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Take The Sunscreen...Leave The Cat


With airlines charging a fee for every checked bag, overpacking can get downright expensive. As we packed to come home from our last Caribbean trip, Janet decided to make a list. Not a packing list, a “what not to pack” list. She compiled the list from the things she packed for that trip but didn’t use, and that’s what I want to share with you. Maybe you’ll find some ideas to help you avoid overpacking for your next trip.


1. The Pharmacy. When we traveled with our kids, Janet felt compelled to pack remedies for the many maladies kids experience. We used to pack an entire suitcase just for the Tylenol, cold medicine, stomach medicine, band aids, first aid cream…you name it, and we called that bag the pharmacy. When it is just the two of us, she’s found she can leave the pharmacy home.

2. The Glam Bag. Do you really need a separate suitcase for makeup and a home hair salon? Bring the minimum. If you want to get glammed up one night, treat yourself to a spa day that includes a make-up and hair session.

3. Athletic wear. I’m as guilty of this as Janet…we always pack something to wear to the gym, and then we never manage to make it to the gym. You’re on vacation…unless you are an elite athlete in training, skip the gym and leave the athletic attire home.

4. Formal evening wear. When we first started cruising we dressed up…tuxedo and ball gown with all the trimmings. Vacation dress codes have gotten considerably more casual in recent years which is fine by me, and country club casual takes up much less space in the luggage. Two or three outfits with accessories to make them look different can keep you looking your best for a week long vacation.

5. Shoes. Do you really need a suitcase just for your shoes? Nobody will be looking at your feet. You don’t need a different pair of shoes every time you hit the beach, or shoes to match every outfit. One pair of beach shoes or flip flops, something comfortable to walk around in, and one or two pairs of shoes versatile enough to complement your evening wear.

6. Purses. Janet loves her purses, and vacation used to be the time to show them off, so she packed them. Now, for most trips she brings two…the all-purpose purse she takes on the plane and a clutch for evenings.


These are just a few suggestions to consider the next time you pack for vacation. Take them, don’t take them…that’s up to you. Vacation is the time to indulge yourself…pack what you must to have a worry-free vacation. And if you end up not using half of what you packed, who am I to judge? Janet will probably always over pack and I’m OK with schlepping the bags through the airport. I do draw the line at the cat though. As we have found on our travels, there’s always a cat around when you need one. Leave the cat, take the sunscreen.


(Originally posted on 9 Feb 2023)

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