Three years ago I decided to start packing less and only take with me what I really needed, especially on shorter trips like city trips and weekend getaways. Around the time of my decision, my friends and I were going on a city trip to Paris. As girls do, we discussed what we would pack and when I gave them my list of things, my friends were looking at me like they didn’t think I would be able to survive the weekend.
They started summing up a bunch of things they would bring ‘just in case’. You know, just in case you pour your Coke onto your shirt instead of into your mouth; just in case you sit down on a bench that has just been painted and need another pair of pants or just in case you fall into the Seine and get completely soaked.
It might happen, you know…
Now I have to admit that I used to be like a lot of my friends. I used to pack in such a way that I had an extra of every clothing item I was wearing, medication for every little ailment I might suffer and then some more multifunctional stuff. And although it is true that during a short getaway one of those items might come in handy, they seldom all do.
So now I try to pack following the idea that if I need anything extra while away, I can always buy it there. Hell, it might even be more fun to buy it there! I had to “train” myself to pack like this, but now I've gotten to the point where I sometimes even pack too little. And you know what? That's never been a problem.
What to take on a city trip: my packing tips
Of course, I know that what you pack also depends on how long you'll be gone and what the weather is like at your destination, but I firmly believe in having a “travel essentials kit” will help you a lot in packing light. If you have that, all you need to add are weather and activity appropriate clothes.
To help you get started with traveling light and knowing what to take on a city trip and what to leave behind, I'm sharing what I pack for a two to three-day getaway. As I usually also work when traveling, I do take a lot of electronics with me, which might not even be necessary for you.
My basic travel kit consists of:
- my Jo Totes camera bag for women
- my camera with charger, extra battery and usb-cable for connecting it to my laptop
- paper tissues
- lip balm
- my travel wallet, which is really just a plastic thingy, with money, credit and debet cards, my ID and my driver's license
- clean underwear
- a shirt to sleep in
- my cell phone with charger
- a pen
- toothbrush and toothy tabs
- basic make-up: powder, mascara and an eye pencil
- make-up remover in a tiny little bottle (Hema sells bottles that you can fill yourself with shampoo, shower gel etc and that are small enough to take through security in your hand luggage))
- facial cream (also in a tiny travel bottle)
- my daily medication, but only the amounts I need, not a whole package
- my Eastpak laptop backpack to carry everything
- a hairbrush
- my laptop and its charger
As for clothes, what I pack depends on my destination and the weather there, but I usually won't take more than one pair of pants/three days, two shirts/three days and one cardigan or sweater/three days, unless I know that I'll be doing sweat-provoking activities or will be attending fancy events.
I'll also only pack one pair of shoes, unless whatever I'll be doing at my destination requires special footwear. I'm known to wear Nikes both at conferences (all black, very fancy) and to go hiking. As long as it doesn't pour, they're my favorite shoes to pack.
And that's about it! I might add a few things depending on the trip, but this is really all I take on a short city trip.
How about you? Are you a heavy or a light packer? Do you have trouble deciding what to take on a city trip? Let me know in the comments!