5 “Packing Essentials” You Don’t Need to Pack
The internet is full of travel blogs telling you what you should and shouldn’t pack for a ’round the world trip. The truth is there is nothing you “need” to pack. Maybe your passport. But there are even ways around needing that. There are no “packing essentials.” None. These are five of the worst items I’ve seen people say you “need” for long-term travel:
Travelers will tell you you need a headlamp for your ’round the world trip. They say it’s good to have if you need to go through your stuff in the middle of the night and want your hands free. Want your hands free? Turn on the light. You’re paying for that dorm room and there’s no reason you shouldn’t be able to turn on the light whenever you please. And why are you going through your stuff in the middle of the night anyways? When I get back to the dorm at 5am I am ready to pass the fuck out. I usually wake up in my clothes. And brushing your teeth can wait until the morning. Speaking of which, that brings me to travel non-essential #2…
You don’t need to pack shampoo, soap, whatever. You don’t need any of it. Most likely you’ll be spending most of your time at the beach on your ’round the world trip. Just take a dip and let the ocean clean you up the natural way. If you really need some soap, backpackers leave their shit in the bathrooms all the time. You can often find whatever it is that you need: body wash, toothpaste, razors. There is no need to pack your own.
2. Silk Sleeping Bag Liner
Everyone says that you need a sleeping bag liner to protect you from questionable linens in hostels. If you’re worried about the cleanliness of where you’re sleeping, stay home. Sleeping on suspicious beds is all part of the adventure of traveling the world. Why waste the space in your backpack? (And forget anyone who says you need a full sleeping bag, that is just a crazy waste of space.)
3. A Money Belt
The only thing worse than wearing a money belt while traveling is wearing a fanny pack while traveling. Or ever. Just don’t. Especially if you’re going to wear your money belt like a fanny pack. You know who you are. Here’s a tip: if you wear your money belt outside your pants, you’re doing it wrong. Here’s another tip: if you take your money belt out of your pants to pay for something, you’re doing it wrong. Do use all a favor, stop looking like a douche. Just use a wallet and don’t carry much on you.
4. Eye Mask and Ear Plugs
If you need an eye mask or ear plugs, you’re traveling the wrong way. If you’re going to bed before the point where you pass out from exhaustion, you’re going to bed too early. If other backpackers are making too much noise for you to fall asleep, why don’t you join them?
Head lamp, toiletries, sleeping bag liner, money belt, eye mask: none of these things are packing essentials and all of them will just take up wasted space in your backpack. Trust me, you will regret buying any of these things for your RTW trip.
Do you travel with any of these items? What don’t you carry that everyone else thinks is a packing essential?
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