Where: London’s South Bank and Kensington.
Packing Challenge: Checking a bag is always a challenge for me since it means prioritizing what’s important to have in my carry-on in case my checked luggage is lost. For this trip I definitely wanted to check a bag since I knew I’d be returning with more than I brought and would need warm sweaters, but didn’t want to bring too much bulky clothing. I also knew I would need outfits for both nightlife and walking around all day. Comfortable pieces that could be re-worn were key.
Weather: Rainy. London was such a cliche while I was there, with a lot of clouds, wind, and scattered showers. It never got too cold, but scarves and boots were required each day.
Type of Trip: I needed to pack for business dinners, exploring in the rain, an adventure travel activity at the O2 Arena, and two nights in a hostel on my own (lock, towel, shower shoes, etc.). Active clothing and comfortable flying clothes doubled as layers for colder days, and professional shirts and trousers were dressed up with jewelry for nightlife.
How Long: Five days on the ground, two days of traveling.
Mouse over the photos below for detailed explanations of the items I packed. Any time you see the Thinglink icon on a photo (bottom right), you can mouse over it to interact with the image.
What I Should Have Left Behind: I forgot that a standard adapter would be little help with an American curling iron, so couldn’t use it at all and wish I had left it at home. I also got little use out of the t shirts I brought, since long-sleeve shirts and sweaters worked better for layering. Between sleeping on my red-eye flights and working I didn’t get to read much, but having the option to open a paperback gave me some self-assurance in case my in-flight entertainment failed on the six hour flight.
What I Should Have Packed: I took a chance and didn’t bring an adapter with me since I knew the hotel would have them and that I could charge my iPhone via USB at the airport. This worked out great until I switched over to the hostel, and I finally gave in and bought one. I also found myself wishing I had a hat on windier days that kept pushing my winter coat’s hood off my head. I didn’t mind the excuse to buy one there, however.
More from SmarterTravel:
- 10 Things You Should Never Pack in Your Checked Bag
- The Ultimate Packing List
- 7 Ways to Protect Your Luggage
Shannon McMahon keeps track of travels trends and advice and is always planning her next trip. Follow her adventures on Twitter @shanmcmahon_.
We hand-pick everything we recommend and select items through testing and reviews. Some products are sent to us free of charge with no incentive to offer a favorable review. We offer our unbiased opinions and do not accept compensation to review products. All items are in stock and prices are accurate at the time of publication. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.