10 Packing Mistakes Most Travellers Make

Last updated 30 Dec 2016 . 5 min read

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So you think you're a pro traveller, right? Well, you're in for a rude shock. When packing your suitcase, how many times have you thrown in a pair of blue jeans or a hair iron? Don't even answer that! Take a look at these top 10 mistakes while packing for a trip most travellers make and learn to pack smart and light.

Mistake #1: Carrying sneakers
Unless you plan to go for a run every day on your holiday, please do not wear or carry these tough-to-pack, heavy, takes-too-much-time-to-lace-up shoes. In today's age of space-travel, much more efficient walking shoes are available. You can just slip them on – no laces ! They are very light and can be easily packed almost flat with your clothes. And imagine how much faster you can move through airport security when they ask you to remove shoes for checking! And come on, these white soled trainers are fashion disasters with most of your holiday clothes! Also do not carry pointy heels or big boots! Girls, there are other, more efficient shoe options for travelling

Mistake #2: Carrying full-size toileteries
Unless you are travelling for six months, you need not carry your 200ml bottles of anything. Firstly, you don't need that much. Secondly, airlines only allow 100 ml of liquids in your hand luggage. And if you are a true-blue traveller then you know never to check your luggage in (Don't believe me? Watch George Clooney in Up in The Air), which means you always carry 100 ml or less. There are travel size packs available of every reputed brand or just carry small refillable bottles. Shampoo pouches are really the best thing since sliced bread. And remember the small-sized toiletries in hotel-rooms are yours for the taking!

Mistake #3: Carrying blue jeans
Why do people think blue jeans are the answer to all their attire questions? They are thick, don't protect from heat or from cold, restrict movement, are heavy and dry very slowly. In short, they are the worst thing to wear and carry while travelling. If you love the look of denim, go for the new-age lighter denim fabric, preferably the ones mixed with elastane (also called Spandex) or jeggings. There are many options available now which are wrinkle-free and much lighter to carry.

Mistake #4: Carrying handbags
I don't care if you are a Posh Spice Girl or if your handbag is a Birkin, carrying your handbag on your forearm like Victoria Beckham is just super non-efficient for a real traveller girl on-the-go. Your day bag shouldn't be too big and you should be able to carry it cross-body or on your back to leave your arms and hands totally free. And ONLY one bag please! Orange preferably. Or an equally bright colour if you ask me. Easy to locate. Hard to be left behind.

Mistake #5: Carrying thick jackets
Unless you are travelling to extreme weather conditions of sub-zero temperatures, please do not carry the heavy leather or gore-tex or synthetic/ down/ quilted jackets. They take up a lot of space while packing and don't provide any more warmth than a layer (or two!) of thermals inside cannot provide. There are jackets available which are quite warm and yet very thin and light-weight. Look out for those and invest in them. The snug jackets can also make you look slimmer – what more could you want?!

Mistake #6: Carrying hair gadgets
Why waste time with all these things when the whole world is waiting for you out there and it doesn't care for how wavy or how straight your hair is? It will welcome you with open arms nonetheless. And your hair will thank you for giving it a nice break from all these heat-styling devices. Let your hair down! Literally and totally naturally !

Mistake #7 : Carrying a travelling iron
It is not about whether you should wear ironed clothes or not, it's about why you are carrying clothes that need ironing at all?! Technology has given us wonderful fabrics that don't crease or wrinkle. And good ol' linen looks charming with all its wrinkles anyway. Carry clothes made of cotton-mixes and similar fibers and use and abuse them as much as you want. There won't be a single wrinkle. When you get back, you'll start wearing such fabrics to office as well! Time, money, electricity, environment – save everything in just one go!

Mistake #8: Carrying fat guide books
I know it is a rite-of-travelling that a guidebook must be bought (even if it never gets read) but there's no particular need to carry it. Do your research before you leave and once you have reached, let the local knowledge guide you. If you want to carry references from your guidebook, click a picture and store it on your phone. In old times, smart travelers used to tear out the important pages and just carry those with them instead of the whole thick book. Now you can be even smarter. Thank you, technology!

Mistake #9: Carrying expensive camera gear
Maybe you are a photographer for National Geographic, in which case, you must carry your expensive gear. But if the best use of your pictures is uploading them to your Facebook page, then trust me your cell phone is sufficient (with proper settings of course!)  If you really want to indulge yourself, then a nice digital point-and-shoot will work very well too. Click away as much as you want, but don't let your camera become a noose around your neck.

Mistake #10: Carrying your book(s)
Unless you are in the middle of one, or if you are going to a country where you just can't find English language reading material, leave your novels at home. Pick up local newspapers and magazines instead. A sure shot way to know your destination like a local. And a great break from the usual stuff you always read. Also, once you finish the book, try leaving it behind. Very liberating!

This was also publsihed here.

Ansoo Gupta
Ansoo Gupta conducts travels workshops across India to teach and inspire people to travel more often, longer and cheaper. She gives tips on how to find the money and time to see the world. Ansoo has spent close to two decades in media and advertising across Star TV, National Geographic Channel and The History Channel. She is the COO of Pinstorm – India’s largest digital marketing company. She writes and talks about advertising, digital marketing, travel, food, window-sill gardening, environment, world politics and anything else that causes her a concern. Follow her on twitter : @ansoogupta Connect on Facebook :https://www.facebook.com/ansoogupta

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