Travel: 17 Common Packing Mistakes That Could Ruin Your Holiday


Going on holiday and getting ready to pack for that great holiday. If you don’t pack your things well you could end up messing up your holiday. Here are a few tips on how to pack your suitcase for a smooth holiday. Avoid these packing mistakes and you will enjoy your trip.

  1. Mistake: Carrying something for every possible occasion


Overpacking a suitcase. Image from

The biggest mistake that one can make is overpacking because you are don’t know what you might need so you carry stuff you will probably not wear and leave out stuff you need. Put the outfits you want on the bed and mix and match outfits to see what works.

According to Readers Digest, pack a couple of neutral coloured bottoms to pair with different tops, or pick a colour scheme and work with that. You can then coordinate your outfits around those shades. If your trip is long, you can wear your basics a couple of times. The trick is to have fewer outfits than the days you will be away.

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2.  Mistake: Throwing out your packing list

Have a packing list. Image from


First, you need a packing list. A packing list helps you make sure you haven’t let out anything important. When you are done with it, don’t get rid of it, carry it with you, and store it safely. When it’s time to leave your destination, you can use it to make sure you haven’t left anything.

Travel: 10 Things To Pack For A Weekend Getaway

3. Mistake: Procrastinating on packing

When you try to pack last minute, you end up packing too many things or you forgot some stuff you need. You need to have a list of activities that you plan to do, then pack accordingly. This helps you know whether you need comfortable shoes or sandals, casual clothes or dressy clothes.

4. Mistake: You don’t pack for your destination’s weather

Find out ahead of time what type of weather you may find at your destination. In places like the tropics, it could mean you may need to carry a jacket, umbrella or shoes for the rain. In some parts of the world where they have seasons, you may need to pack either light clothes or clothes for winter. One tip that will serve you well is packing clothes that you can layer so that you are ok for either hot or cold weather.

An umbrella is good for both hot and rainy seasons so consider packing one. Social Etiquette: The Do’s And Dont’s Of Carrying An Umbrella

5. Mistake: You fold your clothes instead of rolling them


Rolling clothes. Image from

Many of us have not learnt one of the best-kept secrets of travel, rolling clothes in the suitcase. Rolling clothes will enable you to use the space in your suitcase or bag in the best way. Here are tips on how to do it.



6. Mistake: Forgetting Airport Security Regulation guidelines for carry-on liquids and sharp items


Image from

When packing it is very easy to get excited and carry a full bottle of your favourite lotion, or perfume only to reach the airport and find that it is over the limits for liquids. According to, if you don’t want to cry at the airport when your perfume, cleansers or shampoos are thrown into the dustbin, then make sure you check that your liquids are under 3.4 ounces (100mL) limit. To be on the safe side carry them in small bottles which you can buy for this purpose. The best thing is to make sure they are in your checked luggage.

Also, don’t forget that you cant carry  sharp items like scissors in your hand luggage. Make sure you wrap them well and put them in your checked luggage.

7. Mistake: Packing an Oversize or Overweight Bag


Oversizes carry on. Image from

It’s important to make sure your bag/s are under the airline’s luggage weight limits before you reach the airport. Weigh them on a scale if you have one. You don’t want to have to throw some stuff or have to open your overweight bag at the check-in counter to move belongings between bags.

Some airlines also have clear guidelines on how big a carry-on should be, so check out what their size restrictions are. You may end up having to check in your bag, leaving it or end up spending time trying to fit things into the overhead bin.

Guidelines for hand luggage. Image from

Travel: 5 Things You Should Have In Your Carry-On Bag

8. Mistake: Forgetting to carry a swimming costume


Carry a swimming costume. Image from

It’s always a good idea to carry a swimsuit even if you are not sure whether you will get somewhere where you can swim. You may get a surprise when there is a trip to the beach or lake, or you may get an invite to go swimming and you may have to skip it if you haven’t carried a costume. Anyway, a costume doesn’t take a lot of space so what could it hurt.

Fashion: 8 Beautiful Swimsuits For Every Body Type

9. Mistake: forgetting to carry a small bag you can use for moving around

Foldable tote bag. Image from

Carry a small tote bag or foldable bag that you can easily carry in your suitcase. You can use it to hold souvenirs, carry water bottles, sunblock, use as a beach bag etc. at the end of the trip you can use it to carry your souvenirs or put your dirty laundry ready to be washed when you get home.

 10. Mistake: Not using the spaces in your shoes

Put small items like jewellery, underwear or socks in your shoes. You can put them into a Ziploc or plastic bag to avoid them getting dirt. Also, wear your heaviest shoes to cut on the weight in your bag and save space.

11. Mistake: Packing Shoes Incorrectly


Packing shoes. Image from

Use shoe bags or plastic bags to protect your clean clothes from your shoes. If you don’t have one pack your shoes with the soles facing away from your clothes. Because shoes are usually the heaviest items in your bag, pack them towards the wheel end of your bag. Also, don’t carry many shoes, pick some versatile pairs that work for a variety of occasions. You can carry a casual pair of shoes, sandals, a pair of sneakers and a formal pair of shoes.

12. Mistake: You don’t factor in shopping for souvenirs

If you know you are going to be shopping while on holiday either leave some space in your suitcase for souvenirs or carry a duffle bag that is compressed into a little pouch. If not, you may have difficulty closing your bag on your way home.

13. Mistake: Buying new clothes specifically for your holiday

It’s exciting to be going on holiday and sometimes you splurge on new items because you are going on holiday. But it is advisable to not try a new look for your holiday. According to Readers Digest, new clothes may not fit as well or look as good as they did in the dressing room or sometimes they can run when you wash them or shrink. Stick with trusted outfits that you know you look good in and go for fabrics that travel well like denim, clothes like silk and linen wrinkle easily, and you might not have an opportunity to iron.

14. Mistake: You want one whole suitcase all to yourself

While it makes sense to have all your stuff in your own suitcase and your partner to have their own stuff in their suitcase, this could be a disaster if one piece of luggage gets lost. One person or child might be left without clothes, go half and half, split your clothes between 2 or 3 bags.

15. Mistake: Having your toiletries all over the place

Pack your toiletries in a ziplock bag. Image via–travel-light-air-travel.jpg

Have all your non-solid toiletries like shampoo, lotion, or mouthwash in a pouch or ziplock bag to prevent them from leaking inside your bag and messing up your stuff. 5 Everyday Makeup Bag Essentials You Should Have

16. Mistake: Forgetting to carry healthy snacks


Healthy snacks. Image from

What happens on vacation stays on vacation right? Well, the weight you accumulate come back with you. When you go on holiday you probably want to forget about eating healthy and just splurge on desserts and greasy food. Carrying your own healthy snacks like peanuts, protein bars can help you ensure you have something healthy around when you need to snack. Travel: 8 Best Snacks To Pack For A Road Trip

17. Mistake: Forgetting to carry a change of clothes in your carry on

Carry some underwear, an extra shirt or outfit and a small travel-sized toiletry set with essentials like deodorant, lotion, soap etc in your carry on. So that if the airline loses or misplaces your luggage, you will be ok for a day or two. Travel: 5 Things You Should Have In Your Carry-On Bag

Here are some tips on how to pack light. Please forget your sunscreen – The Benefits Of Sunscreen And How To Apply It Properly

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Potentash Founder. A creative writer and editor at Potentash. Passionate about telling African stories. Find me at [email protected]


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