10 Tips for Travelling Light on a European City Break

Paris river cruise
September 5, 2014

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Jetting off for a short break in a European city like Paris, Rome or Barcelona is becoming ever more popular, partly because of the ridiculously cheap flight prices.

Although when you book a cheap flight you’re then usually hit with the “added extra” charge for taking checked baggage. So it’s well worth saving the cash and keeping within the 10 kilo hand luggage limit if you can!

Most of us pack far more than we actually need, so here are the top ways to stay below that magic 10kg:

1. Focus on the essentials

Can I travel without it? Will I cry if it gets stolen? Can I buy it locally? Focus on these questions while you pack; whether it’s for an overnight stay, a long weekend or a longer holiday.

Essentials packing for a european city break

2. Check the airline’s restrictions!

Make sure you know the hand-luggage size and weight limits applied by the airline you’re travelling with, as these can vary. A useful table of the key airlines in Europe and their specific restrictions can be found here.

3. Make sure you have a suitable bag

The choice of bag are endless, and really come down to personal preference, but one with wheels is probably going to be your best friend no matter where you’re heading. The smaller the better is also a good rule to stick to; a smaller bag or case will allow you to hop off the plane and head to your destination quickly, either by easing through public transport or taking advantage of a more compact (and cheaper) hire car.

Carry on baggage

4. Coordinate and complement your clothing

Don’t pack for the worst-case scenario; pack what you actually need. Take clothes that you can layer and be brutal about what you can do without! Pack items that can be worn repeatedly, complement other items, and have multiple uses. Keep colour coordination in mind – neutral colors are extremely versatile and can be dressed up easily with accessories for a romantic dinner cruise or a night out. For flexibility day or night, include the ultimate wardrobe staple – a good pair of jeans!

5. Take a tip from the locals

It’s important to dress in clothing that you feel comfortable in, particularly when it comes to footwear. Do a bit of research on your chosen destination and try to wear something similar to what the locals wear – they’ll be wearing it for a reason!

Top Tip: Find out what you can and can’t wear if you’ll be visiting religious sites.

6. Don’t ignore the liquid restrictions

Decant your products into smaller, flight-friendly containers that you’ll be allowed to take through customs (and will reduce your carry-on weight!). Try to minimise your make-up to the bare essentials like lip balm, eye liner, mascara and face powder. Or, stock up on non-liquid alternatives like face and body wipes, dry shampoo, shaving, soap or perfume bars.

7. Be strict with your electrical accessories

If you’re taking electronic equipment, there will probably be numerous adapters and cables to go with them! Make sure you pack only those you need, including plug adapters, memory cards and batteries, ensuring they are all fully charged.

8. Use clever ways to create more space

Consider investing in a stuff sack, packing cube or organiser, to help keep your belongings tightly packed and well organised. Roll your clothing and hang up any creased items in a steamy bathroom when you arrive.

Roll clothing packing for a european city break

9. Be destination specific

Although these tips above will apply to almost any trip, there will be a few things specific to your chosen destination and the season in which you are travelling. It’s worth considering whether your passport, a waterproof jacket, walking shoes or sunglasses should be included. Anything you aren’t sure about is best left behind; it’s usually easy enough to find a shop to purchase whatever you need if you didn’t pack it. Unless of course you are heading somewhere remote!

10. Still over the limit? Time to re-pack!

Hopefully the tips above will leave you under the 10kg weight limit. However, if you are still struggling, my golden rule is to lay out everything you think you need and then halve it!

Do you have any other tips for travelling light?

About the author

Jade Stutely

Jade is a travel blogger and writer who contributes to a number of sites and regularly shares travel advice and experiences at www.tiggerbird.com. Having visited 66 countries, she writes about her experiences whilst volunteering, getting creative and finding hidden treasures everywhere she goes.