How To Pack Like A Rock Star For A European City Break

Pack light, look great!

I love to travel but I hate looking like a tourist. Want to learn how to pack like a rock star and be fab on the go… without needing an entourage to schlep your stuff? Here’s my ultimate guide for packing light for a 3-7 day city break adventure.

Step 1: The Goods 

An artist is only as good as her tools. I prefer wheeled luggage to backpacks because of my tendency toward neck aches and aversion to back sweat. Wheeled luggage does not have to be bulky and cumbersome though. I believe I’ve found myself a piece of wheeled luggage that offers the lightweight maneuverability every girl on the go is looking for.

My Swiss Gear 20 inch spinner has become my go to for all trips great and small. It is regulation carry on sized for most airlines, features a built-in laptop sleeve and expandable zippers just in case you increase your haul on the go. It has put up with a ton of abuse from yours truly over the years and still looks great. It came from Target so not only was it affordable, it will be easy to replace once the time comes.

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Where would I be without a good shoulder bag though? I’m currently in love with Freitag’s Sally bag. Sally is fashionable enough that I’ll be seen with her anywhere in public and tough enough to withstand being my travel sidekick. She’s eco-friendly and made of recycled truck tarpaulins, so even if I spill an entire go-cup of coffee inside her, all I need to do is wipe her down with a damp rag and go.

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What goes inside Sally?

  1. Travelon Zipper Envelope pouch containing my travel documents, passport and Swiss ID card, this way I don’t need to rifle through my bag to find them at customs. They come in sets and they’re so affordable that I pick up extras to organize myself every time I see them on sale!
  2. Zipper pouch containing earplugs (these nifty ones come on a string so you’ll never lose them!) , sleep mask (especially the moulded type that allows for REM sleep by letting your eyes move!), mini toothbrush (I love the kind that folds!) and toothpaste, comb, mini-moisturizer and any medications I need access to.
  3. Ear buds, phone charger, phone, lip balm, wallet
  4. Long flowy scarf
  5. Roll up nylon bag for any extras acquired

If I don’t want to lug Sally around, my go to small/medium sized purse is the Pacsafe City Safe. It’s a good looking bag that is also loaded with cool anti-theft features, making it a great choice for crowded busses, trains and marketplaces.

Step 2: The Threads

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When it comes to your travel day ensemble, don’t be afraid to embrace the leggings as pants trend. 

When packing, think about lightweight clothes made of wicking material. You’ll get more bang for your buck out of wool, silk or synthetic blends that wash and dry quickly, don’t wrinkle, and won’t hold on to smells as much as cottons do. Athletic clothes that look cool paired with street clothes will work twice as hard for your travel wardrobe too.

On Top:

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Tunics and tees in a limited color palate are this girl’s BFFs on the road..

1-2 Soft and comfy Tunic style dress. My go to one is by Desigual because it never wrinkles, rolls up tight, and still looks good after logging roughly a zillion miles. Pick a color palate if you’re into that sort of thing. Mine is usually red, black and white.

2-3 comfy T-shirts, preferably at least 1 made of wicking material. Smartwool  does attractive looking wool base layer shirts that look just as good on the trails as they do at a bar with jeans and a cute necklace.

2 lightweight tanks for layering

1 oversized tee for lounging, I love my favorite black band tee for this!

2 bras, Freya does bras that are lightweight, pretty and durable, but of course, bra choice is a personal matter!

1 sports bra, Marika does a nice strappy low impact bra.

1-2 top layers, like a cardigan or zip up pullover, I can’t live without my Icebreakers zip up!

Warm and Water resistant outer layer

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Biker chick or ski bunny? Both looks will keep you warm and dry…

I’m a big fan of a black pleather moto jacket, but in colder weather a good fleece and puffer vest packs down small in your luggage and can keep you just as warm as a big parka without the bulk.

And who can forget hats!? Hats are an essential part of any girl on the go’s travel wardrobe. They keep your nut nice and warm, the sun out of your eyes, the rain off your head and conceal a bad hair day with nobody’s business. Forget your umbrella and throw on a hat!

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Hats for all seasons! For fall I’m a big fan of a newsboy cap. For summer it’s all about a whimsical cloche and for winter you can’t beat a classic wool beret. 

Oh and how could I forget sunglasses?

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Save your eyes and hide your hangover with a huge ass pair of sunnies. Even more fun if they’re in a color that totally conflicts from your travel palate!

On the Bottom

1 Pair skinny black yoga leggings. These are comfy in transit under said tunic style top and can do double duty for any sporty endeavor you find yourself in on-location! I’m partial to Athleta’s Metro Leggings. Bonus, if you just need to bust out some Down Dogs during a flight delay… you’re ready!

1-2 pairs of fleece lined or opaque tights (depending on the season). They’ll keep you super warm and stylin’.

1 pair of black skinny jeans with stretch.

3-5 pair of lightweight silk or wool underpants. I’m a big fan of Ibex

3-5 pair of Smartwool socks

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Case in point, comfortable footwear doesn’t have to be Uggo!

1 pair of zip up leather booties. For comfort and style you can’t go wrong with Clark’s!

1 pair of cute sneakers like Keds or Converse. They’re comfortable and they’ll look just as great on the dance floor as they do on a bicycle.

1 pair comfy lounge pants for sleeping and lounging

1 pair of flip-flops

1 moisture hungry  camp towel

Step 3: The toiletries

Forget tracking down the perfect sample sizes. Get yourself some 100 ML travel bottles, any decent camping or sporting good store will carry them, and fill them with your own favorite brands of hygiene products. My favorite method for storing toiletries is to divide them into a few separate Ziploc bags and tuck them into my packed luggage wherever they’ll fit. Throw some hair ties, bobbie pins and a lightweight comb in their too!

As far as makeup and jewelrey goes, I believe that every girl is entitled to feel glam on the road, so please see my guide to packing light with makeup!

Aunt Flo Doesn’t need to slow you down on the go! I never leave home without my Lunette. It packs down into a tiny pouch, takes up way less room than tampons and holds more liquid to boot.

A refillable water bottle. Don’t leave home without it!

Suitcase Tetris:

Everybody’s got their preferred method of packing it all in. Some people are folders. I don’t understand those people. Others swear by rolling things up. I used to be a bundler, I still am sometimes, but recently I’ve become a fan of packing cubes. They allow me to be super organized, and I can segregate clean and dirty items as I go along! Whatever method you choose, happy travels!

This post contains Affiliate Links! What does this mean? When I share my tried and tested favourite travel products and you click on the links or make a purchase, I earn a small amount of money. I only recommend products believe in and have used myself many times. Thank you for supporting The Offbeat Adventuress! 

4 thoughts on “How To Pack Like A Rock Star For A European City Break

  1. Thank you! These are some solid tips! I will have to print this out and set it beside me the next time I go somewhere. I love traveling, but packing is my Kryptonite!

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