Although I do practice what I preach now, I've made a lot of bad packing decisions in the past. I usually start thinking about what I'm going to pack too early (the weather forecast will inevitably change), and then I don't actually get down to packing until the last minute. Given some of the cringe-worthy things I've packed before, I can confirm that this strategy is not recommended. But I pride myself in being able to learn from my mistakes and figured I'd share them in case you can learn from them too.
Sure, we all know not to pack super-high heels, uncomfortable 100% cotton jeans, and bulky sweaters for trips, but much of what I've learned not to pack isn't quite so obvious. Accidentally ruining a favorite fashion item on a trip or being stuck with something that's made of a high-maintenance fabric or takes forever to get on or off can definitely take away from the fun and ease of a trip, so avoiding those offending random items is the best packing advice I can give. With that, keep scrolling to find out what those random items are and what I pack instead now that I've learned my lesson.
Never Again: Dresses With a Lot of Buttons
Instead: Slip-On Dresses
I don't know about you, but I hate spending a lot of time getting dressed and undressed when I'm traveling. A complicated outfit (like dresses with lots of buttons) isn't worth being late to your dinner reservation, so I'm now conscious of packing things that I can easily throw on and get out the door faster.
Never Again: Too Many Necklaces to Layer
Instead: Statement Earrings
While I love the look of a bevy of necklaces around my neck, putting them on and taking them off drives me crazy. Now, I pack a few pairs of statement earrings when I travel to quickly give my outfits a punch.
Never Again: Bare Sandals
Instead: Sandals With Coverage
Especially when I'm walking on city streets or through an airport, bare sandals that leave a lot of foot exposed make me cringe, but I'd never avoid sandals altogether in the summer. Now I make a point to pack sandals with wide straps or a chunky sole.
Never Again: Freshly Washed Jeans
Instead: Denim That's Been Worn at Least Once
Most denim has a tendency to be stiff after it's washed, and it can sometimes take all day for them to soften up. I used to think that everything I pack should be freshly washed, but in cases like this (when comfort is key), it's quite the opposite.
Never Again: Expensive Bags
Instead: Cheap-ish Bags (That Look Expensive)
Sadly, traveling can be pretty hard on our handbags (just recall that feeling you probably have as it rolls away on the security conveyor belt). It's always tempting to me to take my nicest bags on trips, but my sanity will be more preserved in the long run knowing that if a more moderately priced bag gets damaged, it's not a huge deal (or I just bring something durable, like a nylon one).
Never Again: Polyester
Instead: Knits and Steamable Fabrics (Like Silk)
Not only is polyester quite unbreathable, but it can also be nearly impossible to get wrinkles out of it, even when steamed (and my steamer is pretty much my number one travel essential).
Never Again: Short Shorts
Instead: Longer Shorts and Dresses
Similar to how I feel about bare sandals, short shorts can leave me feeling exposed when I travel. So unless I'm taking a beach vacation, I stick to longer shorts and dresses that feel more appropriate for a variety of destinations.
Never Again: Pointed-Toe Shoes
Instead: Square-Toed or Open-Toed Shoes
No vacation should be without at least a little exploration, which usually means walking. The last thing you want to deal with while seeing the sites is shoe-induced toe pinching.
Never Again: Leather
Instead: Machine-Washable Items
While I can't say that I'll never pack a leather jacket again, for the most part, I avoid packing leather clothing items. Getting them professionally cleaned is both difficult and expensive, and I'm the type to want to clean everything I packed as soon as I return from a trip.