Many people know what to bring on a long trip but over-pack because they don’t know what to leave home. The experianced traveler brings less with them every time they head out the door.

Many of the common items we have with us everyday simply are useless or we can live without when skipping around the globe. Here are a list of some useless items to forget about.

  • Any Electronics Other Than A Laptop – A laptop is larger and heavier than an iPod or cell phone, but can double as many more things – using Skype to make calls is one of them. You can also watch some DVDs you ripped and keep your online accounts safe by avoiding Internet cafes.
  • More Than 1 Pair Of Shoes – Stick to a single pair of black tennis shoes. Kind on your feet and can be used for more formal occasions. Remember, you’re a traveler and probably won’t see the people at the opera again (of you’re feel self-conscious).
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  • Books – They take up space and weight and are only good until you’ve read them. Another good reason to bring a laptop is you can download any number of eBooks (and many of the classics are free).
  • As reader Daryl suggests, you should buy your books from the local bookstore of the place you’re visiting. You’ll not only have access to international books you might not be able to find at home or on Amazon. Plus, you’ll be able to return, resell, or donate the book once you’ve finished saving you the extra weight and space your return trip.

As for clothing, a good rule to follow is the 10 of essentials to which reader Uncle A made this comment:

I have another strange thing I do when I travel. I take all of my old underwear and socks and after each day I discard them, so that I do not have to worry about carrying around dirty underwear. I also creates room for the added items, from shopping. This includes shoes too!

CNN also has some specific fashion advice on what clothes not to pack. Some of their suggestions include only packing clothes that can be worn with at least 2 other pieces of clothing, stick to dark jeans, and only wear neutral colors.

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Remember that not filling your suitcase completely full before you go should be your goal. Leaving behind non-essential items, things you can live without, and anything work related will leave you the space you need for gifts and give your back and legs a rest.

I’d really like to hear from those of you who’ve been or plan on going abroad – what things can you live without and what do you leave home?

[photo by: Serk]