What not to pack for your next holiday

what not to pack

There’s plenty of advice out there about what to pack.

Capsule wardrobes, more than enough undies, your sense of adventure. But what about what you shouldn’t pack?

Guns, lighter fluid and sharp objects obviously, and probably don’t carry them around in real life either, but what are some of the less obvious better-off-at-home items?

All your tech

The great thing about modern technology is that a lot of it doubles up. Pretty much everything you can do on a laptop or tablet you can do on a phone and vice versa. Pick one. But if you are an avid reader, consider an e-reader, they take up less space than a book and you can load another book at your leisure, rather than buying a physical book. You don’t even have to buy them, here’s a bunch of free books to browse and a quick Google search should find you plenty more.

Read: Five essential road trip gadgets

And unless you are a professional photographer, leave all your fancy camera lenses and equipment at home. They are hard to pack safely and are catnip to thieves.

Bulky coat

If you are going to a destination that requires a bulky coat, hire or buy it while you are there. A big coat could take up a third of your luggage.

If it’s not possible to hire or buy, try and find something more adaptable.

Uniqlo has a range of puffy jackets and coats that fold up to the size of a small handbag. You wouldn’t want to explore the Arctic in them, but for mildly cold weather they’ll do the trick.

Also think about layering up, a good thermal top under everything is almost enough to get you through most climates.

Read: Money-saving trips from travel agents

Forever in blue jeans

If you wear them, just pack one pair of jeans. Apart from the fact they take up a lot of space, they take ages to dry when you wash them.

There’s a school of thought that you only need to wash them once a month, but maybe after every couple of wears is better.

Fancy shoes

Unless you expect to be going to fancy places, you are not going to need fancy shoes, leave the four-inch heels at home.

Ideally, every pair of shoes should have a double purpose. Sparkly sandals should be able to be worn at the beach and with a summer dress for dinner, black flats on the plane and while shopping, runners while running and on a jungle tour.

Fancy clothes

Cross anything that needs dry cleaning immediately off your list. Even if you are staying in a swish hotel, and use their laundry service, there is no guarantee of the standard. You could come back with a mini skirt that was once a maxi skirt.

Read: Where not to plan your 2023 holiday

And think long and hard about if you need a satin cocktail dress with an internal corset, or could make do with a jersey LBD if you do need a formal outfit. Just because it’s your favourite, doesn’t mean it needs to go on holiday with you.


Does your life exist on your keychain? Well don’t take it with you.

If you have your door key, car key and work fob in one location, the drama you will be creating for yourself if you lose them will crush your post-holiday high.

Either give them to a trusted friend or neighbour or invest in an outdoor lockable storage device with keypad access to store them on your property.

Is there something you have scratched off your packing list? Why not share your tips in the comments section below?

Written by Jan Fisher

Accomplished journalist, feature writer and sub-editor with impressive knowledge of the retirement landscape, including retirement income, issues that affect Australians planning and living in retirement, and answering YLC members' Age Pension and Centrelink questions. She has also developed a passion for travel and lifestyle writing and is fast becoming a supermarket savings 'guru'.

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  1. The best thing to do is edit what you’re packing. Put everything out on a large space (I use the bed) and then reduce what you have sitting there. See how you can put together2-4 outfits, you can only wear one outfit at a time. It’s harder for colder climates, but learn to layer your outfits and don’t have big bulky items that take so long to dry overnight. I’m still trying to get this right, but it’s helped on the last couple of trips.

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