What Not To Pack For Vacation

Chasing the Donkey may include affiliate links - if you decide to make a purchase through these links, we receive a commission without any additional cost to you. Disclaimer & privacy policy.
Post author SJ

Written by our local expert SJ

Sarah-Jane has lived in Croatia for 10+ years. SJ, as she is known, has been traveling the Balkans & beyond since 2000. She now shares her passion for traveling with her husband & kids.

When it comes time to pack for your next holiday, lighten your load with these tips on what NOT to pack.

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

We are always on the lookout 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

Best Hanging Toiletries Bag_3191097_1280

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 and Conditioner

I don’t pack shampoo and conditioner on short trips as this allows me to carry-on without worrying about liquids and takes up less space in my bags.

Most accommodations, even some hostels, will already have these items available for you, or you can buy them when you arrive (and then leave them behind).


Lindsay of Carpe Diem OUR Way

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 and 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 dramatically 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 non-stop travel, I decided to ditch the polish for good.

It’s not that it is an oversized item to lug around, but the nail polish remover 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 usually find a cheap bottle of remover that I won’t feel bad throwing out.

Brands We Use And Trust



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 makeup I don’t usually use because traveling was an ‘occasion’ to look good for.

When traveling became more frequent, I realized 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.

Clothing Items & Accessories to Leave Behind


SJ Lighthouse_Colours Of Istria Trip 7

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.


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 the market. If you can’t imagine living without your favorite item of jewelry, don’t haul it overseas.

If you do want to pack them, use this handy item.

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 is rain pants. We suggest you pack a high-quality rain jacket every time. Protecting you from rain and wind, this is a crucial 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.

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. The truth is, on a safari, you 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 merely 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 sit in a comfortable 4×4 car.

Do be sure to take a safari hat with you; try one of these.

Underwear and Socks for Each Day

Mary of Calculated Traveller

and souvenirs. I travel with only three pairs of fast-drying underwear, and 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. and souvenirs. I travel with only three pairs of fast-drying underwear, and This system allows me to travel carry-on only, save on checked luggage fees, and stay mobile and unencumbered by large suitcases. 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.

High Heels

Patti of The Savvy Globetrotter

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. “}” data-sheets-userformat=”{“2″:769,”3”:{“1″:0},”11″:4,”12″:0}”>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.

Here are the shoes we suggest you pack.


Jub of TikiTouring Kiwi

Maps have slowly been phasing out over the last decade as smartphones’ adoption 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 that 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.

However, a large world map hang that up on the wall and pin where you’ve been! Free offline map apps are the way to go.

Paper Books

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. 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.

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

All That Said, There Are A Few Things You Must Pack! Like…

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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Move This Adventure To Your Inbox & Get An Instant Freebie

Subscribe To Unlock Your FREE Customizable Travel Packing List & All Our Best Tips!