Unnecessary items we take abroad

It always amazes me why my wife chooses to hoard carrier bags at home. We have dozens of them in our house. Many of them stored within other carrier bags, and all squished into one ‘big daddy’ carrier bag holder.

It’s like we’re planning for a day that will never come, when we’ll need to transport every single one of our belongings via supermarket carrier bags. If that day does dawn on us, I may well die of shame before we step out of the door!

This got me thinking about how we seemingly prepare for any eventuality when going on holiday. Even if it’s a luxury holiday, we always take items with us that would be found as a matter of course in any half decent hotel.

Regardless of this, we jam our cases full of things we rarely if ever will use. Even when at home, these things gather dust in the ‘drawer of essentials’. You know the one, that drawer that every person has that you can never open, that features everything but said ‘essentials’. It’s normally densely populated with old relic staplers, odd foreign coins, picture hanging kits, blunt hacksaws, dirty old instruction manuals and rust riddled useless trinkets you’ve picked up from a flea market somewhere 25 years ago.

However, you can be rest assured that when you do use one of the dozens of unnecessary things you’ve taken abroad, your wife’s entire philosophy will be justified and it will be you who ends up looking silly, ‘I told you we’d need this’ is a commonly used put down in these situations.

Travel irons get me. Especially when you arrive at your hotel and hey ho there’s a perfectly good iron there waiting for you to use, so excuse me my good lady wife ‘I told YOU they’d have one!’  And travel irons can be put away for years unused, but on the rare occasion a hotel doesn’t have an iron for you to use and you do need it, what a surprise it’s next to useless and guess what there’s no board anyway and you end up with the ludicrous task of ironing a t-shirt on the kitchen table.

Travel irons are merely the beginning. Most insect repellent I have used in the past seems about as unappealing to an insect as a can of coke is to a wasp. Namely, not repellent at all.

Another waste of time and precious space in my rapidly expanding case of tricks. Boxes of plasters, hoards of sun cream, cough medicine and other ‘medical unlikelies’ are also conspicuous not by their absence!

Perhaps the one brilliant inclusion I’ve had over the years is a fold away dirty clothes bin. It does actually fold away, and it is useful. Although of course its inclusion in the case could have been usurped by several of those pesky carrier bags, but no, they weren’t deemed required for this task!

Don’t mention sunglasses. When one pair is required, four pairs are taken. I can guarantee you that one of those pairs won’t get a wear. Unless like me you get to the last day of your holiday and take pity on a pair that haven’t yet had an outing. Erm, ok, that’s just me.

Hand held fans are another. Why bring them? You are never going to use them by the pool. You just aren’t. Not unless you want ridicule, and in any case the batteries will run out after a couple of goes and who wants to take batteries abroad? My wife, that’s who!

I remember once taking a packet of Duracell on holiday, opened up my case to find my clothes covered in battery acid as they’d leaked in the soaring temperatures. My fault again though …should have wrapped them in a carrier bag!

Dominic Speakman is the CEO at Destinology.

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Comments (5)

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  1. Jan Ross says:

    Funny – I was thinking about this just the other day. How I carefully pack shampoo, etc. and it’s always available in the hotel. Think I’m going to try a toiletries – less trip next!!

  2. John says:

    What would you suggest your wife does with her carrier bags? In fact they are very useful when travelling, not only for putting batteries in but clothes that need washing, rubbish and keeping clothes etc dry.
    Travel irons might be useful for me to wax my snowboard, but don’t expect to be able to iron clothes with it afterwards.

  3. Chris Jones says:

    Keeping a few carrier bags makes sense. Keeping them by the hundreds does not!

  4. Mark S says:

    I couldn’t agree more with this article, I tell friends and family all the time the only thing they need to take are an 220 to 110 converter and there chargers for there phones, and cameras. The majority of hotels will have everything else and if they don’t who cares if your dress has a couple wrinkles in it as soon as you sit down and get up you will have more anyway. Besides you may be thousands of miles away from home and you will never see those people who see you again.

  5. Venus says:

    You know, a travel iron is something I’ve never packed on a trip.. But agree on the sunglasses and hand-held fans! Though, to make matters (much) worse, I’ve been wanting one of those hilarious visor-with-built-in-fan things to sport around without shame. I wonder if that would get some wear in the pool? Ha. :)

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