Before you start any journey, you should know what not to pack, because some stuff is just pointless to take with you. Over the years and from all the traveling I have done so far, I have made many mistakes when it comes to the question: what to pack and what not to pack. Reality is: We have all been in the situation, where we did not even touch some of the stuff we took with us, while we were on vacation or a longer journey.
This is why I wrote a list of 10 things you should never bring to any of your travels, because you won’t use them anyway. There was one point once in Australia, where I was quite pissed about myself, because I took so much things with me, where I knew I would never use them. And I had to carry them all the time. After a while you get quite annoyed. I guess, you know what I mean 😉
If you want to know what I take with me nowerdays, check out this post. I also came up with an ultimate packing list, where you have all kind of choices. The only thing you have to do, is to tick off the points and you will be good to go 🙂
Other than that, I can only say that it’s more important to know what not to pack than knowing what to pack, because you can get anything while you are on the go anyway.
What not to pack – Most unnessecary things
So, lets get right into this and start with the biggest mistake you can do in my opinion:
Taking a guide book with you is the most pointless thing you can do. I mean, you are going to a new country to explore it on you own, right? You want to make your own memories and go to places, where not that many people have been before or am I wrong?
Otherwise, you will end up at the most known tourist spots and that’s probably not what you intended to do in the first place. Don’t get me wrong, some guide books are quite good like the ones from Lonely Planet, because they tell you a lot. And, if you have never really heard of a country, it’s a good way to get some insides. Other than that, you can just look up everything you need to know on various apps like TripAdviser. You get all the information you need there (mostly the known spots as well).
I have to admit, I use the TripAdviser app as well, to inform myself upfront. But at the end of the day, everything comes different than how you have planned it. So, I rather ask people on site – mostly other travellers and especially locals. They know where the good/ secret spots are… 😉
It’s also always good to just go with the flow and go whereever you just want to go in that particular situation. Trust me, you will end up at places you have never even heard of and exactly these places will probably blow your mind!
This is another big mistake from what not to pack, that I have also done myself. Taking big and heavy tramping boots on a journey. You NEVER use them, unless you really want to go on a hiking trip for a longer term. For that situation they are a good investment. But even then, if it is not very cold or snowy, I always recommend trainers. The are more comfortable, lighter and they are just more convenient.
This point actually applies to business shoes, high heels or anything similar as well. I guess you know why 😉
Another big point regarding what not to pack is a big towel. I have realised over the years, that I do not really use a big towel. It needs a lot of space in your backpack, it’s quite heavy and it is not very convenient. Ask yourself, why do you need such a big towel to dry yourself after a shower? Would a smaller one not be enough? Or, when you go to the beach, do you really need the extra large towel? I don’t think so. Most of the time you are even able to rent one from a hostel/ hotel.
I rather recommend you to get a normal sized microfiber cloth. They are self drying and they don’t need a lot space in your backpack.
I really thought about, if I should put this one on the number 1 spot of what not to pack, because many people just exaggerate on this one. This applies to women AND men. A lot of people tend to take waaaay to much cosmetics and hygienics with them. I mean guys, come on…
Why would you use a Hugo Boss parfum for men when you go on a hiking trip? Or where is the point of putting eyeliner on when you gonna go on an island hopping trip in paradise, where you gonna swim in the ocean anyway?
I guess, you get the point. This is stuff you don’t need 99% of the time.
This point is special. Taking medication with you is really important in my opinion. But taking to much, which many people do because of precautional reasons, falls under the category of what not to pack. It is basically the same with any other point I have mentioned and will mention. If you forgot some medication and you realise you still gonna need it, then you can always get it on the go.
Guys, this one is a little tricky and maybe a bit controversial regarding what not to pack. I would never buy sunscreen upfront and carry it with me. Why? Because the sunscreen we have in Europe or any other western country is just not comparable to the stuff, that you get in hotter and more sun intense countries. I had a bad experience in Melbourne once, which showed me how useless buying sunscreen upfront really is.
On my first days in Melbourne (summer time), I used my 50+ sunscreen from Germany. Still, I got the worst sunburne I have had in my life so far. After that, I bought an Australian sunscreen, which had a completely different composition. It was way thicker and protected me how the German one should have done in the first place. And this applies to every non western country. The sun in other parts of the world is just way stronger. Only buy your sunscreen once you are there. And make sure to put sunscreen on the what not to pack list.
I think I don’t need to talk about this point to much and why it belongs to the things of what not to pack, right? Honestly, when did you ever use an umbrella on your travels or vacations? I have never used any. Oh sorry, that’s incorrect. I used one once in Instanbul, but I bought it on-site for 2€, because it rained heavily. But an umbrella definitely falls under the category of what not to pack.
Besides that, most travellers and tourists try to avoid rainy countries anyway. We all rather tend to go to sunny places. So, packing an umbrella does not make any sense. And in my opinion, an umbrella is also really inconvenient to carry around. I mean, where do you want to put/ attach it?
Hairdryer, hair straightener and curling iron
This is another big point of what not to pack. It’s actually 3 in 1. To buy or take any of these three things on your travels is complete nonsense. A couple reasons why:
- They are heavy
- They take a lot of space
- You won’t use them
- They are expensive
I could name some more stuff, but this point is just a common sense thing, just like most of the others.
The drinking bottle is another thing, which falls under the what not to pack category. I have seen many travellers with one of these big and completely unconvenient things. They are way to expensive and you can buy a big plastic bottle in every supermarket just as well and refill it. If you still feel like you need some kind of reservoir, because you like to hike and be in nature, then I recommend you a water bag. You can easily fold and refill them.
I think it is clear why this has to be under the list of what not to pack. Never put jewelry into your backpack or suitcase. It is the most stupid thing to do. Name me one occasion, where you could really need jewelry during your travels or even on a special holiday…
The only thing you do, when you take jewelry on your travels, is to attract some other idiot to steal your stuff. And there are some people out there, who do so. I had this problem 3 times already. I don’t even have any jewelry with me when I travel. So, be aware of that!
And, if you think you might need it when you go on a romantic dinner with you husband/wife, boyfriend/girlfriend or potential mate, then trust me, they will still love/ like you, even, if you don’t wear any expensive jewelry. You’ll still look good 😉
Guys, there is obviously way more to put on the list of what not to pack, but, if you just leave all the mentioned stuff at home already, then you’ll save yourself a lot of energy and money 🙂
Do want to know about what backpack to choose? Read here
What could also interest you:
- Ultimate packing list – What’s in my Backpack?
- The best Travel Gear to explore the world
- What to pack for a short camping trip