You Shouldn’t Pack These Things for Your Next Vacation

Taking a vacation is great for your health, but you might not believe that until you get past the stressful stage of obsessing over what you should pack for that getaway to the beach, city, or mountains. You probably already have a mental list (or a written list) of the things you are going to pack on vacation. But what about the things that you aren’t going to pack? Read on to make sure that you aren’t planning to pack anything unnecessary or overly cumbersome. Eliminating the things you don’t need is a great way to spare your back, have some extra room for souvenirs, and make sure you only have what you need when you arrive at your destination.

1. New or uncomfortable shoes

DUESSELDORF, GERMANY - JULY 26: A variety of shoes on display during the first day of the GDS - Global Destination For Shoes & Accessories tradeshow on July 26, 2016 in Duesseldorf, Germany.

Pack shoes you’ll feel comfortable in. | Andreas Rentz/Getty Images

A vacation is not the time to finally get that uncomfortable but cute pair of shoes to bend to your will. Many vacations are pretty heavy on walking time, and even if you don’t anticipate walking much farther than between your hotel room and the beach, you still won’t want to bother with footwear that pinches of gives you blisters. Also forego packing any brand-new shoes until you’ve had a chance to really test them out (more extensively than just walking around your apartment). Even if you’re more into hanging poolside than taking a hike or a walking tour, you’ll still want shoes that won’t hurt your feet.

2. Clothes you just bought

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 09: Shoppers carry bags with purchased clothes on Oxford Street on June 9, 2016 in London, England.

Don’t pack too many new things. | Jack Taylor/Getty Images

It’s OK to add a couple of new pieces to your wardrobe in the weeks before a trip if you anticipate finding some gaps. Perhaps you realized that you’d really like to have more than one bikini for your beach vacation, or you’ve finally come to terms with the fact that your favorite white button-front shirts aren’t really so white anymore. But if you’ve been running around at the last minute buying new tops or colorful new statement jewelry just so you feel prepared for your trip, think twice about whether or not those pieces are going to work with the items you already know you’re bringing. Trendy clothes and accessories may look cute on the rack, but if they don’t match anything else that you own, they’re going to sit unworn in your suitcase.

3. Irreplaceable jewelry and accessories

SOUTHAMPTON, NY - JULY 07: Artist Sharyn Bradford, jewelry detail, attends the Glenn Bradford Fine Jewelry Instore Event at Glenn Bradford on July 7, 2016 in Southampton, New York.

Don’t bring your most prized possessions. | Mark Sagliocco/Getty Images

Your end-of-summer getaway isn’t the right time to carry your most expensive handbag or wear the irreplaceable pieces of jewelry that were gifted to you by your partner. Everybody likes taking a bit of home with them on a far-flung vacation, but trips to new locales are also a prime occasion for something to get lost, broken, or even stolen. It would be a bummer if a suitcase of even your most basic clothes got lost and needed replacing, but don’t make that possibility even more nerve-wracking by filling it with your favorite pieces of jewelry.

4. Designer sunglasses

ANCOUVER, BC - DECEMBER 03: A general atmosphere view during Versace & Vogue celebrate the launch of Versace Vancouver Boutique on December 3, 2015 in Vancouver, Canada

Designer sunglasses are nice, but don’t bring them with you. | Andrew Chin/Getty Images

Whether you get hit by a rogue wave at the beach or leave your sunnies sitting on the table at brunch, there are plenty of opportunities to lose your favorite designer shades while on vacation. (And that includes the possibility of them getting crushed in an overstuffed handbag or suitcase.) Do yourself a favor and leave the expensive shades at home. Pick up a cheap pair (or two) of sunglasses at the mall in preparation for your next getaway. You’ll be much less disappointed if something happens to them than if you packed your all-time favorite pair. Plus, with cheap sunglasses, you can switch up your look without breaking the bank.

5. Full outfit changes for every day of your vacation

People arrive with their suitcases at the gare de Lyon train station in Paris on July 22, 2016 during the French summer holidays period. / AFP / FRANCOIS GUILLOT

You don’t need complete outfit changes. | Francois Guillot/AFP/Getty Images

Especially if you’re vacationing in a hot or humid locale, you’re probably trying to figure out how to pack enough clothing that you can change as often as you want. However, nobody needs multiple full outfit changes for every day they’re on vacation.

Instead, you’ll want to think strategically. If you anticipate wanting to change outfits, pack a couple of extra tops, not tons of additional shorts and pants. Make sure all of the pieces that you pack can be mixed and matched so you can re-wear things instead of needing a brand-new ensemble each day. And always scope out whether you’ll have access to laundry facilities, which will make it easier to pack a smaller suitcase or perhaps pack everything into a carry-on.

6. Lots of clothes that are heavy and bulky

MADRID, SPAIN - MARCH 14: Jimena Mazucco wears Sorel boots, Fouganza leggins, ZARA Tshirt, Overside Dsquared 2 sweater and Prada handbag and sunglasses on March 14, 2016 in Madrid, Spain.

Heavy layers will take up a lot of room. | Juan Naharro Gimenez/Getty Images

Multiple pairs of denim are the classic culprit here. Heavy layers are one thing if you’re traveling to a cold location in the middle of winter, but if you’re traveling in more temperate times and locations, make sure you leave the bulky pieces behind. Packing more pairs of jeans or pants than you need will take up a lot of space, and packing a heavy sweater instead of lighter layers is a pretty inefficient way to plan your travel wardrobe. In the interest of getting the most out of your limited packing space, you probably want to consider leaving your bathrobe at home, only packing one pair of jeans, and opting for a couple of sleek skirts instead of space-hogging fit-and-flare style.

7. Full-size cosmetics and toiletries

MIAMI BEACH, FL - JULY 15: A view of TRESemme hair products backstage at the TRESemme at Frankie's Bikinis 2017 Collection at SwimMiami at W South Beach on July 15, 2016 in Miami Beach, Florida.

Bulky hair products don’t belong on your trip. | John Parra/Getty Images

We can think of plenty of reasons to be particular about the hair products, skin care serums, and makeup you use, especially because some products can actually be bad for your health or can cause breakouts. But unless you’re going on an extended trip, there’s really no reason to overburden yourself with full-size toiletries. Ditch the heavy bottles of shampoo and conditioner for TSA-friendly minis (or plan to use the ones provided by your hotel). Jettison the heavy bottle of body wash and consider packing a small bottle or a bar version instead.

Also, transfer the moisturizers and serums you need into the travel bottles and jars you can pick up at your local Sephora or Target. Your bag will be lighter, and you’ll have more room for an extra bikini or for the souvenirs you’ll pick up along the way.

8. Redundant heat-styling tools

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 16: A model prepares backstage with L'Oreal Professionnel hair products at Bibhu Mohapatra Spring 2016 during New York Fashion Week: The Shows at The Gallery at Skylight Clarkson Sq on September 16, 2015 in New York City.

So many styling tools, so little room to pack them. | Thos Robinson/Getty Images

If you blow-dry, straighten, or curl your hair regularly, you’re probably in love with the tools you own. But just about every hotel provides a hair dryer in your room (or will send one up when you ask), and some will even offer a hair straightener upon request. Determine what your hotel offers, and leave redundant tools at home. And if you’re traveling with anyone else who uses the same ones you do, make sure you aren’t both packing the same things. That way, you’ll not only save luggage space but will also save counter space in the hotel bathroom, which can be at a premium when you’re sharing close quarters.

9. An excessive number of gadgets

Two young women read news on their computer at LaGuardia Airport August 29, 2011 in New York. The two women from Russia are expecting to take a flight to Los Angeles on August 31. New York-area airports reopened on Monday as US airlines gradually restored more flights to their operations throughout the Northeast that were halted by Hurricane Irene. AFP PHOTO/DON EMMERT

Only pack the gadgets you definitely need. | Don Emmert/AFP/Getty Images

We all claim to take vacations to “unplug,” and then post multiple Instagram shots within minutes of touching down at the airport or parking the car at our destination. We’re not advocating that you leave everything behind (or even pretending it’s an option for most people), but advising that you evaluate which devices you really need with you. Unless you’re traveling for business, you can probably leave your laptop behind. And if you’re planning on taking a tablet, make sure you have a use for it that couldn’t be fulfilled by that book you’ve been meaning to read. Besides, who wants to spend their vacation distracted by devices instead of enjoying the environment and present company?

10. Anything you already know you won’t need

MIAMI, FL - JUNE 02: Travelers go through the TSA PreCheck security point at Miami International Airport on June 2, 2016 in Miami, Florida. As the busy summer travel season heats up the Transportation Security Administration is encouraging people to sign up for the TSA PreCheck program to save time going through the airports security lines. Those enrolled in the program can leave their shoes, light outerwear and belt on during the terminal screening process as well as keeping their laptop in the carry-on suitcase without having to remove them at the checkpoint.

Don’t travel with a lot of extra things. | Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Everybody considers packing at least a couple of items “just in case,” but some of us have less restraint than others when it comes to actually refraining from adding those pieces to our suitcases. If you’re thinking you need to take a heavy sweater along on a tropical vacation or packing a pair of hiking boots when you really hate hiking, take a step back. Realize that if you already know you probably won’t need something on vacation, that’s a perfect item to eliminate from your suitcase. It’s fine to pack a small umbrella and a light sweater, but if you try to prepare for every possible (and improbable) situation, you’ll never be able to close your suitcase.