While most aspects of planning a vacation are fun and get you excited for the trip ahead, there’s one task that’s not only stressful, it’s downright daunting -- packing. In a study on vacation planning fatigue, 49% of interviewees said that packing was the biggest stressor of the trip.While packing can be stressful for anyone, one could argue that women take this job a little more seriously, being that women’s self-care habits tend to be a bit more extensive than men’s. (Yes, we need shampoo AND conditioner AND body wash, not one product for all three.)
To help all you gals out that are in the midst of vacation-planning jitters, below are 15 reminders for things you definitely don’t want to leave behind, as well as 10 things you can leave behind to make room for that extra bikini you look bomb in.
25 Don't Forget: Copies Of Important Documents
In addition to your passport, visas, driver’s license, etc., don’t forget to make a copy of each document in the unfortunate event that they’re lost or stolen. Trust us, there is NOTHING more stressful than losing your airport and being stranded in a foreign airport, though this is one of the most common nightmares travelers face. Racking up the phone bill on international calls to your country’s embassy isn’t most people’s idea of the ideal vacation. Having a copy of each document ensures that you’ll be able to get home smoothly, regardless of whether these items go missing.
24 Don't Forget: Comfortable Walking Shoes
Maybe your plan is to plant yourself on a beach all day, every day of your vacation. If that’s the case, disregard this tip. However, if your trip is taking you to any cities where walking will be a big part the day, you absolutely cannot forego comfortable shoes. Forget “looking cute” -- at the end of an 8 hour excursion trekking across cobblestones and wandering museums in Italy, you’ll be cursing your favorite wedges and praying for a foot bath with epsom salts. Luckily, there are plenty of brands making shoes specifically for spending all day on your feet that won’t make you feel like you’re wearing your Grandma’s orthopedic shoes. All it takes is a little research and pre-planning.
23 Don't Forget: Cross-Body Purse Or Day Pack
When choosing a bag to carry on day-to-day excursions, pick something that’s functional. It should have enough space to carry your money, lip balm, hand sanitizer, etc., as well as anything you may find to buy as a souvenir while you’re out exploring. We recommend a cross-body bag, or one that can’t easily be snatched off your shoulder. If your activities require a bit more gear, like a swimsuit or microfiber towel, you may want to consider bringing a small backpack.
22 Don't Forget: Water bottle
Flying is known to cause dehydration. According to Marie Claire, a 10 hour flight can cause you to lose up to 8% of your bodily water. Avoid paying ridiculous airport prices for a 16 oz disposable bottle of water by bringing your own reusable bottle instead. Once you’re past TSA, you can fill up at a fountain in the airport. On top of that, if you’re travelling outside of the United States, most restaurants will charge almost as much for water as for a soda. You’ll end up saving tons by opting to bring your own bottle and re-fill in your hotel or public fountains.
21 Don't Forget: Tinted Moisturizer
When packing for a big trip, less is more. That’s why multitasking beauty products are your best friend. One way to save some space on your liquid allowance is by opting for a tinted moisturizer rather than bringing both foundation and face lotion. Tinted moisturizers will keep your skin from drying out while evening skin tone, leaving your face feeling hydrated and looking flawless. Plus, most tinted moisturizers also have SPF, meaning you can forego sunscreen as well. (Note: if you’re planning on baking on the beach in Cabo, or spending any significant time in direct sun, tinted moisturizer is not a substitute for traditional, high-SPF sunscreen.)
20 Don't Forget: Portable Charger
The last thing you want is for your cell to die while you’re wandering about an unfamiliar city. Your phone is your Swiss Army Knife when it comes to travel essentials -- GPS, guide apps, camera -- and being that you’ll be using it to find that bar for happy hour or snap a million pictures of a baby zebra, the battery life is sure to be short. Make sure you’re prepared when your green bar goes to red by bringing along a small portable charger. It may be the difference between being able to find your way back to the hotel or sleeping on a park bench.
19 Don't Forget: E-Reader/Tablet
Books are bulky and they take up a lot of room, but they’re also a life-saver when it comes to long plane flights. If you’re taking a trip for the purpose of relaxing and you plan on spending a lot of time on the beach or by the pool, you’re also probably going to want some form of entertainment. Rather than sacrificing valuable carry-on space for the newest Danielle Steele novel, opt to take an E-reader or tablet instead. Not only will you save room, but you’ll also have endless options of content to consume.
18 Don't Forget: Collapsible tripod and/or Selfie Stick
Okay, so selfie-sticks are totally touristy and you may look a little silly, but they can make the biggest difference in getting epic travel photos. Contrary to their primary purpose, you don’t have to use them to get the traditional front-facing selfie. Instead, you can angle the stick to get the perfect over-the-shoulder shot of your beautiful surroundings, or just use it to raise your camera above crowds to get a people-free shot. If you’re willing to put a little extra work into your photos, try a collapsible tripod. This will take up more room in your luggage, but will allow for more flexibility when it comes to the types of shots you want to get, or if you want to include a bigger group in the photo.
17 Don't Forget: Local Currency
Nowadays, a travel credit card with no foreign-transaction fees are your best bet for international adventures. However, it never hurts to have a bit of cash money for things like souvenirs or tipping. Additionally, many lower-income countries won’t accept cards at restaurants and hostels, so you definitely want to research the country you’re visiting in advance to see what’s customary. If you don’t have a travel credit card, cash is also the best way to avoid ATM fees and currency-exchange scams.
16 Don't Forget: Hairbrush
It’s something we use everyday, yet it’s so easy to forget. However, we don’t recommend taking your everyday brush. Instead, find a small, preferable foldable brush that you can fit in your purse. That way it’s not taking up a lot of space, and you can easily carry it with you while you’re out exploring, ensuring that your hair looks fabulous for every photo-op. Bad hair days are for home, not for vacation.
15 Don't Forget: Journal
This is one of those items that, while not totally necessary, you’ll thank yourself for bringing along later on. Of all the moments in your life worth remembering, the ones from vacations are usually somewhere near the top of the list. Writing everything down while it’s fresh in your mind ensures that you won’t forget anything in the weeks or months you spend away, and you’ll be able to relive everything in vivid detail for years to come. Never been a journaler? Buy your first notebook on your adventure! Not only will you get to record your memories, but you’ll also have a cool and meaningful souvenir from your trip.
14 Don't Forget: Menstrual Cup
Unfortunately, as women, our monthly cycles are something we have to worry about when travelling for an extended amount of time (or if you’re just bad at planning the timing of your trip).Menstrual cups cut down on plastic waste, but they also save a lot of room when it comes to packing feminine hygiene items. This little reusable cup will ensure you still have plenty of space in your carry-on, and that you never have to worry about finding the products you need at markets in unfamiliar cities.
13 Don't Forget: Plug Adapter
Phone, laptop, E-reader, hair tools, etc. If you’re going to function, you need to be able to plug in your tools, and unfortunately the outlets around the world aren’t one-size-fits-all. Research the countries you’re visiting and what kinds of outlets they have, then get the right adapter. Additionally, you should check whether your hair dryer, flatiron, etc. has a dual-voltage setting, because some devices aren’t compatible with the electrical voltage in other countries. In that case, you’ll need to invest in a converter as well. Your safest bet is to go for a universal adapter/converter combo.
12 Don't Forget: Hair Ties
Despite our best efforts, sometimes our hair just won’t cooperate. It could be windy, or you may have spent all day in the ocean, or the humidity may be making your usually-sleek locks a frizzy mess. Having an elastic around your wrist at the right moment assures that you don’t find yourself wanting to pull all your hair out in frustration when it just won’t behave. Hair ties are a little thing, but they make a big difference when it comes to feeling your best. Don’t be the girl who forgets them at home and then annoys all her friends asking to borrow theirs.
11 Don't Forget: First Aid Kit
Accidents happen. You could scrape your knee climbing to the top of a hill to get the best sunset view, or roll your ankle walking across the cobblestones after a few too many servings of limoncello (been there). Hopefully, nothing too serious goes down on your trip, but little bumps and bruises happen all the time. Make sure you’re prepared for those occasions. A band-aid here or some Pepto-Bismol there can make all the difference when it comes to enjoying your vacation to the fullest.
10 Leave At Home: Money Belt
How do you spot a tourist from a mile away? You look for the money belt. Trust us, you’re not dissuading pickpoters by wearing one of these. They know how to get into them, and they know you’re an easy target. You’re better off carrying a cross body bag, as mentioned above, and just keeping it close to you. They’re just as reliable, and you won’t be violating the laws of fashion. To be safe, don’t carry all your money on you when you go out. Keep some cash and extra cards you won’t use tucked safely away in your luggage where you’re staying.
9 Leave At Home: Expensive/Irreplaceable Jewelry
Do not take anything you’d be devastated about if you lost. Your grandmother’s heirloom ring falls into this category, as well as your 3 carat diamond engagement ring. It doesn’t matter if you ‘never take it off,’ a bracelet could be lost in the waves or a ring could slip off and roll down the hotel shower drain at any moment. Not to mention, you place a target on yourself for pickpocketer when you’re wearing anything noticeably expensive.
8 Leave At Home: Heels
Shoes take up a lot of space, so if you’re only taking a carry-on, you should never bring more than 2 pairs. When trying to decide which ones to bring, don’t ever go for the pair that you’ll only wear once or twice to dinner. The last thing you want is to be complaining about blisters instead of enjoying the sights. If you’re visiting a European country, you better prepare for a lot of cobblestone streets. Heels + cobblestones = the perfect setting for a tumble.
7 Leave At Home: Camera Lenses
If you’re a professional photographer, this doesn’t apply to you. But for your average traveller, an iPhone is all the camera equipment you need. DSLRs and lenses are bulky, heavy, and you’ll tire of carrying them around on the first day. If you’ve never had an interest in photography up until this trip, we can assure you you’re not going to become the next Annie Leibovitz overnight. Leavy the fancy equipment at home and let your Instagram filters do the work.
6 Leave At Home: Hairdryer
We’ve talked about hair care a bit in the ‘do bring’ section, but hair dryers, curlers, flatirons, etc. fall into the ‘leave behind’ category. We understand, you want to look good. But not only are these items bulky (even the travel size ones), you’re likely to end up blowing a fuse and risk damaging the appliance anyway. On top of that, think about how much time you really want to be spending on your appearance anyway. Instead of taking 45 minutes to dry and style your hair, you could be out exploring places you may never have the opportunity to see again. Go au natural and see how freeing it feels!
5 Leave At Home: A Different Outfit For Every Day
If you’re going away for one week, you do not need seven shirts, seven skirts/pairs of pants, seven swimsuits, ect. Scour Pinterest for five minutes and you’ll find endless blog articles on how to create a multitude of outfits from a few simple pieces. Mixing and matching is key! Pick out a few good items in the same color scheme and let your imagination do the dressing for you. Wrinkle-resistant and water-resistant materials are always to your advantage when packing as well.
4 Leave At Home: Excessive Makeup
“Girl, you’re amazing just the way you are.” Bruno Mars said it best. You don’t need heavy foundation, eyeshadow, bronzer, contouring palettes, etc. Pick a few staple makeup items and make do, or better yet, let your natural beauty shine! The benefit of going someplace you’ve never been is that nobody knows you or cares what you look like. Audrey Hepburn also said, “Happy girls are the prettiest girls.” If you’re enjoying your vacation and not worrying about your looks, your smile will be enough to show everyone how beautiful you are.
3 Leave At Home: Guide Books
What would we do in a world without phones? There’s a wealth of information right at your fingertips and it fits snugly in your pocket. If you have guide books at home with valuable information, read them beforehand and make notes on your phone about where you want to go and what you want to do. Otherwise, Google, travel apps, TheTravel.com -- they’re all right there in your palms. You should also definitely talk to locals. They’ll have all the best suggestions for where to go that you won’t find in any guide book.
2 Leave At Home: Toiletries
If you have a special anti-frizz shampoo that you can’t live without, then by all means, bring it along. However, most hotels, and even some AirBnBs, will provide hair products, body wash, lotion, etc. Even if they don’t, you’re sure to find the travel items you need at any local grocery store. Buy just what you need to get by and then throw out whatever you don’t use before you head back. This saves you from having to take out all your liquids at TSA, or frees up space for other items you might really need to take (like mini bottles of Chardonnay.)
1 Leave At Home: Any ‘Just In Case” Items
You may be thinking, “what if it rains? I’ll need a rain jacket or umbrella.” Any items that you consider bringing in these instances are better left at home. If you check out the forecast for your trip and it’s calling for rain all week, then yeah, maybe pack a small umbrella. But if the weatherman is predicting sunny skies for days, don’t waste precious room in your luggage for something you most likely won’t use. If worse comes to worse, you can always pick up that item you need in whatever location you’re traveling to.
Sources: marieclaire.com, travelagentcentral.com