Seven things not to pack

Invalid request error occurred.After two million+ kilometres (1.4 million miles) of flying, I have developed a list of what not to pack. Not being a fan of checking in a suitcase, I have refined my list again and again. Now, I check a suitcase once every 30 flights. These are invariably flights home to Australia with items bought as holiday gifts!


1. Every Electronic Gizmo


From: (Darla has great ideas for organising lots of things!)

I don’t really need a camera, two phones, an ipad, a kindle and a laptop. Travelling with multiple gadgets creates more possibilities to lose or forget things and increases the possibility of target for theft. Fewer gadgets mean fewer chargers, cords and wires. If you are travelling as a couple, definitely rationalise.

2. Gadgets, Gadgets, Gadgets

I ditched my alarm clock early on. Watches, phones, hotel wake up calls and friends all serve the same purpose. I have seen people travel with toasters, kettles, irons and hair dryers. No, no, no, no. I have not been to a hotel that does not have a dryer or an iron. If there is not one in the room, they will find you one. In some countries, I have marched into a local laundrette where for a very small fee, they have ironed stuff for me for the next few days. 

3. An excess of Clothes 



Lay out all the clothes, you think you need for your trip. Then cull. Do you really need that many skirts? Can you mix and match? Then take whats left and count each item 1,2,3,4,5, etc. Every even numbered piece of clothing, leave behind. Be strong! My Golden Rule: Take nothing that does not go with at least two other pieces of clothing.

I take washable underwear that can be rinsed in my sink, plan washing days when I can go to the laundrette or throw them into he washer at a friend’s place (thanks guys) and I buy clothes on a trip. If you start with too many and buy as you go, you will need two suitcases on return.

If you think laundrette time is a waste of time, you would be surprised. I have made friends in a laundrette in Seattle, got travel advice from fellow travellers in Perth, blogged in one in San Francisco, had coffee in New York and written postcards at one in Blackpool, England while waiting for my clothes to dry.

4. Too Many Shoes

I travel with one pair of runners and a pair of dressy walking shoes. Sometimes, I will go to three pairs and add a pair of hiking boots.Again, I have bought shoes when I have needed some for a function. I wear my heaviest shoes on the plane and stuff socks into the shoes I am not wearing to save space.

5. Toiletries

Shampoo, conditioner, body wash and soap are a waste of space and with modern security regulations, a hassle. Give up your favourite product for a week. Every hotel provides you with these things. If you are staying somewhere for a week, go and buy a small bottle of whatever you need. Most products are sold everywhere now! I do fly with moisturiser, toothbrush, toothpaste, razor and shaving foam which I can use in-flight or before arrival to freshen up.

6. Valuables

Jewellery, expensive luggage and other valuables belong at home. My aim is not stand out whilst travelling and expensive items scream for attention. If you have a function you must wear something expensive to, carry them discretely with you on your person and store them in the hotel safe or deposit box. 

7. Guidebooks 

As much as I love books, guidebooks take up space and consume weight. All the information you need is now online or can be downloaded on to your smartphone or tablet. I have been known to tear the pages I need out of a guidebook and take them with me.


Whether you take no suitcase, one suitcase or two suitcases what are some things you have learnt never to pack?

Related Posts

Travel Tip: Take No Toiletries

Take a “Multi Plug”

How many Shoes do you travel with?

All about Feet and Travel

Test your wardrobe pre trip








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  1. Rosewill International Traveling USB Charger – 4 ports with international adapters

    Best traveling USB device charger. Charged both my wife’s and my iPhone (camera) and iPad easily with 1 outlet. Especially since many rooms don’t have more then 1 outlet.

  2. I check my bags much of the time just because I like to travel light. Hair dryer is the biggest thing I stopped taking with me over the years. As a marathon runner it’s hard not to over pack on running gear. Even worse in the winter.

  3. Thats the advantage of running in the Southern Hemisphere! Shorts and shoes are usually enough!

  4. Proof that one size does not fit all, I dare say I have travelled more than you (Flyertalk member since 1999) , and I don’t follow any of your advice. Too many shoes / an excess of clothes? Are you crazy?

    You’re obviously a straight man (I am not). You also need to realize that it is absolutely necessary to carry a camera , because the one on my phone takes crap pictures compared to my high end sony.

    As a 1K I can carry 3 bags at 75 LBS and when flying business on other carriers I can check 2 at 32 kg / what ever lbs usually. And yeah, I do use it.

    As for carrying it around, that what trolleys, bellhops etc are for. You lost me at toiletries, most of the stuff at hotels even the high end ones are crap.

    To each his own. Viva 3 bags at 75lbs!!! I do use it.

  5. LOL at the comment about taking 3 75 lb bags. You might have traveled more than everyone, but its obviously been the needless & luxurious way. I can’t imagine carrying 3 giant bags with me onto a subway train.

    Sounds like a typical American comment though, I’m pretty sure the average parisian could pack a 50lb bag and look good for weeks.

    Just like my life, when I pack, I like to exercise a certain level of minimalism. Less is more.

    Good article by the way!

  6. Have to disagree with you on the soap. Most hotels provide over scented or very drying soaps that I cannot handle.

    I travel really light (one carry on suticase and a personal bag PERIOD regardless of trip duration or location), but my soap and lotion are must haves!

  7. In Bologna, my curling iron bit the dust and it took almost two hours to find another one. I am betting it was the only one in town too. No one understood what I needed (language barrier plus Italians are not African-Americans so their styling products are different).

    I finally found the curling iron after giving up and walking down a side street on the way back to the location I was staying in.

    Now I pack two on international trips (the one I picked up in Bologna and the new one I purchased once I was back in the states.

    And yes, I still use one piece of carry on luggage and a personal bag.

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