There’s no greater burden to a traveler than having too much luggage. It’s awkward on public transport, inconvenient to drag across town, and airlines will hit you with extra fees. You’re less likely to travel off the beaten path with all that weight, and it’s difficult to find your things when and as you need.
Many people think that if you want to travel light it’s what you pack that matters. But on the contrary, it’s largely about what you don’t pack.
The following are 10 items you’ll never need overseas. It’s pointless extra weight because you’ll never use them – let me know in the comments if you agree or disagree!
What NOT to Pack – 10 Items You’ll NEVER Need Overseas
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Towels & Extra Toiletries
I totally get it – you like a particular brand of shampoo. But the best way to travel light is to pack basic toiletries which will get you through the start of your trip, and leave the rest at home.
If you’re staying in hotels, the majority of the time they provide the essential toiletries for you. Shampoo, conditioner, moisturizer, even organic or natural soap.
Most will have toothbrushes, razors, and toothpaste available for you too. Though in a worst case scenario, foreign countries sell shampoo! You’ll find that picking up toiletries on the road is super easy, and often cheaper than if you were to buy them at home.
Similarly, 99% of hotels provide towels. If they don’t, you can usually rent them for a small fee. Microfibre travel towels are amazing as they are super absorbent and dry fast, but carrying a full towel is bulky, and never seems to be quite dry when it’s time to pack it up. Mmmmm musty luggage.
Pro Tip: Travel with the basic toiletries in your carry on so that you can get through your flight feeling human. You’ll be amazed at how much difference brushing your teeth and washing your face can make after having been on a long haul flight.
Holiday Reading & Guidebooks
Reading is one of the best ways to pass the time during long hours in transit. But books are heavy. Period. And they take up a LOT of unnecessary space in your suitcase when traveling. By all means, pack a book, but don’t pack more than one.
When you’re done reading, you can swap with other travelers who are always willing to trade. Or hit up the hotel/hostel library where guests can exchange books. Ideally though, the best way to approach holiday reading is to download a couple of titles onto your kindle or e-reader.
This goes for guidebooks too. The big travel guides like Lonely Planet have apps with an offline function, where you can download the information when you have WiFi, and reference the information when you’re out. Google maps has the same function. Plus, it’s more rewarding to speak to locals and discover hidden gems that are off the beaten path.
Your Whole Wardrobe
The hardest part of packing is being ruthless with your clothes. But it has to be done. We all love having options, but in the end you fall into a routine of wearing the same few things anyway, regardless of how many different shirts you’ve packed.
Go for tried and tested favorites (no one in Australia will ever know that you’re an outfit repeater), and don’t pack more clothes than you need. A very wise traveler once said “You can change your outfit every day, or just change your city!”
As a general rule, if you’re packing something on the premise of “what if…” or “for this one occasion”, it doesn’t belong in your bag!!
Also, won’t need more than one pair of jeans. These are heavy and are not quick to dry. One pair can last for days without washing, and are warm, durable, and fashionable enough that they don’t make you look like a tourist.
Valuables & Jewelry
If you can’t afford to lose it, don’t travel with it abroad. Even if your hotel room has a safe, and even if you’re super vigilant when walking through town, there are still ample opportunities to lose or misplace your valuables, and it’s not worth bringing them along.
These make you a walking target for pick-pockets and thieves, and are usually unnecessary anyway. Ie, do you really need your phone, laptop, tablet, and Kindle? Or is your phone powerful enough to accomplish everything anyway?
Also, you’ll find it a million times harder to bargain with locals once they spot that you’re decked out in bling.
Camera Zoom Lens & Tripod
As full time travel bloggers, photography goes towards our bread and butter. But zoom lenses and tripods are big and heavy, and unless you’re a professional photographer, you don’t need the extra gear.
Most of the time a point and shoot camera will do just fine. You can still take excellent instagram snaps, and it’s much faster and more convenient when you need to quickly catch a shot.
The photo quality of point and shoot cameras nowadays is incredible anyway; most of the time with a fantastic zoom, and specs which mean you won’t lose photo quality when you zoom in and crop in editing once you’re home.
Leaving aside the fact that wearing a money belt is a major violation of universal fashion laws, wearing one screams to the world that you are a tourist, and this attracts pickpockets. It’s usually visible under your clothes, and very obvious when you’re reaching into it, so please do yourself a favor and leave it at home.
Use a handbag or a wallet just as you would if you were at home, and blend in more as a local. Alternatively, look for backpacks with anti theft designs and security pockets for your cards and cash.
Welcome to 2016. You don’t need traveler’s checks. These are incredibly expensive and super difficult to redeem. Most banks aren’t even willing to cash them anymore.
International ATM networks now are now the most convenient way to access your cash while abroad, so get a debit card that won’t charge you for using other ATMs and get a credit card with no foreign transaction fees.
Hiking Boots & High Heels
My hiking boots served me well on Kilimanjaro, but unless you’re tackling something similar, they have no place in your bag.
Hiking boots are the heaviest and bulkiest item in your bag. Because they take up so much space you’ll end up hanging them on the outside of your pack (and wincing each time they swing around to hit you in the side), or begrudgingly wear them onto the plane. Which, by the way, is hot, and uncomfortably heavy, and makes you look ridiculous.
Sneakers and training shoes are usually just as sufficient across varying terrain, and flats are comfortable for walking around a city and much more compact. Plus, likelihood is you’ll end up wearing hiking boots a grand total of once. For the same reasons, you don’t need to be traveling with heels.
Your Favorite Food/Drink
I get it – it’s hard to find Cadbury chocolate in Asia, and Vegemite outside of Australia costs an arm and a leg.
But you know what, you’re on holiday!! Traveling is supposed to be about immersing yourself in new, unfamiliar cultures, and that goes for food too. Get into the spirit of adventurous eating, and leave your pantry at home.
Hair straighteners are not essential on a holiday, and you won’t find them on any female travel packing list. Leave them at home. Firstly, they’re expensive, and if you try and use them with the wrong adapter or voltage, it’s likely they’ll blow a fuse and fry. Though more importantly, you don’t need to look like you’ve just stepped out of the salon while you’re abroad. And the hour you spend working on your hair could be spent enjoying your holiday.
Likewise with hair dryers – most hotels and home rentals offer these. And this means you won’t have to use a converter.
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