Friendly Planet Blog

Advice on what you shouldn’t pack in your suitcase

Some people like to pick up every knickknack and souvenir they can get their hands on when they travel. From the hotel shampoo to the restaurant matchstick book, they shove it all into their luggage. I, on the other hand, do not. It weighs your luggage down, and you don’t need it!

If you’re a pack rat you should read Chris Elliott’s “Packing Tips: 4 Things to Take (or Leave Behind) When You Travel.”

Chris gives the best advice on what is worth saving and what can be left behind. I agree with almost every tip he gives. It appeared on Frommer’s last week and it got me thinking about what else I normally leave behind to save space in my suitcase. In addition to Chris’s tips, here is some other advice from me.

For every piece of paper that you pick up when you travel, just ask yourself, “Can I find this information online?” This goes for brochures, menus, coasters, etc. A majority of the time your answer will be yes. If it is, recycle it.

In a previous post, I mentioned that I carry travel sizes of my cosmetics. That includes lotions and face creams. But if I know that travel size won’t be enough during my trip, I leave it at home. Instead I’ll buy that product locally.

That way I also know it’s formulated for the local conditions. I typically do this with my body lotion. I use it regularly, so I always buy it in the country that I am visiting. If the bottle isn’t empty by the time I leave, I throw it away to save space in my bag.

Almost every hotel now offers shampoos and soap as amenities in its bathrooms, so avoid packing large bottles of those items. If you’re bringing your own travel sized toiletries, then don’t open what the hotel gives you. Leave the unopened bottles behind for the next guest to use. It also saves the hotel the cost of restocking it.

I know in some cases, people bring home hotel toiletries to donate to a shelter. If you actually do take these toiletries to a shelter when you get home, great. If, like me, a busy life gets in the way, leave the toiletries in the hotel. Then, when you get home, if you really want to make a contribution, why not just write a small check and designate it for purchase of personal items.

Lastly, you can buy products such as nail polish remover, toothpaste, mouthwash, hair spray, etc., in almost every city in the world. It’s not worth carrying large containers of these. So save yourself some space in your luggage by applying these tips and reading what Chris Elliott has to say. Have any more suggestions? Share your tips in a comment to this post.

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About Peggy

Peggy Goldman is a specialty tour operator and travel expert, who owns and operates Friendly Planet Travel, a full-service company that specializes in tour packages to exotic worldwide destinations at affordable prices.   More about Peggy

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