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How to Pack for a Winter Weekend with Carry-on Only, and flying with Ryanair!

How to Pack for a Winter Weekend with carry-on luggage only. How I managed to pack enough to keep warm and cosy, and have fashion options for my weekend in Berlin - with carry-on luggage only- AND flying Ryanair!

Packing for a Weekend in Berlin…


How I packed all this on a Ryanair flight with carry-on luggage only!

You know I can’t travel light, right? Over the past few years, most of my plane travel has either been across the globe, day long journeys or as part of backpacking trips. I had gotten so used to travelling with a checked bag, that I was feeling a little out of practice when it came to packing for Berlin. I was worried that packing winter clothes would take up too much room. I didn’t know how I was going to be able to pack for a winter weekend in Berlin with carry-on luggage only, and flying Ryanair as well!

Berlin is cold in the winter, and I knew I’d need lots of layers. I wanted to bring my leather jacket for going to clubs, instead of my longer one I would be wearing on the plane. I didn’t think I’d be able to fit it in, let alone another pair of shoes.

So I was delighted, and pretty proud, to have packed all of the below items into my little hand luggage suitcase.

My carry-on suitcase for a winter weekend in Berlin - how to pack.

So, what did I manage to pack for my winter weekend in Berlin, with carry-on luggage only?

  • Three pairs of jeans
  • One skirt
  • 4 jumpers / sweaters
  • 4 tank tops for wearing under things.
  • Two long-sleeved tops
  • A Shirt
  • A dress (didn’t wear!)
  • A furry waistcoat/ sleeveless vest (for insulation, not fashion reasons!)
  • One pair of biker boots
  • One pair of ankle boots
  • A pair of thick, fleece-lined tights
  • A pair of leggings
  • A Hat
  • Two thick scarves
  • Gloves
  • Two handbags!! (not pictured)
  • Underwear, socks and pyjamas (not pictured)
  • A make-up bag filled with toiletries and some make-up (not pictured)

On the way home from Berlin a few days later, I had also acquired another hat and gloves (due to my getting soaked one day) a couple of postcards, and a piece of the Berlin Wall.

I was so happy that I was able to fit my leather jacket and boots in my carry on bag. This meant I had options!

Packing for a Winter Weekend with Carry-On Luggage Only-

It’s all about Planning and Warmth


The thing about packing for a weekend trip in the winter, when you only have carry-on luggage, is to plan. I hate to plan. It hurts my head when I try to figure out what clothes I will need for each day, but talking to myself as I tried to picture what we would be doing there helped!

The main thing about packing for a winter weekend away, either in Berlin in other cold places, is that you are warm enough! We did a lot of walking around in Berlin, so it was important that we didn’t get too cold. So jeans, jumpers and thick socks really helped. The biker boots were great for when it was raining heavily, as was the leather jacket because it had a hood.

The best thing to do in all carry-on luggage only situations is to over-dress for the plane. Now, you can wrap yourself up like the Michelin man if you really want, but if you plan it right, there should be no need to go overboard!

how to pack for a winter weekend in Berlin, carry-on only with Ryanair

On the plane I wore my heaviest jeans, my long coat and one of my scarves. I wore a lightweight top so that I wouldn’t overheat. I wore my furry sleeveless jacket under my coat on the way to the airport (because Dublin is cold too!) but once I was through security I was getting too warm, so I stuffed it into my carry on.

Once I was standing on a wind-tunnel-like train platform in Berlin, I was able to take it back out.

Both Aer Lingus and Ryanair have become nicer, and now you can bring a small ‘personal item’ with your main carry-on item. For this, I brought a bowling bag shaped, medium-sized handbag, which comfortably fit my camera, book scarf, hat and gloves.

How to Pack for a Winter Weekend in Berlin, with Carry-on Only.

In my carry-on suitcase, I had a smaller red handbag.

Small red handbag- What to pack for a winter weekend in Berlin - with carry-on only

I’m not a handbag fanatic or anything, but I knew that I needed something smaller to carry around with me all day, and somehow, this cheap red handbag that I bought in Penneys makes for a perfect camera bag! It fit my camera and second lens, along with a little notebook and my gloves etc. Amazing. I took a bit of the lining of my real camera bag, and put it along the bottom of the bag to make it more protective.

how to pack for a winter weekend in Berlin with carry-on luggage only

If I was packing for a winter weekend in Berlin using a carry-on suitcase again, I would pack the same items, except I would bring heavier jumpers, as I stupidly packed some of my lightest ones, because they are the nicer ones that I own. I would have also brought another pair of thermal tights to wear under my jeans.

So, there you have it, my tips for packing for a trip in winter, using only carry-on luggage, and making it through the Ryanair security, no less!

With this selection of clothes, I managed to stay warm, look presentable (I think!) and was able to dress in my usual style. Win-win!

Have you any tips for packing a carry-on suitcase for a winter weekend away? Share them below!

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  • Reply
    Marie @ Marie Away
    February 25, 2015 at 6:31 pm

    Wow! I’m impressed with how much you were able to fit into your carryon! Also, I really like the black handbag. It looks very practical.
    I’m a bad packer, not for overpacking, but because I’m just the messiest person. I’ll try to take this post as my inspiration to try harder 🙂
    Marie @ Marie Away recently posted…How to make Korean honey lemon tea: an herbal remedyMy Profile

  • Reply
    Ken Dowell
    March 6, 2015 at 9:41 pm

    Wow! That is probably five times as much stuff as I would pack for a weekend. I recently went to Buffalo (very cold) for a weekend and brought two pairs of jeans (wore one), two sweatshirts, two t-shirts, 2 pairs of underwear and socks and wore coat and boots I would wear all weekend. Easier to be a man. Haha.
    Ken Dowell recently posted…Baker Rink: 93 and CountingMy Profile

  • Reply
    Susan Cooper
    March 6, 2015 at 10:10 pm

    I do love to travel, but the process of packing no something I look forward too. I love your idea for a camera bag. I have a very large camera that use for shoots at home. I just bought a small professional; to put camera in my purse and for travel. This and your other tips will come in very handy. 🙂
    Susan Cooper recently posted…Chocolate Pots -Elegantly Simple: #RecipeMy Profile

  • Reply
    March 6, 2015 at 10:36 pm

    You know the rule of thumb is to get everything you want to take and put it out just like you did to take the photo. Then put half of it away again 🙂
    Tim recently posted…Broadening HorizonsMy Profile

  • Reply
    Michele Harvey
    March 7, 2015 at 12:56 am

    I think you did a fabulous job packing all those clothes in your carry-on bag. I used to do quite a bit of international traveling and worked packing minimally down to a science. Short trips can be challenging because if you don’t pack enough, you wind up either needing to do laundry while you’re traveling or to buy the clothes you didn’t pack. I love the photo of you!

  • Reply
    March 7, 2015 at 8:09 am

    Wow I love the way you pack. I should learn from you. When I pack I end up with clothes I don’t get to wear lol. Your tips will come in handy!
    I love Berlin! Visited last year and planning to visit during Summer.

    • Reply
      Christine Maguire
      March 18, 2015 at 10:05 pm

      I end up with things I don’t wear all the time! I love Berlin too, I can’t wait to go back in the summer again 🙂

  • Reply
    March 7, 2015 at 11:08 am

    Your packing tips are going to be used my many travelers I would think. Being able to get everything in a carry-on would be so much better than waiting for the luggage. I liked the way you described how you did it and the purpose of the red handbag – good stuff.
    Lenie recently posted…Frugal FavouritesMy Profile

  • Reply
    Beth Niebuhr
    March 7, 2015 at 4:30 pm

    I flew over Thanksgiving to the midwest where it was very cold. I wore my warmest boots on the plane – and for most of the days that followed. Fuzzy lined. Since it was a reunion, which used to be around Christmas, we were asked to wear an ugly holiday sweater. I bought one for a couple dollars at Michaels and wore it on a chain around my neck. It was about 2 inches wide, meant for a doll, I am sure. Got a lot of laughs.
    Beth Niebuhr recently posted…Evergreen What?My Profile

    • Reply
      Christine Maguire
      March 18, 2015 at 10:01 pm

      Haha, that sounds like a great idea Beth, very creative 🙂

  • Reply
    March 15, 2015 at 11:39 pm

    You did great to manage to get so many clothes into the small case, I take note! 😉
    Latravelera recently posted…La MenaraMy Profile

  • Reply
    May 20, 2015 at 8:11 am

    wow you packed many things for weekend…so what about snacks..
    i noticed red handbag i love it one of my friend gifted it to me

    • Reply
      Christine Maguire
      June 4, 2015 at 2:49 pm

      No need for snack with all the delicious food in Berlin! Thank you, I got it for very cheap in Primark. 🙂

  • Reply
    Ginger Beck
    December 14, 2015 at 1:15 pm

    It’s great that you managed to put all your stuff in a carry on bag. I hardly can do it. Most of the time I have over kg. I have to learn to pack smarter, so I don’t need to pay extra fees! Greetings

    • Reply
      Christine Maguire
      December 18, 2015 at 3:19 pm

      Hi, thanks for your comment. I’m pretty proud of my packing because I’m usually very bad!

  • Reply
    Berlin on a Budget- How to have a winter weekend in Berlin for €370 - The Traveloguer Travel Blog
    January 14, 2016 at 11:28 pm

    […] Monitor your flights to find a great deal. If you are travelling to Berlin (or anywhere else) and you have flexibility, then check for the cheapest dates to fly. If you are planning this trip in advance, keep an eye out for upcoming sales. If we had waited until, say, the January sales with Aer Lingus, our flights could have been cheaper! We didn’t check in any luggage either, which presented a challenge trying to pack enough warm clothes for the Berlin winter! […]

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