What to Pack for a Summer City Break

citybreak in budapest packing

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Packing for a city break can be hard, in most cases, you will be travelling with cabin baggage only and therefore have to fit everything into a small carry on. You will probably want to make sure you have comfortable clothes for exploring during the day plus something a bit more formal to wear out in the evening. I find packing for a summer city break slightly easier than the rest of the year as you do not have to contend with squeezing multiple layers in your case, or worst still wearing all of your layers on the plane but it is still not easy, so here is my go-to packing list for a European city break during the summer months.

A lady standing at view point looking over Budapest, on a city break in Hungary

What to pack for a Summer city break:

First up, I always take my Revelation Jude carry-on case, DJ bought me this around two years ago and it is probably one of my most used items aside from my phone. Not only is it brightly coloured and a suitable size for all major airlines, my favourite feature is that is that each side is its own compartment with a zipped divider, meaning I can easily separate day and evening clothes, or clothes and toiletries for example, also it prevents everything falling out as soon as you open the case.

I also always travel with my Fjallraven Kanken backpack, its a great day pack size for carrying my purse, camera, guidebook, it also comes with a laptop pouch at the back which I use for protecting my Ipad Pro. Fjallraven Kanken bags are known for their back support so I find them perfect for all my adventures, you can currently get some amazing Kanken backpack dupes on eBay at the moment for a fraction of the price, so if the actual backpack is slightly out of your price range I would be thinking about purchasing one of these. I have also recently seen you can now get padded shoulder straps for additional back support, so I will definitely invest in some of them soon.
small comfortable back packs are essential for a summer city break packing list


Skater dresses are your friend, a neutral skater dress can easily dressed up or down making it the perfect clothing item for both during the day or going out for dinner in the evening, they also pack down really small making them perfect for hand luggage.

Again denim shorts are versatile and take up minimal space, for a city break you will probably only need to take one pair which you can mix up with various tops. I will say that it is important to research where you are visiting before had as well if you are visiting Rome and planning on visiting the Vatican while you are there, you do not want to just have shorts and dresses as you will not be allowed in. This is why I love midi-skirts, not only are they light and breezy for hot days, you will be allowed into most places that have a strict dress code, it is important to respect local cultures with how you dress. I am a massive fan of FatFace for pretty midi-skirts.

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a midi skirt is a true summer city break packing essential

Depending on the temperature of your location, you may decide to take jeans with you, jeans take up valuable space, so if I am taking them I will always wear them on the plane, so I am not sacrificing something else for them. I would probably advise taking one pair of jeans with you, most European cities can get cold in the evenings or early mornings, so it best to have them if like me, you feel the cold quite easily.

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When it comes to footwear, I am now at the point in life where comfort always comes before style. On city breaks, it is not unknown for me to walk at least 20km a day, gone are the days where I will wear flats with no arches and spend the next few days nursing sore feet. These days I would much rather wear a comfortable sturdy pair of trainers or walking shoes and enjoy not having a backache. Yes, I am officially approaching thirty. If I have space I will squeeze in a pair of nice sandals but these are strictly restricted just for the evenings when not much walking is involved.

For tops, again go neutral and go for tops that can be worn with either a skirt, shorts or jeans, to avoid overpacking. Again, consider where you are visiting, you may need tops that cover your shoulders in order to visit certain places.
A lady standing in front of the kings cross coloured wall

For toiletries, I now have a dedicated bag filled with my carry-on toiletry containers, meaning I am no longer doing a last minute dash to Superdrug to buy travel-sized minis. Having an allocated set means I can just decanter some of my usual products, saving on money as well as plastic. Once I get home I just leave this inside my case so it is ready to go for next time.

Essentially, packing for a summer city break is easy if you do not over think it. It is easy to get carried away by packing multiple options and various pretty outfits, but I am almost sure you will not end up wearing half of it. A city break for me is all about exploring everything that city has to offer, walking for miles as well as eating lots of good food, add in the combination of the summer heat and I can assure you the main thing on your mind will always be comfort.

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A Helpful summer city break packing guide

1 Comment

  • Milly Youngman
    July 3, 2018 at 2:55 pm

    I live in layers on city breaks! I usually take playsuits, with t-shirts, long-sleeves and tights so I can cover up more as evenings get colder!


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