8 Essential Things to Pack for a Weekend in the City

city packing list

The ultimate list of must-haves

A weekend visit to a new-to-you city can be filled with great food, vibrant nightlife, and excellent cultural opportunities. But exploring a big city isn’t quite as simple heading out for a day at the beach. Your city packing list needs more than sunscreen and a frisbee!

To make sure you have everything you need for your getaway, we’ve put together the ultimate packing list. Check out our must-haves before you pack, so you can be 100% sure that you’re bringing everything you need, and nothing you don’t.

  • Appropriate clothing

    If you’re city-bound and want to fit in with the locals, you’re going to have to bump up your style a notch! We’re not saying your fave Lulu Lemon leggings can’t go with you, but dress them up with cute flats and a flowy top instead of the doubles-as-pajamas-tee.

    Your city packing list should also include layers. Bring at least one light jacket or sweater, even if the weather is going to be warm. Museums, theatres, and restaurants can be downright chilly, especially in the summer when they crank up the a/c.

    Also, bring at least one dressy or “going out” outfit. You want to look as good as you feel when you explore the local nightlife!

  • Downloaded itineraries and tickets

    Before you head out of town, make sure you send and save everything to your phone. Plane tickets, hotel reservations, tours, attractions, shows… It’s so much easier than printing and dealing with a stack of papers!

    Pro Tip: While you’re at home with good WiFi, open up your tickets and itineraries and take screen shots of the entry bar codes. You’ll have easy access to all the necessary info when you need it, even if reception is spotty.

  • Electronics

    Look, we all know you aren’t going to forget your phone. And hopefully, you’ll remember the charger, too.

    But our top “don’t leave home without it” recommendation is something you might not own, yet: a portable charger. There’s nothing worse than heading out for a day of exploring a new city and slowly watching your battery die. A portable charger will keep you juiced up so you can snap your friends and take insta-worthy pics all day long!

  • Filtered water bottle

    Staying hydrated is super important when you’re spending the weekend walking around and exploring. But, buying multiple plastic bottles every day is bad for the environment—and your wallet.

    Instead, bring a filtered water bottle with you and fill it up throughout the day. You can even bring it through airport security empty and fill it up at a water fountain near your gate, so you can start your trip already well hydrated.

  • Sun protection

    Some people associate sun protection with beach vacays and forget to pack it when they head to the city. But even big cities have open, sunny areas (think of NYC’s Central Park), and you’ll want to protect your skin and your peepers.

    Apply sunscreen before you leave your hotel, and bring an SPF-stick with you for a midday sunscreen boost. And pick stylish but protective eyewear, with a UVA/UVB rating for max sun safety, to keep your eyes safe.

  • Theft-proof bags

    Tourists love big cities, but so do pickpockets. So open purses or backpacks are a big “nope” from us.

    Instead, use a crossbody bag that you can keep in front of you. Or, if you have to use a backpack or daypack when you’re heading out for the whole day, sling it in front of you or under your arm when you’re stuck in a crowd.

  • Toiletries

    Whichever hotel you choose, and even some Airbnbs, will provide the basics. But if you have sensitive skin, wild hair, or just really like your lavender-scented shampoo, you’ll probably want to bring your own stuff from home.

    Skip the overpriced travel-sizes and decant your must-haves into TSA-approved travel bottles and jars. And make sure you take where you’re headed into account. If you’re visiting Vegas, for example, you’ll want extra lotion because the air is d-r-y!

    Pro Tip: Add some band-aids and ibuprofen. All that walking you’re bound to be doing may leave you with blisters and/or sore leg muscles.

  • Walking shoes

    Sure, you can Uber or take taxis, but that won’t help you get to know the city! If you really want to explore, walking’s the way to do it. And that means comfy shoes.

    Hiking boots might seem like a logical choice since they’re made to be trekked in all day. But they tend to be heavy and bulky, making them an impractical packing choice for a city packing list. Lightweight, waterproof, stylish (you’re in the city, remember?) shoes are the best footwear option.

    And remember: this is not the time to be breaking in new shoes! At the very least, wear them around the house for a few days before your trip.

Summer weekends spent in a new city are the ideal opportunity to indulge your wanderlust. And with our city packing list, you’ll have everything you need to enjoy your trip, stress-free.

Another way to make your city getaway stress-free? Ship your stuff to your hotel or Airbnb with LugLess. No hassles with lugging bags through the airport and then having to wait for them. You’ll be free to hop off the plane and get straight to your sightseeing, luggage-free!