With hold luggage becoming ever more expensive, it’s increasingly advantageous to be ruthless about what to take away with you. In any case, travelling with a small, light bag is much easier and more liberating than lugging around a big, over-stuffed heavy suitcase.

And it’s always nice to be able to close your bag without having to ask strangers to come and sit on it with you. Reduce your packing stress by chopping this lot straight off the list.

1. Traveller’s cheques

Good luck trying to exchange traveller’s cheques in *insert name of anywhere on earth*. Come and join us in the twenty-first century – leave those obsolete bits of paper where they belong: in the past.

2. Cheap clothes

Take a few high-quality items rather than lots of cheaper ones – this especially applies for longer trips. That budget yellow poncho might seem like a wonderful idea as you prance around in it at home the night before you go. But when you’re in the middle of the jungle, sweating like hell and with rain seeping through, you’ll wish you’d forked out for a proper rain jacket.

3. Too many gadgets

Let’s be clear: there are some extremely useful travel gadgets on the market; you just don’t need to take them all on every trip. Prioritise, and think carefully about the value each one will contribute, compared to the hassle of taking it with.

Do you really need a phone, laptop and a tablet? How about those over-ear and inner-ear headphones? If you’re travelling to several countries, take a world adaptor with dual USB chargers – one item, multiple functions.gadgets

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4. Extra toiletries

Despite what you might be used to in our consumer-hungry world, most of the items stuffed into your bathroom cupboard probably don’t count as essential toiletries. Leave the face serum, eye cream, day cream, night cream, exfoliating scrub, Dead Sea bath salts and green tea face mask at home.

You can buy shower gel, shampoo, conditioner, deodorant and other basics in most towns the world over. Unless you’re planning on being in remote rural areas for most of your trip, consider taking the bare essentials to get you started and buying more once you’re there – or just use hotel mini bottles.

5. Your entire bookshelf

Books can be heavy and take up lots of space. If you think you’ll read more than one novel while you're away, take an e-reader. This applies to multiple guidebooks, too – we sell digital version of all our guides, so you can get all the advice you need, without weighing yourself down.


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6. Hair straighteners

Remember a time before hair straighteners? If not, you’ll have to take our word for it – humanity managed to survive. There’s no denying that straighteners have transformed many a frizzy mop into a sleek mane; but while you’re on holiday, you can ditch the extra baggage weight, embrace the freedom of being away from home and go for a more natural, beachy look. You might even end up preferring wavy and wild to straight and manicured.

7. Home comforts

Everyone misses the odd food while away. Whether it’s English breakfast tea, Marmite on toast, Cadbury’s chocolate, Oreo cookies or Reese’s Pieces, you’ll still be able to have them when you get back, and you’ll enjoy them all the more if you’ve had a break. Embrace the culture and cuisine of your destination, and leave the tea bags (and teapot) at home.

Oreo cookies

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8. That fourth pair of shoes

Going backpacking? Trainers/hiking boots: check. Flip flops: check. Going away somewhere fancy? Add a pair of smart shoes. Any more than this, and you’re asking for trouble.

9. Tent pegs

If you’re taking hand luggage only, don’t pack tent pegs, as they’re only allowed in the hold. You might be surprised by airline carry-on restrictions, which include badminton rackets, spanners, fishing rods, radioactive materials and electric drills. Alright, maybe those last two aren’t completely unexpected.

tent, camping

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10. Valuable jewellery

Expensive jewellery or anything of sentimental value are a big no-no (with the exception of engagement and wedding rings). If you’re seriously concerned about losing that big blingy chain or having it stolen, simplify things by not bringing it.

11. A guitar

There’s only so many times your meal/sleep/reading can be interrupted by the sound of out-of-tune crooning by the guitar guy/girl trying to impress fellow travellers round the campfire before you lose your mind. You’ve heard No Woman No Cry, Buffalo Soldier and Wonderwall countless times in cafés, on the beach and in hostel common rooms.

Despite the astounding abundance of songs in the world, once that guitar hits foreign shores, the options drop to an alarmingly limited supply of overplayed dirge. Don’t let yourself become that irritating attention-grabber. Unless you’re a musical prodigy, leave the guitar at home.