If you’re going on a city break, chances are you aren’t going to get out the ‘big suitcase’ for a couple of days away from home. You’re more likely to opt for a carry on filled with a few outfits and the essentials.

For many, however, the prospect of only taking 10kg away can be daunting. What do I take? How am I going to fit everything in my suitcase? What’s the deal with liquids?

Don’t worry, as a seasoned city break-er, I’m here to alleviate all of your worries and answer all of your questions.

How much hold luggage can you take?

Depending on your airline provider, you can usually take a small suitcase on board, weighing up to 10kg, free of charge. Each individual airline has their own rules on the size and type of luggage you’re allowed to bring on, so it’s best to check with them before your travel.

Some airlines allow you to take an additional small bag, such as a handbag or laptop case, however this is becoming less common, especially for budget airlines like Ryanair.

It’s also worth noting that for some airlines, complimentary bags are becoming a thing of the past. Instead, you have to pay for premium packages to get your carry on luggage. Even now, with Ryanair and easyJet, your hand luggage will probably be taken to put in the hold (free of charge) unless you’ve paid for priority treatment.

What about liquids?

Unlike hold luggage, you’re restricted by the amount of liquids and creams you can take with you. You can take no more than 100ml per item with you. The item must also be in a container that is 100ml, even if the bottle is half empty, you won’t be allowed to travel with it.

Leave your normal toiletry bag at home, however, as all liquids in hand luggage must be in containers in a single, transparent, resealable plastic bag, which holds no more than 1l and are around 20cm x 20cm. Everything must fit comfortably inside the bag and you’re limited to one per person.

However, skip the minis section of your local Wilko, because the ‘travel-sized’ toiletries they sell are overpriced and unnecessary. Instead, get yourself some 100ml travel containers and fill them up with your normal products. If you’re worried about it, you can always skip the liquids and just buy them when you’re there, especially if you’re going somewhere heavily built up with many shops.

Also, remember makeup counts as liquids. Don’t accidentally leave your foundation out of the bag and risk it being taken off you by security.

What shouldn’t you pack?

Depending on the purpose of your city break, there are a few things that I would recommend leaving at home.


Hear me out. If you have enough room in your liquids bag to take your shampoo, conditioner, body wash etc, then go for it. However, a lot of city hotels have toiletries provided or you can pick some up from a local supermarket to avoid the stress of luggage restrictions.

Hair tools

If you can avoid it, leave the straighteners at home. Embrace your natural hair or opt for more city break friendly hairstyles like French plaits or a ponytail and leave more space in your bag for the important things.


I always take a book with the intention of reading it on the plane, but with city break flights often being so short, I never have time to get into it. Instead, opt for your favourite magazine, it’s lighter reading and you can throw it away once you’ve finished it.

What should you pack for a city break?

When deciding what to pack, it’s a good idea to decide what you want to do when you’re there. If you want to go exploring, a pair of comfy shoes or trainers should be on the top of your list. If you’re more into the restaurant/bar scene, you’ll probably be more inclined to pack your most suave clothes.

However, if you’re struggling, here is a basic PDF list of what you’ll need. Feel free to download, print off and tick off as you’re going along.

And most importantly, enjoy yourself! 

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