No matter how well-seasoned a traveler we may be, we are still likely to make one of many common packing mistakes when preparing for our next trip. With so many small details and logistics to remember, it can be easy to let something simple slip our minds.
Recently Brooke and I shared some of our previous packing mistakes with one another and then thought of many others that friends and family have lamented over the years. With a couple of trips on the horizon in the first half of 2012, I hope to avoid some of these common packing mistakes.
You’ve probably heard the rule to “lay out everything you want to bring and then only pack half of the amount“. One 20-something gal on my Outback tour should have taken that to heart. Her large backpack was so full and heavy that even our tour guide had a difficult time helping her with it. Resist the urge to pack an item “just in case” – you’ll save money on paying for an overweight bag at the airport, save your back the aches and pains, and save room to bring back a souvenir or two.
2. Leaky toiletries
When I first started traveling domestically, I didn’t think about large bottles of shampoo exploding in my suitcase until I arrived at my destination and discovered a “goo” throughout the suitcase. Since then, I have opened any bottle I plan to pack and squeezed out a bit of air before resealing the cap. Then, I place bottles in Ziploc bags for extra protection. Brooke places a piece of tape across the top her bottles before placing them in bags.
3. Not adhering to the 3oz/100ml rule for liquids
I advised my dad not to bring the regular size toothpaste tube in his carry on, but he insisted that since it had only an ounce or two or product inside that it would be no problem. You know what happened at security…goodbye toothpaste!
On one of my trips to London, I bought a unique flavor of jam and packed it in my carry on in the event that my checked bag went missing. I forgot that jams are considered a liquid, and into the bin went the delicious jar of jam.
4. Packing valuables in your checked bag
For safety and security, never pack expensive, rare, or items of value in your checked bag, as passengers have been known to lose items to theft or missing bags. If you must pack a breakable item in your checked bag (e.g., a bottle of wine), wrap it carefully and place it strategically in your case. Then make sure to choose a proper bag lock to keep out opportune thieves.
5. Not packing extra clothes in your carry on
An airline once lost my bag and I did not receive it until well after my trip had ended. Thankfully I had packed one pair of underwear in my carry on, but I had to immediately go shopping for new clothing (which wouldn’t have been so bad except for the currency conversion rate). Since then, I have always packed one outfit in my carry-on bag.
6. Forgetting to pack an item (or two or three)
I have forgotten to pack a hairbrush, deodorant, a toothbrush, and more. Even when I make a list, one lone item always gets left at home. Thankfully I’m not alone in forgetting an important item at home. At least I can buy new items on the road!
>>Read what to do if you forget to pack something.
7. Not packing appropriately for your destination
On my first trip to Australia, I knew I was arriving in winter, but I still packed capris, short-sleeved shirts, and one jacket. As soon as my sister and I landed, we sought out scarves for the colder days. Fast forward four years, and I’m arriving in Australia again in the winter, but this time I’m staying for 12-months instead of 3 weeks. You’d think I had learned my lesson, but I still didn’t pack warmly enough for the southern coast. Disregard your assumptions and read about the weather before you go!
Which of these packing mistakes have you made on your travels or seen someone else make? From the funny to the annoying to the major inconvenience, share your story.
Join the Her Packing List email community!
Subscribe to get our latest packing lists, gear deals, and travel news by email.