Travel & Packing

What NOT to Travel With!

Happy day, my dear reader!

Since we are heading into another big travel season, I thought I’d talk about packing. (If you’ve been here a while, you know I have a little obsession… I love to travel, and packing is just part of the anticipatory fun!) Last month, I talked about things I always take when I travel, so today I’ll tackle those things with which I don’t bother.

To start with, I am not interested in spending any extra time with the lovely TSA people, so I leave behind all those TSA prohibited items! (It’s a challenge to remember to put my pocket knife in the glovebox at the airport, but so far, so good.)

Leave at home your…

Expensive or Sentimental Jewelry

I don’t travel with sentimental or expensive jewelry, and counsel my clients to do the same. Who needs the worry about, or headache of, losing something special? There is plenty of lovely costume and high fashion jewelry out there, some of which looks just like the real thing! I know women who don’t travel with their engagement or wedding rings, either, and have a faux they wear for trips. Depending on our destination, I might leave my wedding and engagement rings at home and opt for a fabulous faux, or a plain band.

All rings from Premier Designs

Expensive Handbag

This one needs a caveat. Expensive is totally personal. I can’t put a Dollar, Pound, Euro or Yen figure on this. You know what you consider expensive! I know a woman who carries an Hermes bag daily, but carries a “dupe” when she travels. Same look, less stress. I have a fabulous nylon crossbody bag that is my default travel purse; it’s lightweight enough for days of walking and sightseeing, and still large enough to carry enough goodies for a day out: snack bars, a small water bottle, and a phone charge pack. It’s not as elegant looking as I might like, but practicality wins out when doing lots of sightseeing!

Baggalini Sydney

Bathroom Cabinet

I know people joke about packing everything but the kitchen sink, but I find lots of people overpack from  the bathroom cabinet! Unless you are attending a royal wedding, or presidential inauguration, you don’t need to take your entire makeup kit. Winnow it down to some great multi-purpose products, and a lipstick or two. A daily look of blush, brows, mascara, and lip color does not take up that much room. (PS: The entire brush kit doesn’t need to come either. Just pack the basics!)  A while ago now, I was seated next to a young woman on a flight who took out her makeup kit, placed it on the tray table, and proceeded to do a full Instagram face on the plane. She could have been doing a complex tutorial… My seat neighbor was at it for over half an hour. It might have been closer to 45 minutes. I kid you not when I tell you her makeup bag was enormous! It took up half the space in her backpack. 

Same goes for the medicine cabinet. Yes, you should take any and all prescriptions you need to take daily (AND a paper copy of your written prescriptions), but unless you are going camping out in the middle of nowhere, you don’t need  a first aid kit or contingencies for all potential health emergencies. Some headache medicine and a few cough drops are probably all you’ll need. For anything else, you can go to a pharmacy. Did you know that in many other countries, you can consult with a pharmacist for basic heath issues, and get your meds right there?

Daily Outfits

There is no need to pack an outfit for each day of travel. Please take my word for this. There are tens of thousands of travel wardrobe ideas out on the interwebs, not a few of them being right here. Just check out any of the posts categorized “Travel”! There are much better ways to go about packing…

Hair Dryer

If we are traveling to stay in a hotel, I don’t bother with a hair dryer. Ditto, if we are staying with friends or family. Most hotels have them,  and most friends and relations will loan you theirs. Cities have blow dry bars, and what a great way to let to know something about your destination. Ask the beautician! He or she will undoubtedly have some tidbits you won’t hear from the staff behind the hotel desk! If we are staying in an AirBnB, or VRBO, I may take a dryer, but only if there’s a reason I need to be really spiffy! I prefer to fly under the radar and stay anonymous when traveling.

So how about you? What don’t you pack? Or are you an overpacker, ready for every contingency? Did you learn anything new? I love to hear from you, so please feel free to share in the comments below!

Stylishly yours,

Thank you to Nancy at Nancy’s Fashion Style for starting my weekend with a Link-Up party!


  • Gill Hormann

    Hi Liz, great post! Packing can be a bit tricky and I find your advice really thought provoking. I confess I’m reluctant to leave my hairdryer behind, but I have a travel model, so it doesn’t take up as much room. For a long trip with multiple destinations I now take a folding mirror, after a disastrous stay at an AirBnB in London which did not have a power point anywhere near a mirror – the best we could come up with was hubby’s suggestion to use the side of the shiny toaster! Needless to say, travel mirror was purchased the next day!

    • Liz K

      The shiny side of the toaster? That’s positively brilliant, Gill! (No pun intended.) Bonus points for hubby! I hope that the only disaster was the power outlet and lack of mirror. Although… Horrible travel adventures are worth their weight in conversational gold. I know a woman whose carryon is filled with her “beauty tools” so a travel dryer and folding mirror don’t sound too bad! My only worry would be the mirror breaking, but I expect it’s shatterproof?

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