How To Pack For A City Break

Yep, it’s time to crack out that PDF again…


Seeing as Mark’s practically used up all of his holiday for the year and we’re only into the fifth month, it looks like weekend-long city breaks are all we’ll be doing till Christmas together and you know what? I ain’t mad about it. City breaks ROCK. I love how you can dip your toe into a completely new place and because time is precious we end going all out; touring round museums, green spaces and eating like bloomin’ royalty for breakfast, lunch and dinner. My legs feel like they’re about to fall off by the end of it because of all the walking, but overall it’s great. One thing it’s taken me a while to do though is to get used to not taking a large amount of stuff with me. You just don’t need it! Time is precious and so the less you have, the quicker it is to get ready in the morning which means more time at the breakfast buffet. So today I’ve collated my top packing tips when it comes to whistle-stop tours and a new packing PDF for you. HELL YEAH. Scroll down to the bottom of this post to find it and get ready to switch the printer on…


Check The Weather. It’s an obvious one, but one I’ve failed at too many times that now I start checking the weather a bloomin’ month before we go. New York served us up a curveball this time, but I always think there’s nothing wrong with packing both an umbrella and sunglasses and going in heavy with the layering pieces. This time round I completely failed and ended up buying a scarf whilst we were out there – dammit NYC! – so all future trips to places that have the tendency to be a little chilly at times will definitely have one of these. It’s a massive one so it came in really handy on the flight home too *adds scarf to packing list*.

Comfy Shoes + Roomy Bag = All You Need. I often pack multiple pairs of shoes and multiple pairs of bags and then just end up wearing the same pair and same bag for the duration of my trip. As long as your shoes are comfy (I love good ol’ Converse), and you’ve got a slightly fancier pair for the evenings, then you can toss the rest of your shoe choices back in the cupboard. When it comes to bags, something that’s cross-body (good security kids!), light, goes with all your outfits and is able to pack in all your essentials like your phone, purse and camera, is all you need.

A Couple Of Things I Do. When I make it to my destination I never properly unpack. I know – hear me out on this one. I do unpack my toiletries, anything that needs hanging and my shoes and bag choice for the trip – just so they’re out and ready to go. But I don’t unpack the rest and instead just zip open my suitcase each morning to get ready. It makes re-packing at the end of the trip a breeze, plus I’m less likely to leave anything in the hotel room (remember to check under the bed and the wardrobes before you go!).


Pack Some Totes. You know I love a good tote. They’re kind of my collecting weakness, much like vases because I am my mother’s daughter. Totes on holiday come in so darn handy though, not only do I use them for packing dirty clothing and shoes in my suitcase, they’re great if you decide to pick up some groceries whilst you’re away or if you need to take out a couple more things with you one day that won’t fit into your bag. They double up as a beach bag or a gym bag too. Basically throw some in and I bet you you’ll end up using them in some shape or form.

Things You Don’t Need To Bring. There are a couple of items that I always end up bringing and never end up using, especially on a city break where time is slightly more lacking than that on a more relaxing jaunt. You never really need a hairdryer – hotel ones and even ones in airbnb’s often suffice. The same goes for hair styling tools – I can never be arsed to use them once I’m away. I always bring an iPad and never end up using it. Then for some reason there’s always one pair of shoes that aren’t really that comfortable and so never make the cut – save the space and leave them at home. If they aren’t like wearing slippers, you’ll never wear them on a city-break.

Leave Some Space. The classic. City breaks are notoriously good for shopping and so it’s always wise to leave a little spare space in your case on departure. Even if you don’t shop whilst you’re away it’s a good idea anyway as your posessions will secretly grow behind your back when you’re not looking and re-packing everything into your suitcase on the way back will be disproportionately harder than it needs to be. FACT.


So there you have it. If you’re going on a city break anytime soon, then you might wish to have a quick look at this packing PDF. I’ve edited down my original packing guide to be a little more streamlined for quick trips, so there’s no bumf here – just things that you really, actually need. Print it out, tick it off, pack like a pro. Bon voyage! 

Photos by Mark Newton & yours truly



  • Jessica Sutherland

    Great post!! I never fully unpack on a city break either and I agree with your point about shoes and bags. I feel like you always learn from your mistakes with packing for city breaks and holidays x

  • Whenever I don’t unpack, I end up wearing the same outfit over and over and gorget abou the rest.

    Linda, Libra, Loca: Beauty, Baby and Backpacking

  • Rachel

    I definitely don’t unpack either! To be honest, it probably started because I was lazy, but now I really don’t see the point, especially for short trips where I’m hardly in the room anyway. I always forget tote bags and really regret it.

  • ella ryder

    Great tips, I’m planning on doing some city breaks this year so I’ll be referring back to this post!xx

  • I am actually obsessed with your PDF! I honestly couldn’t travel without it anymore! Xxx

  • I’ve become the biggest fan of city breaks lately. Last year I moved from the north of Denmark to Amsterdam, which is basically in the heart of Europe and I take every opportunity that I get to go explore all the beautiful cities in Europe (:
    Camilla |

  • Epic!! This post comes just in time for a trip to Canada! Not exactly a weekend city break but still that PDF will come in handy!

    Thanks for sharing and happy travels!


  • elisha mae

    Super handy advice! Definitely going to print off the PDF on my next trip.

    Elisha-Maé |

  • Laura Torninoja

    I love the PDF! I have a few long weekends planned for this year so I’m definitely going to need this – thanks for sharing! x

    Laura // Middle of Adventure

  • I’ve gotten much better at packing light over the last few years. I have to thank traveling for work regularly a couple years back for that. I’ve learned what pieces to always bring and what to leave at home. Layers are key and neutrals are key! Having pieces that are versatile is always a big win for me!

    Brittany |

  • Love all these tips!
    I hope you had a great time in NYC!
    Izzy |

  • A tote bag is such a great shout, they’re good for walking around and dirty laundry! I don’t go anywhere without one. Looking forward to the city guides that will hopefully come from these long weekends!

    – Natalie

  • Kathryn

    This is so useful as I’m about to go on my own city break this weekend. Thanks for sharing some really useful tips Anna!
    xx Kathryn

  • Lee-Anne Stewart

    Great post. I also have used up most of my leave and budget on our long haul trip in January so we will just be having a couple of short weekend breaks and enjoying time at home. If we go by car I end up packing the kitchen sink but we have a 2 night trip by plane in August so going to really be strict and do by hand luggage only.
    In January I used packing cubes for everything for the first time – so removed some of the cubes from my case but not the items from the cubes, Made repacking so much easier!

  • Great packing tips!!

  • Today Souhaila

    lovely post,full of good tips and so helpful x

  • Antonia

    Been loving your content lately, this is so helpful and great pictures as always! I just printed out your PDF for my Copenhagen Trip later this month. Thanks a lot xx

  • Great tips here! I love the idea of taking totes with you, I’m definitely going to a pack on my next adventure 🙂


  • I have been wanting to go to new york for so long!! Its been like three years since I have been there and this posts just makes me want to jump on a plane and go there!!

  • Lisa Autumn

    Your photography is ON POINT anna!

    xx Lisa |

  • I love that headboard and will have to pin it, if you don’t mind! I’m planning on making one in the next week and it’s so unique!

  • Sara

    I love this. Always refer to your checklists now when I’m going away!

  • Really useful tips since in two days i have to pack for my next trip
    Miki xx

  • I just unzip my suitcase for what I need each morning too, much easier! I think a lot of people probably do that also.

  • Sarah M

    YAAAAS! I love your packing PDF because I’m such a hopeless overpacker.
    Whenever I’m reading your blog post, your “voice” really comes through, so it’s as if I’m listening to you chatting away. Such a delightful experience, I must say… So thank you Anna, for making my day.
    Will you ever visit the Washington DC area? 😀

  • Clara

    Love this! What size do you recommend in that top? Thanks!

  • Sara

    Hi Anna! I’ve searching a double zipped suitcase like yours for a while and I can´t seem to find any (I’m in Mexico which does´t help). Could you please link yours or any recommendation? Maybe add some to your shop section. Thanks! I’ve been catching up on your latest content because I haven´t had much time to watch youtube or read blogs lately and I’m loving everything you are uploading. Hugs from MX

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