Packing Mistakes I Made and Keep Making

packing mistakes

One of my least favourite bits about travelling is packing and unpacking. I am the worst packer: I end up doing it last minute, forget things and I always tend to take too little with me. And for some reason I usually pack something that I really don’t need because I did too little thinking or a lot of overthinking. These are some of my biggest misses:

(Too Many) Books
There was this one time I did a mini InterRail trip and took a 300+ pages book with me. I still don’t know why I would read Death in the Time of Cholera while trying to relax. Of course I didn’t want to leave it behind so I had to carry it around. Plus we all know it’s all about Cosmo and Glamour when on the road.

Washing powder
I figured that hand luggage for + 3 weeks on the road called for a laundry day sometime in the middle, so I brought a little bag of washing powder. I forgot about it and had to overpay for tabs at the laundrette. Then a few days after that the bag broke and it was in my toiletries bag. Ugh.

2 (!) pair of jeans. During summer. Why Tea, why?

Too many and unnecessary toiletries because I keep telling myself I really should do one day of doing nothing and staying in my room, putting on a hair mask, extra face cleanse … and have one of those pamper days. I don’t.

Hair dryer, curler and straightener
Same goes goes for my mini hair dryer, straightener and curl set … it’s even still sealed. It was actually one of those ‘ oh she travels so she must need one of these’ gifts. I am still sure one day I will need it.

Favourite Shirt
My all time favourite shirt that was perfect for photo opportunities, but got ruined through a combination of sun, sunscreen, food and all those other things you don’t encounter during a week at the office. RIP.

Least Favourite Shirt
Or that one shirt that I bought in the sale but never ended up wearing. Turns out even being in a whole new country didn’t spark a magical love affair with it.

I’ve never been a guidebook person and especially with easy access Internet everywhere I find most of them unnecessary. As if I am going to check out everything from a (probably) outdated guidebook. I try to find my info and hotspots from other travellers, brochures at tourist information desks, friends and social media.

Extra lens
A few times I brought an extra lens for my camera, but I ended up just using the regular one because I just kept forgetting I had it with me. Thankfully the locations more than made up for it in terms of photos, so I didn’t notice in the end.

Beach towel
A beach towel, and what maybe even worse is that I took it to a country that doesn’t have a beach. It was one of those classic rookie mistakes . Now I have one of those microfibre towel and it’s one of the best inventions.

Sometimes I stare at my clothes and think: ”Well … maybe I will need it in that and that scenario” and I pack things like a fancy jacket. Even if I would end up in that scenario the jacket would be too wrinkly to wear. Not worth it.

Weather inappropriate clothes
When I went on my exchange to Finland (in January … where it was -20) I packed surf shorts. The only explanation is that I just had come back from Melbourne (where it was 40+ degrees and every day was a surf day) and it somehow got into my suitcase. At least that’s what I keep telling myself.

What are your packing mistakes?

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  1. I love this post! I’m going on a HUGE trip next year and I’m constantly thinking about what I want to pack. Can I have more details about your mini hair tools? That’s something I think about… Also, I like your feedback on the extra lens. I think about whether or not I’d pack that too.


  2. Love this! I think the thing I’m most guilty of is too much make-up. I wear a full face everyday for work, and I have acne, so I always take my make-up with me, but then I end up just wearing just a tiny amount because when I’m travelling, I seem just to not care about my acne, and am more interested in going out and enjoying the day.

    I’m also guilty of the taking hair straighteners. So much space taken up for so little usage… Ah well

  3. Great post! We’ve stopped packing books, guidebooks, hair dryer, extra lens and recently also (too many) toiletries! Kerstin doesn’t wear any make-up, which is sooo good (for our luggage..). And I’ve managed to pack only the absolute minimum (can’t live without eyeliner and mascara though)! And something’s we’ve recently learnt: NEVER ever pack shampoo and shower gel! LOL Oh and we’ve never packed washing powder I must say… 😀

  4. This is such a timely post – I’m about to pack for a Christmas in Australia, and I’m having a really difficult time in doing so because it’s really chilly here and I just can’t conceive heat. I’m also a sucker for bringing too much camera kit. Extra lens? Tripod? Sure! Can’t miss a good photo opportunity… :-/

    Off to review my packing strategy now…

    Rachel || A Nesting Nomad

  5. Ohh the jeans, I always pack them and never wear them, but I keep convincing myself I really need them haha! Buy an ereader! It’s definitely one of my must haves on a trip, since you can carry around hundreds of books without all the weight 🙂

  6. JEANS! I Share the same problem.
    I have a problem with over packing undergarments as well, always too many or too little, never just enough.
    It should be simple math, but somehow i always get the numbers wrong.

    X, Carina
    Running White Horses

  7. My problem is I pack and pack and pack. During the summer holiday I take way too much and use maybe 1/3 of it. Toiletries I have manage to reduce but my pack still weighs loads. Top tip is a vacume bag that reduces the quantity of clothes and you have loads more space Lucy

  8. Leaving in less than four days and have literally repacked at least ten times because of the above reasons! It’s hard to narrow it down and balance between under and over packing!

  9. I know exactly what you mean! When I pack for weekend European trips, it’s difficult to prioritize what I’ll need because I can only carry one regular sized backpack (stupid budget airline rules!). I also have a tendency of under packing. I think I don’t need something, and then it turns out I do when I get to my destination.