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What items did you pack and not use

I just returned from my trip to France and had some items that I didn’t use.

  • Foldable water bottle - bought cold water bottles for 1€ everywhere
  • Too many adaptors for electronics. I had an extension cord thing with USB plugs so really didn’t need the extra cubes for my iStuff
  • headphone splitter - my daughter didn’t want to share and walk with me on museum headsets
  • too many socks
  • too many tees - maybe if I didn’t do laundry one night I would have worn it all
  • almost would say iPad here, but we had a really long day at Versailles and I watched a movie as my daughter slept. Also I lost my iPhone on the last day when I was meeting my daughter back in Paris, so would not have been easy without being able to text on the iPad

What did you bring back unused?

Posted by
250 posts

Scarves. I bring them every time and never use them. I’m packed and ready to leave with NO scarves this time. I finally learned.

Posted by
18397 posts

Before through it before, but now, it rare to have unused items because we make very tight lists, evaluate the lists on the way home, and then stick tightly to the list for the next trip. So things like travel iron (yes, we did carry one for several until it mysteriously disappeared in the middle of one trip), extra shoes, books to read in downtime, magazines, etc., have all passed away. If you develop good packing lists, you really should not have unused items. At least that is the plan.

A more interesting question might be, what did you have to buy?

Posted by
941 posts

I totally agree with you about the adapters. We did not need them all and they are very heavy. Also I brought my iPad mini and my hubby brought his iPad. We could definitely share next trip, another heavy item. My camera, just a point and shoot. The iPad and phone take pictures which are even better and they are already downloaded. Snacks - can purchase them when needed.

Posted by
3565 posts

My little First-Aid Kit (we didn't injure ourselves or get sick this time), and my little "fix it" kit (used to repair anything other than ourselves - we didn't have anything that broke this trip). I guess we were too gentle this time (we have definitely used both kits before on previous trips and won't go without them).

That's OK that we didn't use them. They're small, not too heavy and I'd rather bring them home un-used than be there without them but needing them.

Posted by
711 posts

Mosquito spray.

Every time we've traveled to a place where the travel literature recommends industrial-grade mosquito spray, we've packed some into our bag. We've never once needed it. Either the mosquitoes were on holiday when we visited (despite various recommendations for needing the spray during the time frame when we visited) or possibly those insects just can't compete with our home grown variety and are never noticed.

Either way, I'm just as glad that I didn't need it.

Posted by
738 posts

Travel clothesline. I do wash my clothes in the room but I usually find easier places to dry them than trying to figure out where to hang the clothesline.

Posted by
18397 posts

That is interesting because we view the clothes lines as a critical item. Actually use the Steve's clothes line with modifications for the past 20 years. We always hang it in the bath tub/shower so that dripping is not a problem. Just a function of what you use and how you use it. Have quit carrying a flashlight, an alarm clock, an independent compass, and water bottles

Posted by
565 posts

A phrase book. If I can't pull the words out of my head, I'm never going to pull a book out of my pocket.

Posted by
1886 posts

We just came back from a 3 country, one month trip. Because of elevation changes and a 9PM-midnight lakeside opera performance towards the end of our trip, I packed a hooded sweater type thing. Two years ago when we went to the same lake for a different performance I had to go buy a sweater to wear under my rain layer just to survive. This year everyone sat there in summer outfits. In one month of travel, mid July to mid August I never took my warmest item out of the suitcase. I also didn’t wear either of the light weight scarves I’d brought because it was so warm everywhere. I also never used either pair of socks I brought...

Posted by
26 posts

I was looking for a travel clothesline to bring, but never got one. Turned out 2 hotels we stayed at had them built into the tubs.

Posted by
292 posts

I usually try to pare my list after each trip, but I always look for opportunities to cull. On my trip to Italy in June, I could have done without my travel umbrella (it did rain, but not when I was outside). I could have also done without all the snack items. Usually pack for plane & trains, but didn’t eat them. My husband brought our USB hub, so eliminated all the connectors upfront, but agree with others that this is a way to reduce clutter.

Posted by
3972 posts
  • binoculars. Not that they were unneeded, just that they didn't make it into my Civita bag on the days we went to churches where I would have loved to look closer at the ceilings/statues.
  • a few too many t-shirts
  • second long-sleeved travel shirt
  • sunblock
  • 4 of 8 scarves. AND I bought 4 more scarves.

BUT I used my sewing kit for an emergency repair to my Travelon purse handle, after carrying the thread and needles without using them on 6 prior trips. So some "just in case" items are worth the weight. Eventually.

Posted by
276 posts

Yup that foldable water bottle was a total bust. I do carry a double hull imitation swell with a sip straw that I love.

I end up with 2 adaptors because my travel companions can never get it together enough to bring their own. I realize I am enabling them but I want my own and have the perfect one https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0774YQPKF/ref=twister_B07GR9D9JD?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1
they get the other one.

Once I took a pair of clark dress sandals that were not properly broken in wore them once - won't do that again.

Posted by
7 posts

We just came back from 15 days, didn't use the stopper for the hotel sink. The only time we used our water bottles was hiking in the Alps, otherwise we bought cold bottled water, available almost everywhere. We did a load of laundry 3 times so we could have packed a little lighter on clothes. We just had backpacks, each weighing 18 lbs.
I didn't pack a umbrella, we went with ponchos instead. we got caught in a rain/hailstorm in Rome without our ponchos and the cheap one that I bought on the street didn't last very long.
Ipad was great for reading books on the bus.

Posted by
59 posts

This is a bit of a hard question. I see many of the things people didn’t use are things I needed my last trip.
I suppose it really depends on varying details of each trip like some have said.

Sometimes I bring to many sweaters and swimsuit not used, things like that but the things I always bring I don’t use.

Duplicates ... like to many scarfs or cardigans or warm things
Salami which went bad. And to many protein bars. And cheese ewww after awhile
Flushable wipes didn’t use them but I’ll bring them again
Vitamins... I forget to take them. A few weeks without wont kill me. I’m not bringing my whole routine with me I usually do.
A foot rest sling. Wasn’t useful.
To much toiletry stuff. The sizes could have been even less then the 3.2 oz.
I brought so little last time. It’s hard to remember but I still could have used less. I let someone borrow my coat lining and a sweater and my gloves and I was still fine for two weeks when it was chilly. I only packed a 19” carry on too.

Things I needed to buy.
Some cold medicine ....
Gelato but I don’t think that counts.

Posted by
2818 posts

I travel a lot so have fine tuned what I pack. Therefore, there was nothing I packed that I didn’t use on my trips.
I do not understand how adaptors are considered heavy. I always take a handful as they are small and light weight and sometimes I leave one behind in a plug.

Posted by
1533 posts

We find the sunscreen in Europe better and we buy it there. I bring too many shirts and need to get more disciplined about that.

Posted by
2503 posts

I use most of the stuff that I take, but sometimes if the weather is different from the forecast, I sometimes have the balance between vest tops, short and long sleeved t-shirts wrong. Sometimes I don’t need my waterproof coat. Sometimes the mozzie stuff may not be needed. Half the stuff that has been mentioned by other posters is things that I would never contemplate taking such as a plug and collapsible bottles.

I am unusual on this forum as we always take a check in bag unless I am on a week long city break, plus a carry on bag each with a total weight of about 90lbs which goes straight in the hire car at the airport. I never have less than a 5 night stay anywhere.

Posted by
1808 posts

I've said this once before, but I'll never take a second pair of shoes. I have taken them twice recently to Greece and Amsterdam. They stayed in the suitcase. I never needed them before so I don't know what got into me... From now on, one pair of shoes only...and they will be on my feet, so even less will be in my checked wheeled carryon...

Posted by
1208 posts

Like Wray I'm courageous enough to only take the pair of shoes on my feet. Unless I'm going to a beach and take flip flops.
And Laura B, my Keen Rose sandals are my walking shoes in warm weather.

Posted by
3972 posts

So THAT'S what happened -- not only do I have MY second pair of shoes, I packed Wray's ! And wear them all (walking shoes, sandals, and slippers.)

Posted by
786 posts

We do pack the travel alarm clock and an extra pair of shoes. I had one pair of hiking boots with me in Iceland that I thought were broken in and my feet paid a very nasty price for that. And there was no place to buy even a pair of flip flops where we were. Yes, my bad. I will also bring a tiny flashlight with me the next time. I could have used it on the last trip. But no more umbrellas. We use everything that we pack.

Posted by
16940 posts

The only thing I normally take today that I do not expect to use is a braided clothesline. I take it just in case, but I don't often use it. I have found through experience that there are rarely two places in a bathroom the right distance apart to which I can attached it (I even have one with suction cups so can attach it to a tile wall).

I take four drip-dry hangers (clothespins with hooks) for my underwear and a couple of inflatable hangers for shirts (the width of the blown-up hangers keeps the front and back of the shirts apart for faster drying).

I totally agree with you about the adapters. We did not need them all and they are very heavy.

"Very heavy"?

My type E/F Schuko grounding adapters only weigh 2/10 ounce each. Do you mean "converters". Converters aren't even that heavy anymore. There are small transformers for up to 40W and electronic converters for up to 2000W (or so) for heating appliances; both are lightweight and some even incorporate both types in one housing.

Posted by
111 posts

I’m glad I field tested the collapsible water bottle I bought on Amazon before taking it on a trip. It was the silicone variety and had an odor that wouldn’t go away after repeated washing, treatment with baking soda, etc. Never again. I always travel with a water bottle because I don’t like excessive use of plastic, and the stainless steel varieties are always a part of my packing.

Posted by
2321 posts

I've also stopped taking a sink stopper. I use a 2 gallon zip bag. Sometimes the problem is a sink that won't drain, so you can pick it up and drain it in the shower.

Unless it's winter (and a cold winter at that) I don't need gloves or long underwear. And I never need a hat. For a while I'd pack hat/long undies "just in case" but no more.

Posted by
1208 posts

I still pack silk long underwear. It has minimal weight and space and I don't like being cold.

Posted by
649 posts

I don't take a travel hairdryer any more.
I email my apartment hosts in advance to make sure they have one, and nowadays most rentals do.
I'm not taking a robe this year; I travel with my oldest friend, and she doesn't care what I look like first thing in the morning!

Posted by
1348 posts

Funnily enough, the folding water bottle on my last trip (to S. America) was heavily used, though on prior trips it was not. But I did bring too many charger cords (I brought short and long versions to use with my battery pack and for regular plug ins), too many small fold up grocery sacks (really only needed one), and too many handi-wipes. I ate the last granola bar on the flight home, so I barely made it :)

The best lesson as mentioned earlier is to refine your packing list when you return. I always make a note at the top of my list about what worked well and what didn't so I consider input for next time. Some things I will take even if I don't use them (first aid meds, repair kit). I chuckle about the comments re: scarves, because I used to take them and they came off the list long ago (unless it is a winter trip and a warm scarf is needed).

Posted by
751 posts

I still pack a skirt on each trip "just in case."
I can't remember the last time I actually wore it but it weighs next to nothing and goes with most of my tops.
I guess if my 2 pairs of pants were wet at the same time it would come in handy ... ;-)

Posted by
5641 posts

Speaking of scarves, I just threw two long, light, gauze ones into the suitcase. My husband reminded me how I use them to replace hats or keep my arms and shoulders covered in strong sunlight. They will be useful for me!

And thanks to the person above who mentioned bathing suit because I had forgotten to pack it. Almost on our way. Thanks.

Posted by
6838 posts

I used my foldable water bottle frequently during my 3 week trip in June. Different stokes for different folks.

Bets, have a great trip!!

Posted by
26 posts

I packed an older bathing suit on this trip, since my hotel in Chamonix has a hot tub. After using the hot tub on a hiking day, I just threw the suit out. It was my water exercise one piece with lots of chlorine damage. Worth bringing, but not bringing back wet since it was still damp when packing up the next morning.

Posted by
11535 posts

There are a number of things that I could live without but that make my life more comfortable, like slippers. My trips are usually at least 3 weeks long, sometimes 5 weeks. I want to enjoy them and having those comforts makes it better. I prefer to bring my own favorite toiletries rather than use the all-too-prevalent one bottle of "good for everything" that I often encounter.

I do pare down my packing list. After a trip, I make notes of things I took and didn't need as well as things I wish I'd taken.
There are things I don't use on one trip but will want to have with me on another. For example, if I go in cold season, I take cold meds with me. Maybe I only need them once in 2 or 3 years, but they don't take up much space or weight and when I've needed them, it's been a real blessing to have them.

Posted by
9 posts

The only thing I didn't use on our trip to Ireland was my rain jacket! Who would've thought!

Posted by
35 posts

I always always always panic & throw in an extra shirt & pair of underpants. Sometimes I use them, sometimes I don't. It's almost a ritual now, though.

Posted by
35 posts

@Chani, I agree with something comfy for the feet. I bring socks with the rubber skids on them, and I'll even sleep in them if my room is cold.

Posted by
35 posts

I would love to get some ideas from all of you about how to improve the crossover between what I carry for my flight(s) vs what I carry for my stays, if you follow me.

Some things I bring only for the flight or travel, so I can get off the plane/train & not be totally gross. I'm thinking baby wipes, face wipes, baby powder, and such. I solely use this when I'm actually moving from place to place-- once I have a room & access to a shower, I don't need it &/or prefer other products. However, because much of my travel is a mix of business+family+pleasure, I frequently have to be able to pop off the plane then be semi-professional for the rest of the day. In short, I can't stink & have mascara running down my cheeks.
I feel like I have a solid pound of stuff just for the flight. Some of it is inevitable (like an inflatable neck pillow) but I want to pair down the rest.
Anyone else have this dilemma, & any suggestions for dealing with it?

Posted by
59 posts

This is hard. I’m guessing you check a bag?
I always have a little freshen up kit with me on the plane because I’m usually in transit for multiple days.
Wear as little makeup as you can. No mascara at all.
Bring a travel size deodorant. A roll on perfume. Travel Dry shampoo and maybe travel gel or hairspray(depends on how you do your hair). Flushable non scented body wipes. Small toothbrush floss piks and toothpaste. Small wash rag for face. Then a minimal amount of makeup just to do your face for that one day. You’ll put on your full makeup before or just after you land.
Put all that together in some kind of small bag you can take to the bathroom on the airplane before you land to freshen up. If you can wait. Just go straight to the bathroom at the airport.

You can only get so fresh after not sleeping for 20 hours so also... give yourself a break that first day and let others think what they will.

All of that freshen up bag shouldn’t be to much volume.

Then what else is there...
Neck pillow
Eye mask
Jerky bottle water you buy before take off
Meds
Phone
Wallet with passport
Maybe an extra cardigan if you get cold

What are you bringing that feels like a ton of things?
I bet it’s the electronics. Do you have to have the laptop?
Hehe

Posted by
59 posts

Oh one more thing i just thought about,

Everything in my freshen up bag is what I also use during the trip. That helps with overall weight and really I don’t see the need for anything during transit that would be different then being stationary at a hotel with a shower.
Accept maybe the non scented flushable body wipes, which act as a on the go or after hiking before a quick bite to eat fresher upper.

Tiny deodorant
Body wipes
Toothpaste brush
Light scented perfume
Dry shampoo for hair

Stink free

As for makeup, go minimal and redo it here or there. Go naked face as much as you can with maybe just lipgloss.

Good luck :)

Posted by
35 posts

Thanks, @venotraci! Yeah, I have to bring a laptop, and that is a lot of real estate. I do check a bag, which is the upside of traveling for business! Sounds like you & I carry a lot of the same stuff (though I sub eau de toilette for dry shampoo.) You know what feels bulky, for me? The face & the body/baby wipes. I used to be able to grab small packs-- holding maybe 10 wipes-- at CVS or Walgreens. My past few trips, though, I've only found larger ones. I actually skipped the face wipes & brought a small micellar water & cotton balls. But there's no work around for the body/baby wipes. Have you had any luck finding small, travel size body body wipes?

I also bring a small hand/body moisturizer, because I dry out like a raisin on a plane. And I change my shirt & underwear before I head out of the airport. SO, including your list, that's the haul. Maybe I should just break down & buy a bunch of small containers to have in my carry-on bag -- I hate doing that, but maybe if I just shrink everything to exactly what I need to get started on my first morning & put my regular toiletries to my checked bag, it will feel less unwieldy.

Thanks again for the response!

Posted by
276 posts

ashley.3.e
Have you tried the Olay 5-in-1 Daily dry face wipes? Don't see why you couldn't use them for the entire body. Downside you do need water. Also, I just started using the Secret Freshie - a deodorant ball. Very small and efficient.

Posted by
35 posts

@larlock No, I haven't tried Olay wipes-- I'll pick some up & see how they work. Good recommendation on the Freshie! That would be perfect.

Posted by
206 posts

I spent 11 weeks in Europe and dumped the water bottle in the middle of it. Regardless of what you hear and read, in some cities public water fountains are few and far between, but bottled water is sold by everyone-everywhere usually a dollar or less and I reused the bottle all day if I found a place to refill. I'll never haul one of those again.

Posted by
3725 posts

What is this?

Jerky bottle water you buy before take off

Posted by
819 posts

Kim, I "assume" the poster is talking about TWO items purchased at the snack shop, jerky, and a water bottle

Posted by
488 posts

Every time I take a pair of shoes along "just in case", I never wear them. When will I learn?
(I wear only my beloved Birkenstock Arizonas . ......yeah, I look like an aging hippie, but who cares)

Posted by
26 posts

ashley.3.e
I buy the large packages of baby wipes, then put a small stack (maybe 3/4" high - which I'd guess is at least 20 wipes) into a zip-loc quart-sized bag. I keep one of these baggies in both my purse and briefcase at all times - because you never know when a wipe might come in handy. For travel, I have one in my personal bag which is with me in transit, and one in my suitcase with the rest of my toiletries.

Posted by
54 posts

In addition to the "what did I bring that I didn't use? and "what did I have to buy along the way?" is the "What did I bring that I did use but not enough to make it worth carrying all that way?" In that category was a second pair of shoes for me -- I wore them but dumped them before moving from one place to another. Didin't need them after all, really.

I usually bring a spare pair of prescription glasses, which I've never needed, but if I did break my specs, I'd be useless until I got them replaced.

And don't tell Rick, but our guide book wasn't worth the space or weight it took. We used it a lot in planning before we left, but for use on the spot, we rarely consulted it. Next time, I think we'll download a copy and skip the physical copy altogether.

Posted by
3725 posts

Doric8 -- aha, I get it!! I couldn't figure that out for the life of me!!!

As to what I brought and didn't use: a small leather purse. I thought it might be nice to take it to dinner instead of the small and medium nylon bags i was using during the day. But I never went anywhere that I felt the need to pull out the little leather one.

Posted by
285 posts

On my first trip to Italy I took a pair of small binoculars...never used them and did not take them on subsequent trips. Also, I no longer pack a water bottle; instead I just purchase drinks while walking around. Unless it is very, very hot, I prefer not to lug around a filled water bottle. Since I now have a smartphone with an adequate (for my purposes anyway) camera, I no longer take my point and shoot camera.

Posted by
3725 posts

Oh yes and a baseball cap. The only time I might have worn it, it was rather windy, and I didn't fancy the idea of its blowing off my head and my having to ask the boatcaptain to swing around and try to recuperate it!!! The hoods on my sweater and rain jacket worked much better.

Posted by
3972 posts

@Kim, the baseball cap is an integral part of my winter wardrobe -- it goes on UNDER my raincoat hood to keep it from falling over my eyes. But maybe that's just my head shape.

Posted by
2 posts

I just got back from Spain two weeks ago. Here’s what I didn’t use. Second cardigan. Long sleeve tops (2). Rain jacket. Sink stopper. Laundry detergent. Sewing kit. First aid kit. Several medications such as Immodium and cough gels. I keep a detailed list and make notes to use when packing for the next trip. Some of these items I’ll always take such as the rain jacket. I’ll not take a second cardigan next time and I’ll be more careful about checking the temperatures in the weather forecast when choosing my tops. I didn’t take a skirt or dress and wish I had. I took two extra pairs of gym shoes and should have only taken one.

Posted by
21 posts

Just back from our month long trip to Italy, Germany and France....what I packed and didn't use:

Rain jacket
Umbrella
3 tops
3 of 6 scarves
1 pants
Sink stopper
Maxi dress
Car inverter
Laptop (carted it around Europe and never once opened it)
Back up battery (to charge iphones - didn't need it though I did keep it charged, just in case, LOL)

Vast majority of the first aid kit could have been left home - next time I'll pare down to just a small kit with essentials.

Things we did use that were packed as "just in case" - the mini sewing kit (button came off one of my son's shirts and needed to be sewn back on), small jar (probably 2-3 ounces) of mineral sunscreen, 100% Deet (almost didn't use, but then one day without wind on the beach, the bugs were up with a vengeance at our cabin).

Posted by
10471 posts

These are things I won't pack anymore.

Noise canceling headphones or earbuds. Anything more than just regular earbuds are more than I need.
Towel and bed bag (back in the day).
Water bottle
Inflatable hangars

Most of it is about what you use enough to pack. Things that are useless for me may be useful for others and worth packing.

I pack an extra charger even though I don't normally need it, because I want a backup. Also I pack several pairs of reading glasses. I can see distance fine but I need them for reading, especially in low light and want a backup pair or two.

Posted by
19 posts

BTW flushable wipes aren’t really flushable. There are huge problems with them clogging sewer systems. Google it.

Sorry...

Posted by
111 posts

Regarding the water bottle issue, if anyone has a suggestion for a foldable bottle without that awful silicone smell, I’d love some feedback. I’ve ordered two different makes from Amazon and both retained that odor after multiple hot water soakings and washings. I’m big on hydration and have a water bottle with me all the time when traveling. I bite the bullet and use a stainless steel insulated bottle to keep the water cold, but of course that’s a lot of added weight.

Posted by
111 posts

I’d add that while this isn’t really a weight issue, it’s a good idea to pare down your wallet and only bring the credit and debit cards you will need. Thankfully, I did this on my last trip and and it was a godsend when I misplaced them. I carried only a credit card, debit card, and an ID. (Passport was in my front pocket, and I did not lose that, thank God.)

Thanks to technology and great customer service by our bank (USAA) I quickly had the cards cancelled and replacements sent to our home, and we used my wife’s cards for the rest of the trip. I shudder to think what a hassle it would have been had I carried my regular wallet which has my other CCs.

Posted by
78 posts

Off topic, RE: water bottles. Amazon probably is not the best place to be looking. Try REI or another outdoor-oriented site where you can trust the user reviews. REI lists three dozen collapsing bottles and several have an interesting feature: field cleanable. Many of the ultralight and collapsible water bottle discussions on reddit end up: “buy a liter of water, refill the bottle a couple of times, buy another liter of water, refill it a couple of times.”

Posted by
658 posts

In reading through the many responses one thing that stood out-- sink stopper. I bought one maybe 10 years ago and to this day I have never needed it. I recall it was on RS packing list when hotels didn't have sink stoppers in Europe.

Posted by
810 posts

"Regarding the water bottle issue, if anyone has a suggestion for a foldable bottle without that awful silicone smell, I’d love some feedback. " wildcatmcc, I have used Platypus flat bottles for a number of years. They were the precursor to the silicone foldable ones. When filled, the bottom gusset opens so the bottle stands, but the bigger/taller ones will get a bit floppy when half filled, and may require 2 hand drinking due to the instability...and so that you don't end up wearing most of the water.

Otherwise, I often have to buy water somewhere, and then I just reuse that bottle for the time I am traveling. They hold up find for the travel period.

Posted by
86 posts

I am five months into a year-long trip, and I recently sent home a box of stuff I didn't want to haul around anymore. Also, I have donated some clothes (and a pair of shoes--Skechers that never really fit properly but were my casual slip-ons). In the box home were most of my "dressy" clothes. I wear dresses at home, both for work and for going out, even pretty casual situations, but I never wore the two I brought, and since they were more summery in style, I knew I wouldn't use them. The other day I bought a dress that is more of a winter style. I haven't worn it yet, but I think I probably will, as least when we're in Paris for Christmas. Also in the box, my sandals (still have flip flops with me), an inflatable pillow, a bunch of carabiners (still have two), a leather clutch, a blank journal. In addition to the dress, I bought a pair of jeans, black leggings, a long-sleeve black t-shirt and a fleece hoodie, which I'm now wearing every day. And the big heartbreak was that my shoes (New Balance Minimus 10v1 trail runners) are too far gone to use as every day walking shoes. I couldn't find them here, so I ordered a pair to be shipped to a friend at home. She'll bring them to me in Paris. In the meantime, I'm wearing a pair of Geox ankle boots that I bought in Madrid. I hate them. I also bought a pair of suede ankle boots in Amsterdam. They are super impractical, and I've only worn them a couple of times, but I wear a size 13 (I'm a woman), and they fit me, so I bought them and sprayed them with waterproofer. I considered sending them home in the box, but they will look cute with my new dress, maybe.
P.S. I'm a fan of Sarah Murdoch, and I worked long and hard to cultivate the "perfect" wardrobe for this trip. Half of it is gone.

Posted by
7701 posts

Regarding the foldable water bottles, I we used ours at least 80% of the time on a 7 week trip. We were hiking most days, but also filled them for train days and after we got through security for our hydration purposes on the plane. Using them cut down on our plastic waste. I am done with packing scarves too, and just bring two small necklaces for adornment.

I stand by bringing a small medical kit. I guess I am over trained on being prepared for small emergencies and I have been glad to have OTC meds I know I can depend on as well as supplies for the occasional scrape or cut when we are out on a trail.

I do think we have finally mastered what clothes to bring — and not to bring — after countless trips!

Posted by
7 posts

I won't pack my travel hair dryer again. every place I stayed; hostel or BnB or hotel had a hair dryer, if not in the bathroom available at the front desk. Also ladies who use curling irons or hot curlers; I have really straight, fine hair and get a body wave before I go so I can dry and go without messing around with my hair.

Posted by
3 posts

If you’re talking about clothing items, can you include where you went and the time of year - most helpful!

Posted by
1 posts

I am somewhat dismayed by the number of frequent travelers actually purchasing plastic water bottles on a regular basis on their trips. 1) Do you make sure that the bottle is placed in a recycle system after you have finished using it? 2) Carrying your own bottle, even though it adds a bit of 'weight' - what? 3 oz? is what any person on this planet should be doing in this day and age. Goodness, I gave up using water from plastic bottles years ago, except when I knew the container would be recycled and not added to the waste in a dump or our precious oceans. If you are not a frequent consumer of REI methods of travel you are really missing out helping save our planet. Also, be sure the cosmetics you are using on your body are biodegradable and not harmful to water systems or to your body, long term. Tourists are becoming some of the largest consumers of our most valuable historical places - some sites are over run with visitors. Consume wisely please.

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We just returned from 22 days in Italy, Croatia, and Greece in mid November. I never used my heavier coat. I did just fine with layering.
A couple things I did not take that I wished I had: I wear gas permeable hard contact lenses. I took a minimal amount of contact solution for them thinking I could buy more there. Wrong! If you wear soft contacts, no problem, but if you wear hard lenses, take solution with you. I looked in every city in every country we went to with no luck. The other item that was hard to find was hearing aid batteries. I finally found some in a camera store in Athens, but it was a hassle and expensive!

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9429 posts

Hey, this was the discussion of the month in Rick's January newsletter!

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20 posts

We traveled the month of September 2018 in Germany, Czechia, Austria and Switzerland. I did not use any turtleneck tunics, scarves, or a sweater. We bought short sleeved tees because it was so hot. I was glad I had purchased another pair of Eddie Bauer travel slacks because I could roll up the pants legs into capris which are much cooler. In the future I may only take those slacks and a pair of longjohns (silk or smart wool) in case it gets unexpectedly cool. The travel slacks take up practically no room.

I always bring a flat sink stopper and always use it. I did not bring any hand/body lotion and needed it. Only 2 hotels provided it. Next time I will bring a couple of small "hotel" bottles and throw away the empties. I have used Rick's usual temperature guides as well as current temps when planning. But from now on I am using Accuweather's usual temperatures plus the actual temperatures of the previous year. There is a big difference between 75 and 85 degrees. With climate change it seems to me that usual temperatures are less useful. I never take a poncho (anymore) but do take, and usually use, a very lightweight collapsible umbrella. We did take and use silicone water bottles; I didn't think the taste was offensive but I had put baking soda and water in them for several days; that said, they really don't collapse but can be somewhat crushed when packing. I do bring plug adapters and I was glad to have 2 different sized prongs on the European ones because some countries needed the larger prongs and some the smaller ones. They are very light weight and not bulky. The ones for Great Britain, however, are bulky even though light weight. I do not take or use a money belt, because I carry a cross-body travel purse with locking zippers and reinforced fabric. In spite of all this, I still end up taking too much in my 19" suitcase. I may really get it figured out by the time I'm too old and frail to travel!

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I worked very hard at perfecting my travel list, so now I have one that works very well for me. What I wanted to comment on was something I never travel without. Those of us who are committed to doing a hand laundry while traveling are familiar with inflatable hangers. They work great until they spring a leak and I've discovered that the ones made today are so cheaply made that the seams give out often on the first use. And then I'm out of luck. So I don't use them any more. What I do use are plastic and foam hangers -- very light weight and useful when your accommodations don't have enough (or even any!) hangers for you to use. I place my newly washed garment on the foam hanger and then I blow up a balloon and place it inside the garment to separate front from back. Balloons are cheap and take no space. If I am in a location for a while, I just leave the balloons blown up and re-use them. If I'm leaving, I simply pop the balloons and use new ones in my next location. Works incredibly well and I am not constantly trying to find replacement inflatable hangers.
That's one of the best travel tidbits I've learned in decades of travel. One other great travel hack: For those of us who only take one pair of shoes (the ones on our feet), try packing some dryer sheets. At the end of the day when the shoes come off, put a dryer sheet in each shoe. Helps to draw out moisture and odors.

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I always seem to pack too many things even after years of overseas travel and residence. Comes from not being able to find what I need, I guess. Still, I pack minimally by most standards. Some ways I get around the full suitcase, and have room for the things I take back:
- Take some throwaway items - still presentable but good for travel and toss
- I ease my anxiety about not having what I need by reminding myself I can probably buy it where I am going. I love having a tube of toothpaste from the last country I visited. It reminds me of good times. Same goes for lotion, etc.
- Why take too many shirts if I plan to buy some souvenir ones?
- It's chancy, but I have often relied on borrowing adapters from the hotel clerk. To those of you who forget to take them out of the plugs - THANK YOU!
-I enjoy visiting grocery stores and delis where the real people shop. While there, I get snacks and water, etc. Of course, I cannot always read the labels so that becomes another adventure.
- I am a nurse. I ALWAYS carry minimal first aid supplies. I no longer carry a small fabric sling since I used the only one I had when a traveler fell in Italy.
- I don't carry a robe - I use one of my shirts. I once had a traveling companion who used a silk robe which folded up into almost nothing.
Guess I focused on what I did instead of taking the things I didn't use. Most of the things I don't use are emergency items I would take anyway - flashlight is one.

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99 posts

Charger for my (men's) electric razor. My razor's battery has always lasted the length of any trip that I've been on.

That said, although I haven't used it, I will continue to pack it. I know that rechargeable batteries weaken over time. The charger is small, and I put it in a packed shoe.

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109 posts

I didn't use and will not pack again:
- cloths line
-dry shampoo
-inflatable hanger
-kindle with its charger
- any electronics except for an iPhone.
- more than 2 cardigans
-eye mask/face mask
- extra soap to do laundry

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1 posts

I still pack silk long underwear. It has minimal weight and space, I don't like being cold, and I can double the use of my shirt, as the silk underwear takes the brunt of the day sweat and smell, leaving the shirt relatively fresh. I have used my rain suit in Ireland, London and Rome. It breathes well and also makes a good windbreaker. I used to take more electronics than necessary but, on one trip our 13 inch laptop quit working and we did all of our hotel reservations with a cheap android phone that we took and bought an O2 sim card with a month's data plan. My iPhone and my Samsung both have camera's that are superior to the first 14 MP camera's that we took and we are thinking about just using our Verizon accounts with the European option on our next trip this spring. However, I am still taking my 20 MP camera because I like to be able to look at details when I am at home, and the photos are my memory investment. I do take a flashlight that fits on my head via an integrated strap that is usb rechargeable, and I do take the sewing and medical kits. I have used all three. The plug adapters versus adapters with transformers is still an issue. Our kids borrowed both for a trip to Scotland and found that only the transformer adapters worked. I have never had a problem with the transformer adapter but, it is larger and heavier than just the plug and most electronics can handle the 240 Volt - read your manual before you go.

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1017 posts

We must be getting better at packing.... not much we didn’t use on our last trip.

We returned week ago from a one week trip via train to Milan, Turin, and Lugano. We only took one roller bag, we each a had a small backpack, neither was full but split the weight up, and our 85 pound dog carried his own dogfood, biscuits, ball, and water bowl in his panniers pack. Since it was cold -40s and 50s, we wore pants two days each, took 1 fleece and 1 sweatshirt. One pair of shoes, but I take good supportive sandals for wearing in room to keep plantar fasciitis from flaring up.

The only thing we forgot to pack was a wine opener which we ended up buying in Turin. So now in our apartment we have 5 instead if 4 wineopeners. And I bought a scarf at the Christmas market to stay warm when the temp was in the upper 30s/low 40’s.

I need to type up the packing list for future adventures so we don’t overpack or forget anything.

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172 posts

I agree with many posts...things I no longer bring
-book, I read off my iPhone
-skirt or dress; never use it/take nice slacks instead
-extra pair of shoes (since I'm not using the skirt, no need for dress shoes).

But there are some things I ALWAYS bring including
-Ziploc bags
-travel clothesline
-taco seasoning and mini packets of hot sauce/siracha (after weeks of eating out, I need my spicy fix when I cook at an airbnb, etc...)

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1 posts

interesting on the sink stopper. I bought one of those flat ones that covers whatever drain thing that is in the sink. Some of the "trendy" sink designs don't have stoppers at all and others with stoppers sometimes don't work very well. I have used mine to rinse out running clothes and wash shirts in the sink. You can do that in a tub but I prefer the sink. I agree that what is unnecessary for one person might be useful to another!

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5 posts

A small first aid kit and and a tiny sewing kit are normally not needed. If the need arises they are invaluable and take up very little space. I also pack a lightweight foot & ankle brace and arnica montana, because I do a lot of hiking and occasionally have a mishap.

My Rick Steves toiletries bag holds all the shampoo, lotion, sun block, laundry soap and tooth care I need and then some. I don't use up all the stuff in that bag, but what's left over isn't a burden.

Unless I'm going to a tropical country, I almost always pack my lightweight Goretex jacket, whether planning a hike in the mountains or city sightseeing. I usually don't care if I get wet in a light rain, so most of the time I don't need it, but was happy to have it for several rainy days in Paris. Another time was in the snowy mountains above Chamonix. It served as a windbreaker layered over a long sleeved shirt and a sweatshirt, which was adequate because I was in motion.

I also carry either a water bottle or hydration pack (the latter doing dual service as a day pack). Like several others have posted, I refuse to buy water in plastic bottles unless it is an emergency. The minor inconvenience of traveling with a water bottle is nothing compared to the damage plastic is wreaking on the environment! I sometimes also pack a filter straw for questionable water.

The one time I under-packed was for a trip through Spain and Portugal with my daughter and her two small children. We were models of traveling light, but it backfired when the kids got their clothes messy (REALLY messy) and we had to do more hand laundry than anticipated, or the time the three year old went head first into a fountain. We bought him a nice dry souvenir t-shirt in a nearby shop. Seriously, a few more small shirts and shorts and some extra socks wouldn't have killed us!

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638 posts

Never took a sink stopper, a Ziploc works fine. What works better I've found is one of those thin plastic bags that newspapers come in. My sink here at home doesn't have the best built-in stopper so one day I just grabbed a plastic bag and it worked great! I used to take too many toiletries, like things I forget to do routinely at home (eye and face cream) but think I'll have time to do on vacation. Lol. Now I take only the basics, or at least I try to!

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2 posts

Since I tend to travel during shoulder season, I usually end up packing too many warm layers as I hate feeling cold. I am learning my lesson though, on my last trip I pushed myself to take one less outfit and was fine without it. I've also learned that formal clothing isn't usually necessary, as I can always dress up an outfit with a basic black sweater and a scarf.
Sometimes I travel with my tablet and never touch it, so I'm trying to learn how to rely on my smart phone more and leave the tablet at home when I can. Carrying around the tablet just tends to be another thing to worry about while I'm traveling.
I have learned the things I can't live without are: my lightweight fleece jacket (I know it pegs me as a tourist, but I find it warm and comforting like a security blanket); a pair of jeans (because I can wear it several times before washing - and everyone wears them); socks made from bamboo and/or wool (durable, warm, and I can wear more than once).