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
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.
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.
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.
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?