Things You Don’t Need on Your Packing List

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21 Things You Don’t Need on Your Packing List

We are always on the look-out for the hottest travel necessities on the market, and we’ve spent loads of time perfecting our “must-pack essentials for Croatia” list, but there are plenty of travel goodies out there that can be left at home! When it comes time to pack for your next holiday, invest in items like anti-theft backpacks, but lighten the rest of your load with these “leave it at home” tips from fellow travel bloggers who have mastered the art of traveling light.

Toiletry Items to Ditch

Traveling with some of your favorite products from home is never a bad thing, but it’s easy to over-pack. Here are the non-essential toiletries to consider ditching.

Shampoo Bottle | Croatia Travel Blog
Photo Credit: Pimthida

Shampoo and Conditioner

Megan of Traveling Nine to Fiver

I’ve stopped traveling with shampoo & conditioner, and will bring a bar of soap with me instead. This allows me to carry-on without worrying about liquids and take up less space in my bags. Most accommodations, even some hostels, will already have these items available for you. While bar soap might not be the best for your hair in the long term for a few days or even a week you can get by just fine. I’m more likely to stay in hotels so I’ll only bring toiletries I know won’t be at the hotel to save space and a little money too.

Diapers

Lindsay of Carpe Diem OUR Way

Diapers take up a lot of space in my already cramped suitcase. More and more airlines are adding fees for the first checked bag, so our family of 4 will often try and fit everything into one checked bag! A week of diapers for my 2 year old takes up more space than all of his clothes! I will generally pack 1-2 days in my carry-on, as well as extra clothes (there is something about airports and my kids always needing a change of clothes!). Upon arrival, the stash will likely get us through the rest of the day, and the following day, giving us ample time to find a store with nappies available for sale! While you may think you are saving money by bringing them from home, but the cost of an extra checked bag greatly outweighs the cost of paying a few extra cents per diaper!

Here are a few other things we suggest you do pack when traveling with kids. 

Beach Packing List With a Toddler | What to Pack on a Plane With Kids |

Nail Polish

Natasha of The World Pursuit

I used to be a girl who could never ever leave the house without polished toes. After we left for a life of travel I decided to ditch the polish for good. It’s not that it is a big item to lug around, but the nail polish remover that you need every two weeks is! I feel so much better now that I don’t have to worry about keeping my toes beautifully polished all the time, and now walk around all natural. If we do happen to visit some exotic location and I will be on the beach the whole time then I can find a cheap bottle of polish literally at any drug store in any country. When it’s time to remove the polish, I can usually find a cheap bottle of remover as well that I won’t feel bad throwing out.

Make-Up

Anna of Singapore N Beyond

Before I leave for a trip, I would imagine myself looking my best when discovering a new city. I would bring make up I don’t usually use because traveling was an ‘occasion’ to look good for. When traveling became more frequent, I realised the bottles and tubes were only taking up space- and hardly used! The potential for discovery each day was far more significant than making sure I was picture perfect. I’ve left it home for my last few vacations, hardly noticing their absence.

Go Girl

Michele of Legging ItThings you Don't Need to Pack - Go Girl - Travel Blog

You may have seen the advertising for ‘Go Girl’ – Life’s greatest adventure should not be finding a bathroom…. Normally not swayed by advertising but facing a long series of train journeys and long term travel I was swayed. I thought how wonderful and convenient, I need one of these wonderful portable devices so I can pee anywhere. It is now two and a half years since I left home and finding a loo has never been an issue. I am yet to break open the packaging, so my advice on something not to pack is a ‘go girl’ save your money for something you actually will use.

 

Hair Dryers and Straighteners

Allison of Eternal Arrival

Hairdryers and straighteners are bulky, cumbersome, and – depending on where you’re traveling – often completely useless. For one, unless you have an adaptor/converter hybrid that also converts voltages for heat, it’s quite possible that you’ll blow out and destroy your hairdryer. Even if you do buy that converter (yet another thing in your bag!), you’ll often find your hairdryer or straightener redundant. Most hotels, hostels, and even Airbnbs have ones you can use or borrow. Lastly, it’s a good idea to give your hair a break from constantly applying heat to it. Too much blow drying and straightening lead to breakage and permanent damage. Try some new styles that don’t require a full blow out or straightening, get creative with updos, or just enjoy your hair in its natural state – especially if you’re having a beachside vacation!

Editors Note: I totally disagree on this one – and in fact, I recommend great travel straighteners here which are light and compact.

Clothing Items & Accessories to Leave Behind

We’re not suggesting you leave behind the basics, but there are ways to trim down on your style choices for an easier on-the-go experience.

No High Heels | Croatia Travel Blog
Photo Credit: Michael Lusk

Jewelry

Una-Minh of Before My Mam Dies

Paranoid about getting your beautiful necklaces and bracelets stolen? Simple solution: don’t bring them! While it may be tempting to want to jazz up your outfit, the chances are that you’re only going to be wearing them once or twice (or not at all), and they only add a layer of nervousness to your packing. You’re also a pretty easy target for thieves too if you brandish fancy bits and bobs. Not only that but by not wearing jewelry you may find it easier to blend in with the locals and get better prices at market. If you can’t imagine living without your favourite item of jewelry, don’t haul it overseas.

Rain Pants

Sue and Dave of Travel Tales of Life

Adventure travel requires extra gear and one item we have packed for years and never use are rain pants. We suggest you pack a high quality rain jacket every time. Protecting you from rain and wind this is a key item. Cycling and hiking in rain pants left us sweaty, wet and miserable. Over time the rain pants just took up space and added weight. Our experience is that you will be happier in most situations without them.

Here we have a great list of travel pants that are light and cover all types of travel. 

 

Waterproof Jacket

Heather of Conversant Traveller

This applies when you’re travelling to hot countries, not if you’re off to scale mighty peaks or sail the seven seas. Hot doesn’t necessarily mean dry, so it’s natural to want to pack a rain jacket. Yet I suggest you take an umbrella instead! We’ve carted our jackets all over South East Asia and Africa and been caught in torrential downpours. Yet the humidity makes even the thought of wearing a jacket unbearable, so we’ve not used them. Ever. An umbrella is less bulky, and can double up as protection from the sun too. Bonus!

Safari Clothes

Mar of Once in a Lifetime Journey

People go on safaris and feel like they need to go shopping and spend all that money on clothes they will then store in the closet for maybe the next safari. Truth is, on a safari, you just need comfortable clothes, layers, and to follow one single rule: use colors that can be found in nature. The same clothes you would wear trekking, walking or simply camping will do. If you want one of those pants with zippers that can turn into shorts, great – temperatures in the morning can be really cold. And don’t let me get started on the trekking boots , I guarantee, you will never need them to then sit in a comfortable 4×4 car.

Underwear and Socks for Each Day

Mary of Calculated Traveller

I’m not suggesting that you go “commando” and don’t wear any undies, nor am I suggesting that you wear the same pair for seven days straight. But doing a little bit of light laundry in the hotel sink at night saves space and weight in your bag for other clothes and souvenirs. I travel with only three pairs of fast-drying underwear and socks — one pair I wear, one pair is spare, and one pair is either waiting to be washed or is in the midst of drying. This system allows me to travel carry-on only, save on checked luggage fees, and stay mobile and unencumbered by large suitcases.

Outfit Per Day

Sofie of Wonderful Wanderings

I want to look nice as much as the next person, but let’s face it: the chance that you’ll bump into the same people on the road every day of your trip is very slim and even if you do, they probably won’t remember what you were wearing the day before. Choose bottoms and tops that all go together and switch things up that way.

High Heels

Patti of The Savvy Globetrotter

Even if you have plans to dress up and go out for a nice dinner and/or drinks on your trip, I would still recommend leaving your high heels at home. Not only are high heels hard to walk in and uncomfortable but they also take up valuable space in your luggage. There are many compact shoe options to look stylish and fashionable without resorting to heels. If you are planning to wear a dress or skirt, pair your outfit with cute flat sandals. Ballet flats are also a great choice since they can be worn with both pants and skirts.

Travel Gear to Reconsider

Let’s face it…some travel gear is highly overrated. We are led to believe this gear is “just what we need” for our next adventure, yet after purchasing, the items hardly see any use.

Umbrella | Croatia Travel Blog
Photo Credit: Zlatko Vickovic

Passport Cover

Dave of Travel Dave

Airports secretly hate them, so do the scanners, chuck it in the bin and give yourself one less thing to worry about. Let your actual passport cover (yes, your putting a cover over a cover) embrace the world. Like a good cheese or fine wine, let your passport mature in age and show its true character. Your not fooling anyone, a passport should reflect you and a pristine cover is not going to get you far in life. Any ways you get a new one in a few years or when your passport is full of stamps. I’m sure your battered passport would look better being all mangled instead of looking like the day it was born, it will tell its own story.

Maps

Jub of TikiTouring Kiwi

Maps have slowly been phasing out over the last decade as the adoption of smartphones increases, as does our reliance on them. A map can be bulky, confusing and makes you the prime target for theft. If you use a map from a free city guide, chances are it’s not comprehensive. Because of this, you ended up purchasing a map which has a short lifespan for the average human. They aren’t exactly easy to fold up into 1/16th of their size when they’re fully open so you give up and stuff it into your pocket to mate with other dirty treats in there. If you still appreciate maps, buy them as a souvenir to add to your collection, which realistically won’t ever see the light of day. A large world map, however, hang that up on the wall and pin where you’ve been! Free offline map apps are the way to go.

Umbrella

Alejandro of Mi Viaje por el Mundo

I don’t know why people love to pack a lot of stuff for those “just in case” moments and umbrellas are one of those things you don’t need to pack.

If you are thinking on packing an umbrella because you don’t want to spend extra money or waste time finding one you will realize that the moment it actually starts to rain people will go out to streets and sell them. Different sizes, shapes, colors and more efficient than the little umbrella you are planning to carry all the time with you.

Also, if you are traveling to a city or a country with huge probabilities of rain my guess is that the people living in that place are more used to dealing with it, so you will be able to find a better umbrellas for a cheaper price than the small, light weight and expensive travel umbrellas that you find in a travel stores.

Paper Books

Chris of One Weird Globe

I love reading as much as the next person. If I’m going to be in one place for any length of time, I’ll likely pick up some paper books to enjoy while I’m there. That said, I very rarely travel or pack paper books since they take up lots of room. For books that might take some time, I aim for the e-book version. Paper books are a transient sort of thing, picked up at yard sales or thrift stores, then left with a friend or donated.

Here you can find a great eReader and other excellent travel products here

 

Sleep Sheet

Raymond of Man On The Lam

When I first started travelling friends and fellow travellers warned me I’d be staying in a lot of sketchy places, so I better ensure I had something to separate myself from the bedding. Enter the sleep sheet — basically a thin bedsheet that’s sewn together similar to a sleeping bag. I carried one for years, but honestly I think I only used it twice. A much better substitute for a sleep sheet is a sarong — you can wrap it around yourself if you’re worried about what creepy crawlies might be in your bed, and it doubles as a beach blanket, a towel, and a cover when you go to religious sites. Plus it takes up very little space and is far more versatile.

Packing Cubes

Gemma of Two Scots Abroad

Controversially, I would recommend not paying for packing cubes. Now I’m not saying that I will never use packing cubes, but as a super tight Scot I like to look for money saving alternatives and I found them for $2 in an army store – giant sandwich bags! We travelled for 17 months around the Americas and Europe using these resealable bags which separated our tops from our bottoms. Another bonus was that they were waterproof and silent to open!

Editors Note: We have selected the best travel packing cubes if you have $20+ to spend on them, which you can see here. 

Multiple Chargers

Marianne of Mum on the Move

When we travel as a family, we generally travel with a laptop, three iPads, two iPhones (plus portable charger), a Kindle, a DSLR camera and a GOPRO Hero camera – that’s a lot of luggage space and weight, and that’s just the chargers! I recently invested in a Multiport USB Charger, which means we can leave behind most of the heavy plugs and just take a few multi-use cables with us.

And Finally…

A life of adventure should have no bounds!

Suitcases and Globe | Croatia Travel Blog
Photo Credit: Orion_Katerina

Another Human

Danie of Like Riding a Bicycle

How many times have you heard that someone wants to travel, but is just waiting, waiting, waiting for that friend to come along? Solo travel can be amazing and eye opening, and almost always lands you with a ton of new pals. So stop waiting for that second human to come along, and find new friends along the way instead!

Things to do in Croatia_Things Not to Pack | Croatia Travel Blog

What else would you leave behind?

All that said, there are a few things you MUST PACK! Like…

  • A lightweight travel hairdryer and a
  • A quality Cross-Body Bag

 

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Comments (8)

  1. I am going to have to get on the ‘in defence of cotton underwear’ train. i brought mostly cotton with me, except for a pair of patagonia boyshorts to sleep in. The synthetics tend to fare badly when you’re hiking or sweating, and cotton is way more comfortable (at least for me). Though I must admit I never looked into paper underwear before!

    I also love my ipod, mainly because the ‘sounds of travel’ sometimes include a horror movie at full volume on a night bus through ecuador – and mere earplugs just won’t drown out the screaming.

    I agree on the toiletries/makeup and soap front (big fan of Safeguard’s Eucalyptus soap here in the Philippines!) and also on the money belt – after a year of travel, I’ve never actually worn it once.

    I would also add traveller’s cheques – mine have been gallivanting around the world with me, but have yet to see the light of day.

  2. Great list and so true that you don’t need all of these. The first time we went travelling I probably had them all! But I learned my lesson and appreciated the lighter back pack the next time 🙂 It’s always good to be reminded for the next trip though, as we haven’t been on an adventure for a while!

  3. Such great tips. I’m trying to re-pack my bag for my Mexico trip and always, always, always pack too much. No matter how hard I try, there are always unnecessary items!

  4. Personally, I disagree with some of these for myself, but I guess if you aren’t doing long-term budget travel or going more remote places or aren’t working, it would make more sense.
    I am just going to comment on a few. You cannot just find nail polish in any convenience store in any country! Or makeup for that matter! For example, when we were out in the Javan countryside, I could find none of those things. I couldn’t even find some damn hairbands there or in Sri Lanka and had to last months without losing my last two. I like my toes painted red and think toenails look quite ugly unpainted so I do travel with red nail polish and it has not been a problem. Also, do you know how much makeup varies in price across countries? A lot! It was quite expensive in Thailand. I really just like face makeup and eyeliner but I like to have them. I also sometimes find myself wishing I had a curling iron just because I would like to look half-decent from time to time.
    Now, I don’t have fast drying clothes, so maybe that is part of the problem, but I can’t imagine having only 3 pair of underwear. We so often find ourselves in these very humid and damp places that everything takes days to dry! I don’t want to do laundry every day. I mean, I already wear mine and even sometimes then wear them inside out and I have more than 3 pair and still feel like I do laundry more often than I’d prefer. And, after so many wears, some of them are getting holes. And underwear is another thing which varies in price across countries.
    We also need the security of multiple chargers because we need them to work and have found this necessary at times!
    I personally kind of agree about the umbrella but my husband thinks we need to carry two and thus we do. We have used them but I think they just take up space.
    One thing we’ve found we haven’t needed though: towels. They would certainly be nice at times (when we haven’t had them and it’s cold etc.) but not completely necessary.

    1. Thanks for your comment. This article is for those who are going on your regular vacation, not long-term budget travel. Knickers dry in my hotel room overnight or in 24 hours max, perhaps not in tropical situations that is for sure.

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