I just had to pack it

Sarah and her toilet paper

I remember my first ever big trip and how careful I have thought of everything when it came to packing. And I packed, and packed, and packed… so much that my backpack literally broke on the way to the airport, about 10 minutes after I left home. And where was I going? Backpacking in Europe, of course.

In Berlin, at 6am, my backpack acting as a steady tripod for my camera.
In Berlin, at 6am, my backpack acting as a steady tripod for my camera.

Many years have passed since then and now I know that I can pretty much find anything to buy in the countries I am visiting (with an exception, Cuba). The only things I never leave at home are my medicine and first aid kit. Now I can easily travel for months with only a 30 liters backpack. I laugh remembering that first trip, when I couldn’t even carry the backpack, that’s how heavy it was.

We’ve all packed stuff that we didn’t need in our trips, so I though of asking a few bloggers what’s the most useless thing they ever packed in their bags. Enjoy!


Lauren from :

Three weeks. That’s how long it took my fiancé and I to pack for our round the world adventure. Hour after hour of packing and repacking.
So as you can imagine, every single centimeter of space was precious. Every single item had been thought through and squeezed into our packs. Which leads me to the item my fiancé felt he just had to pack.

Meet Rex:


Yes, that is indeed a First Order Stormtrooper. And he is heavy. And an awkward shape. And I can’t believe I let my fiancé take him with us! This is the one item that he wouldn’t budge on. No matter how I tried to convince him we didn’t need a Stormtrooper there was no changing his mind. Rex was part of our travels.

Now my fiancé did have all these great ideas about how we could take him on every adventure and get pictures of him frolicking in the sun, it would be great! An Instastar in the making! Thing is…. he’s been sat on the shelf and never left the apartment! I knew I should’ve secretly unpacked him!


Sarah from :

Three months in Kenya – my first time in the country.  Of course, I’d hit the Facebook groups for ‘tips and tricks’, and was told over and over again that “they don’t always provide toilet paper”.  So, ‘be prepared’ I thought.  ‘I can’t do without toilet paper’.  Three rolls subsequently found their way into my already stuffed suitcase.  I sat on it and managed to zip it up with a satisfied (and somewhat smug) smile.

Sarah and her toilet paper

On arrival in Kenya, I discovered that it was true – not everywhere provides toilet paper.  But you know what?  They do sell it.  They sell it everywhere: in the supermarket, in the corner shop, from a blanket laid out on the ground in the street… Why on earth did I think it was necessary to carry three rolls of the stuff 5000 miles across the world?  A pack of tissues to use until I could walk a dozen yards to buy some would have been quite satisfactory.  Do you know how bulky toilet rolls are?  I could have packed more mosquito spray, or another pair of shoes!


Taylor from :

I went to Europe for two months and just had to pack eight different lipsticks. You read that right: eight. My excuse for packing each one was that they were different colours, but in the end I only used about three or four throughout my trip. Make-up has never been a necessity to me, and my red lips are my go-to signature look, but lipstick tubes, especially when carrying eight can take up a lot of space in a backpack. Space that could definitely be used for more valuable and useful things.

taylor 2


Kristina from :

I am a 25 year old who still can’t part from her Teddy! His name is Maci, which means Teddy in Hungarian (I’m Hungarian on my mother’s side!). My cotton-pink friend has been in my life for the past 24 years, and he is one of my best friends. I take him everywhere – absolutely everywhere! He has a special spot in my carry-on bag while I travel, for quick access in case I need to check on him to see “if he’s ok”, while on our journey. He has literally been all over the world! He’s a little tattered now, but he will always be my soft companion. I used to never fall asleep without him – much to my boyfriend’s dismay!

I remember falling to pieces when I forgot to pack him on one of my trips to Indonesia. I called my parents at their home, where I had left Mact behind, and asked them to take care of him. No joke! Their response was to send me daily “updates” of Maci; telling me he was misbehaving! This picture will explain it all:

Maci Image 1

A few weeks later, my parents joined me in Indonesia and brought Maci with them. One day I come back from a dive and see Maci all geared up ready to go on the next dive with me! My parents are hilarious!

Maci Image 2


Ruben from :

I usually pack very light for my trips, no more than 10 kilos and that´s including my sleeping bag and tent. Always traveling with just the essentials. What do I usually bring that is considered useless? My shaver machine. ha! I carry it everywhere and most of the time, I am not using it. Especially in Asia where haircuts and barber visits are so cheap. Plus when I travel, I usually just let my beard grow.


The only real use of the shaver is when I meet people and tell them I’m bringing one, they suddenly feel the need to use a shaver, like get a haircut! haha! It became more of a way to socialize and break the ice with new people. So that’s pretty interesting and funny at the same time.


Miss Happy Feet from :

I used to always pack in a bar of soap and a bottle of travel hair wash when I travel. If you’ve asked me why, I would say:”What if there is no soap in the hostel?” Of course that never happens. All hostels/hotels/motels I’ve stayed in offered complimentary soap and shampoo.


I stop bringing them along when one fine day they messed up my bag big time. We were on a road trip in the U.S. Southwest. I am not sure it was due to the heat in the car-booth or the fact that we were trying to cramp everything into a small confined space, my soap sort of “melted” and my hair wash was squeezed open, leaving behind a coat of soapy layer in my bag pack and the rest of my stuff.


Steven from :

The strangest thing I bring with me when I travel is a small sock monkey. My mother makes and sells sock monkeys, with the marketing concept of traveling monkeys. To help promote this for my mom, I carry a small sock monkey with me whenever I travel, to photograph the monkey at famous landmarks, impressive locations and doing the sometimes mundane tasks of traveling, like plane rides or reading a map. Since it needs to be easily accessible to photo when I am on the go, it often ends up filling my pocket whether I am touring a city or hiking a mountain. I just can’t leave home without it!

TravelToBlank Sock Monkey in Kathmandu Nepal


Jeanette from :

There’s a few basic 101 items that I just can’t travel with. It’s true that the luxury items such as underwear, lipbalm and sunglasses are really high on the packing list. The one thing I just had to pack is my KeepCup. It’s one of the most versatile items that I carry with me. Together we’ve travelled to more than 20 countries together since 2009. The KeepCup is an Australian designed and made reusable coffee cup. The sealable lid makes it perfect for urban adventures in new cities, or that first cup of coffee on the mountain whilst out camping. When it’s not in use holding delicious coffee it;s perfect for holding small items in my carry on luggage. It’s amazing how often you can use a cup. From brushing your teeth in a dodgy hostel, to administrating medication to kill off that nasty head cold on a road trip. Quite often cafes will also give you a discount for a BYO cup.

Jeanette and her KeepCup


What is the strangest thing you ever packed?

Traveler. Dreamer. Cat lover. Wondering around the world with my backpack and my camera. Contributing to make the world a better place.


  1. Some great stories there but I have to disagree with Miss Happy Feet, I’ve stayed in plenty of hotels that don’t supply shampoo… in years gone by at least. These days the types of hotels I tend to stay in have a wonderful collection of goodies in the bathroom that I need to make room in my suitcase for on the journey home 🙂

  2. I can’t believe your fiancé packed his stormtrooper! But then again, why not? 😉 I backpacked from Ghana through Togo and Benin in 2007 with a friend. I packed too much, so much that when we took a moto ride to get to our hostel, I almost fell because my pack was too heavy!

  3. That’s a really interesting idea, never thought about what I would pack in my backpack and at the moment I don’t need medicine but would probably want to have an emergency first aid kit just in case. It’s funny how some things you think are necessarily really don’t end up being used (like the lipsticks… but the toilet paper is a good shout haha)

  4. Great travel advice!! I loved all the individual interviews (omg the cute sock monkey). I’ve never had to do any extreme packing, but my first trip to Paris I brought like 5 pairs of shoes, two of which were high heels. High heels + cobblestones = disaster. It’s not a weird thing to bring, but definitely something unnecessary!

  5. I know I pack way too much when I go on a trip but I have never been out of the United States and I have never stayed anywhere for more than 4 nights. Wow that is crazy that your finance brought his storm tropper.

  6. I actually don’t pack anything strange because I am one of those people that hates checking in bags and 99% of the time I succeed. I guess the strangest thing on my list is power supply / surge protector because hotels never have enough plugs, honey!

  7. Great post Joanna. So interesting to read what other travellers have wasted space taking with them. Not sure what our most useless thing is, maybe our two mascots ‘Charlie Brown’ and ‘Rocky’ (from Chicken Run) as they’re not really needed although we couldn’t travel with out them.

  8. Contributors are so funny and yes we all have weird things that bring-in during trips. I love that Stormtroper and one thing I learned from guys – you can’t take them away from that single they have. Anyway 1 red lipstick is enough for my trip, coz I always ended up shopping for more when I’m ready to get home.

  9. These are all adorable stories! Sometimes there are things that we can’t avoid packing especially if they’re precious to us. I think these are pretty hilarious but the truth is, we just need these items to survive being in a different place.

  10. Haha. I can’t leave that Teddy too. I mush bring him in my travels. I tend to pack several notebooks, around 10. Haha. Just have the feeling that I must note all. very traditional, yes. Haha

  11. It happened to me to pack a pillow; right after an accident car it was the only pillow I could sleep with, and most of the time the pillows I find at the hotels are really too soft for me. I am now leaving for 4 weeks in Sweden and there pillows are too soft and small… I might reconsider to pack mine 😉

  12. This is hilarious! I used to never be able to leave the house for any occasion without my copy of the script for Pulp Fiction.

    I am definitely a lipstick hoarder and have to take a variety of shades everywhere I go, and I have a favourite deodorant from the US that I bring back to the UK in large quantities when I return. Haha.

  13. I loved your post, that was hilarious! Now I don’t really bring anything special with me when I travel (apart from my camara of course, that’s the first thing I pack!), I prefer buying everything once I arrive, but I used to bring shampoo with me all the time for some reason!

  14. This made me giggle! I know the feeling of over packing, for our yearly two week holiday to Spain I pack for at least a two month trip and end up wearing the same things bringing home more clean than dirty!

  15. I loved reading this post and carrying that ‘Rex’- stormtrooper sounds funny to me! The useless thing that I packed most of the time is my collection of sunglasses. Hardly I use 2-3 during my trip, matching it with my outfits but couldn’t stop myself packing dozen of it!

  16. Last year, I decided to move to Nicaragua for a year. My friend had given me this enormous suitcase because her parents gave her new luggage as a wedding present. So I packed that plus a small wheel-on bag plus a backpackers backpack and duffle bag. My big bag weighed too much and I didn’t even have the baggage allowance for a fourth bag. Luckily they have a scale to help you. And my mom was there to take all the things I couldn’t take.

    Now about a year and a few months later, I’m about to move to Spain. I’ve decided to take a small wheely bag, a backpack and the duffle. All a large suitcase would do is sit in my apartment all year anyway.


  17. On my first trip – to a camp, with the school – I didn’t pack too much, but… the water bottle split and all the clothes and food was… well… wet.

    Speaking of packing, it always depends if I travel by car or by plane. But one thing that is my DSLR camera. And at least a book. Printed. Usually 3, different genres, to be able to pick 😀

  18. I enjoyed reading this kind of blog post where you interview other bloggers. It was light and it was hilarious. The stormtrooper was a WIN! Why would you bring that on a trip? Maci the bear ranked 2nd for me especially when the parents showed a picture of him misbehaving. lol

  19. This is amazing! I remembered my first trip in a local spot here in the Philippines. Davao has so many amazing things to see. And I remembered that I searched the internet to make sure that I can get the best ideas and tips to cover the whole city and its islands. And man, I packed a lot of things, but the things that I can’t go without is my trusty old journal book on where I record everything on the road. Even though it is consuming a lot of space, I made sure to bring it with me. Because I have to record everything!

  20. What a great post! I can’t believe Lauren carries Stormtrooper with them – I would love to check out any travel photos of Stormtrooper. I always carry around tissue, similar to Sarah, because so many places around SE Asia don’t provide toilet paper. But it’s true, you can buy it everywhere. My must travel with item definitely is my Organic Rosehip Oil. It is THE best moisturiser and it keeps my face feeling healthy. I have found that most of the things I carry I can get everywhere, but I haven’t been able to find good quality organic roseship oil anywhere in SE Asia.

  21. It’s so interesting to see what others take along when they travel. There is definitely something to be said for travelling light but I always struggle. My one weakness is I always take way more shoes than I need 🙂

  22. I had a crack with the storm trooper story – boys and their toys :D. I hitchhike around the world so I need to pack light. But there is one thing I always carry with me, a little buddha statue that was a gift from a good friend. This statue is already traveling six years with me and I just can’t leave it behind, even though it barely sees the outside of my backpack! 🙂

  23. I am so glad you talked about your Maci as I have a stuffed animal as well that I still love very much (I’m 26 y/o), but evidently I am not as good of an owner as you because I am usually too embarrassed to bring him with me ): It’s hilarious to me when I think back on how much I used to pack too. Now it’s one carry on backpack no matter how long I’m going to be away for. Great post (:

  24. That storm trooper and teddybear really had me laughing on my bed! XD Hmm.. as for the strangest thing that I have packed?… It will probably have to be my high heels. I found out the hard way, while waling round china and on the way back home to the airport that high heels, as a traveler and not a fasionista ootd, is a no-no. I had kids in tow, but because I wanted a picture perfect shot, I wore them while touring china. And when we got to hong kong air port, I took them off and walked around the airport barefooted (because my actual shoes are in the big suitcase) hahahaha! At least I got a nice photo out of it! you can see that in my hing kong trip blog article if you like 😀

  25. This post is very interesting. Very nice idea to write a post including stories. I always try to pack not to much … and to stay practical when it comes to packing my suitcase. I always end up with too much things!

  26. This was a funny and interesting read. I think it is so funny that we all have similarities when it comes to packing. We pack for days and weeks and of course bring the item that we absolutely couldn’t budge on! My item is coconut oil, I’ve been stuck in a city without it and learned my lesson.

  27. Haha this was actually such a great read – I loved your honesty. Let’s face it, we pack some really stupid things that at the time, make sense! I laughed at the toilet paper – thanks for sharing your experience and reminding us travellers of thinking twice when packing.

  28. Some of these are hilarious! Especially the ones where people take a figurine to put in photos. I am the complete opposite of an overpacker these days. You are so right when you say you can just buy everything.

  29. Thats a whole lot of strange things to pack . I wish i had something to write about it but strangely enough I pack everything orderly (Thanks to my mom) . But I can add that I take my stuffed bunny with me on all my travels. Hes been with me since I was four and I believe he being an integral part of me should accompany me in all my travels. 🙂

  30. I can’t rememeber if I ever brought anything useless. I do a lot of reading up before I leave early on and had been reading up on tips on packing. I do bring extra clothes for the just in case if my luggage has more than enough free space though and they always ended up being just that, unused.

    I would also like to unofficially give an award to the craziest thing I heard of taking things on travel. Yes, I award Lauren and the stormtrooper. LOL!

  31. The storm trooper is just great!! Totally love that haha. I’m a big fan of Star Wars and just love storm troopers. Everytime I see one I make a picture with it haha (And that’s quite often funny enough).

    I don’t bring funny stuff when I travel I think haha. Just everything I need. But I do bring a lot of make-up :).

  32. This post is so funny! I always have the same dilemma with my friends but usually we over pack more clothes thinking it was necessary and ending up not using most of them. But I do pack a lot of lipsticks! Those are important! 😍

  33. Stormtrooper and teddy as travel-buddies? Sooooo cute! One on my bucket list is traveling with just a backpack of things. But when I became a mom packing “light” has became challenging. Hahaha. Anyhow, Your stories are great tips for those starters.

  34. Love the stories behind each packing for a travel. I cant imagine dragging a stormtropper with me. Having four boys plus their dad is enough to get me crazy. The weirdest ive packed for a travel? Well, ive experienced bringing a lot of lipstick colors as well only to use one color for the entire travel.

  35. What a funny post! We all do have our quirks regarding packing (light or heavy is immaterial when it comes to these); your post reminds me of my own fixation with a longish umbrella I carried with me on all my trips initially! Gave up only when I lost that umbrella on one of the trips to Himalayas.

  36. Ha ha…I had a good time smiling at everyone’s comments. I loved them all as it made me feel normal too. The one thing that I am famous for are big fat books….but now have reduced carrying them around, thanks to e-media

  37. Kristina’s story with the teddy is quite amusing and hilarious. Quite a different post on packing considering how most of us end up packing things we actually don’t need or won’t use during our travels

  38. I’m surprised Sarah actually packed some loo rolls in her suitcase!! I’ve been to many countries where toilet paper isn’t the norm, it blocks the pipes and goes into the sewage system- animals choke on it etc etc. My favourite alternative is the ‘hose’ attached to the toilets on Maldivian local islands!

  39. Some of the stories are hilarious! Haha! Especially the roll of tissues! Luckily, I never brought something not so useful whenever I travel. I really do plan and think of what will be the best stuff to bring.

  40. Your stories are so funny and your parents were clever to put on diving gear to Maci. I don’t think I’ve packed strange things for my travels. I just end up bringing more clothes and some accessories whenever we’re traveling abroad and I know that the place we’re going to is somewhat posh. The time I hate packing is when I pack for a country where there is winter. Everything is just so bulky.

  41. It’s so funny to read everyone’s experience of carrying at least one extra stuff in their travel. While reading this I was trying to recall my memories relevant to it and that stuck to some extra clothing & 2-3 pairs of footwear.

  42. your packings are lovely if you ask me though, the starwars, the teddy, and alot you have here, but in a way i will say this isnt light packing … hahahahaha. all in all, what you feel you need for a trip or move definitely is going to suite your choice as light or heavy. great read.

  43. haha I am less of a strange packer and more of a complete over packer :p I don’t think I could function with small backpacks, everything I pack is unnecessary! I do love Maci getting up to naughty things at home, that’s hilarious!

  44. It was real fun reading through your post. Agree we all end up carrying something in every trip which we had never use for we are dubious of its availability. We travel with a kid so her toys always accompany us on all our trips plus we always carry everything extra for her to avoid any risk.

  45. Haha. i can’t believe Lauren’s fiancee packed a First Order Stormtrooper. It is so easy to overpack. i always pack to many clothes, tech and books. need to do some packing this week for our trip to Thailand so this posts serves as a great reminder not to overpack.

    1. Katharina,

      I am still debating whether it makes sense to bring a stormtrooper on the road or leave it behind… WHAT PRACTICAL USE DOES A STORMTROOPER HAVE??? LOL! I think it is more for the sake of and … I don’t know, a funny idea, being funny…

      Hey, to each his own, right?

  46. I once accidentally packed an ex-girlfriend’s hairdryer! Don’t ask me how I managed that…it somehow fell in to my suitcase and I didn’t notice until I arrived at my destination. Which was for a stag weekend away, by the way. Oh how I was mocked…

  47. Super interesting! When I was in the Peace Corps, I was asked the same question about the silliest thing I brought with me. For me, it was my Apple Time Capsule wireless router and backup hard drive. I know it is silly, but I am very very happy that I had it with me so I could backup my laptop and all my memories! Sometimes, you just never know what might be most useful. I also totally agree that most things can be purchased on arrival or as you go.

  48. I burst out laughing on Kristina packing her teddy bear with her, as it reminded me of a mid-sized teddy bear I am obsessed with, and she has the same color with Kristina’s. I brought her in 2009 when I was in Hawaii, and took her with me back in China, When I packed for my relocating to Canada, my two check-in luggage was too full to squeeze any items in, so my parents advised me to leave the bear home. Somehow, without them notice, I managed to put my teddy bear in it and she is now still sit on my bed in Canada.

  49. Hahaha , and I thought I was mad when it comes to packing for vacations 🙂 Toilet rolls , really ? But the best it that Super Trooper thingy , what do you want to take this for ? A Teddy , hm … understandable ! I always carry far too many shoes with me , but that is a girl’s thing I believe . Great reading !!!

  50. my sister brings her dog plush on her carry on. she’s had since she was like 3 and she’s 19 now. she can’t leave without it 🙂

  51. I went to work in Magaluf for the summer and I over packed majorly, my suitcase wasn’t allowed on unless I took stuff out, there I was in the middle of the airport with a bunch of lads I’d never met before making them open their suitcase and load them up with my stuff ha

  52. Some of these are just so funny haha. We all have our own way of packing and me? I don’t know what’s light packing because I usually bring a lot of unnecessary stuffs in an overnight trip hahaha

  53. This was indeed entertaining! I love what some people feel they must pack as a necessity! I love that the stormtrooper was a must and I also love how toilet paper was another traveller’s necessity in heading to Kenya. Very witty piece.

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