Friday 5: Things to Leave at Home

I opened our mailbox on Monday and the first thing I saw was the bright red cover of this week’s Macleans magazine with the title: “The Evil Genius of Airlines.” The article went into detail about how airlines are doing everything they can to make more of a profit and not passing any of the savings from lower fuel costs onto passengers.

‘Our plan is not to pass any of it on,’ WestJet’s CEO Gregg Saretsky said during a recent conference call to discuss the airline’s record fourth-quarter profit, in 2014, of $90 million.

I bet you are just completely shocked about that. I don't have a problem with companies making profits, but I do have a problem with airlines making travel less affordable and more miserable for a lot of us. 

When S and I booked our honeymoon plane tickets, we ran into some of these issues. We had to pay to reserve seats. After weeks of watching fares and trying to find a flight with a Goldilocks layover (not too long and not too short), there was nothing we could do but pony up. I’m still not happy about it. 

I’m usually pretty optimistic about air travel. I love airports. I love the excitement of flying. But paying for the “privilege” of choosing a seat next to S when we’re, you know, already buying a ticket for the flight really angered me. Add that to the baggage fees, the terrible food, and the tiny seats; it’s getting harder and harder to enjoy or look forward to flights, even if you can’t wait to go on a trip. 

As travelers we have to do what we can to make it the best of it for ourselves and each other. One way to do that is to pack well. Not just to save space, but also to make your trips a little bit easier (and sometimes more fun). Today’s Friday 5 is a short list of stuff I leave home and why. 

Expensive Jewelry

The last thing I want to do is to worry about an expensive or beloved piece of jewelry getting lost or stolen. I generally wear anything remotely expensive on me everyday and travel with cheap, trendy pieces that I wouldn’t be upset about losing. 

Gadgets and tools

I’m not big on travel gadgets but I used to bring hair tools with me. Not anymore. Most apartments and hotels have hairdryers. Usually I just wash and go and pretend I have “cool French girl” hair. Evaluate your gadgets and tools carefully. Is it worth the hassle? Do you need extra converters and adapters to use it? What would you do if you accidentally fried it? If you don’t absolutely need it, then leave it at home. 

Certain Toiletries

Shampoo, conditioner, and body wash are all things I love to purchase abroad. I don’t have to worry about giant bottles of liquid things oozing onto stuff in my luggage and I get to test out stuff we don’t get in Canada. There’s a little bit of adventure in trying new things. 


This tip isn’t so much about saving space as it is stocking up on great items, especially when going to Europe. I love French sunscreen (like La Roche Posay, Avène, and Vichy), but it is quite expensive here. I’ll splurge for my face, but I can’t afford the full body versions. I generally travel with one of our drugstore brands just in case I can’t get to a store right away. But as soon as I can find a store that sells the sunscreen brands I love, I’m all over it. Time to stock up! 

Laundry Detergent

Aside from my beloved Soak for delicates, I never travel with laundry detergent if we are staying in a rental. It might be different if you have extremely sensitive skin, but it’s a lot easier to go out and buy a detergent that is proven to work well in the machines you will be using. 

What I think it all boils down to is being smart about how you pack and what you bring with you. There are a lot of things you can get on the road and fewer things that are truly necessities. Striking the right balance to make your trip enjoyable will be individual, but hopefully this list will give you a starting point to reevaluate your needs and wants. 

Happy weekend! Happy travels!