You’ll find plenty of suggestions for what to take on vacation, the latest gadgets that will supposedly make travelling easier, and other tips on packing (like rolling instead of folding clothes). However, if you really want to make the most of your next trip, focus more on what not to bring. By literally lightening your load, you can enjoy the time, money and effort you put in to designing the ultimate getaway. Isn’t that what holidays are supposed to be about?
First, start by assessing what you’re “addicted” to and challenge yourself to go without it. This might mean coffee as soon as you wake up in the morning, checking your Facebook (at all) and sneaking in those work emails. If you have certain habits or vices that tend to dominate your life, they have no place on your vacation.
Here are a few ideas of what to ditch before your next flight:
1. Your “work” laptop
Ideally, you wont’ take a laptop, tablet or other major device like this at all. There are some exceptions, such as if you’re required to at least check your work email every other day. However, having your usual work laptop or computer handy will tempt you to try to squeeze in a little daily grind. It’s important for your health and relationships that you truly go on vacation from time to time—work can wait.
2. Your smartest phone
Do you really need your phone when you’re traveling around Italy or bumming it on a Mexican beach for a few days? Probably not. Instead, for safety, pick up a local pay as you go phone and make sure family and friends back home have your number. This will let you call cabs, make reservations at local restaurants, etc. but will keep you from browsing Facebook, checking in and basically not being present during your trip. Pack an old school camera instead for snapping pictures.
3. A negative mindset
Traveling can be stressful, especially when things go wrong (as they often will). Do you best to flex your optimist muscles and remember that it’s about the adventure, not getting the smoothest check-in possible. It’s a lot easier to embrace your positive side when you’re completely checked out from work and other responsibilities.
4. Unreasonable, unbroken-in shoes
Both men and women should pack one pair of dress shoes and be done with it. Otherwise, you’re going to be playing tourist or relaxing and there’s no room for uncomfortable or new shoes. For dress shoes, choose a neutral pair that you know are comfortable. Otherwise, you won’t be able to enjoy your getaway when you’re dealing with blisters non-stop.
5. Packed to the brim suitcases
Leave some room—and maybe even an entire bag—for purchases you’ll be making on vacation. This is an often overlooked problem, and the last thing you want is paying for overweight or extra bags on your return flight.
6. Your entire makeup bag
For women (and some men), it’s tempting to just toss your entire makeup bag in the suitcase. Instead, have a smaller, travel-sized bag for toiletries and take only the essentials you know you’ll be using everyday and a couple of pieces for dressing up. It’ll be a costly lessons if all your makeup gets lost or broken, and it takes up space that’s better used elsewhere.
When it comes to packing, aim for light and versatile. You don’t really need a brand new outfit for every day you’re on vacation, especially when you’re going somewhere tropical and a swimsuit with a couple of cover ups will do.