Well, we’ve been through the double-duty clothes to pack, packing essentials, and now we need to address the proverbial elephant in your suitcase: the non-essentials you should leave behind! Here are a few items that I always recommend you think twice about before tucking them away in your luggage.
1. Checked Luggage
If you truly cannot carry your luggage, by all means, spend the money to check it and let someone else do that for you! But if you can, consider going carry-on only. You will never be stuck at the luggage carousel waiting for luggage when you should be getting your vacation started, an airline will never lose your luggage, and you will never wish you had put “such and such” in your carry-on instead of checking it! Always remember to check the individual airline’s policies for weight and size restrictions!
2. Multiple Pairs of Shoes
If you need water shoes and hiking shoes, by all means pack both! But I am pretty sure you don’t need three pairs of flip flops, cowboy boots, running shoes, walking shoes, hiking shoes, four pairs of stilettos, and wedges! Choose a versatile pair of running/hiking shoes, a pair of water shoes for the beach and pool, and maybe a pair of nice flats for a night out on the town. Remember, you have to lug around whatever you pack, and shoes take up lots of space and add quite a bit of weight!
3. Multiple Pairs of Pants
Jeans? Check. Leggings? Check. Workout pants? Check! Five pairs of jeans, eight pairs of leggings in all colors and patterns (including three black pairs), four pairs of khakis, and nine pairs of yoga pants in case you want to workout twice a day? Honey, that is too much! Choose one neutral pant, like one pair of khakis or one pair of jeans; one pair of leggings for flight days or to go with several of the tops you packed, and one pair of workout pants per at least two days of your trip–you’re just going to get them sweaty, why do you need to start with a clean pair every day?
Only going away for the weekend? I usually choose either a pair of jeans or a pair of leggings and wear them ever day of my trip. No one will know but you! And anyone who asks if you’re wearing the same leggings four days in a row is too nosey–it’s not their business!
4. Extra Electronics
Do you really need your laptop, iPad, iPad Mini, Kindle, Kindle Fire, iPod, iPhone, etc., etc., etc.? No way! No matter how long you’re going to be away, you’re not going to “need” every electronic possible. My whole job is online, but I can literally do everything I need to do for a week on my phone. I usually take my laptop, too, for long-haul flights so I can do a little more, but nothing else needs to go with me. And guess what–you can make it, too! I recommend choosing two electronics and stopping with that. You can do it!
5. Beautification Tools
We all like to look nice in our travel photos. It’s the truth. However, beauty products take up space and add weight. Before you pack that hairdryer, check your accommodation’s website or contact them directly to ask if hairdryers are available in the rooms. Think you can’t go without your curling iron, flatiron, and other tools? Think again! Get creative with your hairstyles and go for easy over fancy. You can really do a lot with a nice clip, a braid, or a hat instead of so many other products and tools.
6. Full-sized Toiletries
If you’re going somewhere for a week, you do not need a container of anything that usually lasts you a month or more! Plus, you cannot take liquids with you over 3 ounces a piece, so get some travel-size, refillable containers at your local store and fill those up instead. By doing this you save a checked bag fee with your airline, prevent an issue trying to sneak it through TSA, and create less weight to tote around with you all over your destination.
7. Items Prohibited by TSA
Speaking of issues with TSA, there’s no reason for that these days! Check their website for their list of prohibited items, and now you can even Tweet or Facebook them with you questions @AskTSA! Just take a picture of whatever you’re unsure about and send it to them with your question. They are really good about getting back to you quickly!
8. Roller Boards
If at all possible, try out going backpack only on your next trip! Roller boards are fine if you truly cannot carry your luggage on your back for health reasons, or if you just prefer them, but they are also increasingly difficult to fit into overhead bins, cannot adjust their shape like a backpack or duffel bag can, and you always have to keep one hand on it.
With a backpack you can fill it completely and still cinch it down smaller, fit it in an overhead bin with ease, and the best part is both of your hands are always free! I’m always juggling a coffee, my passport, boarding passes, etc., and having both hands free instead of dragging a bag with at least one hand is so much easier. Additionally, I’m always kicking a roller board behind me, and it slows me down. I’ve been traveling with backpacks instead of roller boards for 10 years now, and I don’t plan to ever go back!
You can definitely take whatever you need with you, and there are absolutely some cases where you have to check a bag or even two, and that’s totally fine! My hope with this post is that you’ll think twice about what you need and what you don’t–will you be glad you brought it, or will you be lugging it all over the map, ready to throw it away before you get home? Think twice, pack once!
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