Whether your motivation is making sure you only use a carry-on, or simply staying within the hold baggage limit, it’s easily achieved when you know the things you don’t need to pack for a holiday. Why would you want to lumber yourself with stuff you don’t need? If you leave out the things you don’t need to pack for a holiday, there’s logically, more room for stuff you do need and want.
This may seem counterintuitive, but guidebooks are one of the things you don't need to pack for a holiday. In this day of constant connectedness, you'll usually find any information you need by googling it on your smartphone, on a computer at the hotel or library, or in an e-book. If you feel like you need something more tangible, copy the sections you think you'll need and throw them away as you use them and don't need them anymore. Websites like Lonely Planet will sell you PDF formatted books or chapters, and Amazon and other book stores have e-books that are far more portable (and weigh a lot less).
Gadgets take up a lot of room in your suitcase. You don't really need a coffeemaker, DVD players, electronic language translators, nightlights, 3 cameras, a USB, iPod, etc. All of these things take up precious space and require spare batteries, chargers, electrical adapters, or converters. If you MUST bring all the gadgets, try to consolidate them to use a single universal charger if possible. And unless you are a professional photographer, most vacation pictures are point-and-shoot anyway.
While you might have some very special, wonderfully soft, fluffy towels at home, you can live without them for a short time while on vacation. Because they are bulky, they take up a lot of room in suitcases. Most hotels provide towels. If you must bring some sort of towel, pack a small sports towel or microfiber towel, since they are thin, lightweight and super-absorbent. And you won't get in trouble with the hotel for taking them to the beach.
Tourists are often targets for thieves, and luggage often gets lost. If you can't imagine living without something, leave it at home. You don't need to wear a Rolex, wear a less expensive watch. No need for diamonds, there are a number of jewelry choices that can be stunning without being worth thousands of dollars. If you do bring valuables, store them in the hotel safe and be sure to cover them with the appropriate insurance. If you buy valuables on your trip, keep them with your carry-on bags. Besides, wearing or carrying expensive valuables won't help you when bargaining with the locals.
It's not necessary to bring a change of clothes for every day of your holiday. Most hotels and towns have laundry facilities, and you can usually buy tiny detergent boxes that are good for just one load. Bring neutral colored clothes that you can mix and match easily, and bring shoes that can go with several outfits. Leave fancy clothes at home, and don't bring an extra jacket; just layer on more clothes if you get cold. Check the weather forecast and pack accordingly. If you really need more clothes, buy an inexpensive rain jacket and call it a souvenir.
You don’t need to bring your entire beauty regimen with you on vacation; you can live without it for a few days. Don’t lug around full-sized containers. Instead purchase travel-sized versions or take just a little in your own small containers. Many hotels provide shampoo, conditioner, soap, hair dryers, and other toiletries. Bring just one tube of toothpaste or bottle of shampoo for the whole family when travelling together. Take products that have multiple uses, like shampoo/conditioners, or moisturizer with SPF.
Books take up valuable space. Books can make long wait times more bearable, and a leisurely read by the pool may be your coveted “me” time. However, make it a small, light paperback, or bring a magazine instead. When you’re done reading it, swap with a fellow traveler or leave it in the lobby or on the train for the next person. E-readers offer almost unlimited options and take up much less space.
The whole thing about packing for a holiday is compromise. The things you don’t need to pack for a vacation come down to what YOU most need and what you can’t do without. It’s about being smart! Is there anything on this list you really couldn’t live without on holiday?
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