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How to Pack Light for an Incredible 3-Night City Break

How to Pack Light for an Incredible 3-Night City Break

Weekend Essential Packing List: How to Pack Light for 3-nights

Update to post

Travel changed dramatically in 2020, and so an essential packing item that you must have to travel with is a mask – protection for you and protection for others.

My family like these masks as they have space for a filter to be popped in and a piece of metal to shape around the bridge of your nose – great to stop glasses getting fogged up with breath.

How to pack light

You are going away for 3 nights to explore the sights and sounds of a new country, and you need to know how to pack light items in your carry-on luggage for your flight, drive or sail. The first piece of advice – forget the suitcase, you don’t need all the stuff you think you will!

I always take a material holdall or travel backpack with me, rather than a hard carry-on case. The limitation of overhead locker space on most flights means that if bags need to be put into the hold, they will choose the more sturdily constructed ones over fabric backpacks.

If yours goes into the hold then you will spend time waiting at the luggage collection belts for it to be reunited with you, while your fellow “3 nighters” casually stroll through customs giving you that knowing glance.

I have comprised a simple checklist to show you how to pack light and have a carefree time away without the hassle of overpacking. You can also find 20 more top tips on how to pack light here.

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Which Toiletries are Essentials to pack

Don’t pack liquids more than 100ml if taking a flight. They must be in a small clear pouch that is put in the airport tray to be scanned separately to your hand luggage. All items listed below should be in travel size packs.

  • shampoo, conditioner, shower gel and body cream all in travel sizes or decant your everyday brands into plastic 50ml travel bottles.
  • toothpaste and toothbrush.
  • deodorant, roll-on or compressed.
  • makeup, try to take the minimum.
  • facial wipes.
  • feminine hygiene items, if required.
  • perfume, but don’t take your biggest bottle of Dior or Chanel, remember the fluid restrictions.
  • sunblock.
  • plasters and antiseptic lotion, in case of blisters.
  • insect repellant, if travelling to a country that will have biting insects.
  • cotton earbuds, if you use them.
  • any medication that you are prescribed (remember to check that you can take it into the country you are visiting as a few places have restrictions on medicines that contain certain substances and you may need to get a letter from your doctor beforehand explaining why you have them)
  • regular over the counter pain relief ie ibuprofen/paracetamol, ditto above.
  • contact lenses and solution, if required.

Which Electrical/Tech Appliances Will You Need

  • your phone.
  • a camera, if you have a separate one.
  • a charger, because you will be taking lots of photos.
  • portable charger, ditto above.
  • hair-straighteners (only if you have the most frizzy hair and can’t do without them) and comb/brush.
  • earphone buds and iPod mini for listening to music on the go.
  • portable mini speaker, for music in your room.
  • Fitbit and charger, because who doesn’t enjoy seeing how many steps they’ve done during a 3-night stay.
  • a kindle for that holiday reading or, if like me you are old school, then a book.

What Clothes Should You Pack

Unless you are planning on visiting a posh restaurant, party or wedding then just be casual. Loose-fitting, breathable clothing and comfortable footwear are essential packing items.

Travel Outfit

Tracksuit bottoms or harem pants, t-shirt, light sweatshirt and trainers and face mask.

For your 3-night stay

  • 1 x chinos and 1 x shorts then you are ready for sun or cooler weather.
  • A casual summer dress that can be worn in the day and glammed up in the evening.
  • Pashmina shawl for cooler evenings.
  • PAC-a-Mac, in case of rain.
  • 3 x t-shirts, one each day.
  • Flip-flops are versatile and can be used on the beach or around your room.
  • Swimsuit, If required.
  • Flat, comfortable sandals for walking around during the day.  Do not take brand new shoes that haven’t been worn in.
  • Pair of wedge sandals to go with your dress in the evening.
  • A straw hat or baseball cap.
  • Sleepwear.
  • 3 x knickers.
  • 2 x socks for your trainers.

Oh and don’t forget your passport, tickets, sunglasses, reading glasses, money and a currency debit card (you load your money onto it and use it while abroad, usually resulting in no transaction charges) I use Caxton which I have found very reliable and the app allows you to easily load funds whilst on the move.

If you have found this blog useful then please leave a comment.

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Thursday 12th of March 2020

Thank you for writing this really informative post. I like the way you have broken this up into the absolute essentials. I always tend to over pack thinking what if...but I rarely use the extras. I guess I just need to learn to stick with the original plan :)


Friday 13th of March 2020

After many 3 night stays myself I manage to travel with essentials only now and I’m glad to say I have never not packed something I then found I needed. I’m glad you found the post informative