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Going on a city break? Here's the ideal travel kit for any creative

Jun 16, 2023

Ramverk Pro Front-access Carry-on by DB Journey

From luxurious luggage to clever clothing, here are some brilliant buys that will make this year's getaway a magical one.

Written by: Tom May

20 February 2023

As the days get warmer and lighter, many of us are already dreaming of our spring and summer travels. Whether it's soaking in the ancient culture of Rome or basking in the sun-drenched streets of Lisbon or Croatia, a city break can be the perfect way to find creative inspiration and take a much-needed break from work.

But if you want to ensure a comfortable and hassle-free trip, the right equipment, accessories and clothing can be super-helpful. So in this shopping guide, we've curated the ideal kit for any creative embarking on a spring/summer city break, to help you stay energised, refreshed, and full of ideas while you're away.

Note that, unlike other websites, we're not making affiliate income from you clicking through the links below. This means we're free to recommend what we truly think are the best buys for the Creative Boom audience, to give you that perfect break, save you from creative burnout, and have you back at your desk afterwards, refreshed and raring to go.

We've all been there. You slump off your flight or train, struggling with clunky bags, and watch some cool young thing glide past with a stylish carry-on... like they've just strolled off the catwalk. Well, why be envious: why not treat yourself to some of that luxury yourself?

This triple award-winning case from DB Journey boasts a fantastic protection-to-weight ratio, with its mix of lightweight polycarbonate shells and robust aluminium frame. And with a full front opening, you'll quick access to essentials when you need it most, making security checks a breeze. Yes, it's expensive, but if you travel a lot and divide the cost into the number of trips you're likely to use it, this could add up to very good value overall.

Ramverk Pro Front-access Carry-on by DB Journey

Ramverk Pro Front-access Carry-on by DB Journey

Like it or not, nowadays we're all taking a lot more tech kit on holiday with us. But hunting through a cluttered rucksack or suitcase for that one specific lead can be super-frustrating after a long, tiring journey. So this specifically designed carry case by Bellroy is an absolute treat. Available in regular and compact sizes, and a range of colours, it looks great thanks to its unique Auxikko pattern-embossed leather accents. It zips out flat for easy access. And its YKK zipper and fabric are water-resistant for all weathers.

Tech Kit by Bellroy

Where's my passport? My credit card? My Euros? These kind of sudden panics, in the middle of a crowded train platform or unfamiliar street, can really drive your holiday stress up to 11. So this smart travel folio brings everything together in one easy-to-access place. It has compartments to fit up to two passports, up to eight cards, along with your cash and boarding passes. It includes a micro pen, and space for a full size pen. And it has RFID protection, to protect against card fraud.

Most of us don't want to strutt around a foreign city draped in a Union Jack. But it's nice to show some subtle love for one of Britain's coolest cities, with these awesome trainers from Hoff. Featuring side pieces in suede leather and textile, a heel stabiliser and a (removable) memory insole, they're as well made as they are stylish.

'Manchester' trainers by Hoff

This day backpack from Yeti is perfect for city exploring. Combining minimalist style with maximum durability, it comes in 22L, 27L and 35L sizes. It's made from TuffSkin Nylon, an expedition-grade, 700 Denier, water and abrasion-resistant material. There's a suspended sleeve with wraparound padding for extra protection for most 13" and 15" laptops. And essentials are always within reach, thanks to a flip-top pocket that turns outward for a larger main opening.

This is billed as an overshirt jacket for men – but we think it's unisex. Cut in luxurious brushed cotton with jacquard check design, it looks like a shirt but its weighty 300gsm (grams of fabric per square metre) gives the feel of a jacket. Made from cotton farmed in USA, and woven in Ronfe, Portugal, it's super-stylish, with the side entry pockets and matt-black snap buttons adding an extra touch of elan.

Check Formation Overshirt by Form&Thread

Most of us rely on our phones to take our holiday pictures and video. But if you want to take things to the next level, we recommend the X100V, a digital compact from Fujifilm with a fixed prime lens. A classic design with modern tech smarts, it's recently become a favourite among TikTok creators, because not only does it capture stunning images, but unlike many 'proper' cameras, it's easy to use. Basically, even a novice can take great shots with the X100V. Unfortunately it was difficult to get hold of one in 2022, but those supply chain problems seem to have been ironed out for now, so take full advantage while you can.

If you want to avoid scrabbling around in your bag for stuff, and just find what you're looking for instantly, here's another very clever design. This small pouch bag is basically two bags in one: a minimalist carry-all sling bag, and compressible in-bag organiser. Inside you'll find a thoughtful layout of stretch pockets and zip pockets to keep cords, cards, batteries, keys, small lenses and cameras in identifiable places and not jingling around. Better still, all fabrics used to make it are recycled, including the soft internal felt liner and the 400D double poly-coated weatherproof nylon canvas shell.

Field Pouch by Peak Design

When you're wandering around an amazing city, using your smartphone to take pictures, access maps, or message friends, this neck pouch is a great way to keep it safe and secure. Suitable for smaller iPhones and other smartphones up to 151 × 75 × 8 mm, it's made from recycled truck tarp, and its velvety inner lining polishes the screen every time you pull the tear-tab. There's also a card slot on the back, with room for up to two credit cards.

This lightweight, waterproof jacket will keep you covered whatever the weather during your break, whether you're cycling, hiking, or just dashing from the taxi to the restaurant. It's made from 30 recycled plastic bottles and PFC-free, and packed with features including pit zips for extra freshness, a helmet-compatible hood, invisible sleeve/snack pockets, and a two-way watertight zipper.

Urban Jacket — Carnival Black by Labo Mono

A notebook is a must-have for any city break, whether you're jotting down train times or writing a diary of your trip. And who doesn't love a Moleskine? We especially love this one, designed to celebrate Japan's annual cherry blossom season: traditionally a time to reflect on the fleeting nature of all things. Created by fashion designer Kosuke Tsumura, its cover depicts delicate pink petals illuminated against the dark of the night sky, and inside you'll find a set of themed stickers and a greeting card; both with Kosuke Tsumura's artwork.

When you need to take notes or swap contact details with someone on your trip, you don't want to be hunting through your bag to find a pen or pencil. So bring them all together in this fun pencil case from Fred Aldous. Made from 100% cotton, its fishy design is beautifully crafted and will put a smile on your face each time you see it.

Verdin case by Fred Aldous

Sunglasses are a holiday essential, but why buy boring ones? This big and bold cat eye frame are perfect for striding out with confidence in excitingly unfamiliar territory. And they're not just stylish, but functional too, with lenses that feature anti-reflection and anti-scratch coatings.

Sunglasses by Ace & Tate

One of the best ways to enjoy a new city is by sketching it, or the works of art in its galleries. And these colour pencils offer superior quality that's worthy of your work, whether you're a professional artist or just a keen hobbyist. They're water soluble, so you can either use them dry as normal pencils, or add water to create a lovely watercolour wash.

These days, many of us prefer to take notes and sketch on a digital tablet, for the sake of convenience. But there's something about the feel of paper that you might still miss. In which case, you can get the best of both worlds with the Remarkable 2, which offers the smoothest e-ink action we've experienced to date. It's very lightweight too, making it a great choice for travelling.

Remarkable 2 tablet by Remarkable

Protect your head from sunburn and showers during your city break, with this elegant and voguish cap. Constructed from six panels, it comes with a curved visor and adjustable velcro strap for the perfect fit.

Be responsible on your city break by carrying your purchases in a sustainable way. This reusable shopping bag is made of recycled ripstop nylon, holds up to 50lbs and has room for between two and three plastic bags' worth of stuff. When you're not using it, it folds into a flat 5 × 5-inch pouch, and it's even machine-washable.

Add a burst of colour to your outfit with these glorious socks. This classically ribbed design perfect is made from a breathable cotton blend yarn in a beautiful assortment of colours. Whether you're wearing shoe, sandals, sneakers, mules, clogs or boots on your travels, this will become your go-to sock.

Her Socks MC Cotton by Le Bon Shoppe

For a comfortable and stylish everyday look, check out these fabulous, high waste trousers. Double-pleated and wide-legged with a slight ankle tapering, they create a bold silhouette. Manufactured in England from 280gsm sanded cotton twill, they come in extra-small, small and medium sizes, and are machine washable.

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