11 Items to remove from your suitcase

Richard Mellor

Suitcase won’t shut? Or too heavy for those miserly allowances? Here are 11 unnecessary things that you can leave at home.

1. Shoes

The nemesis of suitcase-packers everywhere. Most shoes are a) heavy, and b) bulky. The first thing to do is wear your heaviest, bulkiest pair while travelling. Then, try to take just one other pair. Look to have just a pair of smarts and a pair of casuals.

 

2. Pyjamas

These are sure nice to have, and especially savvy when it comes to securing sleep on overnight flights. Is it possible, however, for you to survive without them for a few days, and just sleep in a nightie, t-shirt or underwear?

 

3. Jackets

Say it with us: layers. Big, beefy jackets aren’t essential if chunky jumpers will do. Alternatively, take a cagoule or fleece, and use that as required. If you must take a coat then, again, wear it as you travel. Britain has the dubious advantage of being colder than most destinations, so this works well. Plus…

 

 

4. Travel pillows

…a jacket can double as a travel pillow when rolled up. Proper U-shaped pillows are a pain to pack—unless you go for the blow-up versions, which are a pain to blow-up. Most airlines and trains provide (admittedly water-thin) pillows on red-eyes, besides, and may well provide a second if you ask with a smile.

 

5. Jumpers

These are excellent as jacket replacements (see above), but don’t overdo it. One will likely suffice: a respectable all-rounder which works over shirts and under waterproofs. If you take more try— as a general rule—to have more cashmere, polyester or other synthetic, and less cotton and wool. The former use less space, don’t crease badly and dry quicker when wet. Win, win, win.

 

6. Travel iron

Seriously? Everywhere has an iron these days; even nomadic shepherds in Outer Mongolia. There’s also the option of steaming out wrinkles. Or you could just take crease-free clothes, as above.

 

 

7. Umbrellas

Oh, stop being so negative—it probably won’t rain. Even in the event, decent hotels and many homestays often have brollies to lend.

 

8. Camera zoom lens

Zoom lenses are big and cumbersome. So the question becomes: how likely are you to use one? On a safari, very likely—those rhino or cheetah aren’t always kind enough to come to your car and pose. On city breaks to Milan or beachcombing in the Caribbean, though? Not so much. The point-and-shoot function will have you covered.

 

9. Towels

Talk about needless. Hotels, Airbnbs and so on nearly always include towels, as do hostels—even if they usually make you pay for the privilege. Obviously, you’re not meant to use them as beach towels. But, equally obviously, everyone does. If you’re determined to score ethical points, at least pack only a non-fluffy swimmer’s towel.

 

10. Toiletries

If there’s a shampoo or conditioner you can’t survive without, fine. Try and rely on the hotel or homestay’s toiletries, though, and only travel with travel-sized bottles. Some brands don’t offer these, yet that needn’t faze you. Simply transfer some of the chosen product to another, empty mini-bottle, and use that instead.

 

 

 

11. Books

Yes, it is nice to have actual, physical books—we fully agree. There’s a time and a place for E-readers, however, and that time and that place are both called…travelling. Yes! You’ll save so much space. Guidebooks are all on smartphones now, too, so, if you’re struggling for room, that Lonely Planet guide to Cuba probably isn’t essential.

 

More travel tips from Richard Mellor

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