Travel items you don’t actually need to pack

Save yourself the trouble and use these tips to ensure you don't pack more than you need to for your next trip.

Save yourself the trouble and use these tips to ensure you don’t pack more than you need to for your next trip.


The curse of the baggage scale is the bane of many travelers’ existences. It can be overwhelming to choose exactly what to bring when heading off on an adventure. There are practical things, sentimental things, comfortable things and beloved but unnecessary things all competing for their spot in your carry-on or suitcase. These helpful tips may help packers pare down as they approach their departure date.

Expensive jewelry

Nice jewelry is best left at home while on vacation. Even if you are fortunate enough to be able to afford a replacement, wearing your best pieces can result in being continuously up-charged and targeted by thieves. In recent years, kidnapping for ransom has become a more common occurrence (with the dollar amounts increasing as well).

Specialty travel hiding clothes

Many travel outlets and specialty stores will try to convince travelers that they need a special garment to keep valuables, like cash and passports, safe while on the road. The reality of these items, however, is often impractical. When travel belts and hidden pocket scarves are actually in use, they can signal to thieves obviously more than a nondescript crossbody, as it is outside the norm for someone to retrieve their wallet from underneath their clothing.


The habit of bringing wads of bills to change over at the airport may be a relic of a time less digitally connected and lacking of a fully integrated financial infrastructure. These days, most bank cards enable users to withdraw cash from local ATMs abroad, and the exchange rates one trades on this way are far more preferable to those found in airport kiosks. Travelers should be sure to alert their bank before taking off and be sure to have knowledge of international transaction fees before relying solely on this strategy, but it is still a better bet than bringing stacks of your native cash that may only get lost physically or depleted by conversion rates.

Descriptive clothing

While the comfort of your favorite college sweater may feel like a safety blanket on the road, it could actually be achieving the opposite. Wearing clothing items with obvious locations, schools or logos can set you apart as a tourist, give indications about your potential class status and set you up to be targeted. To avoid the attention of thieves, stick to basic colors, patterns and imagery that does not specifically convey your geographic background, work status or purchasing power.

This story was created by Detour, a journalism brand focused on the best stories in Black travel, in partnership with McClatchy’s The Charlotte Observer and Miami Herald. Detour’s approach to travel and storytelling seeks to tell previously under-reported or ignored narratives by shifting away from the customary routes framed in Eurocentrism. The detour team is made up of an A-list of award-winning writers, historians, photographers, illustrators and filmmakers.


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