T R A V E L | How to Pack for a City Break

18 February, 2014

In a couple of months I'm off to Marrakech, Morocco for a short break to explore and indulge in the culture. The last time I went on a city break was almost three years ago when I went to Rome, which is a wonderfully charming city alive with a magnificent culture, beautiful architecture and do not even get me started on the food! If you're thinking of visiting Rome, I really recommend it as I fell in love with the city and want to return. I don't think I could ever tire of it's charm. However, there's one tedious and frustrating task we all have to face before we can even step foot on the plane. Yes, it's thats hideous 'P-word': packing! The very thought of it makes me shudder. I can barely pack for a weekend visiting home, let alone a 7 day holiday where the climate is completely different to what I am used to! As the holiday season is fast approaching I thought I'd put together some tips on packing for a city break based on what I learnt from my own trip to Rome.

Of course, there are the ultimate essentials that you double-check, then triple check before you re-check one hundred times that you firmly have packed in your hand luggage:
  • PASSPORT!! (make sure it has at least 6 months validity left or you won't be travelling anywhere)
  • Plane/train tickets and reservation confirmations.
  • Wallet with some money in your destination's currency - how much to take is dependent on where you're travelling to and how expensive it is out there.
  • Debit/credit cards - just in case you run out of money, it's good to have a back-up.
  • Travel insurance forms and medical insurance cards - hopefully you won't need these, but never ever travel without insurance!
  • ID or driver's license - you could also use your passport, but some people prefer to leave their passport locked up in a hotel safe.
  • Phone - if you're worried about losing a smartphone, take a cheap £10 phone with top-up cards. Also, remember to ring up your service provider around a week before you travel to set up roaming so you're able to use your phone abroad!
  • Electrical adapator - EU plug sockets are different to UK ones, so don't be caught out! They only cost around £3 too.
  • Camera - I like to take both a digital camera and a lot of disposable cameras. There's something more exciting about having to wait until you get home to have your holiday snaps developed!
  • Chargers for phone and camera.
  • Maps for your city adventure with pre-circled spots you intend to visit.
  • City guide book - this isn't essential but I've found them useful to have especially if internet access happens to be hard to come across.

After you've got your essentials for your hand luggage in order, it's time to focus on your suitcase. It's important to bare in mind when booking your flight tickets the luggage weight allowance as nothing is worse than being caught out with an over the limit suitcase and having to shell out another £50 or so each way just to bring your suitcase along. I find 20kg is always more than enough, with room to bring back anything you might pick up whilst on holiday! Also, be sure to check the weather of wherever you're travelling a few days before you leave as this will give you an indication of what sort of clothes to pack. When I visited Rome in early July, the temperature was around 45°C, which is pretty warm I tell you! I had packed an array of cardigans and jackets which I simply did not need. Just because you're heading for a city break and not a beach holiday don't assume that the weather will be any cooler. This also leads to making sure you pack another essential which is a high factor sunscreen. Lobster red is not a good look and neither is it good for your health! Don't be fooled by the shade of the buildings in a European city. It's just as easy to burn as it is on the beach! Also, it can lead to sunstroke which can ruin a whole day of your holiday. Believe me, I'm talking from experience here.

Now, I love ridiculous high-platformed shoes as much as the next fashion blogger, but when packing for a city break it's important to make sure your feet are as comfortable as possible! City breaks tend to be more about exploring than relaxing as sight-seeing is the main focus, so make sure you're wearing a comfortable pair of shoes that will not give you blisters! I highly recommend taking a pair of sneakers or old pair of Converse as I could walk around in them for days. Remember, dressing up is for the evenings out to dinner! Also, make sure you bring a small bag that has enough room to carry your daily bits around with you including your wallet, phone, maps and camera. Take care when choosing which bag you take though making sure it has a secure fastening as unfortunately pickpockets tend to target unsuspecting tourists. I always avoid backpacks as I prefer having my bag where I can see and feel it. Across body or bum-bags are ideal in this situation.

As an artist another way to capture my experience is through my drawing so I always pack my sketchbook and some drawing materials. Even if you're not an artist it's still a great way to document your experience abroad! Of course, I cannot forget to mention sunglasses, which as well as keeping you looking stylish are also great for protecting your eyes from harmful UV rays. Toiletries are sometimes supplied at hotels, but not always. Travel size shampoos, conditioners, etc. are perfect for holiday getaways as they don't weigh down your weight allowance. Also, a lot of airports have restrictions on the amount of liquids you can carry, so make sure you double check these before you travel and pack any unnecessarily oversized toiletries. Make sure you plan your outfits in advance rather than over-packing, as you could be wearing up to two outfits a day - one for the day time and one for the evening. Once again, it might be better to wear some things more than once to save on your weight allowance, so get creative with your outfits and recycle them!

I hope this brief guide to packing for a city break has helped anyone going away soon. All this holiday natter has got me eager to jump on a plane right this second! Are you going away on holiday this year?


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  2. Loved this post Leigh, and your pictures from Rome are giving me a serious case of wanderlust! I'm one of these people who either over packs by about two weeks or under packs and ends up with no clothes left to wear by the end of the holiday! I never get the balance right! x


  3. I am so jealous that you are going to Marrakech soon, and that you've been to Rome! Both are on my wish list of places to visit!



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