The ominous task of packing. Some of us can brush this task off in an hour. Others spend three days packing because who knows, they might need that fleece cap on that trip to the Bahamas. I'm not perfect, (and that's an understatement) but let me try to tread the fine line between carelessness and paranoia when packing for that overseas trip. If nothing else you will come away with my top ten (you wish you hadn't packed them) items for 2014.
THE ANTI PACKING LIST ^^^*****>>>>>>>>>>>
There's a lot of blogs out there about what you should pack; not too many about what you shouldn't pack. That's why I thought it would be awesome to start the new year off with the Anti-Packing list. If you say, "I have a feeling I should pack it"....
its all about you...
No seriously it is.... What are you doing on this trip? What locations have you scouted to see? How long will you be in the elements while exploring? This proves to be one of the biggest problems people have.They don't take the time to ask themselves these burning questions.
Your thinking, (this guy sounds like a debbie downer) Your going on vacation, forget the planning and schedules, you want to live in the moment, right?
Don't live life in the moment people...
I think I have made my point...
please do: Have an itinerary
Direct spending on leisure travel by domestic and international travelers totaled $597billion in 2012. When you spend your little piece of that money make sure you get the most out of it.
Yes, it will take a bit of thought, introspection, and consideration on your part but with an itinerary you can make the most out of your trip. Scout the sites, people, and places you want to see in each area. In military speak it would be called MDMP (military decision making process) or in tactical terms a (recon) if you will. Trust me, I'm going somewhere with this people.
Knowing what you are planning to do will give you the perfect template for what you should pack. It will no longer be a strange mystery. If your going to be hiking through a jungle and canyoning in near freezing water you need the right gear (see below).
Remember, just because you have an itinerary doesn't mean you have to follow it. When you get "boots on ground" you can always deviate as you wish but at least you have the right gear/clothing you need. Some other excellent words of wisdom include , mixing & matching, utilize layers, and in most cases; the shampoo will be there. In other words, versatility and resource management are names of the game.
PLEASE Don't: misunderstand
Some people may take my words as a sweeping declaration to take a ton of stuff with you, to prepare for all contingencies, to be prepared to skydive, ski, and scuba because you can. Please don't. Plus you don't want to be the American travel stereotype- Consumer driven, materialistically blind, and aloof to what is happening around you.
Versatility is the key. I'm a big fan of maximizing my capabilities with as little as possible. There's a little rule I go by. Let's call it the (dual purpose rule). If the item I am bringing isn't going to serve at a minimum, 2 legitimate purposes I will need, than I won't take it. For example, I know I will need to charge stuff and I know I will be out in the woods; I bring my Soladec Power charger. It allows me to charge any items while hiking and has a built in flashlight for camping. Thus, no need for a flashlight and charger.
People are catching on in recent years; mostly out of necessity. According to a 2010 consumer luggage report, 57.4% of travelers are now packing lighter and using smaller travel bags, and 56.5% check fewer bags, due to increasing airline fees and restrictions.
AND THE 10 THINGS YOU SHOULDN'T BE PACKING IN THE NEW YEAR ARE....
The moment you all been reading for, the top 10 things not to pack. Here is the rundown. You can pack em if you want but I have a strong feeling you will regret it, and you don't want to have regrets.
Unless you are going to Rwanda, Somalia, or some other third world country there is no good reason to be dragging toiletries around. If you want to take a mini travel sized toothpaste or mouthwash I get that. Bringing your whole bathroom in your stow away baggage, not so much. People say, "well what if I get stranded in between flights or somewhere else". I can almost guarantee you of two things. #1 your problems are a lot bigger than not having shampoo and #2 wherever you happen to be stranded probably has a store with basic toiletries in it. Good luck when your family sized shampoo busts in your baggage.
2. VIDEO GAMES/MOVIES
If you need to have your video games and movies with you while traveling on vacation to another country then you have a problem. Why are you spending thousands of dollars to go to another country if your planning on spending your time glued to your Xbox suitcase? Riddle me that dungeon master? Why are you even taking this trip in the first place. Not to mention- there is no better way to break you prized possession.
3. PERSONAL VALUABLES
Going overseas is not the best place to bring your grandfather's prized Rolex that has been handed down over two generations. Even if you are going to a wonderful (crime free location) that doesn't mean the item can't get misplaced or broken on one of your many excursions while abroad. After doing the cost/benefit analysis in your head is it really worth it?
4. formal DRESS CLOTHING
I've learned this one from experience. Sure, you are planning on having a nice dinner or spending time in a classy location but I promise you that your clothes won't be looking to good after they've been hauled halfway around the globe, especially dress shoes. Every time I have done this I ended up buying clothes there. Do yourself a favor and keep them pressed neatly in your closet.
All the bookworms out there that are giving me a dirty look right now keep reading. I think reading is a perfect and reasonable idea when traveling. There's not a more productive way to pass time while in the car or on the plane. Its the 21st century my friends! Instead of lugging around physical books put your whole collection on your media device. You can take your library with you and keep it in your pocket.
6. extra SHOES
I sorta have to pick on the females here. I'm married and every time we travel she carries the closet with her. Don't make your man lug around all your nonsense, unless he did something bad. I spend most of my time in the proverbial (dog house), but come on. Think of it this way; if you don't bring it maybe you can buy something there. Look, I just gave you an excuse to buy more shoes you don't need!
This one seems odd to most people. Unfortunately I am not most people; trying to take home part of a tree from the United Arab Emirates, rocks from Ireland, Australia, and Italy, and a whalebone necklace from New Zealand (not my fault). Most countries have varying laws prohibiting the international transport of items to include (soil,rocks,plants, and wildlife). Its sorta my thing to take a shell or a rock as a memento. Just remember that you might get it snatched from you at customs or worse could face a fine. Tread lightly my friends. I understand the natural consequences of taking a wild species across borders but a rock, I think that's bullshit quite frankly.
If you are a traditionalist and snap travel photos on a camera that takes film, steer clear of storing undeveloped rolls in your checked bag. The X-ray machines that the TSA uses to screen checked bags can damage film. Instead, put your film in your carry-on bag and ask the TSA agent at the security checkpoint to inspect your film by hand. The TSA suggests that travelers pack film in clear canisters or clear plastic bags to expedite the inspection process. Unless you are doing this because you are a professional photographer, go digital and save yourself the hassle and luggage space.
9. VIDEO CAMERA
The days of the stand alone video camera are over people. Its called and iPhone/Droid. Nearly all smartphones can provide the average user with all the video needs they would ever want. If you are making a documentary film that's one thing, but otherwise this is wasted and soon to be broken space in your bag.
10. "LOUD CLOTHING/LOOK"
If you want to show the country your visiting something "they've never seen before" when you step off the plane you might want to think again. In the U.S. we can pretty much look however we want to; understand that in other countries this is not always the case. For instance, something as simple as wearing shorts, especially above the knee, can be seen as offensive in many Middleastern Countries; even western cities such as Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Standing out in an environment that you are unfamiliar with is one of the fastest ways to get yourself into trouble. Its like screaming "I'm not from here and probably don't know what's going on!" without saying a word. Don't think that because you aren't going to a (dangerous country) there aren't people waiting to exploit foreign travelers there.