16 Things You Don’t Actually Need To Pack For Vacation

by Alli Hoff Kosik

Spring is upon us. Birds will soon start chirping, we'll all slowly begin to shed the heavy layers of clothing we've been wearing for the past few months, and travel season is about to heat up! Whether your spring vacation plans include a week at a resort with friends or something a little more adventurous and off the beaten path with a significant other, I'm sure you don't need me to tell you that your upcoming getaways is going to be nothing short of perfection. As you start thinking through the logistics of your trip, I thought I'd share the details of 16 things you don't need to pack for a spring vacation... even if you think you do.

I know I probably sound like the vacation fun police here ("Why shouldn't I be able to pack everything I want? It's vacation!"), but I really think it's worth reconsidering some of these items before you put them in your suitcase. I, for one, always overestimate what I'm going to need when I go away for any period of time, which results in a heavier-than-necessary set of luggage, time wasted trying to get my bags to close, and a lack of free space for buying souvenirs. Let's all do as I say and not as I do and try to eliminate some of these things from our bags. Our backs — and our wallets (those pesky airline fees that come with an overweight suitcase!) — will thank us.

1. Your Best Jewelry

Unless you're planning to meet the Queen while you're vacationing (and if that's the case, I'd so appreciate an invite), there's no reason to bring your finest jewels along for the trip. There's a high risk of damage or loss any time you pack something valuable in a suitcase, so stick to costume jewelry while you're traveling and save your best pieces for a special event at home.

2. Back-Up Toiletries

I totally respect an attitude of preparedness, but if you've packed multiple toothbrushes, packages of floss, mini toothbrushes, and containers of saline solution, you might have overdone it. One of everything should be more than enough, especially since — unless you're headed somewhere really remote — you'll probably have access to basic toiletries somewhere along the journey. Save the suitcase space!

3. A Heavy Jacket

Light layers are where it's at! Naturally, if your travel plans are taking you to frigid temperatures, you might be an exception to this rule, but if that's not the case, your best bet is probably a lighter jacket and a sizable collection of thin (but warm!) sweaters, sweatshirts, and turtlenecks.

4. Your Electric Toothbrush

Your teeth will be just fine if you go back to basics for the duration of your vacation. An old school toothbrush takes up less room in a suitcase than a bulkier electric version.

5. Multiple Pairs Of Jeans

Pack your favorite denim and call it a day. Additional pairs of jeans will just add a lot of weight to your bag and complicate your outfit selection. A single truly great pair should make every ensemble look fab.

6. An Extra Pair Of Heels

Instead of loading up that suitcase with multiple shoe options, choose one neutral pair that can match with any of the more formal outfits you're planning to wear. If you're going somewhere to relax, the rest of the footwear in your bag should be casual and comfortable... which probably means it will take up less space too.

7. Your Hair Dryer

Most hotels and AirBnbs come equipped with a hair dryer, so there's no need to BYO. You can double check the list of amenities before you go if you're really particular about your hair care, but also consider the fact that your locks might thank you for a few days of reduced heat.

8. Full Bottles Of Medication

Drop a few pills of each of your go-to medications in a plastic bag and leave the bottles at home. You'll save yourself the headache of that annoying rattling sound in your suitcase.

9. Multiple Bathing Suit Cover-Ups

I know the pool deck can feel like a fashion show, but it's not really. Bring along one (maybe two) trusty bathing suit cover-ups. If you feel like you need to shake things up, you can always buy an oversized souvenir T-shirt or a cool sarong from a local market.

10. Your Tablet

Most of the things you want to do on your tablet can just as easily be achieved right on your phone. Dock your tablet before you leave. You'll minimize the chargers and cords you need to bring as well.

11. Shampoo And Conditioner

Personally, I've noticed a marked improvement in the shampoo and conditioner offered for free by even the least expensive hotels. Before you decide that only your brand of choice will do, wait to see what's going to be offered as part of the stay you've already paid for. You can always find a pharmacy or grocery store and stock up locally if you really need to!

12. A Laptop

Obviously, this doesn't apply if you're traveling for work or anticipate having to check in with your job every day, but assuming you're traveling for fun, there's really no reason to go through the trouble of carrying your laptop through an airport (taking it out of your bag for security, etc.) and then having it sit in your room or AirBnb. It will be great for your mental health to put some distance between you and your computer, anyway!

13. Multiple Purses (Especially Fancy Ones)

Find one cute and functional bag that you can carry from day to night and leave the rest behind. Like expensive jewelry, more upscale purses really shouldn't do a lot of traveling.

14. Food

It's one thing to throw a snack or two in your carry-on for the plane, but don't raid your fridge or pantry any further. You'll have more space in your bag and a greater reason to get out and enjoy the local fare.

15. Extra Books And Magazines

As someone who always travels with plenty of books, it pains me to write this, but I know it's true — you can always pack one less book or magazine than you were planning to. Even the most fervent readers among us are unlikely to get to all of our intended reading material over the course of a single trip, so it's a good idea to be a little more particular about what you're packing.

16. Anything That's A "Statement Piece"

It's fun to imagine how great you'll look wearing a big hat or trendy pair of overalls on vacation, but if a piece of clothing isn't going to match with anything else you're packing, it's probably not well-suited for travel. Make your statements with statement pieces some other time.