I just wrote a blog post on 10 things I can't travel without. But as you know, less is more. So here are 10 things I have, at one time or another, taken away with me for no good reason. And which I should probably start leaving at home.
A book that I think I ought to read
I love books, and I've read loads while travelling, but these days I seem to leave my book in my bag the whole trip. It's because I take something that I feel will look good when someone spots me reading it on the bus (to make up for looking like a drooling idiot when I'm asleep).
Spare plastic carrier bags
Don't mix these up with Ziploc bags, which are actually useful. Or the plastic bags you've got your shoes in (although reusable drawstring ones are obviously better). I always take spare because I think I'm going to need them, forgetting: one, that I won't and two, even if I do, I probably end up getting some anyway. Duh.
Fancy shoes that aren't very comfortable
I think I'm going to go to a cool club or posh place to eat. I don't. And on the rare occasions that I do, I normally end up wearing my slightly-less-smart-but-acceptable shoes because my feet already hurt from walking all day.
An item of clothing that I never wear at home
Please tell me I'm not the only one who does this. I've got a shirt, say, that doesn't go with anything else and is too tight under the arms, but for some stupid reason I decide to pack it. Because "things are different when you're abroad". Unfortunately my arm fat is not one of them.
Bits of paper that I think I'll need
Everything's done online now, but I insist on printing out all the stuff (twice) and taking it with me. Writing down the reference number somewhere handy for back-up would be more efficient and less annoying.
8 different kinds of body lotion
"I need this one because my sister gave it to me for the trip, this one because it smells like pineapples, this one because just look at the packaging..." No I don't. I need one, plain, multipurpose one I can put on my sunburn.
Items not designed for my destination
You can tell me until you're blue in the face that there's no malaria in Scotland, I'm still taking my mosquito net.
Things that I'm not going to have time to do while travelling
I don't do lazy, lying on the beach trips - I'm always haring about to museums, up mountains and so on. Yet I still think I'm going to have the time and energy to write an eloquent, thoughtful blog post when I get back to my room, when really I just drink beer then fall asleep.
Equipment for hobbies that I don't have
Sketch book and pencils? Yes, because even though I have the drawing skills of an angry baboon, I think that the mere act of going abroad will transform me into Picasso.
A small wooden doll
This is also on the list of things I never travel without. It's supposed to be a comfort thing, like travelling with your teddy, but I never even get it out of my bag. And I'm too old for playing with dolls now anyway.
This post was written by Rachel Morgan-Trimmer, founder of The Career Break Site yet still startlingly bad at travelling. If you want to buy a sketchbook, hardly used, drop her an email.