Ryan O'Rourke a RoamRight Blog Author

Three Things You DON'T Have To Pack

Backpacking is a popular way to travel without taking too many belongings. CT

Image source: Flickr - Dave Dugdale

Among pre-trip preparations, packing can be one of the most stressful. For most of us, our instincts beg us to snag everything we may need and jam it into our backpacks or suitcases.

Want the key to less stressful travel? It's simple: travel lighter. Knowing what you'll need—and what should stay at home—can sometimes be a challenge, but here are three common items you should consider leaving behind to lighten up the load.


Remember life before the Internet? Dark times indeed.

Fast forward to today and it's hard to imagine a couple of days, let alone weeks, without the faithful World Wide Web catching us up on all the tasty gossip from back home. With the unstoppable spread of Wi-Fi into all corners of the globe, we're compelled to stay permanently connected. But that doesn't mean we should.

If there's only one item you cut from your gear on your next trip, make it your laptop. They're bulky, heavy, and a superb magnet for would-be thieves; they're also a massive distraction. The purpose of traveling is to explore new terrain, and with your face basking in the glow of a laptop, you tend to explore a whole lot less.

Can't live without your daily Internet fix? Consider packing a Wi-Fi-enabled smartphone instead. They're lighter, more discrete, and fit comfortably in your pocket.

Hair Care Accessories

Unless you're a model heading to a photo shoot in Milan, it's safe to say that you can probably leave your hair care accessories back home without impacting your life. 

Curling irons, hair dryers, and straighteners occupy valuable luggage space and add unnecessary weight to your backpack. Even with the proper adapters, using these accessories in foreign outlets could still run the risk of damaging your equipment. (Let's hope you bought a travel insurance plan with baggage and personal effects coverage!)

If you simply can't fathom the idea of walking around with less than perfect hair, ask your hotel or guesthouse staff for some help; most mid-range accommodations will have at least basic hair care equipment for guests on hand. When all else fails, bring along a hat and wear it proudly—your poor, stuffed backpack, and shoulders, will thank you!

(For additional travel beauty tips, check out this post on how to simplify your beauty routine).

Your Entire Shoe Collection

Inexperienced and veteran travelers are equally at fault for the ultimate light packing faux-pas: bringing along too many pairs of shoes.

The need to pack shoes for every imaginable occasion is so ingrained among Western travelers it, at times, almost borders on cliché. Dress shoes, runners, hiking shoes, and sandals—without any thought to their weight or volume, we fill our already tight luggage with them. And often, that's as much action as they'll see.

Just as there's a suit or dress for every occasion, you'll find that a pair of black walking or running shoes (and sandals, if heading to warmer destinations) will suit most needs.

Instead of packing for those odd times you think you'll need something different, consider purchasing shoes, when needed, from a local vendor. Not only will you lighten up your load, you'll help local economies flourish.

Have you ever been guilty of overpacking? Which items do you now leave at home to lighten your luggage? Tell us all about it in the comments section below!

Note: Available plans and coverages may have changed since this blog was published.


About the Author

Ryan O'Rourke

Ryan O'Rourke, a RoamRight Blog Author

A perfect storm of wandering wordsmith and travel photographer, Ryan O'Rourke lives and breathes travel. For the last decade, Ryan has roamed around the world, living in 4 different countries and visiting over 30 countries along the way with no signs of slowing down. Ryan's insatiable wanderlust inspired him to found Treksplorer where he now writes about his adventures and offers unconventional travel planning, language learning, and travel photography tips for independent travellers.

When not out and about, Ryan calls Northern Ontario home, and enjoys basking in the great Canadian outdoors and lazily chilling by the campfire with an acoustic guitar. Follow Ryan on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, and Pinterest.

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