5 things I packed, but didn’t need

Packing the bags leading up to a big trip can be stressful, and many of us get a little overzealous when it comes to fitting in what we convince ourselves are essentials(!!!!). I personally scrutinized over dozens of items lying on my bedroom floor, before giving in and throwing the majority of them into my bag.

Better to be with these things than wishing desperately I had brought them,” I thought.

The next two months dragging around my unnecessarily heavy pack taught me the hard lesson that I **may** have been slightly over ambitious.

So rather than another list of the things you absolutely must pack, I’m sharing five things that I convinced myself I needed, but of course barely used so you can learn from my mistakes.

Books / Kindle

You will never stop hearing from travellers how much more they expected to read and simply didn’t. Books take up a lot of space, and I never got around to half of the ones I jammed into my bag. You may think that while travelling you are going to have more time to yourself than ever before, but between planning what to do each day and actually doing it, you would be surprised how few chances to open up that novel you will end up having.

Note: Jess, on the other hand, devours books on the road, but also skips the extra weight and relies on audiobooks from Audible on her phone. Check her reading list here.


Ok, this one might seem like a bit of a no brainer, but for me, I was sure that at least once on my trip I would want to do my hair. Not only did I barely have the time, but I also didn’t have the space or the privacy to really ‘prettify’. In the end though, there were few times I wished I had, but no one ever noticed when I didn’t.


Like the straightener, I thought I would feel the need to dress up a little while travelling, and so packed a handful of necklaces and earrings. Since then, I have lost half my stash to the bottom of bags, kept in the same pair of studs and replaced what I did have with cheap but more memorable pieces bought on the road.

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Way too many pairs of shoes

The infamous shoe count will make or break your baggage allowance. Accept early on that you will not have a shoe for every occasion, and instead need to be thinking about which shoes you own that can serve two or three purposes. Even going out and buying yourself a multi-purpose pair of boots will prove a better option than packing both your sneakers and wedges.

More than one fancy dress

With a huge list of glamorous cities laid out before me, I had major plans for the exciting nights ahead, and the outfits I would wear while experiencing them. Though there were plenty of such nights, I was rarely with the same people, and many of the travelers with whom I hit the town weren’t exactly in their Sunday best. I learned quickly that one practical but pretty outfit was more than enough to accompany me on my nights out across dozens of countries.

Post written by How Dare She contributor and fellow darer, Sarah Ison.

packed didn't need

Sarah Ison
Sarah Ison

Hi, I'm Sarah! After finally finishing my degree midway through 2016, I knew it was about time for me to strike out and see some of the world beyond Perth, Australia. With nothing on my plate for the rest of the year, I left my tiny hometown with no return date, and no set plans for how I would take on this next part of my life. It turned out I didn’t need one, as I travelled in my own wonderfully haphazard way across Europe, experiencing more than I could have ever predicted. I found How Dare She while I was exploring the Balkans, and couldn’t have been more eager to collaborate with a traveler like Jessica and use lessons learned to inspire travelers to come.

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5 Comments on “5 things I packed, but didn’t need

January 22, 2017 at 1:28 am

Yep, I can relate to this. I like reading on vacation and I didn’t want another device like a kindle, so I have downloaded the kindle app for my iphone.

January 22, 2017 at 4:17 am

Good call! My phone is always at about 17% battery, so audio works better than screen for me. But good job minimizing extra devices!

January 22, 2017 at 3:48 am

It’s not even funny how many times I’ve made these mistakes! It’s like I never learn 🙁 Maybe after reading your post, I’ll actually take this more seriously cause it seems more real now. Thanks for sharing 🙂

Corinne Simpson
January 22, 2017 at 4:49 am

I totally agree with this! I can never understand taking books on holiday. There’s too much to see to sit and read!

January 22, 2017 at 7:28 am

Somehow last time I left home I had SIX books in my bag. What. The. Hell. You can guess what happened to them, lol!


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