This time of year, across the blogosphere, everyone’s trying to outdo each other with Top 10 Lists of stuff you’re supposed to buy.
This year, we’re telling you what not to buy. Here are the Top 10 things I hope no one gets me for Christmas:
1. Binoculars. I’ve seen this one a few lists, and unless your planning on bird watching in Europe, I can’t fathom why you’d need them. Do you use them at home to look at stuff? Get by perfectly well without it? Then you won’t need them.
A better option: A multi-day city pass that lets you enter any of the museums or attractions for a set number of days. That way you can see plenty, up close and in person.
2. Adapter plugs for multiple continents. Adapters in Europe are cheap, so you can buy one when you arrive, but if you buy one before hand, don’t get convinced to buy some 7 continent adapter set. You’re going to lose them. They’re cheap anyway. And these things cost $20 bucks or more, when you can buy a single adapter for a few bucks or less.
A better option: A single adapter, and use the extra money on something useful like band aids or extra socks. (Yeah it’s not sexy, but way more practical).
3. A full sleeping bag. There is virtually no where in Europe that doesn’t have sheets and blankets. Unless you’re going to do some serious camping, then leave it at home.
A better option: If you’re wanting something between you and those hostel sheets, then a think sleeping bag liner will do the trick. It’s super compact, washable and you won’t have to wonder what exactly you’re sleeping on.
4. A multifunctional tool. Are you really going to need a tool that lets you poke holes in leather, saw through wood and file your nails all-in-one? Yeah, it’s cool to have, but you’ll never get it through security (i.e. you have to check it) and really you’re not going to need it that much.
A better option: If you want all purpose tool this flat, credit card shape tool is usually well under $10 bucks.
5. Ginourmous neck pillows. Ugh! Really? Then you have to lug the thing around the whole trip! These always seem like a good idea, but they’re pricy and bulky. I’d say skip it.
A better option: A super comfy fleece jacket, that you can use as your outer wear during cold nights and folds up into a make-shift pillow, when you travel.
6. Travel kits of any flavor. Travel nail files kits, travel shaving kits, travel toiletries kits. If it says kit, drop it. Most kits have tons of crap in them you’ll never use, and as soon as you pull it apart, you’ll start losing pieces left and right.
A better option: Figure out what you’ll really need, buy an empty kit bag and store it in there. Add a couple of unused large zip lock backs to keep your toiletries separate or to store small items that you pick up as you travel.
7. More than one guidebook. They are big and heavy and frequently outdated. Take a general guidebook or one for the country you’re spending the most time in. Most hotels and hostels have some spare copies if you need to look something up, so save yourself the trouble and leave em at home.
A better option: Use Lonely Planet’s pick and choose by chapter shopping, where you can compile the information you’ll really need, and leave the read at home.
8. Multi-purpose monstrocities: anything that claims to be a alarm clock/radio/Panini grill, is just looking for an excuse to charge more without a whole lot more value.
A better option: Need an alarm clock? Will your cell phone work? Or your watch? better to set an alarm on something you’ll have with you anyway.
9. Every single thing at Brookstone. Period.
A better option: Cash.
10. Complicated hydration kits or water purifiers. You’re going to Europe, not the Sahara. There will be clean water or bottled water. Relax.
A better option: Instead create a small first aid kit, with all the essentials: aspirin, band aids, tape and gauze, a small sewing kit, safety pins and sunblock.
And you? What’s on your Christmas (un)list?