Traveling with only handluggage (4 day trip)

When Leo and I where going on our first citytrip together, I didn’t have a lot of money. So I booked a flight with Transavia which is a low budget airline and we only traveled with hand luggage. Leo was still below the age of two, so he could travel for free if he was sitting in my lap. (See Leo’s first flight (toddler tips!))

When you are packing for a mom and toddler and only bringing hand luggage for a 4 day citytrip, I’m sorry but either you must be very poor or you are seriously crazy! It’s safe to say I was both!

I was lucky we where going to Bologna where the temperatures where high. This saves a lot of space, otherwise used for big sweaters and fluffy wool socks. I did cheat a little bit by giving Leo his own backpack, which was so cute they didn’t even see it as a separate backpack. Be careful not to pack your toddlers backpack to heavy though. (Oops!) With Leo’s backpack, I also had my matching backpack which I could fit into our hand luggage bag when boarding the plane.

As you can see in the picture we also took his blanket. He loves to sleep with it, so I always take it with us. I’ll explain to you what I’ve put into our bags including the toiletries bag.


  • 3 bodysuits
  • 3 t-shirts
  • 3 shorts
  • 2 blouses
  • 1 sweater (also wearing one)
  • 1 pants (also wearing one)
  • 2 pair of socks
  • his sandals
  • 1 hydrophilic diaper
  • 1 burp cloth


  • 1 sweater (wearing one)
  • 1 pants (wearing one)
  • 2 shorts
  • flipflops
  • 2 t-shirts
  • 1 blouse
  • 1 little black dress
  • underwear & socks
  • Phone & tablet chargers

Toiletries bag

In our toiletries bag I always put our shampoo, creams, toothpastes etc. into little bottles. This is usually enough for one week. I have labeled the bottles with laminated labels that I’ve ordered online. (Tip!) The first time we went on a holiday, I used normal labels but it became a mess in the shower! I really advice you to spend those 3 euros or dollars on the laminated or plastic ones. Make up also has to go in this bag, so I usually only bring some pink labello, mascara and eyebrow pencil. I think it’s enough combined with my fake tan and saves a lot of time in the morning. More time for traveling! This time I also actually brought some foundation which I got from the pharmacy as a tester. (Tip!) It’s free and really enough for a week.


Another thing that I always have in our toiletries bag are socket covers. (Tip!) I didn’t have them the first time we stayed in a hotel room and my son was putting his fingers into the wall outlets when we were getting ready in the morning. They are always very low and next to the bed, so I think that’s quite dangerous with kids. (Not sure if this is an European thing.) Now that we’re talking about safety.. Last summer we spend a week at my parents and my son had a heatstroke. He turned out to have a 41°C/106°F fever and fainted. I’ll never leave the house without a thermometer and some acetaminophen again. Better safe then sorry!

Backpack Leo

  • 2 diapers
  • cleaning wipes
  • his lion
  • 2 toy cars

Backpack Mom

  • changing mat
  • tablet
  • 2 music books for Leo
  • some food & a bottle of water
  • hand sanitizer
  • walking bracelet (Tip!)

I never leave the house without our walking bracelet. Especially when we’re going to a unknown city. (See Leo’s first citytrip!) I think it depends on the child if you think this is necessary, but Leo only holds my hand for 2 seconds and then runs off. As a (single) parent, I think it’s really scary. I actually bought this bracelet after a very scary thing happened.. On a afternoon we entered a store and Leo ran away from me into the street. At that moment I saw Leo running infront of a car. Apart from everyone being in shock, I thank god everything was fine. I still can’t get that image out of my head and I wish no parent has to experience this.

This is our packing routine when we go on a (budget) city trip that last about 4 to 7 days. If you have some toddler packing tips, I’d love to hear them!

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