Do you have a set packing list for every trip you take? Some people are more lax and just throw a bunch of items into a suitcase, while others meticulously plan out their packing lists before executing them and actually taking the trip. There are tons of experts who offer advice on how to pack; you can even take a packing class to learn how to fit more items into a suitcase! Many people have their own system, but what you pack usually depends quite a bit on where you're going.
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. Check out these commonly recommended travel items that you really don't need to bring!
20 20. A Mosquito Net: You Won't Be Bug-Free
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. If you're camping by yourself, simply purchase a really great tent that will be sure to keep any and every bug out.
19 19. A Luggage Padlock: Will It Keep Anyone Out?
Many travel websites, agents, and even 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.
18 18. A Giant Camera: Your Phone Works, Too
Many travelers feel the need to document every part of their trip, whether for the purpose of putting pictures on social media or to create a scrapbook full of the best memories. However, a large camera is not only heavy to carry (you'll notice it for sure after a few hours) but is pretty expensive and opens you up to theft.
It's hard for potential thieves not to notice that you're carrying a huge camera and it can easily be stolen, especially if you're weaving through a crowd. You're better off taking your smartphone and getting some great pictures with a lot less trouble.
17 17. A Passport Cover: Just for Decoration
For some reason, passport covers are really trendy with folks who travel often. Sure, if you really like the look of a passport cover, then go ahead and invest in it. Otherwise, it really isn't worth the extra money.
Most passport covers don't actually keep the passports protected, nor do they help you get through customs smoothly. Plus, who doesn't like the look of a worn passport that shows you've traveled the world? A passport cover isn't necessarily a terrible purchase, but it is somewhat unnecessary, especially compared to other items that you could get actual use out of.
16 16. Multiple Pairs of Jeans: Denim is Never the Answer
Jeans are easy, comfortable, and always look good, but they also take up a lot of space and are pretty heavy. For most trips, there really isn't a reason to take more than two pairs of jeans: a light pair and a dark pair. You're better off finding a place to wash them or just wearing them twice.
Packing too many pairs of jeans will fill up your entire suitcase, but when you switch to a different pair no one will know the difference, so it's really a waste of space. Instead, focus on bringing different items that are all versatile and will go with your two pairs of packed jeans.
15 15. A Sleeping Bag: Don't Bring Your Own
Unless you're camping (and hopefully driving), you really don't need a sleeping bag. Any hotel, hostel, apartment, or rental will usually offer linens. Even if you need to bring in an extra cot (if you're squishing a large amount of people into a room), you can most likely request extra linens.
If you've done your due diligence and know that there's no way you can get additional bedding for free, you're still better off buying a cheap sleeping bag once you get to your destination rather than packing it and being charged extra bag fees or for an extra carry-on.
14 14. Any Type of Books: Reduce Your Load
Almost every travel site will recommend that you bring a book to read on the plane, but it really isn't worth it because most books are so heavy. Instead, bring a Kindle or an iPad with books (that you like) pre-installed. You can also download some great reading right to your phone and charge the device ahead of time.
Travel books are just as cumbersome to bring, and even destination reading isn't necessary. If you put in the work ahead of time, you can write out a cheat-sheet outline for your trip, or you can additionally download electronic versions of your favorite guides.
13 13. Clothes for Every Season: Simply Check the Weather
Some destinations, such as Seattle, have big changes in weather day to day. Because of this, travel experts might recommend that you bring clothing for every season, such as a raincoat in addition to a winter coat and lighter outfits. However, this is a big waste of space.
You're better off waiting to pack until a few days before you depart so that you can check the weather. A small range of items is good to bring (such as a sweater in addition to a lighter blouse) but there's no need to go to extremes, and knowing what the weather is beforehand will help you pack appropriately.
12 12. Toiletries: Just Ask the Hotel
Who needs toiletries? You will while you're on vacation, but you definitely don't need to bring them with you. Almost every hotel will offer complimentary toiletries, or at the very least give you shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and soap. You can usually get a toothbrush and toothpaste as well if you phone the front desk.
Packing toiletries in your bag can lead to spills, which could potentially destroy everything you've packed. It's never worth it to risk spillage in your suitcase, especially not when you can get most of the essential toiletries for free, no matter where you stay.
11 11. Your Whole Makeup Bag: Do You Really Use It All?
Do you use every single item in your makeup bag? Chances are, you don't. Instead of bringing a whole makeup bag, purchase a smaller bag and bring only the essentials. Most people recommend packing your usual foundation, concealer, blush, and eye makeup. You probably won't use anything else, but other items will take up a lot of space.
At the very worst, if you forget something, you can buy it on vacation. If you do bring full-sized bottles and take your makeup bag through security, check ahead of time to be sure that all of your foundation bottles are under the TSA limits or you'll end up wasting even more money.
10 10. A Blow Dryer: A Huge Space-Waster
Many people use a blow dryer, but they're super heavy to pack and very unnecessary. Most hotels will have a blow dryer on hand (many are attached to the wall) and if you don't see one immediately, you can usually call the front desk and ask for one.
If you've looked online and know ahead of time that your choice of accommodations won't be able to offer a blowdryer, your best bet is to purchase a special travel blowdryer. These tools are usually half the size and 1/4 the weight of a normal blowdryer, which will save you a lot of money (and effort) when you're trying to check a bag.
9 9. Towels: Never, Ever Bring Them
Some people bring towels when traveling to save money, but this usually isn't necessary. Most hotels will provide not only shower towels but beach towels as well, if they're needed. Some hotels only let you get a certain amount of towels per day (towel cards are popular to make sure that no guests take too many), but you can usually trade in used towels and get new ones.
Most of your towels are probably very bulky and will take up at least 1/4 of your suitcase, so they really aren't worth it to bring. The one exception is if you're camping; you'll want to bring your own since they probably won't be provided by your campground and camping can be terrible without enough towels!
8 8. Workout Gear: Will You Really Use It?
Hoping for a workout on your trip? For many travelers, this is just a good idea that never comes to fruition. If you're going for a short weekend trip and have a packed schedule filled with activities, you might as well know ahead of time that you probably won't find time to workout. For longer trips, you may want to hit the gym a few times, but you should pack as little workout gear as possible and bring your lightest sneakers.
Even if you're heading somewhere where working out is essential the focus, such as a mountain in Colorado, you should still bring lighter "travel" gear instead of your normal bulky sneakers and accessories.
7 7. Multiple Formal Outfits: One Is Sufficient
Many trips have at least one formal night, but a lot of times travelers anticipate a getaway to be much more formal than it actually is. It's actually a phenomenon that occurs when packing for a trip: you think that you'll be more likely to wear formal clothes that you don't wear now, because the destination is different.
In fact, you're more than likely to end up wearing clothes that you wear often at home. Sure, it never hurts to pack one formal outfit in case you need it, but there's no need to plan out clothing for multiple formal nights that will never occur.
6 6. A Sun Hat: Think It Through Carefully
Sun hats have become super popular, especially with bloggers and influencers on social media, but they're very hard to pack and to travel with. It's really easy to accidentally cause your favorite sun hat to become misshapen, and you'll end up with no sun hat on vacation as well as losing your favorite item permanently.
If you're traveling to a tropical location near a beach, you can most likely buy a sun hat there, and then you'll only have to risk traveling with it one way. Otherwise, you may want to pack something easier to store, like a baseball hat or sturdier fedora.
5 5. Random Pieces of Clothing: Don't Be Mismatched
It's tempting to haphazardly pack your favorite items, but it doesn't really make much sense. You'll end up having a plaid shirt that you can only pair with striped pants or with other equally bad combinations. Many travelers make this mistake because they don't pack by thinking about full outfits.
It's best to plan out multiple outfits ahead of time for a variety of activities (daytime, nighttime, beach-wear, etc.) and choose options that are pretty versatile. Solid colors and neutrals always work best because they can easily be switched up. This is a time when it really does pay off to plan ahead, especially in baggage fees!
4 4. Travel Gadgets: You Don't Need Every Single One
Travel gadgets are really tempting to buy before a big trip. You head into the store and see all these different electronic devices that promise to make your trip way better. Why wouldn't you want to invest?
While many travel gadgets are helpful, a lot of travelers make the mistake of bringing every gadget under the sun and not being able to enjoy any of them. You have to keep track of gadgets (by making sure they're charged) and more importantly, have to lug them all around. Experts recommend choosing just a few gadgets that you really love, such as a portable phone charger and headphones, and foregoing the rest.
3 3. Sunscreen: Purchase It On Vacation
Everyone needs sunscreen when traveling to a tropical destination, such as Cancun or Hawaii. However, you don't need to actually bring it with you on the plane. If you do bring sunscreen in your carry on, you'll have to be very careful that it isn't over the limit for TSA. If you choose to check it in your luggage, it may spill or be crushed.
Your best bet is actually to buy sunscreen at your destination. You can usually get it at the hotel or even at the airport, and if there's a CVS nearby, you'll most likely be able to procure the same brand you use at home.
2 2. A Neck Pillow: Bulky and Unnecessary
Have you ever gotten on the plane and settled into your seat only to wish that you had somewhere to rest your head? Many travelers bring neck pillows for this reason. Unfortunately, these neck pillows are super bulky.
They're too difficult to fit in your carry on, and to get around this some travelers will hook them to the outside of the carry-on, but then they get very dirty as you make your way through the airport. A much better option is to either buy one on the plane (they're usually pretty inexpensive) or to bring a blow-up neck rest and a small pump.
1 1. An Umbrella: One of the Most Unnecessary Things You Can Pack
Who doesn't need an umbrella? Well, you, if you're planning to travel anytime soon. Some travel websites recommend bringing a super small travel umbrella, but even this is usually unnecessary. Unless you're camping and need to bring all your own gear, then your hotel or hostel will provide an umbrella. If the worst comes to worst, you can buy an umbrella once you arrive, sometimes even in the airport.
Don't waste valuable suitcase space on an umbrella or you might have to pay extra in baggage fees, which will end up costing far more than a new umbrella would!