What to pack for a city trip: The perfect city trip packing list!
A city trip is a lot of fun! Packing your backpack or suitcase is less fun. At least that's how we feel. To make packing easier in the for you, here is our packing list for city trips.
Since traveling is part of our job, we now have a pretty good routine when packing and unpacking.
When we go on a city trip within Europe, we prefer to travel only with hand luggage, so of course our packing list for the city trip has been optimized accordingly.
Our city trip packing list is ideal for trips during the relatively warm months from April to October.
In winter, of course, you will need warmer clothing, but otherwise the contents of our bags will remain the same.
We won’t just tell you what we have with us, we’ll also give you some extra advice on great travel gadgets and accessories.
Backpack or suitcase?
On city breaks we only take hand luggage with us, that we have already told you. The first question that comes up: Do we take a hand luggage backpack or a hand luggage suitcase with us?
For a long time we have only been traveling with a backpack, but in the meantime we have also become very fond of our trolley cases. Both definitely have their advantages and disadvantages.
If you are not sure whether you prefer to travel with a backpack or a suitcase, we have listed some advantages and disadvantages of both options.
Advantages of a trolley case
- You can pack pretty neatly.
- Your back is clear, i.e. no sweating and no strain.
- You don’t look like a backpacker.
Disadvantages of a trolley case
- Usually heavier due to their basic weight.
- Rather impractical on rough terrain.
- You don’t have your hands free.
- Easier to steal.
Advantages of a backpack
- You’ve got your hands free.
- You always carry it close to you and it cannot be stolen so easily.
- Its own weight is usually very low.
- No matter how impassable the terrain, you always get from A to B comfortably.
Disadvantages of a backpack
- You sweat on your back when it’s warm.
- You always look a bit like a backpacker, even if you’re not one at all.
A trolley is great for you if you don’t have to have to walk long distances. If you usually take a taxi from the airport to your hotel and want to come across a bit more professionally, then a trolley bag is the best alternative.
If you know that you have to walk from A to B with your luggage, you like to have your hands free and you don’t mind the backpacker touch, then a backpack is the right thing for you.
In the meantime we have found the perfect backpack for us and the perfect trolley case for us and always decide spontaneously which of the two we take with us.
Our backpack: Blok Large by Pinqponq
After a lot of trial and error we have finally found the perfect backpack for us. The Pinqpong Blok Large has a capacity of 40 litres, has hand luggage dimensions and also looks really good.
Pinqponq is a German backpack label and the very best: The backpack is mostly made of recycled PET bottles.
The backpack is also practical, of course, which is the most important thing after all. You can open the backpack completely at the front and stow your things neatly inside.
With many backpacks, you can often only get in from above. This quickly creates chaos in the backpack when you need something from the bottom.
We love the Pinqpong backpack and don’t want to give it away anymore.
Our hand luggage trolley: Horizn Model M
By now we have not only found the perfect backpack for us, but also the perfect trolley. We actually discovered the Horizn Model M by accident while strolling through the streets of Berlin.
Suddenly there was this shop that sold nothing but suitcases. We were instantly thrilled by the trolleys and took them right away. Horizn is indeed a Berlin brand and the cases are hard to beat in style and functionality.
They look really great and are super functional, especially if you travel a lot with your laptop and other equipment.
The laptop compartment in the front is very practical and the best thing about it: the trolley has an integrated power bank with which you can charge your mobile phone, tablet or camera on the go. Ingenious!
You can also remove the power bank and put it in your photo bag or handbag when out and about.
Which documents should you pack?
Of course, you shouldn’t forget any of these documents when you are going on a city trip:
- ID card or passport port
- Health insurance card (within the EU)
- Insurance Certificate International Health Insurance (online)
- Credit Card
- Airline/train tickets
- Reservation confirmation for your hotel (online)
- Other reservations for e.g. a booked rent-a-guide tour
Our advice for your city trip
We don’t really have a lot of printed documents with us, but we have digital copies of everything on our Google Drive.
Our passports and credit cards are most important to us, everything else is replaceable or it won’t be that bad if it gets lost or stolen.
With the right credit card you can save a lot of money. Check with your bank how much it will cost you to use your credit card abroad.
Packing list travel accessories: Our must-have travel accessories
These gadgets make traveling and packing easier
Now we introduce you to some very useful utensils that make traveling and packing a lot easier.
Our packing organizers
To be honest, before we started traveling we didn’t even know that there was such a thing as packing organizers.
But inevitably we had to deal with how we could optimize our luggage. With packing organizers you can sort the luggage in your backpack.
We have three different sized travel organizers per backpack and depending on the destination we take the ones we need with us.
For example, we have more clothes for Europe than for Asia, so we have the big and the small packing bags with us. For Asia the small and the medium-sized organizers are better suited.
Each of us also has two packing pouches. We use one of them to store our shoes and the other one for worn clothes. This works really well and the rummaging around in the backpack has finally come to an end.
Jenny has been looking for the perfect travel pillow for months. During our six months in Asia she didn’t have one with her and really regretted it.
Sleeping on a different pillow all the time is an absolute horror for her as a belly sleeper. Either the pillows are much too high, too hard or in the worst case, too high and too hard.
It’s just not fun not to be able to fall asleep because you try to sleep on the folded towel or fleece jacket or wake up with a stiff neck.
Well, you can probably imagine what it looks like to sleep on a 30 cm high pillow as a belly sleeper. Admittedly, it certainly looks funny, but it’s less fun.
In any case, she is now super happy with her travel pillow. So this tip is for those who can understand Jenny’s problems and want to increase their comfort factor for sleep while travelling.
Plastic zipper bags for documents & liquids
We used to carry Ziplock bags to store documents or liquids.
However, these are more suitable for storing food. After a short time, the zipper broke or the bag was torn. Annoying, and not very sustainable, because we constantly had to replace the old bags with new ones.
So, we switched to a little more durable zipper bags. These are much more stable than the Ziplock bags and so far we haven’t broken any.
Packing list safety & protection
What you can do for safety when traveling
We are not really safety fanatics, but a certain minimum of safety is still very important to us.
Our favorite safety gadget is our travel safe, which we take with us wherever we go. At the beginning we thought for a long time whether we should take it with us or not, but now we are really glad that we decided to take it along.
With our laptops and our cameras we have of course some valuable technology with us, but just as valuable are things like our passports, credit cards or cash.
Many accommodations don’t have a safe and even if they do, it’s usually such a witty little safe that isn’t attached anywhere and fits well under your arm.
If you don’t know the Pacsafe yet: The Pacsafe is a wire reinforced bag that can be tied to a fixed object with a steel cable and a combination lock.
Of course, any professional thief can cut the wire rope with the right tool. Most thefts, however, are done on occasion, and it is such thefts that we can prevent with our portable safe.
A good advice is also a household insurance with travel coverage. This means that the things that are normally in your insured household are also insured when you travel.
So if someone steals your camera from your locked hotel room, your household insurance covers the damage. Of course, you should always read the fine print to find out when and what is covered by the household insurance.
Just check your insurance documents to see if you have such an travel coverage and what the conditions are.
Packing list clothes for city trips: This is what we pack
Basti’s clothes for 5 days
Jenny’s clothes for 5 days
Tips for packing clothes: Quality instead of quantity
Light packing means packing only the clothes you really need. Everything you want to pack “just for safety” stays at home. This is probably the part that many people fail to do.
We can only motivate you here to try it at least once. In fact, it’s quite liberating not to have tons of clothes with you and it also has many advantages.
And be honest with yourself: How many clothes have you taken with you on holiday, only to take them home again, because you didn’t put them on once? Yes, exactly! Quite a few.
We always pack clothes for about a week, no matter if we travel for a week, a month or half a year. Everywhere in the world you will find either a laundry service, a laundromat for washing yourself or, in case of need, a sink.
So, what is most important is what you pack. Try to choose your clothes so that you can combine many pieces. In Jenny’s case, for example, a dress that she can wear over a warmer pair of tights, and in Basti’s case, for example, two sweaters for different temperatures, which he can simply put on top of each other if necessary.
Especially important for a perfect city trip in Europe is a good jacket. Jenny has chosen a light but wind- and water-repellent jacket from Fjällräven.
The best shoes for your city break
We always have the following shoes with us on our city breaks:
When it’s really warm, we like to wear flip flops.
Which shoes belong on the packing list for a city break?
Very important: Comfortable shoes! A city trip with uncomfortable shoes is not an option. The choice of your shoes is essential for a successful city trip.
Which shoes are right depends a little on the temperatures at your destination. In Asia we are mostly only on the road with flip flops, but on a city trip in Europe we usually wear sturdy shoes.
Jenny swears by her Nike Free, which is not only super comfortable, but also very light and breathable. As often as possible, she does without sturdy shoes and swings into her Birkenstock.
But beware: Birkenstock are the most comfortable sandals once they have been worn in, but please don’t come up with the idea of taking a brand new pair of Birkenstocks with you on a city trip. This is guaranteed to cause blisters and pain.
If you don’t like to walk around barefoot in a hotel or hostel or stay in an accommodation with a shared shower, we recommend that you take flip flops with you.
Packing list technical equipment
Our packing list of technical equipment is certainly not quite representative, as we really have a lot on it. If you don’t have to work on your city break, which we hope you won’t, then you won’t need much of it.
Our tips for technical equipment during city trips
We both resisted a Kindle for a long time because we are already a little old school. Basti still fights very persistently against it and prefers to pack a real book made of paper. Jenny has now decided for the Kindle for space reasons and is very happy with it. But with travel guides we are both stubborn and only travel with paper travel guides.
A multiple USB charging plug is also incredibly practical. It always annoyed us that we had four different charging plugs with us. Now we can charge five devices at the same time at our multiple charging plug and charging is really fast.
Packlist camera equipment: Our camera equipment for city trips
Our travel photo equipment also takes up a lot of space. You can certainly manage with less.
Cameras & Lenses
What photo equipment do you need?
As travel photographers, our camera equipment is of course very important to us. But you should also take a look at your camera equipment as a hobby photographer or holiday snapshot maker.
We recommend that you simply make your own camera equipment packing list so that you don’t accidentally forget your memory card or spare battery.
If you are still looking for the right camera for you, we can recommend our article Camera buying guide.
You might also be interested in these links:
Packing list for toiletries: These are the hygiene products we pack
For many travelers, there is certainly a great deal of optimization potential here. We have really reduced our bathroom products to a minimum:
Packing list travel health kit: What we pack
For a city trip you certainly don’t need a huge travel pharmacy, because there are actually pharmacies all over the world. Nevertheless, we always have a little something with us:
What are your packing tips for city breaks?
What are your experiences? Do you also travel with hand luggage? What are your tips? Do you have any questions that we might be able to answer? We are looking forward to your comment.