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Items I Own and Have Never Packed


In the months leading up to quitting my job and moving to Australia, I visited countless travel websites and perused multiple travel product catalogs. In the excitement of travel planning, I wanted to purchase a few goodies to help make the move feel closer, especially while I was still keeping my plans a secret from my colleagues and most of my friends.

Between the items I bought for myself and the ones that were given to me, there are a few that never made it into my suitcase or carry-on bag.

Wrinkle free fabric relaxant

I knew I was going to pack relatively little when I left for Australia. I knew I was going to roll my clothes to fit a few extra items in my small suitcase. I knew I didn’t want my limited wardrobe to look like a wrinkled mess whenever I stepped out of the hostel door. A 3oz bottle of fabric relaxant (Amazon link) seemed like the perfect solution!

Even though I could pack it in my carry-on pack, I already had items I wanted to include in my one quart plastic bag. When I realized I was asking myself how often I would use it compared to the other items on my packing list, I decided to ditch it.

And now? It sits in a box of unused items under my bed.

Travelon hand soap

You’ve been there – you’ve finally found a public restroom only to find there’s no soap. Sure, there’s antibacterial products you can use without water, but sometimes it’s nice to wash your hands with soap and warm water.

When I saw the Travelon hand soap sheets, I was curious to see if these could be my soap-on-the-go solution. A pack of 50 hand soap sheets comes in a container the size of a floss container – easy to pack!

Unfortunately, I never packed or even tried it. Why? When the product came in the mail, I flipped it over to read the details and found this disclaimer: “This product contains chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm.”

Thanks, but no thanks.

>> Brooke’s note: Try Sea to Summit Pocket Soaps

Inflatable travel pillow

I’ve never been a fan of around-the-neck travel pillows for flights. I know many people love them, but I actually feel awkward and can’t get comfortable!

I received one that’s folded and packed in a pouch that you can inflate before your flight. Easier to pack than one that won’t deflate? Yes. But it’s still never made the list because even folded it takes up too much room – and I suppose that’s because it’s not truly a priority on my packing list. If it was, I’m sure I would take something else out to make room for it, like I do for my luxury items.

Shoes that roll

I’m not quite sure why I needed a pair of shoes that I could roll like a sleeping bag and pack into a little pouch. Several travelers raved about using them on airplanes, but I’ve never been a gal who takes her shoes off on flights.

For whatever reason, I convinced myself that I needed a pair of a particular brand of roll-up shoes, and my parents bought me a pair for Christmas. Unfortunately they were a half size too big, so we returned them for a smaller size. Months later, on the day I began packing my bag for Australia, I realized that the rolled shoes were still too bulky to pack. So I left them at home and never regretted not having them on the plane or on the road.

>> Brooke’s note: Try Spare Soles as they roll up very small.

Gelco G-Seat

I’ve mentioned the Gelco G-Seat before- a cushioned seat that improves posture and alleviate tailbone and back pain. It differs from the items above in that I actually did pack it once – but only once.

It’s a product I would use again. In fact, I plan to take it to the office and use it for extra lumbar support now that I’ve returned to working four days a week at a desk. But for air travel? Like many of you, I travel with relatively small bags, and the G-Seat takes up precious room in my carry-on bag that I can’t afford to lose. If it had provided exceptional comfort on long-haul flights, that would have been a different story!

Have you purchased travel products only to leave them sitting at home – on every trip? What did you think would make your packing list that simply hasn’t made the cut?

Written by Heather

Heather Rudd Palmer is a 30-something with a love for travel, food, and healthy living. After short trips to Europe in her 20s, Heather left her job at 30 to live, work, and travel in Australia for a year. She visited every state and territory, embarked on two road trips, worked at an organic food store, and ate her way through Sydney. She's now a career counselor for university students. You can find Heather at There's No Place Like Oz and Healthy Life Heather.

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Travel Resources

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Handbag Packing Masterclass – Learn to pack your lightest bag ever in this revolutionary packing class run by HPL founder, Brooke.

Creative Ways to Minimize Your Toiletry & Beauty Kit – Practical tips alongside DIY recipes designed to help you pack lighter, smaller & with fewer liquids. (Also included as a bonus to Handbag Packing Masterclass.)

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Trusted Housesitters – Save money on travel accommodation by becoming a housesitter. Housesitters often have extra duties, like caring for pets and gardens.

Reader Interactions


  1. TWills says

    I personally pack the wrinkle reducer and I never regret it. It gets shared among a few people. I have a 3 oz that keep refilling with 1/4 teaspoon of fabric softener and fill with water. It also always makes my clothes smell good if I need to wear a shirt just one more time!

    • Diane says

      My wardrobe rescue is a small, empty spray bottle. I put water in in when I need to freshen up my clothes. A spritz of plain water adds a lot of freshness to your basic overnight airing out of clothing. I dampen wrinkles & creases and give them a tug or smoothing out, then dry overnight. You could add a little piece of a dryer sheet in warm water, to soak making it more of a product. I like plain water. When other things need freshening, vinegar, hydrogen peroxide or vodka (loads of uses for vodka) can be spritzed into the air for an effective deodorizer, or sprayed onto surfaces for disinfecting. Be careful with peroxide, as it can bleach. The spray bottle is also great for spot cleaning when you need the item to dry quickly. I can use the spray bottle to dampen my hair slightly for styling, too. My bottle is 2″ x 6″ and weighs almost nothing.

  2. Californian says

    Just a future F.Y.I.

    I’m a Californian transplant, as in, I grew up in the Midwest. When I got here I noticed that many products had the disclaimer “This product contains chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm.” So many products in fact, that I don’t really even notice it anymore.

    California has some unique laws, one of which requires that disclaimer even when other states selling the exact same product don’t have it printed on them. Therefore, had those Travelon hand soap sheets you purchased arrived from any other state, that disclaimer would not have been printed on them.

  3. Amy says

    I bought a pair of compression socks and the packaging had the “This product contains chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm.” disclaimer…I still bought the socks. Maybe I should not have?

    • Brooke says

      Hmm something in the fabric I think. I had a friend who bought a costume and it had that disclaimer on it. What brand are the socks?

  4. Leah S says

    The cancer disclaimer doesn’t necessarily mean you will get cancer from the product in the way it is intended to be used. For instance, the hand soap may cause cancer and birth defects but (and they don’t mention this) only if you ingest it. Its the same for the chemicals in various clothing items, makeup products, toiletries, technology, etc. Unless you use it in ways not necessarily intended by the creator, you are fine.


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