You think it might come in handy; maybe, just maybe, Murphy’s Law will strike and you’ll regret leaving it out of your luggage. But more often than not, that oh-so important thick down jacket, or seemingly indispensable pair of trekking boots ends up just adding weight to your luggage and taking up precious bag space. I’m the queen of ‘Just In Case’ packing, it can’t hurt to bring it along… right? Wrong!
I’m guilty of carrying a fancy pair of heels… just in case I want to go out somewhere nice, but I always end up being lazy and just wear my usual flats. Sometimes I bring several really thick books… just in case I run out of things to do even though I know I have a fully packed itinerary and end up not flipping a page.
We often talk about what to pack, but what’s on your list of what not to pack?
Specialized items with just one purpose
If you’re not going on a trip where the bulk of your time is spent on activities which require specialized equipment like skiing, diving or the likes, then it’s highly unlikely that you’ll need special gear to get around the city, or to manage an hour long walk in the park. Specialized items tend to be bulky, and you’re likely to use it just once if at all, so definitely not a priority if you need to downsize your luggage.
Don’t Bring: Heavy jackets, more than one pair of high heels, boots and more than 3 pairs of socks. You just won’t need them. Instead, bring sweaters and long sleeve shirts to layer if it’s cold, and flats.
Things you can get there
Unless you’re headed somewhere truly remote, most cities will have provision shops that have stuff like shampoo and toothpaste, so you don’t have to worry about packing them – it’s especially helpful if you’re not looking to check in your luggage. Also, shopping in foreign countries is a great way to get a sense of the place you’re visiting, but do think twice if the exchange rate is not in your favor!
Stuff you can’t afford to lose
I just read an article the other day about the millions of luggage that gets lost every year by the airports and airlines. And that is the reason why everything remotely precious I have I try to leave at home so I can’t lose it, or I carry in my hand-carry luggage so I can keep an eye on it. And why I always, always buy travel insurance.
What’s the most useless thing you’ve brought on a trip?
What type of packer are you? Last minute tosser of stuff into your bag and hoping you remembered to bring everything? Or meticulous with lists and at least a week’s headstart, and sure to carry a backup of everything? I find when I do the last minute thing, I tend to worry that I don’t bring enough and always pack more than I really need. “Can’t hurt to have an extra shirt… or two… maybe some pants… or two…”
Yeah, I rather err on the side of too much than too little when I go overseas.
One of the ‘useless’ things I have a predilection of packing is giant books – I love me an omnibus, or collections of stories in a book – I can’t explain it really, it just seems the most value for money and there is something immensely satisfying about finishing a giant book. But still, it’s like carrying a brick around and not the smartest thing to pack when space is limited!
Added: It’s funny looking back at this post written 5 years ago and seeing how my packing style has changed! Now I’m all about the Carry-On only life…