Take it with you vs Buy it there

One common travel tip that I’ve seen over the years is to buy the various items you need once you arrive at your destination.  Things like toothpaste and shampoo for example.  While this may be a worthwhile tactic for certain situations, it’s not something I do on a regular basis.

For items that I know for sure I will need, including toiletries like toothpaste, floss, and deodorant, I buy them beforehand and pack them in my bag.  I figure I’m going to have to buy this stuff at some point, so I might as well make the purchase during my leisure time at home when I’m not rushed and can pay a normal price instead of inflated tourist prices.  I really don’t like shopping, so if I can avoid it while on vacation then I do so.

The other reason to buy these things beforehand is that it gives you a more realistic feel of how much your bag will weigh because you’re going to end up carrying it around whether you buy it before your trip or on day one of your arrival.  If anything, you’re only fooling yourself into thinking you’ve done a great job packing light when you’re setting yourself up to add 5 pounds of miscellanea later on.

“Emergency” items like umbrellas, rain ponchos, extra shoelaces, odd medical supplies – these things I’ll buy at my destination only if the need arises.  I’ve rarely ever had to do this, but unexpected situations do come up once in a while.  There’s no need to pack this stuff on a regular basis since you won’t need them on most trips.

So if you know you will need something, then just buy it before your trip and pack it.  It’s more efficient and won’t change the eventual amount of mass in your luggage.  You’ll save yourself a shopping trip on your vacation and can use that time enjoying some drinks instead.  And all the just-in-case items should stay at home; you can always buy your way out of trouble if need be.


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