Instead of focusing on what TO bring on vacation, let’s shift the focus on what NOT to bring because let’s face it…we’ve all come home from a trip and said “I didn’t need that”. Often, while packing for our vacations we think of our favorite things to bring with us, but this might not always be the best strategy! Bringing the wrong stuff on vacation can weigh you down, bulk up your bags, waste your money, or even get you into trouble. Here’s a look at the 9 worst offenders:
1. Irreplaceable Jewelry or Keepsakes
Sure, you might miss your grandma’s heirloom jewelry when out on the town on vacation, but leave the precious jewelry or keepsakes behind for peace of mind. Not only do you run the risk of misplacing the valued items, but you could also make yourself a potential target to thieves. Skip the risk and enjoy them upon your return home.
2. Entire Set of Keys
Instead of bringing all your keys with you on vacation, only bring the ones that are absolutely necessary for you to get home. Take a cab to the airport? Leave your car keys at home. Planning to land and head straight home? Leave those work keys at home. Don’t let those keys get misplaced or fall into the wrong hands. The keys you do bring, securely fasten them to your wallet or travel bag to make sure they don’t wriggle loose and leave you locked out when you get home!
3. Regular Cell Phone
Don’t bring your cell phone to a new country and continue to use it as if you were at home, or you will get hit hard with roaming fees. Make sure you check with your service provider to see if they have a roaming package, or look into unlocking your phone and getting a local SIM card and phone plan upon landing. This could save you huge money while enabling you to use your phone for navigation or emergencies while traveling.
It goes without saying to not bring weapons on vacation, but sometimes it is easy to forget what counts as a weapon while traveling! If you travel with a multi-tool such as a Swiss army knife, make sure it is stowed in your checked luggage and not in your carry on when you go through security.
Liquids can cause all sorts of trouble while traveling. Not only can they explode and ooze all over your carefully packed belongings, they can get you into trouble at the airport. Save yourself the hassle by leaving the liquids at home and purchasing whatever you need upon arrival. If you absolutely must pack liquids, pack them in watertight Ziploc bags in your carryon luggage. If you need those liquids in your carry on, make sure that each individual liquid, gel, aerosol, cream, or paste is less than 100mL/3.4oz per container and placed into a 1 quart sized plastic zip top bag.
6. Sporting Equipment
Sporting equipment can be big, bulky, cumbersome, and a total pain when on vacation. Leave it at home – chances are, if you’re planning on doing a specific activity on vacation, the venue will likely rent the equipment. For example, places that offer snorkeling or have tennis courts generally offer snorkel gear and rackets. Check with the establishment before leaving home to save some suitcase space and weight.
Don’t weigh your bag down with bulky guidebooks. If you are traveling with a device with data, use the internet, or alternatively use local services like internet cafes or computers at your hostel or hotel to find out the information you need. If you need maps or information upon arrival, print them in advance – a couple of sheets of paper save a whole lot of space versus an entire guidebook.
8. Overcautious Packing
It is easy to go on a packing bender and end up preparing for every possible scenario. Instead, check weather forecasts and examine your itinerary to make sure you have your packing list pared down to the bare bones. You don’t need 3 winter jackets for a trip to Thailand, and you don’t need those bulky hiking boots if you aren’t planning a hike. Even if you are missing something, you can always get what you need at your destination.
9. Uncomfortable Shoes
One of the great joys of visiting a new place is walking around and soaking up the culture. Don’t ruin your day by hobbling around in uncomfortable shoes and remember that comfort always outweighs fashion. Bring your comfiest pair of walking shoes, or if you must buy new shoes for the occasion, save yourself some agony and break them in before you travel. Bonus points if you limit the number of pairs of shoes you are bringing!