5 Things We Never Pack When We Travel

5 Things We Never Pack When We Travel

When we travel, we travel light. Most of the time, anyway. The only exception to this rule that I can think of is when we have to get fancy (as in someone else’s wedding). We have our packing list almost down to a science now and prefer to travel with less because it means less clutter and more space for ourselves in our Wayfarer Van. (More about decluttering here and what we’re packing for our upcoming trip to Florida here. ) Traveling light also means we wear the same thing over and over lol. At the risk of looking dumb (hey, this is who we are) we’ve decided to share the things that we never bring with us when we travel.


The last time I wore makeup was in 2003. Yes, I can remember the date exactly. Two of my closest friends were getting married and I was a bridesmaid! It seemed really important to my friend that I let the makeup artist put her skills to work on me so I obliged but as soon as the photos were over I went straight up to my room and took it off. I looked terrible! I managed to get every last speck of makeup off my face and haven’t worn it since! Caroline wears chapstick but that’s about the extent of things. Over the years friends have tried to sell me eyeliner, face cream and sparkly stuff but I honestly wouldn’t even know what to do with it if they gave it to me. Needless to say we don’t bring makeup with us when we travel.

Curling Irons and Blowdryers

If curling irons and blowdryers are like makeup for your hair then you already know where I’m going with this, right? We don’t pack ’em. We use hats when our hair starts to have some needs. Caroline already has curly hair and I have no idea what would happen if we curled it. Would it possibly get straight? She’s told me what it’s like when someone takes a blowdryer to her luscious locks but I’ve yet been able to see for myself what happens.

5 Things We Never Travel With
I don’t need a curling iron but I do need a hat.

A Guitar

I used to travel with a guitar but over time I realized the poor thing only really got a chance to make noise when I went over a big pothole and it clang-a-langed in its case. I think the idea of traveling with a guitar was romantic to me and on occasion it would make it’s way around a campfire but the reality is that most of the time it just took up a lot of space. My mom and dad gave me a Handroll Piano for Christmas though and just like the name suggests, you can fold it up like a sushi roll and take it with you wherever you go. How cool is that?! Who wants to tickle the ivories with me sometime lol.


Both of us have been without a TV for years before we even met each other. It was always something that seemed a little weird to other people so I remember sort of nervously telling Caroline (I’m pretty sure I whispered it) that I didn’t have one in my apartment. To my delight she said she didn’t either! We’re downright addicted when we go to visit my parents (literally the commercials seem interesting!) since we don’t have one but we honestly don’t even miss having one around. Needless to say we don’t bring one on the road. When we get a craving for some tube time we find a good wi-fi spot and watch it on our laptops.

New York City
How can you miss the TV when there is all this to explore!

A Gun

Our safety on the road is really important to us. It’s something we won’t compromise on. As a result we make do our best to make decisions that keep us safe: parking in areas that feel good to us, being aware of our surroundings, letting others know our plans, looking out for one another and trying not to do things that make us vulnerable. We hope that all of this is enough and that we won’t actually ever wish that we owned a gun much less need to use one. Definitely curious about your thoughts on this one so please leave your comments at the bottom.

Caroline Whatley shooting photos with a Fuji XT-1
The only thing we shoot is pictures.

5 Things We Never Pack When We Travel Recap

We’re definitely not dissing anyone who packs the things above. They just don’t travel with us. It’s a matter of personal preference. Ultimately, you need to take things with you that YOU will want and need. Oh and I was counting five things we never pack but technically, technically it’s six if you consider a blowdryer and a curling iron as separate items. Regardless, what do you think about the five things we never pack when we travel? Are they also on your list or do you bring them with you? Thanks as always for reading and looking forward to hearing your thoughts!


Published by Erin McGrady

Erin McGrady is a filmmaker, photographer, and writer exploring Asheville and beyond. My work focuses on sharing about LGBTQ safe spaces, camper van life, and the outdoors.

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