Albert Einstein never said, "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results". But people sure do love quoting that. And when they travel, they also seem to love bringing along stuff they never use. It doesn't make a lot of sense. Also, that's not actually the definition of insanity, but whatever.
With the incorrect definition of insanity in mind, we rounded up a list of accessories and essentials that almost always end up in your suitcase, but never seem to leave. Here are 15 things you can definitely stop packing every time you travel.
Shampoo and other toiletries might seem small when you're packing them, but they end up collectively weighing more than they're worth. Besides, most hotels and even some hostels offer complimentary pint-sized bath and shower items. And unless you're going into a remote jungle, it's not as if you can't buy shampoo at your destination. You spent $400 flying somewhere. Spend $4 on shampoo. Plus, we're pretty sure your hair will live without Vidal Sassoon Pro Series for a few days.
14. Clothes for every occasion
It's tempting to dream you'll Indiana Jones it one moment, then hobnob with the rich and famous at some elegant party the next. But in reality, you'll probably just wear a tank top at the beach and a button-down to dinner. If you're really concerned about unexpected adventures, bring more versatile clothing. A single pair of dark jeans works out in the wild, but in a pinch they can also be worn to a nice dinner. And it's not like anyone's gonna think you're a fashion monster if you wear a polo to the beach.
One time, this guy in a hostel had a GPS device, an iPod, a little video camera, and a still camera. A smartphone that could have replaced them all. It's easy to fall into the trap of wanting to take along your toys, but come on — aren't you going on vacation to get away from that?
11. A medical kit
People often bring band-aids, burn ointments, gauze, and other medical diddly-doos, but how often do you honestly use that stuff at home? If you're staying in a hotel, they're going to have this stuff anyway.
10. Sports equipment
Skis, snowboards, and golf clubs are the exception; you're probably planning your trip around that stuff, and the gear is pretty particular. But baseball mitts, badminton racquets, and virtually anything else can just stay in the garage.
9. Workout stuff
Yeah. You're going to go to some beautiful, remote place so you can do calisthenics and go running every morning. Because that'll happen after a few rounds of piña coladas.
Running shoes and workout clothes take up space, and you will almost certainly not use them. If you must workout, do push-ups in your room. And if you're doing a proper job of seeing the place you're visiting, you're going to burn off a lot of calories walking around looking at stuff anyways.
Did you know that your hometown isn't the only place that sells sunscreen?
7. A towel
Towels are like suitcase zeppelins -- somehow, they don't weigh much, but they take up an assload of space. Your hotel will have towels.
6. Anything valuable
You know what's a great way to ruin your vacation? Having anything you care about getting lost, stolen, or broken. You're going on vacation; you don't need a laptop. And unless you're really a photography nerd, your DSLR will take up a ton of space and make you a target for thieves. Also, it's not like your friends on Instagram need ultra-high-res photos of your lunch. They'll get the idea.
5. Hiking boots
Unless you're actually going on a hiking trip... what are you thinking?
4. A second jacket
You should really reconsider where you're vacationing if you've gotta bring multiple levels of cold protection. But if you do expect a chill bring the heavier coat and bolster it with a sweatshirt or flannel instead. It's about layers, people.
3. More than one book
Buy a Kindle.
2. A pillow
Even those little travel pillows take up a lot of space, and if you're flying you can always ask the flight attendant for one. Also, a buttoned up jacket stuffed with a pair of jeans makes for a pretty reasonable substitute. It's not like you're trying to impress anyone when you're asleep.
1. Anything that involves the thought "what if X random situation happens"?
Tom Hanks turned out alright in Castaway, and all he had was some sick facial hair and a bloody volleyball for a best friend. Chances are, you're not going to end up on a deserted island. Or alone in the desert. Or alone in the woods. You're going on vacation, not trying out for a new edition of "Man vs. Wild".
And for the umpteenth time: Hotel staff can be your best friend. You'll be amazed at all the stuff they keep behind the desk that you'll have access to.
Stop making your life more difficult than it needs to be.