When planning a trip, poring over packing lists and visiting outdoors and travel stores, it’s so easy to get distracted. Your thought process might quickly turn from, “What travel gear do I need?” to something more like, “A water filtration system is a great product! And a vest with pockets would be the perfect place to carry my new water filtration system!”
Ooh, that could be handy.
Like the packet of gum at the front of the grocery store, you might pick up a compass or a whistle “just in case” as you roam the aisles, wide eyed and excited for your impending adventure. The staff at these stores might even talk you into extra products. Even looking on this site, you might convince yourself of items that you don’t really need for your specific trip.
And don’t even go on Pinterest if you want to avoid buying more amazing travel products!
It’s called Shiny Object Syndrome, and it can become apparent in any aspect of your life, but it’s especially problematic when you are trying to figure out what travel gear you actually need to buy and pack for that next big trip.
How do you avoid “shiny object syndrome” when it comes to packing and planning for adventures? Here’s a good way to start.
Our Easiest, Quickest Tip
Be sure to ask yourself, “What travel gear do I need for my trip to XYZ?” (with emphasis on need).
Write out everything and highlight the items that you need to buy beforehand. We definitely recommend pricing these items in advance so you can shop for the best deal leading up to your getaway. Then double check your list to eliminate anything you won’t reasonably need.
We can show you how in this post.
Have Tunnel Vision
Most people would say tunnel vision isn’t a good thing, but in this situation, it’s essential. Don’t even look around in other sections of the travel gear store apart from what you’re going for. Don’t try on travel clothes “just to see if they fit.” Don’t browse online for travel gear (you get a pass for hanging out at Her Packing List of course). And definitely don’t subscribe to those flash sales that send you daily emails. That’s a surefire way to buy things you don’t need.
Smaller is Better
We probably sound like a broken record here at HPL, but choose a smaller bag. The less room you have to pack, the less likely you are to develop shiny object syndrome and purchase unnecessary items that you’ll have to cram in later. So really consider the size of your bag.
Can you go carry on easily? Do you really need a new bag for this trip or can you make do with one you already have? Go through a trial run of packing before you go to make sure everything you really need fits. Whatever doesn’t can stay behind! And anything else you need can be purchased when you get there.
Purpose and Value
Of course, there is a lot to be said about investing in pieces of gear that serve a better purpose than something you already own, and then replacing it out. And, if that piece of gear offers more value to you in the long run- easier travels in some way or form- then those may not just be shiny objects for you to avoid. Think critically about each piece in relation to your packing list (yep, we brought it back to the list!).
How do YOU deal with shiny object syndrome when it comes to travel gear and packing?