Packing a suitcase — no matter if you’re going away for a weekend or for a whirlwind trip that’ll last a month or more — can be a really difficult task, far more difficult than it should be (or that you’d think it would be). Of course, different trips call for different belongings. You don’t need your parka for a beach vacation, nor do you need your hiking boots for a weekend in the city.
There are some things, however, that you really shouldn’t ever pack in your suitcase, no matter the trip or the circumstances. From your complete arsenal of hair and makeup products to your very own traveling library to anything you can buy once you arrive at your destination, here’s what you’re really better off leaving at home — it’ll be there to welcome you home when you return.
Excessive amounts of clothing
If you’re anything like me, whenever you get ready to prep for a getaway and start thinking about what you should be bringing with you in the way of clothes, you’re tempted to pack way, way too much — like, more than anyone could reasonably be expected to wear in that period of time.
Don’t give in to that temptation. According to The New York Times, here’s how you should effectively pack your suitcase full of clothing for your work-week trip: all you have to remember is 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. First, pack five pairs of socks and underwear. Then, four tops, three pairs of pants, shorts, or skirts, two pairs of shoes, and one hat. Of course, change it up based on your needs for that particular trip.
Heading to the beach? A swimsuit is, obviously, a must. Going to a wedding? Pack a dress or two. Spending the week at a work conference? Don’t forget your suit. For the rest of your clothing choices, pack according to the formula and rest easy knowing you have everything you’ll actually need.
Too many pairs of shoes
Shoes take up valuable suitcase space, and, let’s be honest for a minute here, when was the last time you actually wore the sky-high stilettos you brought just on the off chance you wanted to trek all over the city in them?
According to Lonely Planet, you shouldn’t ever pack more than two pairs of shoes unless there’s a very specific reason why you’re bringing a third. If you’re attending an event that requires special shoes, bring them, otherwise just leave them at home, chances are you won’t miss them anyway.
Do you still dutifully pack your flat iron, hair dryer, curling iron, each and every time you go away for a few days? (Just me?) If you’re staying at a hotel, a well-equipped rental home, condo, apartment, or with a generous friend, there’s really no need.
In an interview with Trip Advisor, Paula Froelich, travel pro behind the blog A Broad Abroad, said that hair dryers and hair spray are nearly givens at the vast majority of hotels and the nicer ones even have curling irons to borrow. Check with your hotel or host so you know all your bases will be covered, but there’s a good chance that you can put all those styling tools back in their drawer.
Clothing you’re uncomfortable in
It’s easy to overpack, throwing all kinds of clothing into your suitcase to wear on vacation that you rarely — if ever — wear in your normal, day-to-day life. If you don’t wear that clothing regularly, there’s probably a reason for it.
If you don’t feel comfortable wearing it at home — whether it’s because it really isn’t all that comfortable, you feel as though it’s not as flattering as it could be, or for any other reason — you definitely shouldn’t bring it on vacation, when you’re supposed to be relaxing and enjoying yourself, not feeling self-conscious. I’ve been there and those clothes will either stay in your suitcase or you’ll wear them and feel way less than confident the whole entire time. Neither circumstance is all that great.
In an interview with MindyBodyGreen, Jules Hunt, the gal behind Om & the City, said that the last thing you want on vacation is to worry about a swimsuit in which you don’t feel comfortable. Leave it — and all your related worries — at home. They’re the last things you’ll miss while traveling the world.