The ultimate checklist for your city trip luggage

Going on a city trip is so much fun, but packing always seems challenging. Do I have everything? Why isn’t it all going in my suitcase or bag? Do I really need that much underwear?

Because I struggle with those questions myself, I made a list of how I pack my luggage for a city trip. This means this should all fit in a small suitcase and rucksack you can take in the cabin. That is why some things might not seem optimal, like a towel every two days instead of every day, but sometimes you have to choose.

It’s important to know that I created this checklist with myself, a man, in mind. There might be things missing that seem obvious to some. There might be things on this list that have never occurred to you. It’s a good starting point for you to use this list, but of course, feel free to adapt it to your needs and wants.

It’s also important to think about how you’re packing your stuff in advance. Are you checking in a suitcase? Or are you going to use only a small backpack? This also influences what you bring. And how many pieces of clothing you will fit.


As you will probably not walk around naked, I suggest you take some clothes with you. They help you not get arrested for public nudity and can showcase your personality. Two big plusses!

Tip: try not to look too touristy. T-shirts with a location printed do not help with that. Leave that Hard Rock Cafe T-shirt at home too.

Another tip: Use packing cubes to keep your clothes organized during the travel. They are fairly cheap and really help you out packing and organizing.

  • 1 piece of fresh underwear for every day (and take a spare one for every 3 days or so)
    • This includes underpants and socks
  • 1 pair of long pants
  • 1 pair of short pants if you’re going somewhere warmer
  • 1 t-shirt/top for every day (and take a spare one every 3 days)
  • 1 sweater
  • 1 raincoat or jacket, because you never know.
  • An outfit you can go out with. Either partying or fine dining, whatever your vibe is.

Depending on what type of person you are, you don’t need to bring extra shoes apart from the ones you are wearing to your destination. I can recommend having comfortable shoes in any situation.


If you don’t care about your appearance and smell, skip this part. But I’m pretty sure this is rather basic than excessive. So maybe not skip this part and be hygienic. Especially if you stay in a hostel, you don’t want to scare your roommates away.

Make sure to get travel sized versions of all the products too. You don’t need a 2l bottle of shampoo.

  • A toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Deodorant
  • Perfume
  • Hair wax
  • A comb
  • Shampoo and body wash (but only if you’re not going to a hotel that provides those)
  • A towel for every two days (again, only if you’re not going to a hotel that provides those)
  • Your contact lenses and glasses if you need those.
  • A razor, if you don’t put it in your carry-on.


  • Bring a basic apothecary
  • Your prescription drugs
  • Bandages
  • Sun protection
  • Condoms

Personal documents

Some are physical documents you will have to bring with you, like your ID-card. But most of the documents are fine to have just in your mail inbox or on a Google Drive. Make sure you know where they are, though. Perhaps even make them available offline.

  • ID-card or passport
  • Any insurance documentation like health and travel insurances
  • Credit card(s)
  • Tickets and reservation information: train, airplane, hotel, …
  • Bank information to (un)lock your cards

Documenting your trip

  • A camera or a good phone
    • Bring the appropriate chargers
    • Plenty of memory cards
    • Plenty of batteries
    • If needed, extra lenses
  • A power bank
  • Your chargers
  • A notebook to write your experiences in

Prepare your phone

  • Back up and erase old photos to make room
  • Download some music playlists for offline use


  • A magazine or book to read, although you might not have time for that
    • Bringing a Kindle or e-reader is even better if you’re a big reader.
  • A laptop, but only if you really can’t wait to share those photos.
  • Bring a travel adapter (if you’re going intercontinental)
  • Business cards: as a freelancer, you never know who you’ll meet.

Do I forget something? Let me know in the comments below!

Disclaimer: In this article are some affiliate links. This means that, if you buy or book something, I get a small percentage of the fee. This comes with no extra cost to you but helps me run this website.

3 thoughts on “The ultimate checklist for your city trip luggage

  1. My packing is more like: 1 long pants, pyjama, 1 jumper and sports jacket, no go-out outfits. The only towel I take (even when staying in a hotel) is a short-dry towel from tourist shop. I always have shampoo/body gel with me, you never know. 😉 I packed for 2 weeks in Japan in a carry-on daypack (with netbook, camera, smartphone) and I was travelling through half of Japan. The key was to pack similar coloured clothes and wash it every few days.

    1. Very clever to wash your clothes regularly, especially on a longer trip. Thinking about your outfits and colours is a great way to make your luggage even smaller. Thank you for the comment!

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