Home > Travelling Essentials > What Not to Pack

What Not to Pack

By: Beth Morrisey MLIS - Updated: 12 Apr 2012 | comments*Discuss
Gap Year Packing Luggage Non Essentials

Couldn't we all use an inner Trinny or Susanna to make sure everything we pack is affordable yet flattering, practical yet chic? Unfortunately, this is just a pipe dream as we all have to go our packing alone. Obviously you'll want to be prepared for any eventuality, but you'll also want to keep your luggage manageable, affordable and safe.

So what's a gap year traveller to do when it comes to weeding out items to leave at home? Follow these handy checklists, of course! What you leave at home is just as important as what you bring with you, so use these lists to help you decide once and for all what to cut out and what to include.

Non Essential Clothing

Some clothing will serve you better at home than it will in your gap year backpack. When you begin to pack, put aside:
  • Designer clothing.
  • Clothing embellished with expletives or inappropriate images.
  • Fashion footwear and high heels.
  • Synthetic socks that will make your feet sweat and possibly breed fungus.
  • Brand new shoes that will result in blisters.
  • Short shorts and miniskirts.
  • Overly revealing tops.
  • Dark coloured summer clothing. Choose light colours to reflect the sun.
  • Outerwear with labels that may attract a following.
  • Anything that you feel is irreplaceable.

Non Essential Accessories

While you are busy putting back your non essential clothes, pull out your non essential accessories as well. Accessories are often small and easily stolen, so don't pack anything that you would be afraid to lose. A few items best left at home include:
  • Expensive jewellery.
  • Designer handbags.
  • Sunglasses with large labels.
  • Laptop computers.
  • New, top-of-the-range iPods/mp3 players.
  • New, top-of-the-range mobile phones.
  • Hair dryers.
  • Hair straighteners.

Non Essential Health Care

Packing a medical kit is important, but some health care items are better accessed via the medical system in your host country. Do not pack:
  • Prescription medication that is not in your own name.
  • Illegal amounts of prescription medication, even if it is in your name.
  • Suspicious amounts of over-the-counter medication. Limit yourself to two packets.
  • Illegal drugs.
  • Heating pads that require an adapter.
  • Cool packs that require freezing.
  • Any medication that is, or will pass, its use-by date during your travels.

Non Essential Personal Care

Thankfully a gap year trip is not a beauty competition, because packing personal care items requires great restraint. Keep your personal care routine to a minimum, and don't bother packing:
  • Perfume or aftershave.
  • Scented body lotions or sprays that may attract insects or even wildlife.
  • Expensive hair accessories.
  • Hair care "extras" such as hairspray, gel, etc.
  • Economy sized items (shampoo, conditioner) that can easily be replaced abroad.
  • Makeup.
Packing for a gap year may initially seem daunting, but these checklists are a handy reminder that you shouldn't be bringing your whole life with you! A gap year is your chance to see the world, discover yourself, and find out exactly what you need to survive. No doubt you'll be surprised by how well you can get by with so few possessions!

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
As is often said: "When packing for a trip, sell half your stuff and take twice the money".
Nick Smith - 12-Apr-12 @ 11:20 PM
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
Enter word:
Latest Comments
  • Hitch-Hiker
    Re: Hitch-Hiking and the Dangers
    Having thought this over, I’ve realised the reason this post is so annoying is because of the stupid “safe vs. dangerous” binary…
    16 January 2020
  • Hitch-Hiker
    Re: Hitch-Hiking and the Dangers
    “hitchhiking puts travellers at the mercy of others” Yes. Unlike bus travel where you obviously know the driver and the other…
    14 January 2020
  • Gone_Hitchhiking
    Re: Hitch-Hiking and the Dangers
    Haha nice I think I feel so lucky right now as in over two years hh around the world I newer was robbed, killed not even subject…
    14 January 2020
  • Klim
    Re: Hitch-Hiking and the Dangers
    Agree with Masala. The dangers are being rather exaggerated. I was taught to hitch by a girl. Stay smart but don’t let fear limit…
    14 January 2020
  • Masala
    Re: Hitch-Hiking and the Dangers
    Been hitchhiking for almost 20 years, over 30 countries - Europe, Mid-east, South and Southeast Asia, Australia. I've had only one…
    14 January 2020
  • mplo
    Re: Hitch-Hiking and the Dangers
    Lady Hitchhiker and speakingasanexpert: If YOU want to take such stupid risks to your health, safety and possibly your lives,…
    5 May 2019
  • mplo
    Re: Hitch-Hiking and the Dangers
    Brandon Jackson, you're totally missing the point. The whole point is that when one hitchhikes or picks up hitchhikers, there's…
    5 May 2019
  • elifgul
    Re: Teaching Abroad
    Dear Author, I'm writing to let you know that I want to participate voluntarily in your institution's work. In this context, I would like to give…
    11 October 2018
  • mplo
    Re: Hitch-Hiking and the Dangers
    Listen, AnonAnon: I disagree with you here. As I pointed out earlier on this thread, hitchhiking crimes are rare, because very few…
    20 September 2018
  • mplo
    Re: Hitch-Hiking and the Dangers
    To jesse and AnonAnon: Just because there are more cellphones and other methods of calling for help if one gets in a nasty,…
    20 September 2018