10 Things for the ‘Do Not Pack’ List

10 Things for the ‘Do Not Pack’ List

It’s vacation time again – hope you got a cheap flight – and now it’s time to think about packing, and remember, what you don’t pack can be just as important as what you do pack.
This list will help you avoid fees for checked-bags and overweight baggage. It will also help ensure you don’t lose what you packed.

Check out the Sit & Zip packing method. It really works.

1. Diamond earrings

Do not pack diamond earrings (or rubies or sapphires or similar) or antique silverware or a Picasso painting or a baseball autographed by Babe Ruth. In other words, do not pack any valuables; do not pack anything you’d hate to lose. Let’s face it, sometimes things go missing, items get stolen, stuff gets broken. You cannot count on airlines to cover your losses, either, since most carriers state in the contract of carriage (on the airline’s website) that valuables are not allowed in checked-bags. If you must bring diamond earrings, wear them or pack them in a carryon and later place them in a hotel safe. Better yet, leave the jewelry at home.

2. Unlabeled objects

Airline, airport and security lost & found departments are filled with expensive electronics and other valuables that are extremely difficult to reunite with owners because these are unlabeled objects so the owners cannot be identified. Make it for easier on everyone, tape or glue temporary labels or tags to items that include your phone and/or email (a business card will do). And since tags can get torn or ripped off, etch this information onto items where possible, and in all cases take a photo of the object which includes the serial number (and jot this down, too, in case your phone goes missing). Keep electronic devices on your person always, so you don’t fall victim to the classic grab ‘n go scam.

3. Alcohol

Bringing a bottle of wine for a host or hostess is a lovely gesture but unless you place it in a checked bag, it will be confiscated. Airport security will confiscate it (and this is true for any liquids in containers larger than 3.4 ounces). Tip: Buy large bottles of alcohol at your destination, or ship it ahead along with other bulky or fragile items.

4. Family size bottles and tubes

When checking a bag, large or medium or family size bottles and tubes of shampoo, conditioner, sunscreen, hand lotion and face cream are enormous space eaters, plus they can push bags into overweight territory and overweight fees can reach $200 or more. If you are staying with relatives, help yourself to their stuff (and do the same for them when they visit you). If you’re staying at a hotel, many provide such items for free; if they are not in the room, ask at the front desk. If you must have your own special brand, stop at a big box drugstore on arrival.

5. Blow dryers

Hair dryers, blow dryers – today, these are standard bathroom fixtures in modest of motels (and you can always call ahead to confirm, or check the hotel/motel website). Visiting family? Bet they’ll have one of these lying around. Save the space in your bag for something more important like souvenirs.

6. Books

I like to read and I like books, but I also like packing as little as possible so when I travel I load up devices with ebooks (and movies and TV shows). It’s time to stop thinking of our mobile devices as phones; they are our libraries, our maps, our flashlights, our guide books, our translators, our everything. Which reminds me, do not forget to pack your charger cords.

7. Too many shoes

If you absolutely need three pairs of shoes, go for it but that’s too many shoes for most of us. The best case scenario is to make do with two pairs: comfortable walking shoes (ranging from sneakers to Top-Siders or similar) and maybe something dressier or a pair of sandals, depending on the destination. Wear one pair, pack the other. I put each shoe in a separate plastic bag, so they won’t dirty clothes, and packing them singly allows you to pack them more easily.

8. Excess outfits

Unless you are a big movie star, nobody really cares what you wear when you travel. So go ahead and repeat outfits. Avoid new stuff and excess outfits because your goal is to wear things you know are comfortable and know look good on you so you don’t cart around a lot of clothes that you’ll never wear. In other words, no more ‘maybe’ outfits, just pack what you need and what you like. Then you can forget about it and focus on sightseeing.

9. Extra cash and cards

Don’t travel with extra cash and cards – no more than two credit cards carried in different places (or have spouse or friend hold one) – and ATMs are everywhere so you won’t need much cash. In case of loss or theft, record card numbers ahead of your trip and keep them somewhere outside your wallet, plus make sure a trusted friend back home also has this info. It’ll make it a lot easier to report a lost/stolen card and get a replacement quickly. Tip: Never flash cash; you’ll only make yourself an inviting target for thieves and scammers.

10. Big bag

If I can travel to Europe for ten days with a carry-on, you can too. But if you must bring a big bag, try sharing it. If a family of four uses just two checked-bags instead of four, that save $100 roundtrip on most domestic flights. Bet you could put that money to good use on vacation or use the money you’ll save to buy some cheap tickets.

Now get out there and have a wonderful time.

Rick Seaney
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