If you want to have an out-of-body experience, I highly recommend packing a suitcase. More likely than not, you’ll arrive at your destination and ask yourself questions like, “Who did this?” and “Why are there three jackets packed for a four day vacation?” Overpacking happens to even the most experienced travelers, but it’s not your fault. I personally think linguistics are to blame. After all, the root word of “luggage” is lug. And “baggage” doesn’t exactly have a light and airy feel to it either, but I digress. There’s a heightened sensitivity to things when you’re packing. Suddenly, you want to be prepared for every conceivable possibility, and understandably so. But being prepared doesn’t necessarily mean you should be dragging around your bedroom dresser.
Here are 8 things that you never actually need to pack for a vacation.
1. Ginormous bottles of shampoo, conditioner and body wash
There’s a reason why travel-size shampoo exists. This is viscous, heavy liquid we’re talking about. Don’t put yourself through the unnecessary pain of lugging around the weight of your entire shower. If you want to stick to your at-home products, it’s best to transfer them into mini travel bottles instead. They’re compact, affordable, reusable and TSA friendly. Remember you can also transfer any topical ointments and moisturizers into small reusable travel jars too. It saves a surprising amount of space.
2. Any valuable jewelry or keepsakes
It’s totally normal to want to whip out the good stuff while you’re on vacation, especially if you’re on your way to a special occasion. In theory, it may really seem like a great idea to pack an irreplaceable ring that’s been in your family for five generations. But trust me, the amount of joy you’ll feel wearing it will not overcome the dread you’ll feel if you lose it. Leave the family heirlooms at home.
3. Your laptop… along with some other gadget that also connects to the Internet
I hate to admit this myself, but your smartphone should be sufficient enough to keep you connected. If you absolutely need to take an additional electronic device like a laptop, tablet or iPod, do yourself a favor and just pick one. Technology can be a great space saver when it comes to going paperless, but it can also be detrimental if you go overboard. Besides, bringing multiple electronic devices requires you to bring multiple chargers, which is a pain in the butt. You didn’t go on vacation to become the human embodiment of a Radio Shack…at least I don’t think.
4. Those stupid shoes
Anyone who’s made the mistake of overpacking knows which stupid shoes I’m talking about. They’re those impractical ones you probably brought as an option, but never quite worked out. You may have even gone so far as to try them on in the mirror, but to no avail. Here’s a tip: don’t bring “optional” shoes. Rather than doubling up with two pairs of flats, pick a single pair that can work double duty. I know it’s tempting to bring options, but having more than one pair of shoes for the same type of occasion will only waste space and hurt your back.
5. Full bottles of medication
Instead of bringing the entire bottle, allot yourself enough medication for the trip. The same thing applies to bandages and other first aid products. I recently went away for a weekend and kept an entire box of Band-Aids in my purse like an idiot. Four days after the trip, I removed the mangled box from my purse and decided it would be smarter to take 5 Band-Aids for my purse and leave the rest at home. Now, I’m not as much of a disheveled mess when I fish for my wallet at the cash register. Trust me and take only what you need.
6. That article of clothing that doesn’t match the rest of your wardrobe but seemed like a good choice at the time
Much like the shoes, you probably brought this as a second, maybe even third, option. Now you’re wondering how on Earth it made it’s way into your life, let alone your suitcase. For the more inexperienced packers, this can happen repeatedly, and with multiple articles of clothing. In order to avoid these mistakes, try to narrow down your wardrobe to one or two specific color pallets. Be able to mix and match pieces freely so you’re not overloaded with unnecessary clothes. Remember, it’s always good to bring neutral bottoms – black, navy, tan and white can work with just about any top. See what works for you – it’s always nice to have a few tentative outfits planned.
7. Your summer reading books
Unless if you absolutely have to read a book for a report due the day you get back from vacation (if you do, I’m sorry), I have a feeling you won’t be reading as much as you may have imagined. Your books will be there when you get home. Take time to enjoy your new surroundings.
8. A bad attitude
Who needs it? You’re on vacation. Be happy 🙂
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