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What not to pack: What I packed but didn’t need!

| May 2, 2012

Guidebooks, map & camera

When it comes to packing I am guilty as everyone else who over packs.  You want to cover for every eventuality and if you are travelling for the first time you probably want to ensure you have everything with you that you might or might not need. Well here is a short list of things I packed when I first went backpacking and learned they were unnecessary.

Unnecessary Spares

I took bundles of film with me when I went travelling.  I needn’t have bothered as it is easy to buy when I needed it.  I would suggest taking only one camera and leave spare equipment at home.  The same goes for batteries, of course take a couple of spares with you, but don’t fill your bag with spare batteries as you can purchase them.

Sleeping Bag

Unless you are planning an expedition to the Himalayas or an outdoor camping adventure, leave your sleeping bag at home.  There is never one sleeping bag that suits all climates so you might find your chosen sleeping bag isn’t suitable.  Instead just pack a sleeping sheet.


They are big, they are heavy and also expensive, and there is no need to carry them.  Well never more than one at a time anyway.  Guidebooks are easy enough to purchase as you travel throughout Australia and Southeast Asia.  There are thousands of backpackers trailing the same routes buying and selling their guidebooks, and you can normally pick them up cheaper as you travel than you can buying them before you go.

Reading Books

Like guidebooks,  there is no need to carry a library with you, reading material is easily purchased or swapped along the way.  I didn’t buy one book when travelling but surprisingly it was a time I read the most books.


Since reading a post on about travelling with Laptops.  I thought I would update this post to to include laptops on my list.  If you have enough money in your piggy bank not to worry too much about working along the road, my advice would be to ditch your laptop and experience a disconnected life without it.  You might experience things you wouldn’t otherwise experience if you have it with you.  For example, I did numerous jobs along the way which introduced me to many experiences I am thankful for.  Had I taken and worked on my own laptop, I might have skipped these life changing experiences for the sake of convenience.  It is far easier to jump on your laptop than it is to be social and make friends.  Making friends is a huge part of travelling, so don’t sacrifice this for the sake of self entertainment and leave your laptop at home.  Besides it is heavy and it is just something else to worry about.

Overall in this day and age there are few remote countries you might struggle finding a sleeping bag for sale or other travel equipment.   In other words, don’t overfill your backpack with stuff you think you might need.  In the worst case scenario you might have to go and purchase some stuff, but don’t stress too much about it, unless you’ve planned a jungle expedition and heading too far off the beaten track,  you will find most stuff you need on the road and usually at a cheaper price.

Category: Pre Travel, Travel Tips

About the Author ()

Gained the travel bug at the age of 20 which has seen me venture to places I never thought I'd venture. Now 29 I am working in the travel industry and dreaming of my next adventure and thinking of times gone by.

Comments (3)

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  1. Mike Howard says:

    Very useful information. I always struggle on this topic. many thanks!

  2. Penfires! says:

    You can just make a print from different websites their travel guides or better yet, just down load it to your phone, tablet or compact laptop… If you are going to stay at a hotel, best not to take towels with you.

    • Chris says:

      Hi Penfires, thanks for your comment.

      If you know where you are going and are planning to visit only a few places taking print outs is a good idea. However from my experience of travelling, I didn’t have a planned route. So it would be impossible to print out everything just in case.

      Digitally loading information onto your phone is a good idea, just need to be aware of when you are running low on batteries. You might not also want to take such an expensive gadget to certain destinations.

      In fact, I should probably add expensive gadgets on this list of what not to pack. Though they are helpful, they aren’t necessary.