5 Things You Should Leave Behind when Packing

1. Outlet Converter

Outlet converters are often seen as travel essentials, but contrary to popular belief, I am not a big fan of those bulky outlet converters. They are a great option if you have multiple devices. But for me, the only things I need an outlet for are my electronics, like my Macbook and iPhone charger. For those, I highly recommend buying a European plug instead. That way you don’t need the extra step of using a converter. This is very simple for my MacBook charger, where I can just snap off the US plug and swap it with an EU plug instead. Using a converter can also be inconvenient for times when you are charging on campus. You would have to plug in a brick-sized converter to the outlet just to charge. However, I do think that outlet converters can be situational, so use your best judgment.

My Macbook charger with an EU plug

2. Full-sized Toiletries

Travel-sized toiletries are essential for traveling. But you should think twice about bringing full-sized bottles. Full-sized bottles can take up a lot of precious space in your luggage while making your luggage heavier. It is way more convenient to buy them in Spain instead. For example, body wash is widely available and there are many options so you can definitely find something you like. However, if there is a specific brand you are loyal to, you should bring them because some countries may not have them. In Spain for example, I had to bring my skincare products because it would be hard to find the exact thing I need. However, if it is just products that you are indifferent about, just buy them where you are traveling to! For me, this would be like body wash.

3. Cash (in large quantities)

Make sure to research if cards are widely accepted where you are traveling. In Spain, it would generally be smarter to not bring too much cash. About 95% of the places I have been to accept cards, even for small purchases like €1. It is a good idea to bring just enough for “emergency” scenarios, but you should reconsider making all your spending in cash. For me, the most annoying thing about Euros is the fact that anything under 5 euros comes in coins. In the US, we commonly use 1c, 5c, 10c, and 25c coins. But in the EU, there are coins for 1c, 2c, 5c, 10c, 20c, 50c, €1, and €2. This is double the coins the US has and is such a hassle to carry around. I believe it is more valuable to find a card that does not charge international fees versus using cash.

The Euro coins denominations https://savybabyblog.wordpress.com/2019/10/09/euro-coins-european-unit-study/

4. Clothes for special occasion

It is tempting to pack clothes for every “what if” scenario, but you should think twice and ask yourself if you really need it. In my case, I packed running shoes and gear with the intention of jogging around regularly. I hate to admit it, but I have rarely touched them after bringing it over. It took up extra space in my luggage when I could have packed more clothes that I regularly wear. I would say, be more realistic when you are considering things. 

5. Anything with value

Lastly, it may seem obvious but don’t pack anything you aren’t willing to lose. You should reconsider bringing things that you personally value, or that are irreplaceable. There are so many factors that come into play when traveling and you can lose it anywhere. There’s always the risk of misplaced luggage, accidentally dropping it, or even pickpocketing. It may not be worth to lose something so important over a short trip.

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