October 23rd, 2014

The No-Fly List: 8 Items You Almost Never Need to Pack

The No-Fly List: 8 Items You Almost Never Need to Pack


That over-stuffed suitcase just isn’t going to close. Sitting on it won’t help, unfortunately, so scaling down on certain packed items is the only way to solve the problem. While it may seem soul-crushing to leave some pieces behind, you’ll barely miss the following eight items on this “No-Fly List.” After all, a lighter load makes for a happier traveler.

1. Hairdryer

Sure, your high-end hair dryer blows air that is hotter and more powerful than the wall unit in the hotel. But ask yourself this: Is that hairdryer’s air so much better that it warrants packing? Absolutely not. So take note of these two travel tips: Take advantage of the hotel’s hairdryer or towel-dry your hair for a week if your appearance doesn't need to be super-polished.

2. Travel Iron

Face the facts: The only thing worse than ironing is ironing over vacation! Who wants that extra chore? Pack wrinkle-resistant clothing instead, and use shower steam to cut down on minor wrinkles during the trip. Packing Tip: Pack-It Garment Folders fold your clothes and keep them compressed so they stay nearly wrinkle free.

3. Full-Sized Bath Towel

Not only do standard towels fill too much of your bag—they also leave everything else in there moist and musty when you (inevitably) have to repack them in their damp form. If you are concerned about the existence (or cleanliness) of your lodging’s towel, bring a quick-drying, compact travel towel instead.

4. Pillow

Comfort is key, but having your full-sized bed pillow along for the ride is not worth the packing space that it takes up. Instead, bring a small 2-in-1 travel pillow that can be used as both a neck support while traveling and a bed pillow during the trip.  

5. Consolidate Electronics

These two packing tips will help you save even more space in your travel bag. For leisure travel, assess what electronic needs you will have during your trip. Take a look at the tablet, e-reader, cell phone and laptop in your bag to identify any overlaps. That may help reduce the number of devices and number of chargers that you need to bring. Sometimes it's also possible to bring one USB charger and then smaller attachments for different devices. Consolidate as much as possible.

6. Books

Literary purists, look away if you must. It’s (past) time for you to put down the paper pages and pick up an e-reader or tablet. These compact devices are smaller than one book and fit many more books than you could complete on even the longest of vacations. Take this advice to heart for guidebooks as well. Some travel publishers, including Lonely Planet, offer not just full e-books, but also hyper-local chapters so you can leave guides for extraneous areas behind.

7. Liquid Toiletries Over Three Ounces

With rare exceptions, standard liquid toiletries should skip the trip. Even if your accommodations do not offer complimentary shampoo, conditioner or body lotion, inexpensive versions of these items can be purchased at your destination. For the best value, bring a 3-1-1 travel-sized silicone bottle set and fill them up at home with your shampoos, conditioners, lotions and/or gels. Leaving full-sized liquid toiletries at home will save you space and the cost of checking a bag—plus, it'll prevent your belongings from being doused with fragrant liquids in transit.

8. Jewelry

No matter how many travel precautions you take, luggage can get damaged and/or lost. For that reason, do not take anything on a journey that you can't bare to lose. Chief among these items are expensive pieces of jewelry. When it comes to costume jewelry, consider leaving yours at home and instead buying a local piece on your travels. What a great excuse to treat yourself to a meaningful souvenir!

Are you able to switch to a carry-on after following these travel tips and removing these eight items? Let us know in the comments, below!

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by Caila Ball-Dionne

Caila Ball-Dionne is a freelance writer and full-time travel enthusiast. You can find more of her writing at CailaBall.com.