What not to pack for your next overseas trip

What NOT to pack for your next overseas trip

Posted on Posted in Blog, Travel Tips

Our most common packing fails!

People naturally assume that as we travel a lot, we have the whole packing thing down. This is just not true. In fact, I’ll go so far as to admit that we are TERRIBLE at packing!

On our recent trip to Indonesia I realized just how bad we really are at packing. So much so that we struggled pretty much every day to scrape together something to wear!

So, in light of this realization, I decided to share with you guys what NOT to pack for your next overseas trip…you could call it an Unpacking list.

Don’t take gym gear

Every single time we travel somewhere, we make the decision to take our gym attire and sneakers with us. With all the best intentions obvs! We work out six days a week when we’re home so naturally, we like to assume that we’d have the same attitude when we’re away. Sadly, this isn’t the case. We never seem to have time to train (or want to make the time!) and so we end up with a case full of work out gear that never makes it out of the suitcase! So note to self, and also you – DO NOT fill your case with gym leggings and the likes!

Our advice, take your sneakers as they actually do come in handy sometimes, especially for hiking (which is just as good as the gym!), but leave your gym clothes at home!!! They just take up valuable space that you can utilize much better…believe us!

Don’t dismiss the cultural heritage of your destination

One of the most uncomfortable feelings when traveling is being stuck with inappropriate attire in a religious country. While a singlet and shorts is perfectly fine in the majority of western cultures and lots of touristy places, in some destinations it just won’t be ok and you WILL get stared at and sometimes glared at. Our advice is to do a little research before you head off and make sure you have at least one pair of long pants and a couple of shirts that cover your shoulders.

Trust us, you’ll be glad to have those items in your traveling arsenal, especially when you want to visit the local temples if you’re heading to Asia. If you don’t have the right clothes, they will likely give you some horrific polyester garb to chuck on and you will end up sweating your balls off! Best bet, be prepared and take your own (breathable!) clothing. You’ll feel much more comfortable and won’t stick out like a sore thumb.

Don’t forget your toiletries

There is nothing worse than opening your toiletries bag only to find that you’ve forgotten your moisturizer and your razor is blunt. Far too often, I’ve been known to rely heavily on the hotel sized shampoo and conditioner but in recent times I’ve decided this isn’t ever a good idea. Reason being, hotel toiletries can be compared to a lucky dip. Sometimes you’ll get awesome selection…even things like toothbrushes and mouthwash. I blame these kind of hotels for lulling me into a false sense of security as I expect all places to have these offerings but that’s not the case. I guarantee the next hotel you go to will only have a crappy bar of soap and you’ll be stuffed. From now on, these are my essential items that I will not be leaving home without…

  • Facewash…because crappy soap is just not meant for washing your face with!
  • For all you fellow females out there…tampons! Running the risk of being in a country that doesn’t sell tampons just isn’t something I want to experience. You could go one further and buy a Diva Cup, I want to hear from any of you out there who have one of these or have used one. Eco warriors I’m talking to you!
  • Moisturizer…because hotel moisturizer can be really oily and/or perfumed which is never good. Especially if there’s flying insects and those dreaded mozzies around who will be all over that floral smelling goodness.
  • A toothbrush and toothpaste, especially toothpaste as being stuck with a toothbrush and no toothpaste is almost as bad as having nothing at all!
  • Shampoo and Conditioner…if you can get travel-sized bottles, great! If you have to take full sized ones, so be it. If you have colored hair like me, this is essential. Especially conditioner if it’s a hot country and you’re out in the sun and salt water all day. My hairdresser would cringe if he knew I was using hotel shampoo on my hair, lol.
  • A razor…because those single blade disposable offerings just won’t do…ever!

Don’t rely on thongs as all weather footwear

This point reminds me of so many trips where we’ve only had thongs on our feet in freezing temperatures. Too often we have been caught off guard with this, like in New Zealand’s South Island in summer and Europe in spring. When you live in Australia, you think that everywhere else will fall in line when it comes to being able to wear thongs (flip flops) every day for every occasion but the reality is that cold/wet feet will make your trip a miserable one.

We rocked up to Heathrow airport in April expecting balmy spring weather but were instead greeted with 8 degrees and freezing cold wind. Changing from our thongs to our boots on the tube platform was hilarious to all the London commuters! Our advice, if you’re going somewhere and there’s a chance it may be chilly, at the very least, take a pair of Converse with you (or similar) and a couple of pairs of socks. These should see you through most situations in moderate comfort.

Layers…because subzero temperatures in a singlet isn’t much fun!

Of all the items we fail to pack, this one is the one that causes the most discomfort when we get it wrong…there’s a theme here hey?! Not having enough layers can make your trip way more expensive than it needs to be. I’m thinking of our trip to Europe in spring in particular when we rocked up with only a couple of thin jumpers and thought that would be fine. In reality we were hitting up the winter sales to stock up on snow gear in April! Our advice, check the temperature of your destination in advance and later up accordingly. Plus you’ll always want to have a hoodie and socks on the plane too so you’ll be winning for you flight too!

And there you have it, our UNpacking list! Now all we need to do is heed our own advice…watch this space! 😉

Talking about packing for the wrong occasion and wearing the wrong gear, Elaina and I recently visited Komodo National Park to the infamous Komodo Dragons and boy did we get caught out wearing the wrong clothes! Check it here…

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Born in the USA. Raised in England. Relocated to Australia 6 years ago. You could say that she’s a bit of a world citizen.
With a degree in Brand Promotion & Journalism, Victoria loves the written word and as such is our resident writer. One of her fave things to do anytime of day is to enjoy a good breakfast accompanied by an equally good coffee.

Vic loves a good road trip where she can rock out to good tunes (and some not so good, ahem, Taylor Swift fan alert!). She’s a demon on the squash court and loves to scuba dive. One of her dreams is to cage dive with great white sharks…way outside her comfort zone! She loves to travel and has lived in five countries. Her plan is to add a few more to the list.

4 thoughts on “What NOT to pack for your next overseas trip

  1. Haha that was a lot of baggage in Indonesia….exercise gear is the worst, just got rid of those compression pant things. Purchased over a year ago, worn once.

    Best packing tip for the lads (and ladies to?): Leave the razor at home 😉

    1. lol…that’s some good advice from someone who had the smallest travel bag we’ve ever seen. It’s even smaller than Vics handbag. I can’t even begin to imagine what you could have fit in it. Perhaps one clean pair of undies?

  2. I thought what you were wearing for Komodo was fine! And we all missed the bulletin about taking umbrellas…

    My #1 tip is to add your destinations to your weather app a couple of weeks out, so you have an idea of what to expect and can keep it in mind when packing. I’ve also been known to snoop through hotel listings and reviews to get an idea of what toiletries and stuff is provided so I can pack lighter. Also agree on the gym gear – I’ve been there and done that! My one exception is that if there’s free yoga, making sure I have an outfit suitable for it.

    1. I knew we could count on you for some awesome packing tips! So impressed that you scope out hotel reviews to get an idea on toiletries. We could learn so much from you!!

      I think some wet weather gear would have been handy to see the Komodos.. especially a little wet weather bag for our camera!

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