There are so many packing lists for travellers just starting to set out. And at least half of most of them are completely not needed. They end up laying at the bottom of your humongous bag for months on end. So in the spirit of Christmas, we’ve sung a song about the packing “essentials” that you might want to rethink.
These are the trousers that have zips everywhere, including to turn them into shorts. They are recommended on packing lists the world over. If you wear them and love them, great! But there is literally no reason to go out and buy a pair. If you find you don’t like them, or they make you feel like you stick out, then you will have just wasted time and space in your bag.
Hair Care Products
If you travel for a long time, you will start to find that you give no craps about what you look like most of the time. If you travel for a short time, you only need to look good in photos, and that’s what Photoshop is for. It’s unnecessary to fill your bag with products and if you find you need something while you’re away, then you can buy it there.
One is essential for travelling with liquids on planes. A couple more are needed if you’re going to be smuggling out some of the breakfast buffet. But you don’t need loads and loads. They just end up weighing you down.
Lonely Planets are amazing! But carrying a paper one around with you is heavy, especially if you need one for each country you’re visiting. With the advent of e-books (which can be read on computers and phones as well as e-readers), there is almost no reason to carry around heavy books.
Leave everything of value at home. We don’t even have our wedding rings. Yes, people might steal them. But the biggest issue is that if you misplace your watch down the back of the sofa at home, you have months and months to find it again. If you lose it down the back of the hostel’s sofa, you’ll never see it again.
First Aid Kits
Plasters and paracetamol. Anything you have a prescription for. If you’re a little anxious, a sterile needle kit. You really don’t need anything else unless you’re going to be away from civilization.
Again, maybe needed if you’ll be away from any towns and cities for an extended period, but not for your average Joe traveller. If tap water isn’t safe to drink, you will be able to find bottled water almost anywhere there are people.
With some fantastic credit and debit cards and money exchangers at every airport and land border, it is completely unnecessary to take all of your currency with you from the get go. You can take some of the first country you visit, though it’s not needed. If you’re feeling cautious, take some emergency cash in US Dollars, GB Pounds or Euros.
One pair is enough if you do want them. They’re great for making you feel like you’re not sticking out like a sore thumb, are usually very comfortable and it can be tough to find a pair you like in another country. However, they are heavy and bulky as well as taking forever to dry if they get wet.
Often hailed as a life saving essential to have while travelling. We brought a big roll, but eventually tore off about 50cm and ditched the rest. It’s been useful to tape D’s sunglasses back together, but that’s it – we still have more than enough left.
Hiking Boots might be a necessity. But only if you’re hiking. And even then, they might not be completely necessary if you can find trainers that support your feet enough to walk for a few hours. In fact, I think I would have ditched my trainers by now if I didn’t use them while running. I wear my havaianas come rain or shine most of the time.
The Biggest Bag You’ve Ever Seen In Your Life
People are always astounded by how little we carry, and it’s true that we don’t have a lot. But it’s still amazing that some people carry the same backpack that we have fitted a whole year’s worth of stuff in as their “day bag”, with a massive 80L bag on their back as well.
That’s still not quite as amazing as watching people drag wheely suitcases through mud. It’s not that I don’t like them, I love my suitcase at home. But when you’re trekking through the Pantanal, it is not the most practical choice.
What are some things that you took that you never needed? Anything you unexpectedly needed to buy halfway through your trip? Let us know in the comments below!