What not to pack when traveling

We’re always told what to pack, how to pack, when to pack – but it’s not often we hear what we shouldn’t bother putting in our suitcase when traveling, beyond the usual no-go items. Here are some items that are better left at home, particularly if you want to travel light.


In today’s digital world there’s no reason on earth to bulk up your baggage with guidebooks. Download the information you need before you go, or buy a guidebook at your destination. 

Gym gear

If you’re a dedicated gym bunny or you’re taking a fitness trip you’ll want to pack your sneakers, but remember that workouts can be done without footwear – you can practice yoga and Pilates in bare feet, as well as take that run on the beach. Pushups and other resistance training in the hotel room needs nothing but your motivation. 

Beach toys 

Pails, shovels, paddleball rackets and snorkels are wonderful additions to your beach experience but let’s be honest – you can buy all of these at the beach. You can give them away before flying home – and the bonus is no sand in your suitcase. 

Extra socks and underwear

Most people overpack basics like socks and underwear, but don’t do it. You can wash your underpants in the bathroom sink, or, even better, pick up some unique additions to your collection at a local shop. 


Many hotels and rental homes will have umbrellas to borrow. If not, head to a local shop and pick up a cheap one that you can easily dispose of. 


Unless you have allergies or are absolutely committed to a particular brand, forget packing loads of creams and other toiletries. Hotels usually stock rooms with shampoo, soap and other necessities, and what they don’t stock you can pick up at a local shop. Bonus – you won’t have to worry about spillage in your suitcase. 

Hair dryer

These days, hair dryers are pretty much standard at most hotels and rental homes. If not, you can buy a cheap one at a local drugstore – and it also means you won’t have to bother with adapters if you’re in a country with non-compatible outlets. 


Of course you need to pack some shoes, but almost everyone is guilty of saying “just one more pair” when loading up their suitcase. The most you really need is one comfy pair for walking, one nice pair for evenings out and maybe sandals for the beach. 

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