What not to pack: The most efficient way to fly


As someone who travels a fair amount as part of my job, I’m well versed in the art form of packing luggage. The last thing I want is to lug around extra weight that just isn’t necessary, especially when travelling domestically or heading interstate just for the day. And it’s not only for convenience, airline checked baggage fares can be incredibly high, so I try to avoid them at all costs. Here are a few of the things it’s best to leave at home if you can.

Shoes

Here’s the thing. It’s very easy to get into a mindset of “oh, but what if I go out for dinner?” or “these slippers would help keep me comfortable on the plane”, but the less shoes you bring, the better. Shoes are heavy. And not only heavy, but big and bulky. Shoes consume precious space, so if you’re planning on packing multiple pairs, think about whether you really need them. On a trip interstate for a day or overnight, it’s probably not necessary to bring options. And for longer trips or international travel, if you’re going to bring multiple pairs, make sure to wear the heaviest ones on the plane.

Toiletries

Again, they’re heavy. Think about whether you’re staying somewhere overnight and if you are, whether it’s likely there will be shampoo, conditioner and soap freebies in your hotel. As most accommodation does provide this with the room, it’s generally quite accessible. If you’re a creature of habit and have a certain brand or product preference that you need, then that’s okay, just try to track down a mini version. Nobody wants to lug around unnecessary full-sized shampoos, conditioners, body washes or anything else. Also bear in mind that toiletries can explode with high air pressure, so wrap them in a plastic or ziplock bag to protect your belongings!

Valuables

This one is mostly for the ladies. Don’t pack valuable or precious jewellery. You most likely won’t need it and the hassle of it getting lost or even stolen (especially if it’s priceless or sentimental to you) is far more stress than you need on your trip. While these items might not necessarily be heavy or inconvenient, just remember that you probably won’t need to wear your highest quality belongings.

Unnecessary weather protection

This may sound vague, but what I mean is don’t try to predict the weather or pack for all climates. Check the forecast for wherever you’re going before you pack. If you’re heading to Queensland in January, you’re not likely to need a woolen jumper. However, if you’re going to London, you will. It’s important to know the location and the weather and make executive decisions based on what time of year it is. If you think you probably won’t need something, it’s easy to remove it and purchase it when you get there if the need arises. If in doubt, take it out.

Food

You. Do. Not. Need. To. BYO. Meals. Or. Snacks. Don’t worry, I won’t say it a second time. If you’re travelling internationally and you’re feeling a little sentimental about the lack of Vegemite (or anything else notoriously Australian), you may want to reconsider your urge to bring it with you. You don’t need to bring food from home and most of the basics you’ll be able to find overseas anyway. While I can understand buying snacks at the airport to keep yourself entertained and comfy on your flight – I actually endorse this – taking food for later on in your trip is unnecessary. If you’re going to be overseas for a long enough time that you’ll actually miss the food from back home, you can have someone ship some food to you later. It’s not needed in your luggage.

Water

Firstly, you can’t take water with you through security onto a plane when you’re travelling internationally. Secondly, airlines literally have to give you free water whenever you ask for it. If you want a water bottle, that’s okay, but don’t buy an enormous one before you check in because it’s likely that it will be confiscated.

You don’t need to bring your whole life with you on your next trip. Whether you’re heading interstate for a day or overseas for a month, some of these things are okay to ditch.


About the author

Bessie Hassan is the Travel Expert at financial comparison website finder.com.au, which includes a comparison of airline checked baggage fares