City break packing list: 5 mistakes we all make

City break packing list: 5 mistakes we all make

It’s just so important to get your city break packing list right! There’s nothing worse than arriving at your destination with a suitcase full of clothes and nothing to wear. Getting your city break packing list right is essential for those of us who book cheaper airfares and carry-on-only luggage too. Even more important if you’re travelling solo!

Have you ever been caught at the airport having to pay an obscene amount of money on excess luggage weight? It’s awful, and stressful.

With it being so easy to get to some places now, you don’t want your city break experience ruined by carting around unnecessary baggage. London to Amsterdam or London to Paris, even Brisbane to Sydney if you’re in the southern hemisphere – enjoy your trip by conquering your city break packing list.


City break packing list: the must-have item

As someone who has travelled extensively for my job, I was once asked what one item of clothing was an absolute travel essential for my suitcase.

My response?

A sarong!

Think about it, it’s handy for the beach as a swim suit cover-up, as a scarf, a head covering if needed, a wrap on a chilly flight, it’s completely versatile.

After packing and unpacking a million suitcases, there are certainly many things I’ve learned, sadly by trial and error, in terms of what not to do when packing your suitcase.


City break packing list – the five big mistakes

Not making a ‘what to wear’ list

It might seem excessive, but sitting down and actually planning out what outfits you’re going to need will save you a lot of room in the suitcase. Much in the same way that menu planning saves you money at the grocery store.

If it’s a work trip, remember that if you are seeing different clients on different days, parts of your outfit can easily be re-worn. If you’re on a city break for leisure, you can be much more relaxed about your attire. Let go of preciousness. Be comfortable, be happy.

Taking ‘out there’ items

Sure that wild print dress looks great on, but take items that are easier to mix and match.

Clothes that can be both dressed up or dressed down will get you more mileage and take up far less room.

Taking your shoe collection with you

Every pair of shoes you pack will add at least a kilo to the weight of your bag. Let’s face it, shoes are awkward items in suitcases, making it tricky to pack around them.

Think about exactly what you really need and what you can wear twice.

Most of the time you need a pair of versatile walking shoes or trainers, and a pair of flats or sandals or flip flops. That’s it.

Taking too much gym gear

Yes making time for fitness, especially while travelling on business trips, is important. Too much room service and social drinks can certainly add up quickly, but so can the weight of gym shoes and the extra clothing.

Think about it, will you really use the hotel gym on more than one occasion?

If so, take the gym clothes. If not, think about maybe taking a swim suit instead. Less room in the suitcase and most hotels have usable pools year round.

Taking your bathroom with you

Yes, we all love our little comforts from home. The shampoo we’re used to, the moisturiser we love the scent of. But really we know we could go a day or two without it. Don’t waste space on shampoo, conditioners and lotions which could accidentally break open in your bag and cause a whole other headache when you know the hotels will always have them available. Worst case, you can buy inexpensive version on the road and discard before returning home.

If you’re a frequent traveller and fussy about your brands, packing a travel bag of small sized toiletries and keeping it packed will make it easy for you to re-pack every time you go away as well.

What’s your input on how to compose the perfect city break packing list – what do you class as ‘essential’ to take with you? Drop us a line in the comments below. 



About the author
Gwen O’Toole is an accomplished writer focusing on travel, events management and food and wine. She also published a fiction novel while spending the past eight years as a magazine editor and travelling the globe before launching The Ideas Library, a creative services and event management company. She is regularly featured in a variety of travel and leisure publications and blogs.


Things to do in Brisbane at night

Things to do in Brisbane at night

It’s been a while since I ventured out in Brisbane, capital city of beautiful Queensland, Australia, and I was keen to discover contemporary things to do in Brisbane at night on this city break.

I was lucky enough to attend higher education at the University of Queensland ‘back in the day’, and I also spent a number of years working at B105 FM – fun times, and I definitely feel affectionately towards this city.

Things to do in Brisbane at night: what’s new

A lot has changed in Brisbane over the past ten years – bars have opened and closed, tunnels and roads have appeared across the city and the Valley is now, well, super cool. Cloudland, anyone?

Even Festival Hall has transformed into an elegant apartment block – if you’re walking by the site on the corner of Charlotte and Albert Streets, check out the wall of fame in the foyer that features nostalgic photos of when major acts like the Jackson 5 and Beatles performed here.

We were keeping a keen eye out for my (very cool) auntie who was one of the revellers at the Beatles appearance in 1964.

Brisbane, where to stay

Things to do in Brisbane at night - stay in the city centreThis past weekend we landed in the city as preparations for the Riverfire Festival were well under way.

Air Force jets soared across the sky as we watched from our fab Botanic Gardens-facing room at Royal on the Park, ideally situated in the heart of the city, just a block from the shopping hub that is the Queen Street Mall. This lovely hotel can be booked at a bargain if you take a look at your favourite hotel booking site (or direct to RotP’s site), and a brand new bonus for all guests is free use of an iPad during any stay.


Where to have a drink at night in Brisbane

Come Friday afternoon, we were ready for a drink and catch-up with old friends and family.

The Port Office Hotel on Edward Street is a contemporary bar, often associated with a bit of a ‘yuppy’, suited-up crowd – we therefore expected drink prices to be quite hefty.

Fortunately, we were pleasantly surprised to discover a neat little ‘happy hour’ on drinks from 5 to 8pm – one to remember if you’re up this end of town on your own city break.

We indulged in some fun cocktails (at $5 each!) and I reminisced on one of my more memorable birthday celebrations – my 25th that I’d hosted in this very same location.

I’ve just realised that was a number of years back though, so I’ll omit the exact date in this particular column!

Dining in Brisbane at night

Things to do in Brisbane at night - there's plenty of excellent Asian cuisine hereBy 7.30pm it was well and truly time for dinner. I must say, I was happy to discover quality eateries offering reasonably priced cuisine are once again back on the menu in Brisbane city.

For a long while it seemed ‘after dark’ options were few and far between.

We were led to Nagomi at Eagle Street Pier, boasting river views and just a few minutes walk away from the Port Office.

If you enjoy Japanese dishes as we do, then you’ll LOVE this place. The food was divine, and at around $6 per dish (designed to share amongst friends), value is excellent too. Can’t wait to head back here!

Local’s tip: From 5.30 to 9.30pm on Thursdays for $25 it’s all-you-can-eat. YUM.


Go dancing at night in Brisbane

Finally, like the ‘good old days’, it came time to dance.

We’d heard a rumour that the Pig ‘n Whistle Riverside on Eagle Street played an awesome selection of music – you know, the kind of music we ‘used to’ love dancing to – like Vanilla Ice, tracks from the Dirty Dancing soundtrack; Britney, Christina, Maroon 5, crazy boy-band dance tracks and even a little Funky Cold Medina… yep, ‘the Pig’ is where it’s at.

Felt like it was 1997 ….er… 2005 again.

Either way, if you want to go dancing and relive your Uni days (90s through to today), this is the place to end your night. After all, it is music that truly makes a good night out great!

Got a fave bar/club/restaurant in Brisbane? Share with us in the comments below, and for more on Brisbane have a read here.