for travel photography and videography on the go.

This tiny camera is just 12cm long and only weighs 112g. Its small size lets you easily take this device anywhere to record videos.

Despite being small, the DJI Osmo Pocket is an impressive 4K 60fps-capable camera with a three-axis gimbal for stabilised video.

If you are serious about travel photography, I recommend investing in a flexible travel tripod, perfect for keeping your camera still for those long-exposure city light shots.

Portable WiFi device

A top tip for Wi-Fi on the go is to use a portable, global Wi-Fi hotspot. Pack a Wi-Fi hotspot that lets you have reliable Wi-Fi on the go and connect multiple devices simultaneously.

Some of the best mobile Wi-Fi routers include:

city break checklist

Some of the most important travel items for your city break checklist include comprehensive travel insurance and travel money if you are going abroad.

Your city break essentials include: 

  • Travel wallet
  • Boarding pass and travel tickets
  • Travel guide book
  • Currency
  • Travel Insurance
  • Copy of your passport if abroad
  • Travel first aid kit
Subscribe to the Travel Goals Podcast now

what to pack for city break FAQ

Q. Should I Create a Packing List for a City Break?

A: Creating a well-organised packing list for your city break is essential to ensure you have everything you need while keeping your luggage light and manageable.

Q: How many outfits should I pack for a city break?

A: It depends on the length of your trip and the activities you have planned. A good rule of thumb is to pack enough clothing for half of your trip and plan to do laundry or wear pieces multiple times.

Q: What type of shoes should I bring on a city break?

A: Comfortable shoes are necessary for a city break, especially if you plan walking. Sneakers, flats, or comfortable sandals are all great options.

Q: Can I bring a large suitcase on a city break?

A: While bringing a large suitcase on a city break is technically possible, navigating through crowded streets or public transportation can be cumbersome and difficult. A smaller suitcase or backpack is usually a better option.

Q: Do I need to pack a travel adapter for my electronics?

A: If you travel internationally, you will likely need a travel adapter to charge your electronics. Be sure to check the voltage of your electronics to ensure they are compatible with the voltage of the country you visit.

Q: Should I pack travel-sized toiletries?

A: Travel-sized toiletries are a better option for a city break, as they take up less space and are easier to pack. Many hotels also provide basic toiletries, so you may not need to bring full-sized shampoo or body wash bottles.

Q: How can I pack efficiently for a city break?

A: Packing cubes, rolling your clothing, and using vacuum-sealed bags can all help you pack more efficiently. Also, make a packing list to ensure you don’t forget anything important.

Q: What should I pack for a city break during the winter?

A: In addition to warm clothing such as a jacket, hat, and gloves, it’s a good idea to pack layered clothing. This allows you to adjust your clothing based on the temperature and activity level. A warm scarf and comfortable boots are also essential for a winter city break.

Ideas for a City Break Packing List Female?

A: Pack smart with city break essentials like versatile outfits, comfortable shoes, accessories, skincare, and tech gadgets.

Q: What to Pack for a City Break in Autumn?

A: Layer up with stylish fall outfits, cosy scarves, comfy boots, and a lightweight jacket. Pack skincare essentials, a camera and a stylish hat.

Recommended travel resources

Flights: To search for flight deals, check out sites such as Skyscanner, Kayak and Travel Supermarket to compare the costs of flights. My top tip to save money is to fly mid-week and take just hand luggage if possible.

Visas: Use e-Visa for an eTA or ESTA for your trip to the USA, Canada, India, Egypt, Vietnam, Australia, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Cambodia or New Zealand. They have clear explanations and friendly support.

Accommodation: I love a nice boutique hotel on my travel, and I regularly use Booking.com as they have fantastic flexibility and cancellation. I also recommend Trip Advisor and hotels combined for hotel browsing. Additionally, I use Airbnb and TrustedHousesitters for homestays.

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City break packing essentials - The best packing tips for women! The key to great city break packing is to look stylish whilst not overpacking and saving space in your luggage. Pre-planning your city break packing will enable you to pack smarter and more efficiently. Check out these packing tips and product recommendations. #packingtips #citybreak #packing #packinghacks #traveltech
City break packing essentials - The best packing tips for women! The key to great city break packing is to look stylish whilst not overpacking and saving space in your luggage. Pre-planning your city break packing will enable you to pack smarter and more efficiently. Check out these packing tips and product recommendations. #packingtips #citybreak #packing #packinghacks #traveltech

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