What Travel Experts Would Never Buy On A Trip

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Visiting famous attractions and trying new restaurants are undoubtedly highlights of most trips. But many travelers also relish the experience of shopping in a new destination.

Not all travel purchases are created equal, however. And there are certain items you’re better off just bringing with you on your vacation.

We asked travel experts to share the things they would never buy on a trip, from items they always make sure to pack to certain souvenirs that aren’t worth schlepping home. Read on for their responses.


“I would never purchase shoes while traveling. They tend to take up way too much space in your luggage, and if you are an over-packer, like me, you will not have room for them. However, you could always pack a pair of shoes that you are comfortable with leaving at your destination in exchange for a new pair. Then it is a win-win!” ― Ravi Roth, travel expert and host of “The Gaycation Travel Show


“I would never buy anything that can break, like glass bottles of wine, olive oil, sunscreen in a bottle. You do not want to risk ruining your clothes in your luggage for a bottle of red wine.” ― Roth


“One thing you should never buy while traveling is headphones. A good pair of headphones can make a long journey fly by, but if you’re like me and tend to forget them, they are incredibly overpriced both in airports and tourist shops.” ― Gabby Beckford, founder of the travel site Packs Light

Food or other natural products

“Don’t bother trying to bring jams, meats, cheeses or other perishable food items home. It’s not worth the likely hassle at customs. I bring home foreign candies for my kids and have wine shipped if there’s one I really like.” ― Paul Jacobs, general manager and vice president at Kayak North America

“I love functional souvenirs (spices, accessories, notepads, clothing, etc.), but I would never try to bring back dirt, sand, shells, or fresh produce or meat of any kind. Sometimes it’s OK, sometimes, it’s the biggest hassle ever. If I want to bring a particular food back home, I’ll buy it at the airport to make sure it’s airport security approved.” ― Beckford

Be mindful of suitcase space and weight when shopping for souvenir

Heavy items

“If you want to avoid extra charges and fees, try to avoid purchasing heavy items that may jack up the weight of your suitcase. If you check a bag, make sure you keep in mind your airline’s weight limits and how much your checked bag weighed before takeoff.” ― Casey Brogan, consumer travel expert at Tripadvisor

New deodorant or lotion

“This may sound odd, but deodorant and lotions. You can use different shampoos and soaps from wherever, but changing brands of deodorant or lotion can cause all kinds of irritations. Bring the brands you use at home.” ― Jacobs

Generic tchotchkes

“I try to bring home fewer things than I used to, and I try to avoid things you can get anywhere, like generic tchotchkes or souvenirs. If I want to bring home something, I look for items with a true sense of place, which often means food: I’ve packed everything from olive oil to half a wheel of Comte in my bags. Just be sure to check the guidelines for bringing these types of items through customs.” ― Laura Ratliff, senior editorial director at TripSavvy

Full-sized liquids

“Of course, avoid packing liquids that don’t meet your airline’s guidelines, or else you may have to throw out expensive products. If you choose to buy toiletries at your destination, don’t get the large bottles you would purchase at home. Instead, select small or travel-sized items that you can dispose of at the end of your trip and avoid waste.” ― Brogan

“I highly discourage buying full-sized toiletries when traveling. In most cases, you will not finish the bottle and have to throw it out. Instead, buy travel-sized toiletries before leaving for your trip. You can also buy full-sized toiletries at home along with 3.4 oz TSA-approved travel bottles. Fill the travel bottles with what you need and pack them for your trip. You will then have the full-sized bottle waiting for you when you get back home.” ― Phil Dengler, co-founder of The Vacationer

Big-ticket valuables

“Although it can be tempting to purchase big ticket valuables like jewelry, it may be best to avoid the risk of loss or theft. Consider having valuables shipped home if you’re able.” ― Brogan

Heavily marked-up souvenirs

“While some souvenirs may seem unique at the time, you can probably get them cheaper elsewhere. Additionally, heavy souvenirs may not only be overpriced but a burden to carry around. You may also find it difficult to transport heavy souvenirs home if you already have limited luggage space. With regards to Disney, I recommend buying all Disney apparel and souvenirs before or after your trip. Unfortunately, Disney souvenirs are heavily marked up at hotels, and in the parks, so you are much better off buying elsewhere.” ― Dengler

Airport chargers

“Forgetting your phone charger when traveling can be costly. While airports do sell chargers, the prices are highly inflated. If possible, buy your new charger at a local store after arriving at your destination. Unfortunately, that can still be a huge hassle, and you may still end up paying a premium price. I recommend having a good packing list and always including essential electronics like your phone charger.” ― Dengler

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