What To Pack For A Weekend Trip To Tokyo

Tokyo PackingRead my other packing guide, What To Pack to Backpack Through Europe here

The Trip: This weekend, I’m spending 2 days in Tokyo, Japan! It’s going to be Spring-like weather, about 18 degrees Celsius both days. I’m travelling with just a purse because I love to travel light and because we’re going to be hitting the ground running from the moment we land on Saturday morning. We don’t want to have to stop to drop our things off at the hostel, so I’m going to be keeping everything I need on my person at all times. 

Great Resources: I was inspired by these packing lists for carry-on travel in both summer and winter. I also love this post about how to pack for a trip in a purse. Lifehack has a few great tips for packing light for a weekend trip. And as always, I am inspired by the philosophy and attitude behind One Bag

The List:


Tokyo Packing 2

Our time in Tokyo is short, and really, 2 days in a city that big and that wonderful is not even close to enough to do it justice. But my friends and I are all of the belief that going even for 2 short days is a million times better than not going at all, so we’re planning to make the most of it. With that in mind, I wanted to bring clothes that are casual and comfortable, and shoes that I know I can walk in. I won’t be having many “costume changes”, but what I’m wearing isn’t the most important thing for me. I care way more about where I can go, and what I can see and take photos of and eat. 

  • Khaki pants
  • Sleeveless top
  • Cardigan
  • Toms

Tokyo Packing 1

And these are the clothes I’ll be packing in my purse: 

  1. Extra t-shirt
  2. Change of underwear 

Tokyo Packing 3

  1. Jacket
  2. Sunglasses
  3. Fabric bag
  4. Purse (what I’ll be packing everything into)


Tokyo Packing 4

I’m keeping things intentionally minimalist on the toiletry front. We arrive Saturday morning in Tokyo and leave late Sunday afternoon, so I actually don’t need a lot. 

  • Mascara
  • Concealer
  • Lip balm
  • Eyeliner
  • Contact case
  • Blush
  • Toothbrush & toothpaste
  • Deodorant (not pictured because I forgot)

Miscellaneous Necessities

Tokyo Packing 5

  1. Wallet
  2. Earphones + iPhone charger 
  3. Granola bar
  4. iPhone for navigating
  5. Notebook + pen
  6. Passport, credit + debit cards, alien registration card, metro card
  7. Japanese yen
  8. Nikon D90 + 35mm f1.8 lens (not pictured because I was using it to take these photos!)

And there you have it! A weekend trip to Tokyo, packed into my purse. When I initially began planning for this trip, I was sure I needed to go out and buy a mid-sized backpack to fit all my stuff properly. But when I sat down and wrote out all the things I would actually need, I realized I could rely on my trusty purse to see me through.

Carry-on travel probably isn’t for everyone, but it has quickly become one of my all-time favourite things. Travelling can be so stressful, but I find that packing light reduces so much of that stress for me. And having less stress leaves me free to be flexible and spontaneous and to focus on other things, like finding the best green tea ice cream in town. 

What do you pack for a weekend trip away? Do you love carry-on travel as much as I do? Do you have any tips for packing light? 

Let me know in the comments below! 

What to Pack to Backpack Through Europe >> Life In Limbo

What to Pack to Backpack Through Europe

The Trip: I’m backpacking through Europe for 3 months, spanning the summer and early fall. I’m travelling with a carry-on bag only, and you can read more about why I came to that decision (and find a link to the bag if you’re interested) here. My travels are mainly focused on the more balmy mediterranean countries, but I’ll still be there as it starts to get chilly, so I’ve packed enough layers to see me through different temperatures.

Great Resources: My list of what to pack when backpacking through Europe is inspired by a lot of wonderful lists I found online. OneBag is the mother of all packing lists, with great recommendations and detailed explanations for each item – definitely start there. While I didn’t pack everything he has on his list, Rick Steves knows what he’s talking about when it comes to packing for Europe. I really liked Peanut Butter Fingers’ post for inspiration about what clothes to pack – she’s more my age than some of the other blogs, so it’s a bit more of an accessible post. Her Packing List has a huge resource page for a plethora of different packing lists for all over the world in all seasons. Finally, Never Ending Voyage has a great packing list for carry-on travel.

The List:


Clothes 1

  1. Three cardigans (two long-sleeved, one 3/4-sleeves)
  2. Two plain t-shirts (one navy blue, one black)
  3. Three shirts (all short sleeves)
  4. Five tank tops + 1 sleep shirt (not pictured)
  5. Bras, underwear, socks, black tights
  6. One long sleeved striped shirt (not pictured)

*Two Eagle Creek packing cubes

Clothes 2

  1. Two skirts
  2. Black leggings
  3. Five dresses (one not pictured)
  4. Two pairs of pants (one pair of jeans, one pair of khakis) and a belt

Clothes 3

  1. Knee-length running shorts
  2. Long-sleeved running top
  3. Bikini top
  4. One-piece swimsuit
  5. Two bikini bottoms

Clothes 4

  1. Jacket: light weight and water-resistant
  2. Sunglasses
  3. Purse with shoulder strap


  1. Toms
  2. New Balance Minimus running shoes
  3. Crocs flats: these are completely washable and quick-drying, so I’m planning to use them as shower shoes, water shoes, or flats

*The reason some things aren’t pictured is because I added them at the last minute, post photoshoot!



Top Row: Headband, bandaids, Advil, earplugs, hair elastics, floss, razor blade, matches, soap flakes

Second Row: L.L. Bean Toiletries Case, headlamp, whistle, USB drive, eye mask, Light My Fire spork, comb, toothbrush, Diva Cup, padlock

Third Row: Dr. Bronner’s Lavender All-Purpose Soap, 2 bottles Clear Care contact solution, sunscreen, Polysporin, toothpaste, Tide-to-Go pen, conditioner, Lafe’s deodorant, contact lens case, Q-tips, razor.

*Not pictured, because I forgot: concealer, blush, and mascara


Technology - Packing

  1. Chargers for my camera, iPad and phone
  2. Earphones
  3. MicroSD to iPad connector (to upload photos)
  4. European adaptor
  5. Camera remote
  6. ONA Roma Bag: a camera bag insert that fits into my purse and protects my camera
  7. iPad Mini (a graduation gift from my Dad)
  8. Unlocked iPhone 4
  9. Not pictured (because I was using it!): Nikon D90 + 35mm f.18 lens


Extras - Packing

  1. Waterproof bag: for carrying phone, keys, wallet while swimming if I’m at the beach on the solo part of my trip
  2. Sea to Summit Silk sleep sack: lightweight travel sheets (doubles as a blanket on trains)
  3. Travel towel
  4. Passport
  5. Travel wallet and change purse
  6. Moneybelt
  7. Pens, washi tape (for anchoring memorabilia into my notebook), and a notebook.
  8. A small beach towel (not pictured)


I am going to be wearing one pair of shoes and packing the third. I’m also going to be wearing my jacket when travelling between cities (or at least carrying it) but if it’s too hot, it fits, folded into the front pocket of the bag. My shirts + running clothes all roll up nicely and fit into my large packing cube. All my other clothes get rolled up and packed in the bottom of the suitcase along with my travel towel and sleep sack. In my purse I’ll carry my camera and other electronics, unless their are flight restrictions in which case I’ll pack everything inside the bag.

DSC_0142It closes like a charm! For most airlines, you’re permitted a carry-on plus a purse or camera bag. I’ve heard that some European budget airlines (Ryanair/Easyjet) are strict about allowing only one piece of luggage. In the event of that happening, I will still have enough space in my bag to pack my purse inside. The water bottle is a Vapur bottle I can also stow away if I have to.


And there you have it: my home for the next three months! I love how compact it is, and how everything has its proper place inside.

For this trip, I’ve omitted a few things that most long-term travel blogs recommend: a rubber doorstop (I’m staying in multi-person dorms, so it wouldn’t make sense), a travel clothesline, a well-stocked first aid kit, etc.

What are your travel necessities? What have you packed and then later decided was unnecessary? Have you travelled with only carry-on luggage before? Any tips about how to make my trip go more smoothly?

Let me know in the comments below!