Just because people say so, doesn’t mean it’s actually a good idea to bring that umbrella. Traveling is a learning experience, and so is packing for it. We always want to cover all our bases with the items we think we need, but as we get more experienced with travel and packing, we start noticing we are actually hauling more than what we really need.
If you’ve ever done any research on the internet, you’ve probably seen more than a few packing lists that recommend bringing a whole variety of items. You can even find really specific packing lists such as those for a cruise, a Hawaiian vacation, a trip to Alaska, or a tour through Europe. While every destination is pretty different, there are some items that are commonly recommended.
Quite a few of these items (such as a phone charger, credit cards, and your passport) are pretty useful or even necessary, but others are actually not at all useful and are completely overrated. Below are commonly recommended travel items that you really don’t need to bring!
Good Old Mosquito Net
Many travel websites recommend taking a mosquito net to countries where bugs and even Malaria are common problems, but you might not realize that you usually won’t need one. Firstly, many hotels and even hostels or campgrounds will offer mosquito nets to visitors. Additionally, even if you do bring one, if your hotel doesn’t already offer a net then there won’t be a hook to hang your own on. You’re better off investing in some great bug spray and planning ahead with your accommodations.
A Luggage Padlock: Will It Really Keep Anyone Out?
Travel experts recommend purchasing a padlock for your suitcase or other checked luggage. What most people don’t realize is that a padlock is totally unnecessary and is simply a waste of money. Sure, a thief might not be able to break the lock, but if someone wants to steal your valuables, a suitcase is really easy to get into. The cloth versions are especially easy (you can just cut the cloth with a knife) but the plastic versions aren’t difficult to crack as well. You’re better off keeping any valuables close to you rather than trying to make your suitcase secure.
Don’t Bring Extra Toiletries!
Pack just the bare essentials and buy as you go. Providing you won’t be away from civilization for an extended period of time, you don’t necessarily need to pack any other over-the-counter medicines or toiletries as they are all available wherever you are going. It’s wise to carry a “sampler” or travel size of the primary toiletries and medicines, for the beginning of your trip. Then, replenish as you go.
What’s with all the Extra Gadgets?
Unless you need to use them while on the road for work or other essentials, we recommend leaving behind all unnecessary electronics. Each gadget has its own charger, cable, and other extras that can quickly clutter your backpack. Try to consolidate them to use a single or a couple of universal chargers, if possible (probably USB), to reduce the clutter. Items like an electric toothbrush, book lights, portable DVD players, coffee makers, etc.… leave them at home.
A Travel Iron?
As with hairdryers, a travel iron is really only necessary if you’re traveling for work or another purpose that calls for business (or refined) attire. If that’s the case, most hotels have irons in each room or the ones you can use. Otherwise, you can probably go out with a few wrinkles. Also, if you want to minimize them, you can do things like pack clothes in wrinkle-free fabrics, keep folds neat in a garment folder, stock up on a travel-sized wrinkle release spray when you arrive to your destination, or hang garments in the bathroom while you shower—steam really works magic on minor creases!
Let us know the first place you are visiting before summer is over and what you want to pack!