What’s worse, being
jealous or crazy overpacked or underpacked? Y’all already know, from personal experience, I believe it’s better to underpack. Let’s think about two different experiences on the same trip.
A traveler is getting ready for her first trip to Thailand with a good friend. Volunteering with elephants, doing yoga in lush green fields, and maybe some aquatic adventures are all in the gameplan. She decides to go on the lighter side, with a few yoga pants, sneakers, sandals, light jacket, two tank tops, two bikinis, and a good attitude.
Traveler two has done her research. She actively tests the three different types of shoes she brought along, including rain boots. The medical kit she packed rivals that of an emergency room nurse. Upset stomach? Check. Malaria? No problem.
First thing the girls realize is the fabric of sundress they both brought was not going to fly— the humidity is causing some unsavory, stare attracting sweat stains. Thank god, Bangkok has thousands of markets and stalls, with eager to barter owners. The light packer figures out she could get about four forever 21 quality items for the price of one, and carefully selects some weather appropriate attire.
The prepped traveler couldn’t help herself—rompers for $5 USD?! She made sure to only purchase half of what the light packer did.
Reserved as she felt she was with her purchases, upon the last day, she realizes her suitcase won’t zip. Both girls start layering up, hoping they can avoid any issues with the airline. They go to weigh the bag, only to discover the suitcase has gained 11 pounds on the trip, bringing it 10 pounds over the limit. She gets hit with an over-the-weight limit fee for $100, taking the last of her travel funds and banishing her to a food-less and wine-less multi-day trip home.
One of the most delightful activities of travel is being able to bring back gifts for others… And maybe ourselves. Overpacking brings unnecessary stress to an otherwise fascinating adventure. In fact, I’ve witnessed and participated in tossing weathered items during a long trip. Not very environmentally friendly! So what’s the one thing I always regret packing?
When I first started traveling, when I was younger and braver, I would pack a pair of heels and then make myself wear them. Why? Probably so I wouldn’t feel bad about taking up a good portion of my suitcase with them. Oh, Italy. You are one slick beotch, seeming romantic enough to call for heels at each dinner, only to make many an American study abroad students tumble to the ground shamelessly. But seriously, out of the 23 countries I’ve visited, I have never appreciated packing a pair of heels. Even when I’ve gone to more club scenes, like Barcelona, the heels only make an appearance less than 5% of my travel time.
And now, six travel bloggers tell the one thing they always regret packing! Take notes y’all, these are good.
“Wherever I travel in the world, I always bring Swiss chocolate. Coming from Switzerland, it’s great gift to bring for friends & family abroad. But the number of times it’s leaked in my suitcase or melted in the car is more than I can count… and I quickly regret my decision. It’s easy to underestimate weather in other countries and also the luggage handling. So if you must bring gifts along on your travels, try to think ahead and if possible, unload them as soon as you can — especially if they are messy or fragile. Now I bring treats from Switzerland that can withstand some heat and turbulence such as Kambly cookies, marzipan, and Ricola instant teas.”
Christy from Something Swiss
“For some reason, my idea of looking good involves having perfect hair. Every time I travel, something inside me says, “Andrea, you need your hair straightener & curling iron.” So, I always pack both, and you know what? I probably use them 30% of the time. In reality, during most of my travels, I’m too busy to even remember I have hair. On a trip, there are places to see, food to taste, people to meet and first-time experiences to be had. Doing my hair to make it look “perfect” can last about 2 hours! Thankfully, I’ve been learning lately that there are things far more important than what you look like, so those two hair supplies are getting very little love these days. If there’s one thing I’m certain about is that sitting in my room doing my hair isn’t going to help me create any memories.“
“I always regret packing my books. At the beginning of the trip, I always think “I could use a Kindle, but it’s so much nicer reading actual books that you can hold”… Fast forward a few weeks when I’ve walked from one side of a city and back again trying to find my hostel and all of a sudden, the idea of those five books weighing down my already heavy backpack is not so appealing. I almost always end up getting rid of all but one of them and vowing that I will just bring a Kindle the next time!“
“Excessive drugs! Yes, drugs – it’s exactly what I just said. I’m a mountain-fanatic who hikes up mountains. Any loving parent would nag their child to bring all medication possible when going on a trip. So, I went trekking in the mountains in 20 plus countries for a year and brought almost 2 pounds of drugs with me from cold medicine to prescription antibiotics for whatever kind of illness I could humanly think of. I came back from that one year trip without even touching any of it. Of course, I’m grateful for being healthy the entire time but the experience made me rethink how potential illness on the road should be approached. And the kind of culture that exists in the U.S. where I’m from when it comes to medication. Since then, I have taken a different approach – preventive, rather than treatment. For subsequent treks and travels, I now rely on my yoga practice, cardio routine, sleep, meditation and living a stress free life as the things I put in my backpack – less pack weight, cheaper, safer, and more effective!“
Marinel from Brown Gal Trekker
“I always pack 3-4 pair of jeans thinking that I will wear those. Daily a different one. But in reality, that doesn’t happen. Once I am at the destination, I don’t even give a care of what I have brought with me, I just need my shorts and a t-shirt, and I can happily get over with my whole trip. It makes me feel free to travel in, unlike those tight skinny jeans, which limit my flexibility and moreover too uncomfortable under the sun’s scorching heat. In case it’s cold, I choose a warm track-pant, t-shirt, and a jacket, if needed. But always on the way back from the trip, I regret as to why I carried those extra load of jeans, and they never return home in good condition.“
Mohit from Mohit Arts
“I always regret packing my jewelry box when heading to Europe during the winter. I never end up wearing them as the winter clothing always cover them anyhow or I just forget I even packed them. My advice is to only pack your most frequently used jewelry, those you never take off. And never pack any valuable items! When I take my expensive ring or necklace with me, I always regret packing it because it’s one more thing to worry about and make sure it doesn’t get stolen or forgotten in one of the hotels.”