What you don’t need | the Anti Packing List

anti packing list

What you don't need | the Anti Packing List

Who can relate? You stand at check-in at the airport and just hope that you didn’t pack too heavy. The scale shows 22.8kg – Jackpot! But actually, it’s too much to carry around with you on your trip. Some things will stay in the suitcase or the backpack for the entire journey and will not see the light. As a hopeless over-packer, I’ve learned over the years what I can leave at home and will definitely not miss on the road. What those things are? Let me share them with you in this anti packing list:

Shower gel and shampoo in bottles

These are not only damn heavy but also take up too much space. Let’s not even start talking about leaking bottles. For years, I’ve been using solid body and hair soaps (mostly from Lush). These are small, handy, lightweight, do not spill and will last you longer than liquid shower gel or shampoo.

Hair straightener & hairdryer

Most hotels, but also hostels and Airbnbs have hairdryers on site. I used to carry a hair straightener with me, but now I really couldn’t care less about how my hair looks when travelling. Those two are definitely perfect for the anti packing list – so both stay at home.

Anti-Packliste was zuhause bleibt-5

Small pocket hairbrush

These mini hairbrushes may seem super handy, but I do not like them at all. This is probably the only thing where I would rather take something bigger than minimize my luggage. The plastic is also not really good for the hair and I just love my natural hairbrush too much to leave it at home.

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Laundry Detergent

What laundry detergents can do, body soaps can too. That’s why I don’t carry extra detergent when travelling – besides taking up unnecessary space, I just don’t like thinking about the chance of spilling. When I wash my clothes in the sink, the regular hand soap in the hotel or my body soap do what it should.

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Big tripods

A few years ago I carried a big tripod on my around the world trip. Not a single (!!!) time did I use it take pictures. If you like to take pictures, then get a small tripod instead that is not heavy and fits in any small bag.


Although I love Mozartkugeln, Milka chocolate bars and Mannerschnitten, there are also good sweets to be found abroad. And when travelling to a relatively warm destination, you do not have to worry about the chocolate melting and everything spilling. Again, sweets go on the anti packing list.

Money Belt

In fact, on my first two trips to Latin America, I always wore a money belt under my clothes. But thankfully it was just never necessary. Today,  if I see people wearing one, I just have to laugh. If it were so dangerous, we would not be able to travel to these countries. A little bit of common sense helps there more than just a stupid money belt.

Books & Guide Books

They are heavy, unhandy and easily replaceable by a Kindle or a smartphone. Even though I love to read physical books, I leave this weight at home. Before the trip, I plan everything with the guide book, take pictures of individual pages or purchase the pdf. Pinterest is also a great resource for travelling.

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Valuables & Jewellery

When travelling, I take nothing with me that I couldn’t easily replace. Sure, the laptop, smartphone and cell phone have to come with me – but I make backups at home and sync everything to the cloud during the trip.

As for jewellery: I have nothing worth stealing – but you never know.

Anti Packliste was zuhause bleibt


I’m more of a backpack person and that’s why handbags stay at home. Point. Out. Anti packing list. Basta.

Paper Maps

There are now something like Google Maps and maps.me 😉

Sleeping bag

Leave the sleeping bag at home if you are not travelling on long-distance buses. And even then, a fluffy scarf often will do the same job. Many hostels will not let you use your own sleeping bag. Bed bugs love to travel in them. So avoid that.

For a long time, I’ve carried a very thin indoor sleeping bag on my trips. Packed it wasn’t bigger than two Harry Potter books – and certainly lighter.

More than 2-3 pairs of shoes

Running or sports shoes, comfortable/normal sneakers and flip-flops – you do not need any more shoes.

If you are only going to travel in cities and do not want to go to the mountains, then you can also save yourself a pair of shoes.

I always wear flip-flops in the hotel or hostel, especially in the bathroom and in the shower.

Packliste Chile Winter

More clothes than for a week

You do not need more. Believe me. I pack 7 shirts, 2 pants, 1 pyjama and underwear and socks for 8 days. And if I am travelling longer, I either wash my stuff daily in the sink – so I never really have any dirty clothes – or have my laundry done once a week.

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The “just-in-case-things”

This definitely includes things like enormous first aid kits, more than 2 pens, and all these “but if I do that, then maybe I will need that, and then that and that”- things. Forget them. Because you will not need those “just in case” things. Trust me!

So, let’s fight overpacking and excess bag weight! Let me know what you include in your personal anti packing list in the comments!

Keep on travelling

ps. my other regular packing lists can be found here.

pps. Pin me!

anti packing list pin Anti packing list Pinterest

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  • That tripod comment hits home for me. Same here!!! That big tripod never gets used. Lol.

    I agree with you for almost all the items except the paper map. Ever had the issue with no signal or no battery? I got stuck a few times before, these days I still travel with a physical map and a compass keyring as a safety precaution for any outside of main cities sort of travelling.

  • This is so handy! I wouldn’t say that I’m overpacking, but I could see how it would escalate for some! The best thing is finding items/products/shoes that have dual purposes to save room and you highlighted many!

  • I travel with a journal and a pencil pouch. My watercolors have been reduced to a small kit the size of a computer mouse. Soap, shampoo, body spray, etc. I just purchase in whatever country I visit—anything left over gets left behind, no worries (I did have a bad experience traveling to Colombia and my very expensive, very RED shampoo opened and spilled all over my clothes!). Paper maps are a must traveling in certain countries, or parts thereof where GPS signal is AWOL. GREAT tip about the cloths— I usually travel for a month at a time and find myself wearing the same things. Make up? Just the basic.

  • If like me and my husband you need to take medication regularly but you are only going away for a week, invest in pill dispensers and fill them. Much easier than taking a load of boxes and having to remember if you have taken them each day. Any longer away and get another dispenser. The tip about solids from Lush is so true, I have to order them online but worth it if you travel and can’t manage heavy luggage………..arthritis is a b.gger.

  • I’ve been packing just a carry-on for all my trips since 2006 when Delta lost our bags coming/going to Italy for 10 days each way. Took a trip to France for 3 1/2 weeks-carry on. Trip to Africa for 2+ weeks-carry on. The only thing I disagree with is shampoo/conditioner. I break out easy and need mine since I often can’t find my brand overseas. Other than that, I pack uber light. I figure I can usually buy it there if I’m desperate. And I often end up buying a least one clothing item while traveling, so I pack even lighter.

  • Have learned the art of travelling with hand luggage only on most trips. My tip: pack underwear and clothes you don’t want anymore. I rinse mine with powder washing powder (small amount essential on longer stays) then throw them away to make space for the irresistible pieces of fabric, books and whatever I succumbed to.

    • I totally do that as well! Older shirts, undies, shoes are worn one last time on an epic trip and then thrown away.
      All the other clothes that I keep, I usually wash the same day after wearing it and leave them to dry overnight and pack them in the morning. That way I never have stinky clothes. For washing I just use some normal soap and if I travel for a longer time, I’ll bring it to a wash saloon after having washed it by hand two or three times.

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