Friday 15 Feb, 2013

What NOT to Pack

If you’re like me, deciding what to pack is not an easy task. I always think I’ll need more than I do and end up with a pile of clothes that never see the light of day. It’s important to remember that when you are travelling, you are responsible for toting your suitcase to and from the airport and hotels. You will regret bringing too much stuff as soon as you try to pull it off the luggage carousel.

The best thing you can do is make a detailed packing list, keeping in mind the activities you will be participating in and the weather of your destination. A good rule of thumb to stick to is: PACK LIGHT! If you bring only the essentials, you won’t run out of socks, but you’ll still have enough room for souvenirs. Here is a list of 10 things you could easily leave behind:

Hair dryer

Most hotels leave a hair dryer in the room for guests to use. If you’re in a hotel that doesn’t have one, don’t sweat it. As someone who has weird hair in hot, humid weather, this is a tough one to accept. However, it really will save you a lot of space and extra weight. And there is nothing wrong with letting your hair do its thing naturally while travelling.

Too many toiletries

Just like a hair dryer, most hotels leave you with a pretty good supply of all the essential toiletries. If you know your destination won’t have any, pack only the amount you will need and no more. Put everything in travel-sized containers so you don’t take up any unnecessary space.

Valuables

It’s best not to bring anything that is very valuable to you. If you misplace an item while travelling, it is unlikely that you will find it again. Save your favourite items for home use.

Too many clothes or shoes

Rather than bringing a shirt that only matches with a specific pair of pants, try to bring clothes that you can mix and match. All of the shirts you bring should match each pair of bottoms. The same goes for shoes. Bring one pair of comfortable walking shoes and one nicer pair.

Another tip: Light-coloured clothes look dirty a lot faster. If you want to get the most use out of the clothes you pack, bring darker coloured items. They will look cleaner, giving you the option of wearing them again.

Don’t forget, some sites require shirts that cover shoulders and arms, and may not allow shorts, short skirts or flip flops. Keep your destination and planned activities in mind when packing clothes.

Jeans

Some people may disagree with this, but jeans are actually really heavy and take up a fair bit of space in your suitcase. If they get wet, they will take forever to dry, which just adds extra weight. If you happen to own a pair of lightweight pants, bring those instead. Jean leggings are a great option for women – they weigh a lot less.

Books

Books are really heavy. You may have good intentions, but there is a really good chance they will be forgotten once you arrive. If you want to bring one for the plane, don’t go overboard. Stick with just one. If you have an e-Reader, bring that instead. It will be much lighter and lets you bring more than one book.

Heavy luggage

If your luggage is extremely heavy, it doesn’t matter how well you pack. Your bag will still feel like a million pounds. If you have a lighter bag at home, use it. If you have a smaller bag, even better. You can still bring a carry-on that you can fill with a change of clothes, a toothbrush, and any entertainment items. You shouldn’t need much more than that.

Umbrellas

Some people may disagree with this one as well. However, umbrellas are annoying to pack and are even more annoying to carry around on your tour. Many rain jackets nowadays can be folded very small and weigh next to nothing, making them a better alternative. If you do decide to bring an umbrella, try to find a mini version. They’re more travel-friendly.

Too many gadgets

If you have a long flight ahead, it’s understandable that you would want to bring your various gadgets to keep you entertained. Just remember that you will have to carry all of them around for the rest of your trip. If you think you can live without one of your items, leave it behind.

Anything you can live without

If you are trying to decide if you need to pack a certain item, try to remember the last time you used it. If it’s something you don’t use very often, you won’t need it. Chances are you will be able to purchase the item while you are away if it is absolutely necessary. So save some space and leave those “just in case” items at home.

For EF’s full packing list, click here.

 

Flickr photos via albertogp123, o5com