Knowing what to skip is just as important as knowing what to take. To become a packing master, you should be aware which things you should not pack. Avoid the temptation and remember you need less than you think. We often pack lots of items that turn out to be completely useless – and then we regret. Here’s a list of things people tend to stuff into their luggage, even though it doesn’t make sense.
Table of Contents
Valuable electronics and jewelry
Take only the electronics you’re going to use. Don’t bring a laptop if the only thing you need it for is sending an email to your family; you can use a phone to do it. Bring a camera to take pictures – and that’s it. You honestly don’t need other gadgets. The same applies to jewelry and other valuable items. No matter how lovely this expensive necklace is, you can surely survive a few days without it. There’s only one thing pickpockets love more than tourists: tourists who seem to be rich. By showing off with golden rings and pricey devices, you attract sneaky thieves.
Unless you’re going to a strange, remote place without ATMs, you don’t have to have a lot of money. Pay with a card and withdraw some money when it’s necessary. To avoid paying high withdrawal fees, open an account in a bank that doesn’t charge extra for international transactions. Empty pockets are safer than pockets stuffed with cash. In case you lose your bag, or it gets stolen, you won’t end up broke.
Tons of clothes
If you think “…but I might wear it at some point” – don’t take it. You won’t. Or you will – once. Pack practical clothes that you know for sure will come in handy: t-shirts, one pair of jeans, shorts, a summer dress, etc. One piece of clothing that looks a bit fancier might turn out to be useful (like a white, light shirt or a cute blouse), but unless you’re going for a business trip, taking a suit will be just a waste of space. It’s quite simple: don’t take anything you don’t usually use at home. Okay, if your trip is an extreme expedition, or you live in Alaska and head to Hawaii, then, of course, this rule isn’t going to work, but in general, it’s a good attitude.
Litres of toiletries and cosmetics
500 ml of shampoo is way too much for two weeks of holidays. A large bottle of shower gel, three lipsticks and two different moisturizes aren’t necessary either. Cosmetics tend to be heavy and occupy a lot of space. Get toiletries in travel size or a few “samplers,” especially if you’re going to fly with hand luggage only. Keep in mind there are restrictions as for how much liquids you can carry on the plane. In case you realize something is missing in your cosmetic bag, you can always get it in Greece, Spain or wherever you’re heading to, soap or sunscreen isn’t so hard to buy.
Fluffy towels are great at home, but terrible when traveling. They’re just so big! Don’t waste the valuable space for such things. Instead, take an absorbent, thin towel. Those made of microfiber are great, they’re small and dry fast.
More than one book
Sorry, bookworms, reading is a beautiful thing, but it’s less romantic if you have to carry heavy books all around. You may pack one book without a hardcover, and it’s going to be enough. Many hostels and cafés organize book-swapping, so in case you finish reading before the holiday is over, you can exchange your book for something new. For avid readers, Kindles and similar devices are great. They’re a bit costly, but definitely worth the money if you’re an addict.
Same story once again: books weight a lot. So do guidebooks. You can look through them at home, copy the pages you need the most and store the files on your smartphone, or just get a .pdf version of the complete guidebook. If you’ve got an e-book reader, then it’s even simpler – just buy an e-book and read it whenever you want using this lovely device.
Those high-heels or shiny boots
Shoes are even worse than clothes. If you have to have something fabulous, better pack one more shirt or two dazzling tops, it won’t add more than a few hundred grams to your luggage. If you do the same with shoes, be ready to carry a few extra kilos. Unless they’re flip-flops, shoes are big and cumbersome. You don’t need those beautiful boots for a short city break; sneakers will do just fine. Trekking shoes are necessary only if you’re seriously going to hike. No matter how comfy they are, don’t take them for a sunny vacation, because you just won’t wear them. Worst case scenario, it’s going to rain once, and your feet will get wet – you’ll survive it.
Ten pairs of socks
We tend to underestimate the small things. Yes, one pair of socks doesn’t take much space, but ten pairs do. Packing many extra pieces of underwear is unnecessary. Take 3-4 pieces of everything and do a small laundry every few days. They can be washed fast and easily in a sink. Both socks and underwear dry quickly, so no problem at all. If you’re worried, buy a few things made of quick-dry fabric.
You might love this tea, or this jam, or this chocolate, but you’ll surely manage to live without it for a few days or weeks. Instead of carrying food from home, do your best to taste the local cuisine of the place you’re visiting.
Scissors, nail files and other sharp objects
That’s a rule for those who only travel with a hand luggage. It’s once again about the restrictions; you can’t have such things with you on the plane. Even an innocent nail file can be thrown away by the airport staff. Remember of it. Otherwise, you’ll lose this precious penknife your grandpa gave you years ago.
Cheap things you can easily buy there
Don’t bother with the simple, cheap stuff that is being sold everywhere. If your shampoo is just finished, instead of going to the shop before departure, do it once you arrive at this charming town you’re visiting and buy it there. You’ll save yourself the effort of carrying it all the way from home to the destination.
Stress, worries, work and all the trouble
Last but not least of things you should not pack, try to leave the negativity behind. It’s your holidays! It’s time to relax and forget about the problems at work or fights with the neighbors. Don’t take the business phone, stop worrying about your next exam and don’t think about all the things you’ll have to do once you go back home. Analyzing these issues will make you tired, and you won’t enjoy the vacation. If you leave it behind though, you’ll rest and come back with new loads of energy.
Do you know of some other useless things people usually bring with them for holidays? Let us know! And, to keep your friends from making serious packing mistakes, share these tips with them.