It’s about time I wrote about my next adventure – well, mini-adventure. I’ve previously alluded to it, but didn’t want to give too much away. Travel nerves really get to me before a trip – not fear of the travelling itself, but fear of plans falling through and things going wrong. So I tend to stay quiet-ish about it, until it’s pretty much time to go. I’m going to London this Friday for the weekend. London is my favourite place in the world and I haven’t been for ages, so I’m really excited to go back. Here’s a very brief breakdown of my rough plans for the weekend:
Apart from actually travelling to the city, I plan to spend the first day of my weekend in Camden. It’s my favourite place in London and where I feel most at home.
My weekend continues with attending the Heroes & Villains con! I originally bought a ticket because Robin Lord Taylor (who plays the Penguin in one of my favourite shows, Gotham) is going to be there. Imagine how thrilled I was when it was announced that four other cast members were going to be there too. I’m really excited to meet them! Most of the Saturday will probably be spent at the con. On Saturday night, I may or may not go out to some interesting bars I’ve looked up.
I want to try to have a chilled out day to round off the weekend. I’m just going to leisurely explore areas of London that I don’t tend to frequent. I booked a ticket for the Sky Garden because I’ve never been and it looks amazing, but apart from that it’ll be a pretty spontaneous day. I plan to just wander and see where my feet take me.
I’m pretty much ready for the weekend. All the tickets I need are booked; my itinerary is more or less written; outfits have been planned. The only thing left for me to do is pack efficiently for my weekend in the city! Obviously in this post ‘the City’ specifically refers to London, but this post can probably relate to most western cities.
I find people are pretty much split into two groups when packing for the weekend:
1) Very very Spartan. “I WILL ONLY TAKE THE BARE NECESSITIES. THERE IS NO ROOM FOR FOLLY.” This can be really good because you’re packing super light and won’t have a tonne of luggage. BUT it can also mean you get caught short if you end up wanting to go somewhere fancy, or to the bar, or something else you didn’t plan for. You haven’t packed some fabulous evening wear because you didn’t think you’d need it and now you’re stuck!
2) I tend towards this category and it takes a lot of discipline to stop myself from becoming a full-on Category 2 packer. These people pack every single thing they could possibly, maybe, conceivably need on their weekend away and as such end up lugging around a tonne of stuff. Most of which they probably won’t even look at while they’re on their trip.
I’m trying to strike for a happy medium here. Not unprepared, but not over-prepared to the point of madness. Here are a few ideas and tips for packing for a lovely weekend in the city.
– Decide on your luggage and resolve to only use that bag/case and nothing else. If it doesn’t all fit, condense. It’s so much better to just have the one bag, instead of faffing around with tonnes of luggage. You’re going away for one weekend, not a month on safari (something I often have to tell my Mum)!
– Make a list! I’m very Type A, in the sense that I make thousands of lists. Unfortunately, this only creates an illusion of organisation. Mostly I am all over the place. But a list is so useful. You at least have a guide of what you want and need to take with you. I often write general ‘categories’ (e.g. essentials, hygiene/beauty, clothes, accessories, electricals, etc), and then write more specific things under each category (for example, under essentials, I would put: purse, phone, tickets, etc). Lists are also useful in showing you that you’re planning to take way too much with you, and you can adjust accordingly.
– Remember to consider what you’re doing on your trip. Refer to your itinerary and pack accordingly. For example, if you’re going to be walking a lot (which I always do in London, regardless of my plans), pack some appropriate footwear. After getting Nightmare Blisters on my feet in New York, I cannot stress this enough. I learned the painful way so you don’t have to!
– This is somewhat related to the last point. For goodness’ sake, check the weather forecast! If you have a rough idea of how the weather will be, it will help you with your packing. If it’s going to rain, pack your brolly and a waterproof jacket. If it’ll be sunny, don’t take your knitted jumper. Sounds like common sense, but you’d be surprised. I alluded to this on my post about travelling alone too, because there’s nothing worse than not being prepared for crap weather.
– Plan your outfits. This sounds a bit silly, but it’s really useful. Obviously, this wouldn’t really be practical for a longer holiday. But if you’re only going away for a few days, you might as well decide what to wear beforehand. If you know exactly what clothing, shoes, and accessories you’re going to wear, you won’t end up packing loads of unnecessary gear. And that will make your life a whole lot easier.
– Invest in mini toiletries (or those travel-sized bottles to decant your toiletries into) to save space and make your bag less heavy. I know travel-sized things can be ridiculous when it comes to price vs size, but I would rather carry them around than my huge Tresemmé shampoo bottles!
– Think about your check-in and kick-out times. You might have to leave early-ish on your last day – my hotel will kick out at 10am on Sunday, which is sort of horrifying to me. You might end up having to carry your bags around on the last day. Obviously you want to be able to do this without getting stressed or tired. You also want to be able to do stuff on your last day, so my first point comes back in to play again. Having one reasonably sized bag will make your life a lot easier if you have to leave your hotel early. Similarly, you want to be able to carry your stuff around as you waste time before checking in, if you arrive in the city earlier than your hotel is ready for you.
What are your must-haves for staying in the city? Personally, my most important thing to have with me is my portable charger (from Paperchase, naturally). It’s so handy because I take all of my photos on my phone, not having a fancy camera. The worst thing is having your phone die when there’s still so many photos to be taken. I also, obviously, use my phone to consult Google Maps when I’m roaming around, so it’s really important to have enough charge. That’s where the portable charger comes in. At its fullest, it can recharge your phone from nothing to basically 100% again. And it’s easy to carry around, even when it’s attached to your phone.
Do you have any packing tips or hacks? Tell me in the comments!