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3 Things You Don't Need to Pack for Your Working Gap Year

No one likes packing. It’s an unpleasant task at the best of times. Even if you’re just packing for a quick overnight stay, the process of sitting down, organising your things, making a check-list and trying to squish it all into one bag is a headache you’d rather avoid.

So, as you can probably imagine, packing for a gap year is like a super intense version of this stress. Leaving home for a long period of time means you will need more luggage and deliberating over essentials vs luxuries is a time-consuming effort.

And while it might be tempting to just empty all your worldly belongings into a suitcase, sit on it, zip it up and hope for the best, this isn’t the most sensible decision and can lead to unnecessary problems later down the line. For example, it means that if you purchase anything additional during your gap year (which you will), you won’t be able to fit it in your luggage and you’ll be forced to either leave stuff behind, or add even more baggage.

So to help you be as space-effective as possible with your gap year luggage, here are three things you DON’T need to pack for your travels.


Toiletries can add a huge amount of bulk and unnecessary weight to your luggage, with heavy bottles of shampoo, conditioner and shower gel being the main culprits. While it might be tempting to pack your favourite beauty products with you on your travels, the harsh truth is that you can live without them.

A great rule for gap year packing is to assess if you can purchase replacements at a good price when you arrive and if so, leave these items at home.

Home Comforts

The greatest fear among gap year travellers is often that they will become homesick, crying on the phone to their parents every single night. For that reason, it’s almost instinctual to pack home comforts like childhood toys, photos in frames and precious items to remind us of friends and family members.

However, like toiletries, these things tend to be space consuming and leave less room for more practical items like clothes or work tools.

With Skype and Facetime and a host of other instant messaging options, reaching home is so easy, giving us less need for physical reminders. So if you think you might be able to manage without your lifelong teddy bear, leave him to wait for your return - it will only make the reunion more special!


Clothes will obviously take up the majority of room in your luggage, as you want to ensure you have practical items for all seasons, as well as options for different occasions. And if you’ve never visited the country you’re travelling to, you might be unaware of weather conditions, the national fashion trends or cultural dress codes which will influence what you need to bring.

However, if you’ve ever been on a holiday abroad, you’ll know that (frustratingly) you only ever end up wearing around 40% of the items you pack. The same applies when you’re on your gap year - you just end up packing a lot of ‘just in case’ items that you never end up wearing.

A tip to be as space-effective as possible, is to look at each item before you put it in the case and think of at least three different outfits you can wear it with. This will help you separate the staple items that you’re most likely to wear, from the things that will probably stay packed in your suitcase for the entire year.


The anxiety about leaving something important behind plagues all gap year travellers, but in reality it’s not something worth stressing about. Using your luggage weight allowance wisely is more important.

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