14 Vacation Items You’ll Almost Always Regret Packing
Hardcover books, formal wear, and family heirlooms—and everything else you forgot you should never pack again.
While you’ll definitely need a beach read, the latest hardcover bestseller will take up valuable space and weight in your luggage. Download the Kindle version of the book or opt for a lightweight paperback. Here are the packing tips you need to memorize before your next trip.
Your own hairdryer
Check with the hotel to see if they have one in every room. If they do, consider leaving yours behind. The hotel’s version might not be the one you’re most comfortable with, but it will save an outfit’s worth of space in your bag.
Items you’ve never found useful
Those just-in-case items you pack on every trip but never use (think: special travel wallets, overdone first-aid kits, and odd technology)? Leave them behind this time, especially if they’re the type of thing you can buy at your destination. This is how to pack a suitcase in 30 minutes or less.
Liquids in faulty packaging
Make sure the lid on every liquid is closed tightly and package each one in a Ziploc bag. The TSA allows one quart-sized clear plastic bag per passenger. Don’t make these suitcase packing mistakes that could ruin your vacation.
Overlap with your travel partner
Whether you’re going on a girl’s weekend with old college friends or a vacation with your spouse, cross-check your packing lists to ensure there is minimal overlap. You can share toothpaste, sunscreen, and other toiletries.
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If you must bring along a family heirloom or other invaluable item, stash it in your carry-on. Here are brilliant tricks to squeeze everything in your luggage.
Too much workout gear
Be honest: Do you really need five pairs of sweat socks so you can go on a 5 a.m. jog each morning? While it’s admirable, if you’ve never worked out on a vacation before, don’t go overboard. Bring along enough athletic outfits for a hike or other adventure, and leave the rest of your gear at home.
Your entire medicine cabinet
Obviously, all of your essential prescriptions will be making the trip. But aside from those, stash a small bag of ibuprofen or aspirin in your handbag and rest assured that the place you’re visiting will have a drug store or pharmacy. These are the things that will save the day if you are traveling with kids.
Anything that’s not on your packing list
Make a packing list and stick to it. Your list should take into consideration the weather, your itinerary, and any possibly overlap with your travel buddies. And bring that list with you on the trip—it can act as a packing checklist on the morning of your flight home.
More than two bathing suits
For most trips, two is enough. One can dry while you wear the other. To clean a suit without a washing machine, fill your hotel sink with warm water and add a splash of mild hand soap. Swish the bathing suit around and allow it to air dry. Don’t miss these science-backed ways to plan the perfect vacation.
Anything that might not make it past the TSA
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Although you might have noticed that some of your prohibited items (such as large aerosols or body washes) have made it past airport security before, don’t count on it. The Transportation Security Administration has a ban on containers that are larger than 3.4 ounces. Check their website for a complete list of prohibited items.
The formal outfit you might wear
Consider your itinerary carefully. If you don’t have any formal events, then you most likely won’t need formal wear. Same thing goes for stiletto heels and strings of pearls. If there’s an event where you’ll need these items, you’ll most likely know about it in advance. These are the secrets travel booking companies don’t want you to know.
A sun hat you don’t have space to pack properly
Don’t risk breaking your sun hat. To pack it safely, try this: Fold a shirt and push it into the crown of your hat. Next, pack your heavy clothing, including denim and shoes, into the bottom of your suitcase. Lay your hat on top of these items and pack your folded lighter items around it. When your finished, all you should see of your hat is the very top.
Pack your clothes in outfits and, if you can, aim to match them around a certain color scheme. For example, pack all tan accessories: tan shoes, a tan bag, and a tan belt. Next, check out how to pack carry-on luggage for a hassle-free trip.