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A Brit Girl’s Guide to What not to Pack for Travel #travelplanning #traveltuesday

What not to pack for travel – 11 Mysteries uncovered!

11 Tips What not to pack for Travel – Key Steps to Trip Preparation and How to pack smarter. 

A Brit Girl’s Guide to What not to Pack for Travel #traveltips #travelplanning

Get out now, she screamed…OMG Armageddon upstairs I dashed to check and there she was sat on her bedroom floor, suitcase open, tears streaming down her face. Whats wrong sweetie, I asked? He is keeps hiding my stuff, I can’t find my comb, my nail file, and all my socks are 1 pair! He doesn’t even need a comb, he’s got no hair! I turn round and there he is cheeky smile and all. 🙂 He goes, I don’t have her comb, I don’t need it see…you always shave my head! I look him straight in the eye and say: Give it Now….He is hiding his hand behind his back so I know he has it…Just winding his sister up. And bring all the other stuff back. Long story short, we got it all sorted ready for yet another family adventure…This had me thinking, what things we should not pack for travel i.e. business or school trip, holiday or vacation! You definitely know about travel etiquette, if you don’t read about it here!

Do you make a packing list for your trips?

I do. I have lists for weekenders, 7-10 days getaways, 2wks+ trips, Business trips and Long Family vacations 3 weeks plus!

Lists for the little one’s school trips etc…

But I know by now after years of packing for family that there are things I used to think and had been advised to always take on a trip that you absolutely don’t need. Assuming you don’t have a Packing Travel App, and then I am sure you have heard it bandied about, pack like a flight attendant! They spend their awake lives travelling and need to be practical right, these men and women know lots more about great travel habits to develop too!


So below is my list of 11 things you need to know on what to pack and what not to pack for travel!


11 Tips on What not to Pack for a Vacation #travelplanning

#1 What not to Pack for Travel – Duct Tape

Yes in my younger days I researched on what to pack for travel and duct tape came up top. Now while we are not a camping family, the reasons given for the need of duct tape had me thinking; well if these well-travelled people say I need it so I do. But guess what, I have never had use of the thing…I mean if my suitcase needs holding together with duct tape then for goodness sake I need a new one. And have you tried to stick something like cloth with this thing? It never holds and leaves some unsightly marks. Aaarrrg it can’t even hold tinsel to a wall for crimbo, how can it hold together a suitcase with 20+kgs together.


My Advice: Instead of duct tape, if you really need to take any kind of tape, take gaffer tape. Super strong and will hold your suitcase, shoes or backpack together until you get home at the least. Or leave the tape out completely unless you are into S&M stuff lolol. And for goodness sake pack it in your checked in luggage, you don’t want to answer security qns.

Pkjulesworld Dream Travel Bucket List! #DreamTravel #DreamTrips


#2 What not to Pack for Travel – Swiss Knife

Hmm another of the items I found on research to always pack for a trip. Might have held value in the olden days but not anymore. I don’t know why Swiss army knives are still sold in Airport Duty Free shops willy nilly, while security are busy ensuring no one carries one onto a flight! They were banned from holdalls aka hand luggage. Unless you are heading for a camping or road trip, don’t take one in your hand luggage. And make sure your children don’t either.

My Advice: only buy a Swiss army knife as a gift once you are through security. And if possible have it in checked luggage. If you are going for a camping or road trip take a proper knife for crying out loud.



#3 What not to Pack for Vacation – Towels

Well unless you are a stickler for having own towels, you don’t need to pack towels for a trip if you are going to a resort, hotel, B&B inc. hostels. Its standard practice for a hotel and even a hostel to provide a variety of clean towels for your use. Should include a bath towel, hand towel, and foot towel at the least! And a set for each room guest. Of course some people prefer to take their own towel…Yet, if you are away for 7+ days imagine using same towel for 7 days including after a dirty trek to the local mud baths. 🙁 If your hotel doesn’t provide towels…don’t stay! Check out that’s basics!

If your hotel doesn’t provide towels…don’t stay! Check out that’s basics! Click To Tweet



#4 What not to Pack for Travel – Bath Soap and Shampoo

Yup I used to pack a bottle of bath foam, a shampoo and conditioner even when going for just a weekend. Then I realised I never touched the stuff coz like towels above, every hotel provides some. Unless you have allergies its enough for you to use daily. And again unless you are heading for a road trip or camping you don’t need them. In fact you don’t need shampoo for a camping trip…Your hair can wait till you get back home for a good wash! Leave these at home and you have room for some fun trinkets to return home with. 🙂

My Advice: if you really must take some, pour your shampoo and body wash in ziplock bags and place in a polythene bag tie it up tight to avoid leakages in your suitcase. Make sure you check them in. No need to lose the lot at airport security if they are over 100mls!  If road trippin, or camping you’ll simply dispose of the zip locks, less luggage to carry back home. Also instead of bottles, take a cake of soap. Great for the laundry that can’t wait for your return home lol!

Super tip: I actually do this; use lip balm for your hands, great for dry or cracked skin. Keeps em moist & soft!

use lip balm for your hands, great for dry or cracked skin. Keeps em moist & soft Click To Tweet


11 Tips on What not to Pack for a Travel fun! #traveltips

#5 Things not to Pack for Travel – A pair of shoes for every imaginable occasion

Heck you are going away for only what 7 days….what could you possibly do over and above lazing on the beach or on a sun deck grabbing that tan? Apart from a pair of solid trainers, flip flops and a pair of comfy smart shoes. I am good to go. I travel in the trainers and the flip flops are in my holdall…So I am set for a light trip. If its winter I simply take a pair of my smart sturdy winter boots and trainers that’s it. I love keeping warm so I won’t be wearing strappy sandals in winter for any occasion…my health is worth more. Trust me the same goes for your wardrobe. Leave it at home… If its winter travel or am heading to cold zone, I pack a couple of cardies and a fleece. A couple of thick scarves and my trusty winter fleece coat! My wardrobe is consisted of trousers or pants, thick leggings and fleecy tops. Nothing fancy. I do pack a smart outfit which will be hidden under my fleecy coat that only comes off if the temp at the place I am visiting is warm enough lol.

My Quick what to pack List – Works anywhere esp. warm climes:

If willing to do laundry and keep your color palette to black/grey/white + a few drops of color. 3-4 Tees, 4 dressier tops & 2 long sleeved tops for cooler days, a LBD with 1 pair of heels to match. A multi coloured maxi dress or jumpsuit for that dash of colour. 2 bright scarves to dress my LBD up/down, one of them a large Pashmina (can be used as a beach towel). 🙂 1 pair jeans, 2 pairs of casual cargo pants or shorts, 2 pairs leggings and a rain wrap- great for water parks and folds into own pouch. I wear a wool cardigan, fleece jacket and walking boots or trainers on to the plane, I then take them off into my hand luggage, saves luggage space! I pack flip flops (can be used as house shoes instead of walking barefoot on hotel bathroom floor – no verucas ta) & ballet flats in my handbag great for swapping with the heavy boots on the flight or long road trip and am ready for any trip under 10 days!

What not to pack for travel – 11 Mysteries uncovered! #travelplanning #vacationtips
More room in your suitcase for that unique vacation artwork 🙂



#6 What not to Pack for Travel – Gym gear

Hahaaa unless you are on a trip to simply relax and have no intentions of visiting local attractions, you won’t need that gym gear, leave the spandex home. Some people do take their health and fitness real seriously and will wake up a lil earlier to use the gym or go for a jog. I don’t advise you jog in a foreign city…Where you don’t know the routes or who knows what could happen. I do use the gym sometimes but a tee and comfy leggings will do for a couple of days.

My Advice: The best exercise while on vacation or on a trip is to walk the city and see local attraction. Utilize that much unused hotel pool you pay for. If there’s none, chill out a couple of days off your regime won’t hurt! Eat less junk, walk a lot while out and about!



#7 What not to Pack for Travel- Your whole library

Yeah you are a bookaholic and love self-development , I get it, but lighten up. If going on a vacation to getaway, then the books are part of the things you are getting away from. And if it’s a business trip I get it.

My Advice: Why not get that favorite couple of books onto your tablet or smartphone; Audios, or PDFs, much easier to access and they wont get lost in transit. Have you checked YouTube? You could be pleasantly surprised that your fav book is free in audio form. I love the smell of books too, but I got inducted into the Kindle craze…for travel purposes. So I simply have that lil gadget if I must! Talking of gadgets…

 get that favorite couple of books onto your tablet or smartphone Click To Tweet


#8 What not to Pack for Travel- Your Gadget horde

Oh yes included on our list of what not to pack on vacation is gadgets. We are not talking about your mobile phone, although you could leave it behind. I mean what did man do before the mobile phone? Relax I guess. So why not get back to basics every so often. Leave the Nintendo, PS Station, that super camera that needs a tripod in 4 shapes unless you are a photographer. I know Instagram worthy photos demand your super photography kit to be packed, yet trust me you won’t use even half of them. You will end up needing more secure storage at the hotel and if a safe is extra, you gotta fork out some more then. Don’t become a “tourist target Or victim.” Have you ever made an insurance claim…they are a nightmare. Not worth the hassle. And then you will also need extra batteries, all kinds of extensions to charge and not forgetting the lil electrical adaptors and converters for different destinations. So why bother.


And guess what your smart phone is awesome for lots of things Click To Tweet

My rule of thumb: If it’s not absolutely necessary and I can do without it for at least a week. It’s staying at home where I have better insurance! And guess what your smart phone is awesome for lots of things. There’s an app for it. Keep it charged and maybe take a battery pack and use smartphone as: a camera, satnav/google maps, flash or nightlight, tip or trip calculator, an alarm, sleep sounds, reading magnifier, Kindle, blog resource, phrasebook etc. That gadget can be an invaluable tool to keep your packing light.


#9 What not to Pack for Vacation – Forget the guidebook

You will find a shed load in the country or geo-location you are heading to. And if its older than 6 months you could get lost. For instance if you visited Liverpool 2 years ago…be ready to find a whole new city and lots of one way and walkway systems. A guidebook from then will be useless to you.

My Advice: Download any necessary guidebooks or maps onto your trusty cell phone or tablet. My Smartphone has an offline mapping system cool lil app and we love it.


#10 What not to Pack for Travel – Valuable Jewellery

Leave your heirloom at home where it’s safely insured. If you are not gonna wear it always, leave any jewellery at home. Unless its costume or dress jewellery that you can replace a pound a penny! Jewellery in most cities presents an opportunity for pick pockets and other unsavoury characters. Many tourists have been commonly targeted by thieves and God forbid your luggage gets lost in transit. Some Hotels staff have been known to pick up guest property…Sad but happens.

Remember airlines simply won’t pay for lost property beyond a certain amount. Read the small print of your ticket T&Cs.

If camping you don’t need that valuable jewellery with you surely.

Super tip: Check your home insurance policy with regards to jewellery or stuff you take out of your home if not covered do not pack it for travel! Also check your travel insurance. Leave expensive pieces in your hotel safe and let a manager know. Esp. if you had to take that piece for an occasion. And remember…

The wealthier and blingier you look, the more likely you’ll be overcharged for stuff at local tourist markets and shops…! No amount of bargaining will get the price down to “normal” for you!


#11 Bonus Tip – My Must Pack Items: Now of course you must be wondering what to pack for a trip…You know what you need and how long the trip is. But always have a roll of tissue. Pull out the paper core & flatten tissue-ish! Why not create your must-pack list with the Independent traveller interactive packing list for your spring or summer trips.

Also you could pack what I call an “emergency kit” which includes a small LED night light (although I have a flashlight app on my smartphone, very bright); make up wipes, small 100mls hand sanitizer gel, a few rubber bands, some plastic toothpicks, pen or pencil on which I wrap about 2′ of gaffer tape; an emergency sewing kit; couple of paper clips; sticky notepad, and I also take a small emergency medical bag with Imodium, paracetamol, anti-histamines and hand sanitizer wipes. Great for wiping down those plane armrests, table, and take with you to the toilet…! Talking of germs…

The one medication I will take if Imodium is forgotten and never really expires are Charcoal capsules. I was told this by a travelling doctor and never forgotten it. Grab some charcoal tablets from any Boots/Superdrug store or your local health food store. Did you know that charcoal is what you would be given in hospital for food poisoning? And that if in a foreign country, taking one before meals usually guarantees you won’t be getting food poisoning from different foods or germs, so you won’t miss that special event sick as a dog in bed.


If you have a baby or toddelr, pack enough diapers for at least 24 hours, most airlines permit baby formula, breast milk or medicines. Don’t forget the prescription proof. For more on what you can pack for air travel check out USA Today.

And my final must pack item is at stash of zip-lock bags for all kinds: wet items, food packs for when we are out and about, liquids packing, and whatever else I wish to pack in them. Yup…thats it from Brit gal about 🙂


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I am sure I have a few things what not to pack for travel or business trips left out and you too of course have your list, so why not tell us your version of what not to pack for travel reasons! What are your vacation packing pet hates? What tips do you have for first time travellers? Do share below!


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Julie Syl Kalungi


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68 thoughts on “What not to pack for travel – 11 Mysteries uncovered!”

  1. Pingback: What to Pack When Traveling to Africa - 20 Essential!| Pkjulesworld

  2. Pingback: Whats on my Travel Carry-on Essentials list, I take you through my flight routine!

  3. Great post, Julie. Packing is one of my least chores so I usually leave it until the last minute.

  4. Great post Julie. Everyone is always focus on what to pack. I agree, why do they sell stuff like swiss army knives when you obviously can’t take it on a plane. Makes you wonder if some people are moving or travelling. Very practical tips that will save you some headaches at the airport. Thanks for sharing.

  5. I will never learn. I pack way too much because of the “what if” theory. I may not be able to lift my own suitcase but then everyone always nowhere to borrow extra items. =)

    1. Awww so yo pack for others Wendy! You need to realise they have their own suitcases anda chance to pack the extras. Lighten your load and have a much more fun filled holiday next time! 🙂


  6. Hi Julie,

    I never like doing packing for my trips and most of the time I try to keep my baggage minimum. You have shared these awesome list of ideas. I liked your idea of keeping shampoo and conditioner in Zip pouches because it has weight.

    Have a great weekend!

  7. I used to over pack, especially the shoes. I have gotten so much smarter about it. I, too, take lots of zip lock bags an always find I use them!

  8. Oh no I always carry my towel….call me crazy but I cannot bring myself to use the towels in hotels…LOL. Even if it is just a small one. I agree about not carrying your whole library if you have physical books. Since I have my trusted Kindle Unlimited I can get away with that one. I had to laugh about the duct tape…because I never thought about that one.

  9. Interesting article especially after my grandson (2nd year college student) went to Costa Rica for Spring break this year… he and 4 other students traveled with only a backpack for the entire week. Stayed in Hostels for about $10/night and on the last night they stayed awake all night. Backpack only for the 5 of them (yes 3 girls and 2 guys)… I can see the guys doing it but these girls where world travelers and knew exactly that they needed. The guys even learned from the gals… The returned exhausted but planning the next Spring Break trip to Finland…for 2017… Now Diane on the other hand… probably needs to read this blog…

    1. Lololol Jerry,

      You had me laughing hard….LOlol share the blog with Diane its caring right 🙂
      Those Gals are our kind of gals We dont need much seriously. Life is much easier with a lot less baggage. Apart from the Hostel stays. We like our accommodation reeking of 5* from every pore 🙂 even Camping can be 5* see…spoilt. Matter of choice though. Thanks for your contribution 🙂


  10. Hi Julie,
    My husband and I travel often, so I know first-hand these are great tips. However, I cruise and use the gym on the cruise, so I do pack my exercise clothes.
    Thanks for bringing your post to Blogger’s Pit Stop.
    Janice, Pit Stop Crew

    1. Hi Janice,

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing too. Its all down to what you can leave behind and dont need If yo pack light, a set of exercise spandex wont take up much room 🙂 Thnaks for having us over at BPS 🙂


  11. katrina gehman

    great advice. i’m always packing and i used to take a lot and over the years i pack less and less.

  12. I had honestly never thought about what not to pack. But we often do have too many shoes… I love this list and will share it with my hubby. Business trip to Manila coming up this fall. Thanks

  13. Stephanie D'Laroy

    Great post Julie. I think i’m guilty for some of those points mentioned that’s for sure. Thank you for clarifying them up 🙂

    1. he he hee Stephanie, We used to be guilty of the same, but lots of airports and train stations later with heavy bags that had stuff we didnt even use on the trip cured us fast 🙂


  14. Great list, the only thing out this list I would normally take is my shampoo and conditioner but that is only because my hair doesn’t like a lot of them so I like to stick to my own.

  15. This is really a good list, I have so many things to packed when I’m in travel.

  16. This is a great list. Usually the lists are what to bring and what to do. Sharing the opposite is quite clever. Thanks for playing The Pinterest Game

  17. Valerie Robinson

    I’m guilty of packing tons of towels. Great spin/ people are usually told what TO pack.

    1. Ahhaa We may get why yo do, but it truly isnt necessary. You are supposed to be off and that goes for not returning home with even more Laundry Valerie… 🙂


  18. Those all make sense but I can never go on a trip without my toiletries. I can’t rely on hotels for that as I want to make sure I have my own.

  19. Good list! This is truly awesome specially for first time travelers. Will come in handy for sure.

  20. GREAT tips!! i am a really light traveler. I have gotten away with packing just carry on and backpack for 1-2 week trips. Now I have a baby, so I’m going to have to add an extra bag 😉

    1. Once you have a baby Areefa, Its a whole different ball game but doable. As long as you can buy it go buy it in your destination… An extra bag is al you need for the extra wee person 🙂


  21. Mine is somewhat similar. I have seen people over packing all the time…shoes for each occasion ,e.g., ….makes me laugh at them 🙂

    1. Julie Syl & Pauli Kalungi

      It can be hilarious at the airport when you see someone being told to reduce their weight and our come the multi coloured shoes of all types lolol…Its not even funny for them. Or a bag is so packed full it explodes literally from the weight 🙂


  22. Awesome advice! I love camping and spending time outdoors rather than staying in a hotel but over the years I have come up with my own camping checklist as well. So many people pack way more than they need.

  23. great post Julie. Things not to pack? definately not swiss knives. I remember on my first trip i actually packed shampoo and soap.

    1. Well Andy we all learn sometime right? On our very first family trip we took the whole bathroom and kitchen sinks lolol it was self catering! And we had a toddler s we packed the whole baby section of our Asda :p suffice to say we didnt bring much back..we didnt have the space 🙂


  24. I love these tips! I laughed so hard at tip one! I am a compulsive over packer and I know that I should scale back so these are just for me!

  25. You must have seen me at the airport Julie and that image inspired you to write this!!! LOL 🙂 Great set of advice for us over-packers! Must share. 🙂

  26. On our recent trip to Costa Rica we had to go buy tape because the lights on the A/C were so bright it really lit up the room at night and made it hard to stay asleep. I think bringing a small roll of tape along is a great idea. YOu can tape a lot of things in a bind.

    1. By Tape you mean cello tape, gaffer tape or duct tape? The latter is only good for temp holding and I guess thats all you needed Jessica!
      Thats why we suggest putting a at least 2′ on your pen or pencil and have some on you


  27. Our lists are pretty much similar. 🙂 I always travel with my son, and since we both have asthma we never leave home without our medicines (with prescription, of course) and even our nebulizer. In fact, our nebulizer has been to four countries already! Haha! 🙂

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