So a few months ago I wrote a post about the five items I consider essential when I travel. A reader left a comment with a great idea for a follow up post, the five items I used to travel with but stopped taking for one reason or another. This was actually a challenge to write because it’s hard to think about various packing mistakes, but I managed to come up with five items I used to think were essential, but I’ve since realized are not.
1. More than two pairs of shoes – Granted, this may be easier for me since I’m a guy or that may be a horribly sexist comment – either way this was an easy habit for me to change. Instead of packing shoes for a variety of different occasions, I instead purchased two pairs of shoes that can be worn in almost any situation. The first category is casual, active and adventure travel and because of the nature of the experiences involved, it’s important to choose your shoes well. I’ve gone through many pairs of sneakers until I finally found a perfect pair that I use in most travel situations. They’re simple sneakers but are comfortable enough to wear around town during the day and can even be worn in casual situations. The second category is dressy and this can frankly be a challenge. I’m going to necessarily answer this from the point of view of a guy and I’d love to hear what the women who read this do in the same situation. I purchased a pair of loafers that probably can be defined as boat shoes, but which are a lot more modern looking than the traditional boat shoes. These are great in dressier situations, receptions, dinners and for general wear in tropical climates. The most important quality both shoes need in addition to comfort is their weight. They must be lightweight and packable in just about every type of luggage. Remember, the goal is to never check carry-on bags unless you have to.
2. Physical paper copies of anything – Not everyone will agree with me on this one, but I stand by it. A great travel tip is to make copies of your passport and credit cards so that you have all the information you need in the event they are lost or stolen. From previous experience I can attest to the value of this travel habit. But I have always been nervous about carrying these documents around, no matter how well hidden they may be. Luckily technology has once again come to our rescue with cloud technology. I scanned in my photocopies, saved them to Dropbox and promptly shredded the paper documents. Yes, this presupposes that I will have access to Internet wherever I go, but the way I figure it if I lose my passport, I will have to find my way to a place that has Internet anyway in order to report the loss.
3. Books – Back when I first started traveling, the Internet was still in its infancy and e-readers were frankly the stuff of science fiction. Since then a lot has changed of course and I love how advances in technology have made traveling easier. Instead of picking 2-3 books to bring with me on a long flight, I can now upload as many books as I want to my iPad without fear of extra weight or losing them. It’s so nice not carrying an extra bag for books that I just end up leaving behind anyway. I can bring a virtual library with me now and the weight of my bag never changes. Gone also of course are printed tickets, hotel confirmations and all travel related paper documents. They’re safely stored in my TripIt account or Dropbox, once again a much more convenient option.
4. Hypothetical clothes – I’ve written before about my overpacking tendencies, and part of the reason for this is my vivid imagination. As I start to carefully select clothes from my closet, I begin to think about every possible situation in which I may find myself. Beachwear, formal wear, semi-formal, casual, dinner with Dukes and Duchesses, snowboarding followed by a luau. You name the occasion and I begin to consider the clothing possibilities for it. This has led to massive overpacking and bringing clothes I never use. In the past year or so I’ve gotten better. I plan out what I’m going to wear each day and while I may not actually wear my assigned clothes, this means I no longer bring clothes that I don’t need.
5. Luggage scale – No one likes to pay luggage fees, especially now in the modern era of paying extra for everything. Given the fact that my bags are already near the point of bursting, I am paranoid that they will someone gain weight as I travel thereby taking me from the Allowable weight range to the Pay Extra range. One way I’ve assuaged this fear in the past is by packing a luggage scale; ironic since the scale itself only adds to the already excessive weight of the luggage. Since I’ve tried to be a better packer and my bags are no longer excessively heavy (for the most part) I no longer need the scale. I use it at home of course, but I am now content to leave the awkward shaped scale at home in my closet where it belongs
What are some items you no longer take with you when you travel?