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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

Towels & Extra Toiletries

Sumoii Sand Free Beach Towel Review Best Travel Beach Towel (1)

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.

Bag and book

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.

Girl travel fashion

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.

Canon Camera

Money Belt

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.

Travelers Checks

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

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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Megan is an Australian Journalist who has been travelling and blogging since 2007, with the main aim of inspiring others to embark on their own worldwide adventure. Her husband Mike is an American travel photographer, and together they have made the world their home.

Committed to bringing you the best in adventure travel from all around the globe, there is no mountain too high, and no fete too extreme! They haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on their list.

Follow their journey on Facebook, TwitterYouTube, Pinterest and Instagram.


  1. Can’t disagree with any of this list. Particularly the money belt (what happened to trust) and travellers checks (never seen one).

    I’ve done a decent amount of hiking on the road, and most of them in my sandals. People laugh, but I’ll beat them up and down all the time.

    There’s so many alternative solutions for everything these days, a little bit of research can save lots of weight and space on anything bulky.

    • Lol I had a similar experience recently actually, hiking down a big hill to a waterfall in California in my sandals. So many people on the way passed laughed at me, but I was doing better than them without the hiking shoes :D!

    • Completely agree on the money belt, Jub. Also, now that digital books are so easy to download, I don’t know why anybody brings heavy books around anymore.

      Not only are there alternative solutions for most things these days, it’s also very easy to purchase some things while on the road to lighten your load for the journey.

  2. Haha, your comment about a money belt got me laughing! These are all great tips! I could be better at not bringing so many toiletries and Scott with the camera gear haha! I’ve actually seen people travel with (and perhaps you have too) instruments! I couldn’t imagine bringing that plus luggage! Thanks for a new take on what people should pack when traveling!

    • These are great, like Megan Indoe (above said) I could probably not bring as much, but would wonder what people would do in certain places if they really did bring travelers checks. But couldn’t agree more about books, especially now that you can get them on your phone, tablet, or just about any electric device.

    • Haha Megan, when I met Mike he had a whole backpack dedicated just to his camera gear. Over the years he’s condensed it thoroughly and we’ve realizes we really don’t need half of the equipment we used to travel with.

      So glad you enjoyed the post!!

      Scott: I took a couple of books on my last trip and they just sat there neglected taking up space – definitely much smarter to upload them to a device :)

    • On my last trip, the fellow boarding the plane ahead of me had a trumpet case. He was happy to explain that his brother (who he was visiting) wanted him to play in the brother’s band, and practice with them whenever he visited. So, bringing the instrument was necessary and kind of the point of the trip.
      When you see someone travelling with things that seem odd to you, remember that people travel for different reasons. For me, travelling with a real camera is pointless, because I take horrible photos, but a pro photo-journalist needs that stuff.

    • Absolutely Sam, totally agree that people’s packing habits will always vary depending on the purpose of a trip :)

  3. I agree with the majority of this list – especially money belts. You wouldn’t go around your own country with them :’)

    The only one I disagree with is hair straighteners. I see this on so many lists! This is a personal one for me, my natural hair is the worst and straighteners, whilst bulky, give me confidence. There’s nothing worse than having a photo at an amazing place, but never wanting to look at it because you’re self-conscious. So I allow it as a confidence-boosting luxury :)

    • Hi Emily! If it’s something which gives you confidence then go for it! Ultimately that’s the biggest thing – I do agree with you that we all want to look our best in photos, especially when we’re going to be showing them off to everyone and looking back on it as a fond memory form the trip :)

    • I agree! I can forget about hair dryers but hair straightener is very much essential for me and nothing can really replace this.

    • I just returned from vacation and it rained and rained the wind blew, I also have natural curly a hair straightener would not work.i gave up and put a scarf/hat on.

    • Sorry to hear you got rained out! Yep, better to embrace it though! Hope you had a good vacation in spite of the weather :)

    • I’m with Emily! But agree with, and do (or don’t do) everything else, Still room for improvement though and I have been doing long trips for a long time.

    • I think there’s always room for improvement, I like to think I’m a pretty savvy packer but always seem to come home with things I didn’t use or clothes I didn’t wear. And of course our travel style and interests evolve over time which changes your packing needs / habits too :)

      Thanks for reading Pam! Happy travels XX

    • Get a Brazilian (keratin) blowout before you go. I have really curly hair and I don’t need a straighter or dryer.
      Also who brings books anymore? We travel a lot and have a home in a foreign country. I do my work, reading and movie watching on an IPad. Have used my phone, but kind of small. I have the first class look. Always travel in a dress or jeans with a white non iron Brooks Brothers shirt and always a cashmere or cashmere or silk like wrap or scarf. Use as a blanket or pillow. Arrive after flying all night looking like I just got dressed. A shoulder bag or tote is a must. Leave your good jewelry home especially in poor countries. Rude to flaunt what you have.

    • Really great points Kay, thanks for sharing your tips and experience :)

      I do all of my reading and work on my laptop and iPads now too, we love books, but we leave them at home when we travel and make sure we have e-versions of whatever we need. Just takes up far too much weight and space otherwise.

      Great dressing tips for the plane, that’s one I admittedly usually struggle with, I’m usually the opposite of fresh looking on disembarkation!

      Agreed on the jewelry, the point of traveling is to blend in anyway so we really don’t need to be drawing attention to ourselves with bling overseas.

      Thanks for reading :)

  4. It’s a nice list and I tend to always pack to much! :)
    However I could never live without my zoom lens :O :D

    • I think we’re all guilty of overpacking from time to time :D

      We used to travel with so much camera equipment too lol when I met Mike he had a whole backpack dedicated just to his camera gear. Over the years he’s condensed it thoroughly and we’ve realized we really don’t need half of the equipment we used to travel with :)

  5. This is spot-on! I suggest packing mix & match outfits for about 10 days if you’ll be backpacking for more than 2 weeks. As for the hair straightener, humidity will always win in the end! :)

    • Love mix & match outfits so much! All about being resourceful with versatile clothing to pack a little lighter! With you on humidity winning in the end. Some forces just cant be fought!!

  6. Totally agree with most of this list. I do not like checking luggage so I pack as light as possible and only what fits in my carry on bag. Even though they take up a lot of room, I do like my hiking boots so I usually pack those but I wear them walking around instead of sneakers.

    • Totally with you on not liking to check luggage! I would be carry on for every trip if I could :) When I do take my hiking boots with me I usually wear them onto the plane just because they’re so bulky and heavy and I hate having them spread dirt throughout my bag. So have come to appreciate a good pair of sneakers instead :)

  7. Hmm… I disagree with some of the points. First, many cheap guesthouses and hotels don’t offer more than a soap, and it’s much better to take your favorite shampoo and conditioner than to go shopping when you arrive somewhere. Second, money belts feel safer when you travel with all the money for your whole trip. Third, if you don’t go to a warm country, you won’t use your sandals for hiKing, because you don’t use them much at all, and if it rains a lot hiking boots are so much better than sneakers…

    Basically, there are no universal lists of things to take/not to take, it all depends on where you go :)

    • Agreed that in cheaper accommodation it can be very helpful to have a stock of toiletries, especially if you’re heading out remotely. And that waterproof shoes are always a win :)

      The money belt though is something which I would highly recommend to avoid; even if it feels safer, it really does make you a target for thieves. Who are usually scarily good at their art form! We’ve found it’s a lot safer to split your money up throughout your belongings, so that way if something does get stolen or go missing, you haven’t lost everything.

      Definitely no universal lists, and travel preferences will always be subjective based on the individual. Hopefully this helps some people identify what they can take out to pack lighter though :)

      Happy travels!

  8. The high heels comment, SO true. Heck even bringing a pair to live abroad has been a waste of space. I’ve worn them exactly 0 times in two years! Love this list!

    • Haha I feel as though even having them in my cupboard at home is a waste of space too :P I usually opt for flats even when not traveling lol

      So glad you enjoyed the post!

  9. I wholeheartedly agree with this, but I go way further than this. I’ll start with a little story.

    My cousin is an experienced backpacker who has traveled the world extensively. He invited me on my first ever backpacking adventure 13 years ago, to the USA. He told me to pack then unpack several times, reevaluating what I had packed that could be superfluous to my needs. After 4 times of emptying my giant new backpack I had condensed it enough to fit into a small backpack. I turned up at the airport where my cousin was waiting & he asked me where my luggage was. I pointed to my small backpack & he yelled u idiot! Don’t even think of asking to borrow anything from me.

    After our 3 months’ trip, my cousin begrudgingly accepted that I was smarter than him, as I had packed nothing I hadn’t used, nor had I omitted anything I later regretted. After that first experience I had caught the travel bug & spent the next 7 years backpacking around the world. I further condensed my backpack so that I can travel for 3-6 months with the total weight of 6 kg.

    For me, light weight is essential, due to a 20 year-old neck injury, as I need to wear a neck brace when carrying my backpack. I have even come to learn that light weight clothing is essential, & that shorts can double as underwear or swimming shorts. & an iPhone makes for a perfectly good laptop, iPad & camera. So what I always travel with are the following items unwaveringly:

    A thin nylon raincoat
    2 pairs of thin nylon track pants (180 g only! No jeans for me!)
    4 pairs of thin shorts
    4 thin vests
    4 pairs of thin socks
    Wash kit containing toothbrush, a travel size tube of toothpaste, deodorant, nail clippers
    Phone charger, ear plugs & adapter
    Cigarette lighter

    For flying I wear sneakers, socks, track pants, shorts, vest & hoodie (or wear round my waist) & carry passport, iPhone, wallet, water bottle only.

    On arrival I buy slippers/flip flops, shower gel & washing powder. If this can sustain me for several months of backpacking, anyone can do it!

    • Thanks for sharing your packing tips and story with us Daniel! Haha, gotta love it when they think you’re an idiot to start with and then end up wishing they had mirrored you!!

      I’m very impressed that you can travel for 3-6 months with the total weight of 6 kg. Sorry to hear about your neck injury. But absolutely fantastic that you can travel with so little weight to make it work!

      I have a 6 week trip coming up on Tuesday, so will attempt to take your lead and pack a lot lighter than I normally do! Happy travels!

    • Hi Meg!

      Thank u for ur lovely reply! I really appreciate it.

      Enjoy ur upcoming 6 weeks of traveling. Where are u going? I know ladies need more paraphernalia than guys as a natural cause, but maybe u can travel with 7 kg!

      I’m heading off to Taiwan backpacking in the next 2 weeks. Not sure for how long yet as I run a business in Malaysia these days & usually end up called back at a moment’s notice after a week, a mont, 3 months or whatever, so I will enjoy it while I can.

      Don’t feel any concern for my neck. It’s the result of a serious car wreck over 20 years ago. I’m just happy to be alive to enjoy this wonderful world in which we live. I only actually need to wear my neck brace when I’m carrying my backpack, coming into land on planes & boneshaking bus rides etc. The rest of the time I leave it in my hotel room & enjoy my environment the same as everyone else. It’s great wearing a neck brace on a plane though. Not only does it double as a pillow, but it gives me a little TLC from ground staff & cabin crew & am invariably approached & offered priority check in & boarding & often 3 seats to myself or a free upgrade. At immigration lines a kindly member of staff usually invites me to the diplomatic or crew immigration desks too!!!

    • Thanks Daniel! We’re taking in quite a few destinations actually, doing an around the world trip. Going Sydney – Singapore – Cape Town – Istanbul – Venice – Vienna – Barcelona – Toronto – Cancun – Panama City – Argentina – Auckland, and back to Sydney.

      I may have packed a little more than 7 kg lol! Have a wonderful time in Taiwan! I’ve not had the chance to travel there yet myself, though have heard wonderful things. Haha and I can definitely see how a neck brace would come in handy in access some of the priority perks!!

      Enjoy your travels & travel safe!

    • Hi Megan!

      Wow that’s an awesome trip u have planned. Best of luck on ur travels. Stay safe, stay healthy, stay happy!!!

      I’ve just come back from Taiwan after 3 1/2 weeks. I was called home long before my hoped-for 3 months’ trip.

      I adopted a Chinese orphan in Malaysia 7 years ago. He’s now 16 years old & studies in Taiwan. I spent real quality time backpacking with him & we both really enjoyed ourselves.

      At Taipei Airport they asked me to weigh my carry-on bag. Just 4.8 kg this time!!! This must make me the world’s most lightweight backpacker!!!

      U say u haven’t yet been to Taiwan. It’s well worth a visit. It’s well developed, yet pretty cheap. The scenery is awesome & the food is fabulous. Must try oyster omelette & stinky tofu (smells like sewage but tastes good!!!

  10. I can’t resist taking a camera zoom lens but I agree that hiking boots aren’t essential and high heels most definitely aren’t! I’d add umbrellas to the list, you can usually borrow one from a hotel or buy a cheap one if it starts raining

    • Very true on the umbrellas – I have a small compact one I travel with which is nice because it fits into my small day pack without taking up too much room. But yes, you can generally always borrow them from the hotel front desk, otherwise they’re only ever like $2 for a cheap one on the street :)

  11. I plan on traveling in September so this is really useful for me. I believe in packing light.

    If anyone is interested in saving money on passport photos, then why not do them yourselves? I have a blog entry on how to do your own passport photos for free here: If you find that interesting, please subscribe to my blog to get helpful tips on living a more frugal and fun life here: .

    • Thanks for sharing Krystal :)

  12. I agree with everything that was listed and some of the items can also transfer over to domestic traveling as well. I didn’t have to worry about my packing list when I was in the Army traveling and visiting foreign countries but now that I’m retired, my packing strategy has to change. Thanks for the info.

    • Absolutely Tameka – totally agree that this list is just as relevant for domestic travel too. I’m guessing that traveling in the Army meant you had to stick to an already prepared list?

      Happy travels!

  13. Nepal is a bit different if you are going to go trekking. Don’t plan on sandels or new trekking shoes. Blisters are one of the major problems; the Himalayas are really hard on shoes.

    Also, what do you do with your passport if you don’t have a money belt? They get $20K for a US passport on the black. Other than that, pretty good list, even for Nepal.

    • Oh absolutely Ama – totally agree that if you’re going on a proper trek you should invest in proper hiking shoes. As I mentioned, my hiking boots served me really well on Kilimanjaro, so if you’re tackling something similar I do highly recommend them. But I’ve found a lot of people seem to think they need hiking boots for hill walks or city mountains, when in reality, sneakers and running shoes will do just fine :)

      I keep my passport in a passport wallet in my camera case, and my camera case never leaves my side. When I actually get to a destination I lock it in the hotel safe and never carry it with me outside. I only ever have my passport on my person when I’m in transit and need to access it for the airport :)

  14. This list is great and so very true, but I found myself saying ‘no way, I’d never leave this behind’ several times. My camera gear alone weighs more than most people’s luggage, but I’d never consider going on a trip without at least two lenses and a tripod. I met women who are attached to their hair straighteners and beauty cases – something I’d never take with me when traveling… But their trip would be ruined without these items just as mine would be without a decent camera… :)

    • Glad you enjoyed the post Jurga! Definitely comes down to each person’s individual travel style on a couple of these things – a few people have commented here on the hair straightener for instance and said it’s a confidence thing, which I totally get … and lots of people are the same as you with their camera gear weighing more than clothes :D!

      Hopefully though we can convince people to lighten their load a little if they’ve packed some of these items and are not too attached to having them on the road :)

      Happy travels! XX

  15. Noted, and thanks for the tips…

    • You’re welcome :) Happy travels!

  16. Love this….just returned home to California after spending 1 month in Europe & I did all your don’t do list this trip but learned never again. I left an entire wardrobe in Europe because I had no space in my luggage to bring it all back home. Upside is I’ll be returning there this year & will not need to pack much. Thank you for all your great posts.

    • Glad you enjoyed the post Kristin! 1 month in Europe sounds like a fantastic trip … these tips are everything I’ve slowly learned myself after having made packing mistake after packing mistake too lol I’ve also left wardrobes in other countries before (and worn them onto the plane on one or two occasions) because my bags were overweight!

      Happy travels! :)

  17. Absolutely correct on all things. I usually re-pack my small suitcase 3 times! I remind myself I have to lug this around. My last trip to Europe I took a biggish handbag, no cabin bag, wonderful! Never used a money belt and never will.

    • Thanks Noelene! I do the same thing actually – I usually pull everything I want to take out, and then repack it all a few times until I’ve culled most of it :D

      Congrats on making it through Europe with no cabin bag – impressive! It’s such an amazing feeling to not be weighed down by so much stuff.

      Happy travels! XX

  18. I must disagree about the money belt. It may not be fashionable or comfortable but it is to keep your money and passport safe, not pretty! It is too easy for thieves to pick pocket or snatch a purse or backpack. I don’ wear a conventional money belt but a pocket type pouch inside my waistband.

    • Hi Gail! My main objection to the conventional money belt is that it actually paints you as a target for thieves and pickpockets – they know you’re a tourist instantly because it’s always easy to see underneath your clothes.

      Hidden pockets are always a fab idea though, so sounds like you’ve got a good system with the pocket type pouch :) Happy travels!

  19. I have done the hike to pulpit rock in Norway, wearing a pair of black converses and jeans. It was rather uncomfortable but i had been backpacking for 2 months and i survived anyway. I have learned the guidebook part the hard way though. NEVER again.

    • Would love to do the hike to pulpit rock in Norway! I bet it was amazing, sorry to hear though that it was a bit uncomfortable in jeans :(

      Yep, I traveled with a guidebook for my first trip, and then realized it was the heaviest thing in my bag … so grateful for the invention of smartphones and roaming internet!!

  20. Agreed! Great list

    • Glad you enjoyed the post Win :)

  21. After reading full context,I suddenly realised I made some mistake.Next time no 4no. and no.7 will be correct.
    Thanks for your helping and make my travel enjoyable and comfortable.

    • Glad we could help you travel a little lighter next time Linda :) Happy travels!

  22. I agree with pretty much all of this. I’m going to be studying abroad in England, and I’ll be leaving in a couple months. I’ve been researching what to bring and such for a while now, but it’s becoming more real the closer the deadline gets. I will definitely be following some of the advice mentioned in the comments, especially about the packing and re-packing, but I’ll be living there for half a year so I’d rather overpack a bit than underpack. As for the money belts, I’ve heard people say good and bad things about them. I’ll probably get one to appease my parents, but I’m not sure if I’ll use it. If I do use it, I’ll definitely put something on over it, like a fitted camisole, and then a looser and flowy shirt on top, but that’s even if I use it. It might just be that thing that sits in my suitcase for months on end.

    I also heard that using undergarments with hidden pockets is also a good idea, but they are pretty expensive for a decent pair. And the cheap ones will give you grandma butt, so I kinda homemade my own. I took an old pair of leggings I hadn’t worn for a couple years and I chopped them off to create a pair of shorts. I was originally making them to wear underneath dresses and skirts to keep from chaffing, and I decided to add some hidden pockets. I just took some scrap fabric from the legs and I hand-sewed some pockets big enough to hold my phone and a thin wallet, possibly my passport, and sewed them onto the shorts. And when I wear it underneath my jeans, complete with the items I’ll have in there, including my Iphone 6+, they are barely visible! It just looks like I have them stuffed into my jeans’ pockets. But, since it is worn inside my pants, and the pockets on my make-shift shorts are further down, pick-pockets won’t be able to reach in and steal them. It’s a lot cheaper than buying a money belt and definitely a lot comfier. It also adds some warmth since I’ll be traveling in the colder months. I think it’s a good alternative to the money belt, and you don’t have to worry about it looking nice since it’ll be under clothes and no one’s going to see it. But I haven’t had a chance to give it a dry run since I don’t really go anywhere that is big with tourists, or even live in a state that’s really touristy. So, fingers-crossed that it works!

    • Hi Michelle – awesome work on creating your own shorts with secret pockets! Sounds perfect :) My thing with money belts is that they paint a target on your back as a tourist, because locals don’t wear them. But hidden pocket shorts are awesome!

      I agree with you on preferring to overpack rather then underpack if you’re there for 6 months. You can obviously get all the toiletries etc once you get there since you’ll be shopping for that kind of stuff while there anyway, but sounds like you have a pretty good handle on it.

      Have an awesome trip to England … I did study abroad throughout Europe and it was the best couple of months ever!

    • Use a small neck pouch to hold money, credit cards, driver’s license, and passport been using one for over 25 years. Love it, it’s hidden under my clothes but protects my valuable items. Pickpockets are on the rise in all countries, protect yourself!

  23. Great tips! I never take jewelry or expensive makeup or clothes with me.
    Alhtough i like my own brands of shampoo etc, there is something fun about buying them in asia too.

    p.s. Cadbury chocolate was everywhere in Thailand :P

    • Thanks Stephanie! I had no idea Cadbury Chocolate was everywhere in Thailand … massive kudos to them lol! :D

      It’s definitely nice to have your fav brand of shampoo with you, especially as sometimes hotel brands can be pretty plain! Overall though one of those things that can be culled from a bag if needed :)

  24. One advantage of having a good trip is light backpacking. I always have a lightweight backpack. Also, the stuff which are brought along are important also. They should be all must-have items. I am looking for a fashionable one in pink. Any suggestion on this?
    Thank for your info and please keep it up.

    • Totally re light backpacking … so much more freedom when you’re traveling light :)

      If you’re looking for a multi purpose backpack which will be great for everything from gener travel, to outdoor adventures, check out the WASING 55L …

      It’s water resistant, has a bottom compartment with zipper access, and it’s pink!

      Hope that helps!

  25. You got me laughing at hair straighteners. My girlfriend wouldn’t go anywhere without it. She always want to have that picture perfect moment even on a hiking trip! I know, totally ridiculous! My eyes rolling right about now…

    • That’s totally unnecessary…

      Glam up even for hiking?

      No no…

    • Haha I know a lot of people like that too – everything’s all about the instagram photos these days!

  26. I agree and thanks for the post . I think some people need some specific toiletries like me since I’m a person of color with kinky coily hair and sensitive acne prone skin . Also since I don’t eat most meats I like to pack either protein powder or bars so I can manage when I can’t find something and packing ginger since my stomach is sensitive . I still keep this all on a carry on ( up to eight week long trip ) and am working on how to downsize but if you have specialty needs in a since you have to plan . Nothing worse than being starving with you skin breaking out and no idea what to do with your hair ?. It makes the day stressful .

    • Glad you enjoyed the post Nicole! Absolutely, if you have specialty needs then of course – my husband is gluten free, so I absolutely understand that – he often travels with his own set of food to get him through emergencies too :)

      Happy travels!

  27. Concerning the camera. I travel with an Olympus OM5 MkII and a 14 – 150mm zoom lens. The whole rig is very light, in fact I often don’t even know I am carrying it. The 5-axis image stabilizer makes a tripod unnecessary even for indoor shots in museums for example.

    • Awesome Ian, thanks for the gear tips! Light is ultimately what we aim for, so might check into this when we upgrade our camera next :)

  28. Agree with all but the hair straightener. I must take mine with me everywhere!!

    • Ultimately you’ve gotta do what’s good for you! I guess it’s easier for me to pass judgement on carrying one since I have reasonably straight hair normally lol – it might be a different story if it were otherwise!

  29. Relay Very nice topic here i have founded. Thanks for this Article.

    • Glad you enjoyed the post :)

  30. I do carry a few travellers cheques. They along with local currency and other items form a part of the emergency package.

    • Never a bad idea to have an emergency back up – I would just recommend checking that the country you’re traveling to will bank them :)

  31. 2 month long trip this time last year, 5 winter shirts (same shirt different colors), 5 leggings, 3 tank tops, 2 t’s 2 shorts for sleeping/lounging, 1 boot, 1 shoe, 1 flip flop, toiletries, phone. TINY Backpack. Best 2 months of my life. Haven’t worn any of those clothes since because i was sick of them, but i don’t care!! Black on black= going out, learn to do a cute quick updo so you don’t need a straightener. Be a minimalist on the road- you will thank yourself. Great post!

    • Sound like you’ve got the minimalist approach covered Maury – nice work! I love the same shirt but in 5 different colors approach – I’ve actually started doing the same thing when I shop!! Keeps life simple and easy!

      So glad you’ve had an amazing two months of travels – here’s to many more!

  32. This remind me one of my experience travel to Japan,i bring a complete toiletries even just a small amount each but still bordering me on taking extra space in my
    I’ll never bring them with me again.

    • Live and let learn right! I find that after a couple of trips you pretty quickly figure out what you do and don’t need. Hope you have a fabulous time in Japan though! One of my favorite countries :)

  33. Very good Meg, I also think that this is a good list very well remembered… I have made several walks in various regions and often take things that only hinder and weigh our baggage. Today focus on taking fewer things and being more objective in really useful things that can most use on the journey as a traveler.

    • Glad you enjoyed the post Marcio :) Yes I’ve found that unnecessary things just hinder your travels by weighing down your luggage too. We aim to move around easily and freely when we travel, and it can only be achieved when you’ve taken a minimalist approach to packing.

      Glad to hear that you also focus on taking fewer things! Happy travels :)

  34. Tilley-type clothing is our answer to frequent travel. Zip off pants and zip off sleeves. Many security pockets. Quick wash and dry. No need for a backpack (unless you’re hiking of course) or a purse. Secure pockets for passport, smartphone/camera, wallet, etc. Virtually hands free and safe all day and pocket for nylon rainwear as well as the zip off parts. We take and extra pair, different colour. We buy toiletries upon arrival. Shoes are dependant upon the places we visit. Usually what we wear and a pair of collapsible shoes as extras. Toss in a collapsible hat some socks, undies and a couple of washable shirts. Upon returning home those clothes aren’t worn again for a very long time. Perhaps till the bext trip

    • Sounds like you have it down pat Barrie! I love the idea of zip off pants and sleeves, and security pockets. I’m starting to purchase more clothing that has hidden security pockets to cut down on needing to carry a backpack / purse too. It’s so much nicer to be able to walk around hands free :)

      Clever buying toiletries on arrival – we do this with common travel destinations too, though remote places like Myanmar, or say Cuba where toiletries are super expensive, we’ll take them with us. I’ve found that light travel is usually about planning ahead and researching what you can and can’t get once you’re there :)

      Happy travels! Thanks for sharing your travel style & experience.

  35. Haha “wearing a money belt is a major violation of universal fashion laws” – I had a few chuckles on that one. Totally agree with everything here, especially the “hiking boots and high heels” for which I am guilty as charged. Great tips, thanks for this!

    • Haha it’s nice to know people laugh at my jokes lol :D So glad you enjoyed the post, thanks for reading!

  36. One of my friends traveled to Europe for a couple of weeks with a friend of hers. They actually bought cheap guide books for every location they visited. Yes, it added weight initially. But they left the guide book at each hostel they stayed in, freeing up space and weight for the souvenirs they bought. It kept them from having to leave items behind at the end.
    They also had a binder with all their tickets and bookings in the order of their visit to keep them organized. The sleeves could be used for small items like postcards and coasters after visiting.

    • Hi Monica, clever idea re guidebooks using them for the time in each destination and then leaving them behind. I know some accommodation, hostels and B&Bs especially, will often have book exchanges, so that’s a really great approach :)

      I usually travel with a binder with all my tickets and bookings too – I try to keep it as thin as possible so it’s not taking up a huge amount of space, but it definitely helps having all of your important documents and booking confirmations organized and easily accessible :)

      Thanks for sharing your insights!

  37. like this…
    This has been a really wonderful article.

    • Glad you enjoyed the post Kevin :) Happy travels!

  38. Having gotten an ear infection on our first trip to Europe I now take a small pack of meds. Pharmacia there are NOT the same as US. Try finding meds in Asia, that was a real treat. My husband insists we travel light but that small pharmacy has saved us a lot of agony and a quick recovery from some potentially disastrous days on a trip.

    • A small first aid kit with a selection of vital meds is always a good idea :) Especially if you’re allergic to certain brands, or as you’ve said, it can often be a massive pain trying to figure out what you need when you’re trying to find them overseas. Totally with you on that one Mary!

      Happy travels :)

  39. Just a note about hair straighteners – you can buy travel sized ones from Priceline that are about half the size. They’re not great for your hair but if you will only use them short term they’ll do. They take longer to heat and I don’t think they get as hot but again they’ll do the trick. There was a rechargeable one but it was useless, They can also be used to iron out any creases in clothing if you’re careful.

    • Thanks for sharing Kris … cool hack for being able to use them as an iron in a desperate situation as well, half of the hotel irons I find overseas have usually been ruined or leave marks on my clothes so I usually try to avoid them completely. Cool hack to have your own!

      Thanks for reading!

  40. I’ve been travelling with a moka pot for the last 4 years. I was scarred after milk coffee in India.

    • Noted for when I make to to India! On road trips we actually travel with a microwave in the back of the car lol so no judgements here!

  41. This is such a great giveaway, Megan!!! Especially for long haul flights which I have going to the Philippines where my sisters live and Australia where my daughter lives!

    • We love MAXOAK, so I’m always so excited when we can giveaway their products! Good luck in the draw Carol! 100% the charger would be amazing for US – Philippines / Australia flights! :)

  42. Glad to have a list of what I don’t “don’t leave home without it”.

    • Awesome Roy! We thought it’d be a bit fun to do the reverse of what you normally find online :D

      Thanks for reading :)

  43. I disagree about not taking face wash, shampoo,& soap I’ve had an experience where I’ve been allergic to the brands hotels use, to the extent that my face broke out luckily I had antihistamine with me else it would have ruined my time away.
    And I always pack a change of clothes,swimwear& ,toiletries in my hand luggage, had incidents where my suitcase stayed at our home airport…

    • Those are totally valid S! Definitely, if you have specific products you need, it’s usually very tough to find the same thing overseas, especially if it’s a very specific type of brand that you need for allergies etc :)

      And 100% on the spare change of clothes in your hand luggage, always something I do now, and it comes in handy for changing mid flight on long hauls, feel so much fresher on those long travel days.

      Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts :)

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