Ultra-light packing for a summery city break

The joy of budget airlines is they provide you with an opportunity to see how little you can take on a trip. While I did have standard carry-on space available to me, I decided to challenge myself to see if it was possible to travel for my 5-day trip using my leather handbag.


Here is what I packed.


Planning my outfits in advance has really changed my life – from my everyday “work outfit” plan to planning in advance what outfits I will wear on a trip.

For the trip to Budapest, I had 3 outfits:

Outfit 1: Jeans, tshirt, white tshirt, scarf.  (This is also what I wore on the plane. The scarf makes for a great eye cover/blanket/pillow, depending on your needs).

Outfit 2: Grecian tunic dress + utility shirt. (The dress for this outfit = the skarf in outfit 1 and 3. It is amazing.)

Outfit 3: My “I dream of Jeannie” pants + crop top + scarf

I brought minimal accessories and outerwear. I brought a very lightweight jacket (water resistant), one pair of trainers, and a simple necklace and ring. I also brought a bathing suit, three pairs of socks, and 3 pairs of undies.

This system worked out pretty well, however, I did end up purchasing a vintage skirt which I am obsessed with and ended up wearing several days on the trip (combined with my black crop top from outfit 3).

It was also really hot, so I didn’t actually wear my jeans. After giving it thought, I realized that I don’t really love wearing jeans when I don’t have to! I think for my next trip, I will skip the bulky, constrictive pants in favour of a wardrobe comprised exclusively of stretchy pants, skirts, and dresses. I will also throw a pair of hot pants in to wear under dresses to minimize chaffing. I also finally found my perfect summer sandal, which will definitely be on my next trip.

Makeup & personal care:

Obviously, with air travel is that you need to separate out your liquids and ensure they are less than 100mL. Thus, I have two “personal care” bags.

Makeup bag: blush, mascara, brow gel, lipstick (I only brought one! What?), toothbrush, night mouth guard, floss

Liquids bag: sunscreen, deoderant/toothpaste*, contact solution + spare set of lenses, coconut oil, lip balm.

*I have been making my own deodorant and toothpaste for a while now, and while I have slightly different recipes for them in my everyday life (including a charcoal based toothpaste, which would be a disaster for the underarms!), the base ingredients are the same: coconut oil, baking soda, and essential oil. Thus, I have made up a small batch in an old eye-cream container, with a few drops of peppermint for minty freshness. Aren’t I clever?!


First aid kit:

Also, if you read my Traveling sick post, I did mention that I need to beef up my first aid kit supplies. My expanded list for my next trip is:

  • Advil (or other preferred pain killers)
  • Nasal spray (I was conflicted on this, as liquids are such a pain, but apparently my sinuses hate me and being congested during a flight is the actual worst)
  • Allergy meds (Both Benadryl and a daytime version like Claritin)
  • Bandaids
  • Anti-chaffing cream


There are a few things that I have not been able (or willing) to cut out. This includes my giant dSLR and the corresponding extra batteries and cards. I also have my iPhone, a set of earphones, a  mophie charger case, and charging chord. The charging cord for the mophie is the same as that for charging my camera battery, so I only took one Europe wall converter and one USB charging cable.IMG_0267

Other odds and ends:

  • Passport & cards case (obviously!)
  • Book
  • Small canvas bag (which proved to be really useful for wandering)
  • Metal water bottle
  • Fanny pack (neon pink. Because).
  • Journal & pen (plus one refill ink cartridge)
  • Fitbit (Not essential at all, and my battery lasts a long time, so I didn’t bother with the charger. It was fun to see confirmed how many steps you wrack up in a standard day of travel!)

Things I want:

  • Steripen. I ended up buying a lot of bottled water which made my zero-waste aspiring heart cry a bit. This might be my next travel splurge item.




4 thoughts on “Ultra-light packing for a summery city break

  1. “night mouth guard” and “Fanny pack (neon pink. Because).”
    Love the mix of honesty, humour, and practical information. Thanks Jen!


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