Wearing all your clothes in the airport and dragging 10 kgs worth of ‘hand luggage’ through departures is no fun – trust us. With all the gadgets, tech, and necessary changes of outfits for social media selfies, traveling light is becoming a tough task. When it comes to the art of packing, there are a few hard and fast rules of what not to take with you. Leave your tub of Marmite at home and lighten your load. Check out our tips of what NOT to pack to go backpacking Europe.
Practical Packing – what not to pack to go backpacking Europe
It should go without saying that you should pack practically, leaving valuables behind and taking practical items, but there are also some ‘essentials’ that you can leave behind too.
Excessive amounts of toiletries
You may own a load of products that you think you need – but chances are you can survive with toothpaste, shampoo, soap and suncream. Decant other things you think you’ll need into travel size mini containers. If you’re traveling with buddies you can share toiletries too, and if you go your separate ways, you can probably find toothpaste locally – unless you’re really going for isolation.
A load of books
We love books! But even the light ones are heavy. Guidebooks can now be downloaded as chapters or pdfs on your phone and there are a plethora of apps that you can access offline for information on your destination. Save yourself the trouble and organise your downloads before you go. For reading books, if you’re adverse to a kindle or similar slim e-reader then take a small book and swap it with other traveler when you’re done. Lots of hostels have book exchanges and libraries so you shouldn’t run out of material.
We’ve all taken some completely inappropriate items with us on holiday – they usually end up being worn at a costume party in a hostel and making their way to lost property. It’s nice to have choices but the chances are you’re not going to need a lot of smart clothes or dress-up shoes or want to be doing any dry cleaning. Take versatile items that wash and dry easily, don’t need ironing, and that are comfortable to wear. The same goes for practical shoes and one jacket. Don’t be tempted to take bulky items you might need, and never drag your own wetsuit around with you – hire one!
Gadgets you’re never going to use
Do you have an electronic language translator and a portable tripod and camera zoom lenses that never see the light of day? There are some great gadgets out there to improve your travel experience, such as solar powered battery back-ups and waterproof iPhone cases – but not everything is going to get used. Think about what you’re planning to do and which ones will get the best use on your trip, then ditch the rest. Be ruthless!
Hairdryers, straighteners and general salon equipment
Beach hair is ‘in’! So you can leave your salon equipment and hotplates at home. They’re bulky, take time to cool if you’re packing in a hurry, and you might not find the voltage the same when you’re away – leading to a blown fuse. Definitely on the list of what not to pack – and lots of hostels provide hairdryers now too. If you’re worried that you’ll look a little too rough around the edges in all those selfies then you can leave the selfie stick at home too while you’re at it.
This should go without saying, but a lot of people still persist on traveling with fireworks, illegal drugs, live animals and holiday souvenirs that are actually classed as weapons. You may be surprised by what you can get confiscated these days, so leave the snow globes out of your hand luggage and stick with a fridge magnet. You’ll be thankful when you find out about custom searches in other countries…