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So...what did you not use on your latest trips that you packed along just in case?

I'm back two weeks ago from just over two weeks in Florence, Ravenna and Bologna; with day trips to Rimini (surprisingly interesting), and Arezzo and Pistoia...both absolutely worth a visit.
I start packing weeks before a trip, by putting out my case and putting things into it when I think of them.
As my last trip to Italy was in Sept. 2019, and absolutely punishingly hot and humid for me then, this time I went slightly later in the month, spilling over into October.
It was much cooler, better for walking around, cooler at night, and two days of rain.
Quite hot for only two days, though sunny nearly every day.
I had raingear, so that was fine; but brought too many summery clothes!
Why on earth did I bring 7 sleeveless tops!?
I used them for layers, but really I only needed two.
We had washing machines in each apartment we rented.
I made a list of what I brought and will definitely keep it to refer to for my next trip.
I did wish I had brought another warm top layer, such as a squashy puffy jacket.
I ended up buying a very cheap (E8) jacket one day in a market to keep warm while walking around.
I donated it at the end of my trip.
So, I wish I had not brought so many tank tops and t-shirts.
I also brought two pairs of cropped pants which I didn't wear, a summer dress and two skirts, also not worn.
I lived in my two pairs of very thin travel pants by RDX, which were just amazing and very stylish.
Each trip I try to pare down, but I guess I had completely forgotten how to pack this time after a 3-year gap! ;))

Posted by
2453 posts

A foldable tote bag that I never even glanced at until I unpacked. I don't know why I thought I'd buy so much stuff that I'd need one. I'm not much of a shopper at home, let alone while traveling.

Posted by
14156 posts

I did pretty well this trip to Italy, having just returned on Monday. I pared back sharply on what I took because I was doing carry-on only and wanted to keep it to about 16#. Usually I check my carry on sized bag, lol.

I wore everything - but only took 4 SS tee shirts, 2 capris, 2 long pants, a LS sunshirt and a LS quarter zip. I could probably have done with just one pair of long pants for the plane over and back and maybe 1 or 2 days in Italy. I was mostly too hot!

My brother tried to get me to take a puffy vest at the last minute but mostly because it was cold at home the AM he took me to the airport! I resisted and never needed it.

A retrospective packing list is always a good idea in my mind! It is really helpful as a reminder of what didn't work so next time is easier. It's amazing to me how much packing skill I lost over the pandemic!

Posted by
5030 posts

Didn't need the Lomotil, or the Tide pen, for a change. But I'll still pack them.

Posted by
27342 posts

I didn't need the zinc lozenges; this was the first time since 2015 that I didn't get a cold on my summer-long trip. (Masks work.) I will continue to take them, though, because they aren't sold in Europe, and they usually substantially shorten my cold symptoms.

For this trip, which included over 2 months in Norway, Sweden and Finland, I packed two cotton turtlenecks in addition to three much lighter cotton blouses. I failed to think about the weight of the turtlenecks; the ones I grabbed were both fairly heavy. I could easily have managed with just one heavy turtleneck, because I had mostly very nice weather and had additional layers to use if needed. I won't take more than one turtleneck in the future unless I'm traveling off season.

The second pair of long john bottoms was also excess to requirements, but I was glad to have them in Scotland and northern Andalucia in 2019, so you just never know--at least not if you're as cold-natured as I am.

Posted by
2852 posts

I wore everything I packed, even the trusty shoes that bruised my toe. Fortunately I didn’t need my knee brace or ankle brace.
Next trip my small knitting project (weighs <1#) will stay home; found plenty to do/read/text in the evenings and in transit so didn’t open the knitting bag. I’ll cut back on some of the personal item supplies I took. As soon as I got home, I updated my packing list for June’s trip.

Posted by
9766 posts

I just finished putting away things today for my five-day trip to Scotland (got back late last night). The only thing I didn't wear that I took was a long-sleeved t-shirt that I took in case I needed to sleep in it (i.e. if hotel rooms were cold). I didn't wear it, but then again I did wrap it around the box of chocolates I brought back for my office so that the box would still look nice after the return trip in my checked bag -- and that worked, so I don't regret it too much.

Posted by
3022 posts

My bathing suit and float bag to put my personal stuff in while I was in the water so I wouldn’t have to leave it on the beach since I was traveling solo.

Posted by
4230 posts

Coming from a cold weather climate I tend to overpack warm clothes. At home, even in the summer it can cool down quickly and so I have trouble not thinking that way on the road and bring more fleece than I'll ever wear.

Cash is something I'm still having trouble not overpacking. Too be fair, I still have unused Euros and Pounds from past trips so its not like I'm buying more. But in England in September I purposely brought a pile of coins with the intention of getting rid of it, but somehow I still came back with more than I left with.

Posted by
4830 posts

I'm so excited...I got my packing list just right this trip, with the right mix of sleeveless tops for the early October weather and only 1 long sleeve top for later. Originally, I was guessing I might need 3, but the weather held out. I even used my swimsuit at the hotel pool.

I made the best of using a packable duffle as a daypack, but I really needed a packable daypack. Something to shop for!

Posted by
163 posts

All my Covid stuff...THANKFULLY! DIdn't use the mucinex or extra tests

Posted by
8586 posts

I do a good job doing minimal packing, but then have a tendency to say "hmmm, I seem to have some extra room, what else can I squeeze in here." Ending up with too many shirts or an unneeded layer.

Allan, the traditional thing to do with the extra coinage, is to use it to buy one last drink at an airport bar. Friend of mine once paid a tab of £8 with a stack of > £20 in various coins he couldn't be bothered to count. No complaints from the server.

Posted by
8500 posts

I’m going to do this a bit opposite and share things I brought that others in my tour groups needed but did not bring. Fortunately, I was able to share.

Bonine ( motion sickness)
Insect repellent
Steri-strips (bad cut after a fall)
Fold up bag to carry laundry to laundromat
Blister bandaids/Glacier Gel

When you need these items, you need them! I bring an amount of all in a format that takes up little space. For example, medicine is repacked in small dosage zip- locs. Insect repellent is in the form of wipes.

Posted by
11438 posts

I used everything I brought but in retrospect a lightweight kimono to layer over a nice tee was vastly underutilized. We were going to be in both warm and cool-to-cold locations in 8 weeks so I wanted something ice enough for dinner in a city when it was warm or for going down to dinner in a half-pension place. I did use it for these purposes but only three times. And never again with a white tee shirt. What was I thinking?

Posted by
1351 posts

Ha, I have to laugh at myself. I packed some rain pants that I purchased just for this trip figuring I might need them on the Isle of Skye. Well, I blew it when on the rainiest day of my 20 day trip, I forgot I had them. In fact, the rain in Aberdeen was sideways so decided to just keep going to Edinburgh.

One other item I packed this time to “try out” was a neck pillow. That thing was so cumbersome. It kept getting in the way - attached to the outside of my carryon. I actually tried to use it on the plane to get some rest but it wasn’t that helpful. No more neck pillow for me unless I can pack it inside the suitcase.

Posted by
965 posts

My knee brace and walking stick - but having needed them extensively on a previous trip, I won't travel without them.

I took too much jewellery and make up but as I caught COVID in week 2 of our 7 week trip we went out in the evening far, far less than expected.

Posted by
3931 posts

We just returned from 3 weeks in Spain. I did a good job this time, both for me and my hubby. Not perfect, but better. It was very hot in Barcelona so I actually purchased a very cheap sleeveless shirt to wear for 2 days till we went to Madrid. I packed 3 pants and 2 shorts for hubby and it should have been reversed. In my defense, before we left it said rain for both Barcelona and Madrid, we had about 10 drops one morning in Madrid, that was it. By the time we got to our last stop, Toledo, it was much cooler but not cold and we had some spotty rain, very minimal. Layers worked best for me this trip. I will rethink cotton long sleeved shirts just because they stretch out after one wear. I find rayon blend to be a better fabric for multiple wearings. I do need a packable tote cause I do like to shop on vacation.

Posted by
1259 posts

Post-trip list management is the best way to prepare for one’s next trip.
I’m on the road in Colorado and New Mexico, carrying my usual 40 liter all+weather traveling rig. My load has been honed over many years and, so far, I have found nothing that I would not pack next time, although I will use neither the rain jacket nor the dress-up blazer. Nothing to add, either.
Good news, as a result of this shakedown trip, I get to replace a few pieces of merino that have simply worn out. Woohoo.

UPDATE upon return: Went out to a spiff restaurant so I got to wear the blazer; smashing. Did not need the rain jacket, not even on the top of Pike's Peak. I never used my binoculars. Simply forgot they were in the bag. They're black, very well disguised. As I was sorting and putting away my travel gear, I found several merino wool items I had forgotten I already had. So, not shopping for new wool after all. Rats.

Posted by
3194 posts

I love hearing about everyone’s packing styles!
I also took Covid tests with me, and did use them.
I came down with it on my very last day, and had to stay 5 more days isolating in Florence.
See my post about it in the Covid Forum.
I also took my fold up cane and knee brace and thankfully didn’t need either this time.
I don’t bring an extra tote, as I’m trying not to do too much shopping each trip nowadays!

Posted by
6360 posts

For about the last 4 or 5 trips, I've optimistically packed a small set of watercolors, and some drawing pencils. This year I even added a couple sheets of watercolor paper. And as has happened over the last 4 or 5 trips, they stayed in my backpack the entire time.

Other than that, I did have one long sleeved top that I only wore once. I could easily have done without it, but threw it in at the last minute because I like the way I look in it. Vanity, vanity.

Posted by
53 posts

Those look great! Thanks for the link, I'll be on the lookout for them and might just order a pair online.

Posted by
2140 posts

We got back from Iceland last night. I did a pretty good job with packing. The only things I brought and did not use was one top and my rain pants. I had my winter hiking pants with me, so those were water proof enough and did the job.

The one thing I forgot was my asthma inhaler. I had my emergency one with me, thank goodness, but geez, I have never forgotten that before and I won't ever make that mistake again!

Posted by
18504 posts

It's not a linear thing; that would make life too easy.
I pack something for one trip, never use it, dont pack it for the next trip, then need it on that trip.
My fly rod is a perfect example; sports coat is another.

The second pair of long john bottoms was also excess to requirements,
but I was glad to have them in Scotland and northern Andalucia in
2019, so you just never know--at least not if you're as cold-natured
as I am.

Acraven, if you get the silk ones and wash them in the sink, then hang them out the window to dry the moisture will wick to the surface and form a thin layer of ice that is easily broken off in the morning so you can wear them ........... or so I have been told

Posted by
6360 posts

Mister E, I had to laugh thinking of those long underwear bottoms hanging out of hotel windows. Although it may be a common sight in mountain huts and hostels.

Posted by
25 posts

Moneybelt, mascara, bar soap and shampoo (provided at hotels) and my blow dryer. I also packed too many meds for every possible scenario.

Posted by
73 posts

A few listed they brought their money belt but did not use it. Are those days gone? Is it not needed in London?

Posted by
1431 posts

all but one of the COVID tests

Vax card

3 week supply of meds, etc. in case got COVID (we didn't)

a few dozen burgundy KN95 masks (packed too many, but I don't like to wear the white, blue, or black masks)


sunscreen (the one time I needed it I didn't have it in my purse)

scentfree laundry detergent powder (because the on-trial scentfree laundry sheets worked perfectly)

one real "disposable" book that I had read a few times before and own a 2nd copy of, but I could not bring myself to actually leave it in Italy (I read library books on my phone and I discovered I could even acquire new ones while traveling)

Posted by
561 posts

Just got back from Italy a couple of weeks ago. Took one carry-on suitcase and a backpack for my personal item on the plane. I used/wore most of what I packed. Didn't use or need:

  • T-shirt style dress - thought I'd wear it for dinner or something, but never did. It's rather heavy, so wished I hadn't packed it.
  • most of the "just in case" meds, mostly for cold/COVID symptoms (they were in small plastic pill pouches). I did end up having to buy more ibuprofen, though. Much more expensive in Italy.
  • COVID test & CDC Covid vax card

Didn't pack, but wish I had - my small tabletop travel fan. I like a
cool room, especially at night, and prefer to keep windows closed to
cut down on the noise and possible mosquitos. Two of the four hotels
I stayed at had already turned off their AC. Luckily, each of them
was able to provide me with a room fan. Next time, I'll pack it.

Posted by
4421 posts

acraven and Mr. E, I pack silk top and bottom on almost every trip-they take up almost no space or weight.So even if I don't use them, they aren't a problem.

Posted by
2 posts

You should make a list of essential products you need on your trip. This way it will help you alot.

Posted by
46 posts

On my last trip the weather was warmer than expected. Had one LS top unworn and wish I had taken a skirt. I have had the opposite happen when cooler than expected, but I don't beat myself up. Hard to get it exactly right every time.

I did not need my lightweight waterproof jacket at all. But the rare trip that is unused does not signal a packing mistake - only great weather luck!

I try to limit my just-in-case items to ones that are really for emergencies and hard to obtain abroad. (Extras of my rare contact lenses and Rx pain, nausea and muscle relaxant pills to get through a day or two if a Dr is not immediately available.)

Posted by
4171 posts

For the first and last time, I took a neck pillow for sleeping on the plane. I got a highly recommended and relatively expensive one. I tried it on at home and it seemed too wide(?), deep(?), long(?) for my short neck. I thought it might be different in a plane seat. Wrong! I ended up using it at my lower back, but I won't take it again.

I took too many Covid tests, although I did use 4 of them in the 5 weeks I was gone. Here's hoping we never have to pack those again. 🤞

I took a not-quite-big-enough-but-still-too-heavy cross-body purse. I rarely used it, preferring to use a packable backpack or just my moneybelt and the pockets in my long raincoat.

Like Goldilocks, I'm still looking for a light weight backpack purse that has a capacity of about 15 liters. The one I use at home is about 10 liters, a bit too small. The packable backpack I used this summer is about 20 liters, a bit too big.

I coordinate my basic travel wardrobe around one scarf (whether I wear it everyday or not) and limit myself to 8 tops (1 button up shirt, 7 short and/or long-sleeved tees) and 3 bottoms (all pants). I wear every single garment multiple times and sometimes layered together. That's the formula that has worked for me for years, no matter where I go or how long I'm gone. I think I could get along fine with only 5 long and/or short sleeved tees next time.

I always take long underwear, a rain jacket and usually a warm layer, whether I wear them or not. I never used the long underwear this summer. I used the raincoat almost daily in Ireland, then rarely in Wales. The warm layer zip-up fleece I packed was used in both countries enough to justify taking it.

I used the watch cap and billed cap I took, the former for warmth a few times and the latter a few times under my raincoat hood to help keep the rain off my glasses. I have the selfies to prove it. 😉

No matter how cold, I rarely use gloves. I took some anyway. I won't again unless it's the dead of winter.

One surprise this year was how often I wore the flats I always pack but never use. I will continue to take them.

This year I forgot to pack the laundry soap sheets I usually take. That's a mistake I won't repeat. None of the self-service laundromats I used had soap for sale. I had to buy it at small corner stores nearby. The smallest sizes were cheap but way too big for me to pack so I had to leave them behind, sometimes in my room for the cleaners to use, sometimes at the laundromat.

Posted by
93 posts

My last trip was solo to UK (4 nights in a village in Bucks. and 5 nights in London) in September.

I didn't use:
A tank top: not to layer, nor to sleep in since nights were cool.
Big, heavy umbrella: It was too cumbersome to carry around everyday. Ended up buying a small, light one at the National Gallery, which I don't love either, but much more convenient to carry around in my purse and sufficient for London drizzles.
A thin rain over-layer: umbrella (see above) and water resistant jacket was enough.
RS moneybelt: Felt secure using the attached wallet in my Baggallini purse.
Paper map of London: CityMapper and Google maps were sufficient.
Socks: Instead of my trusty Darn Tough hiking socks, I took some thinner DT socks as they dry quicker, but I was very uncomfortable in them. I ended up washing and wearing the hikers most of the time.
Covid supplies: I had too many masks, medicines, tests.

Lessons: I will probably continue to carry the rain layer & tank-top. I will take Covid supplies, but less. I will take tried and trusted clothing/shoes, not ones I "think" I "should" be using.

What I wished I had taken:
My neck pillow for the plane, since United did not provide pillows this time.

Posted by
7389 posts

I went to Italy twice this summer and brought both types of Covid tests. Fortunately, I didn’t need the proctored ones. I took a home test twice a week to make sure I was okay to keep going, so I used most of those I brought.

Otherwise, I wore my four outfits, jacket on the plane, etc.