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
“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
“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
“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
“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
“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
Want to know what you SHOULD buy for your next trip? These are travel experts’ favorite picks for luggage.
HuffPost may receive a share from purchases made via links on this page. Every item is independently selected by the HuffPost Shopping team. Prices and availability are subject to change.
A Delsey checked bag with brakes
Rating: 4.7 out of 5 stars
Twenty-four inches tall, this medium-sized checked suitcase with TSA locks by Delsey has a two-compartment zippered interior with each dividing flap containing mesh pockets to hold smaller essentials. There's even a removable hanger and laundry and shoe bags. The exterior is a lightweight polycarbonate shell and the four multi-directional spinner wheels have a unique braking system that can prevent your luggage from rolling away.
Promising reviews: "I think these suitcases are so stylish. I love the inside with pockets and panels to make packing easier and have my things arrive just as I packed them." — Suzy
"I purchased this carry on for a three week winter trip to Europe. Granted, I did have a duffle as well for my coat and shoes but all in all it had plenty of room for my clothing selections. 4 pairs of pants, a skirt , unmentionables, 9 shirts, 2 tanks, and 3 sweaters. In the end, I packed too many clothes but it was nice to have options and my carry on didn’t weigh more than 35 pounds when completely packed and wasn’t ridiculously difficult to put in the overhead compartments. I loved the brake feature, especially on the trains so it wasn’t rolling across isle and the telescope handle was so smooth as well as sturdy. There’s not a doubt in my mind that this is a superior carry on." — Jenn
This hardshell case is larger than the average carry-on and its ability to maximize space is helped by an expansion zipper and interior compression pad that can flatten bulky clothes. It also has an external compartment that contains pockets for smaller valuables and a reinforced laptop sleeve. (Note: At 15 inches wide, this suitcase may be just over the carry-on limit for some domestic airlines, but does fit guidelines for many international airlines.)
Promising review: "We have several trips planned for this year and needed to replace our carry-on luggage. I researched carry-on luggage and decided on Aerotrunk. I am so glad I did. Everything about the purchase was positive. The box the luggage came in looked like it was designed for it. It was packed in a cloth bag (great for storage). The attention to detail is evident. The carry-on has lots lot of compartments and features. You will find lots of goodies inside that just add value to the purchase. I also purchased the packing cubes. They are also well made and fit well in luggage. I love the compartment for laptop and assorted cables and etc. We can’t wait to use it. We have already ordered a second carry-on for my husband. I recommend you try this luggage, you won’t regret it." — Marty
Easily transition between rolling and wearing backpack-style with this 17-inch water-resistant bag that features a hidden telescoping handle and two durable wheels. The most notable element of this backpack is the large interior and generous selection of pockets and compartments that are ideal for traveling with documents, laptops and tablets in addition to toiletries and clothing.
Promising review: "I was looking for a backpack to replace my 15+ year old Samsonite that has reached the end of the road. I wanted something that would allow me to use the wheels whenever I wanted, but also switch over to the straps quickly without having to zip or unzip a compartment/flap first. The ability to switch quickly between carrying it as a backpack and dragging it as a wheeled bag does not disappoint. This is especially important to me when I am boarding/exiting a plane as I have historically traveled over 200,000 miles per year - so that's a lot of flights. I've been on half a dozen flights so far with this bag, not to mention lugging it back and forth to the office almost daily when I am not on the road, and it has functioned beautifully whether using it has a backpack or a wheelie bag. Switching between the two is just a matter of grabbing the handle and dropping the bag to the ground." — RosaBianca
This elegant weekender bag is the perfect travel companion not just because of its generous main compartment, but also its equally generous lower zipper compartment that can hold up to two pairs of shoes and keep them separate from clothing. There are also two external pockets, two interior pockets and a trolley sleeve so the bag can easily slide over the handle of a suitcase for easy transport.
Promising review: "This surpassed my expectations! the material is so buttery soft yet durable, the colors are very fresh and up lifting. They coordinate with other luggage items; the over the shoulder strap is comfortable, has a slide for telescoping luggage handle, sits up adequately above in cabin storage space on planes. Recently packed for a 7 day trip no problem, loved the shoe cavity on the bottom. Really classy." — Michelle
This checked-size rolling luggage is like traveling with a set of dresser drawers because the large main compartment features removable and adjustable shelf dividers. The multi-directional spinner wheels they have a unique, dual conical shape and a wide base that allows for better traction and stability.
Promising review: "Bought this for a trip to Europe at the last minute when I noticed that my old luggage was worn. If you pack it like an upright trunk, it holds an amazing amount of stuff. Storage and waterproof sections galore plus shelves you can remove. It's super light and easy to roll around even packed to the hilt. Survived numerous flights and transfers plus being pulled down cobblestone streets without a problem. I liked it so much that I'm going to order the smaller size." — KP Wally
Everything you enjoy about a duffel is paired with convenient easy-glide wheels in this rollaway bag that has a roomy main compartment and several other external pockets to keep things organized, including a separate shoe and dirty clothes compartment.
Promising review: "This is a durable carry-on with lots of great pockets. It holds more than expected, and rolls easily. I bought it to use on an African safari, but plan to continue to use it for other air travel." — Lisa
Samsonite, a trusted travel brand, makes this classic hardshell suitcase that, at 28-inches tall, is the biggest of the brand's lineup. It promises an ultra-durable yet lightweight shell and smooth-operating spinner wheels that rotate 360 degrees. You can get this in 15 other colors and four sizes.
Promising reviews: "This is just what I have been looking for. It is a great size for the amount of stuff I pack on trips but also very lightweight. Been looking for a suitcase like this that is durable and spacious. Love all Samsonite luggage. It’s a little pricey but I think it’s worth it with the amount of use it’s gonna get. 10/10" — Julie
"This is a very sturdy suitcase. Lots of space. Strong hard outer shell. Smooth good quality wheels. Well worth the money." — Laura Orndoff
This 20-inch carry-on has a dual-sided interior fitted with three mesh pockets, a smooth no-catching zipper and a unique wide-handled design for easy maneuvering. It's also available in a 24-inch size.
Promising review: "This replaces a carry on of the same size. I was getting sore wrists pushing it around, so I was attracted by the wide handle on this MIxi. So glad I did. The leverage is great, the suitcase very lightweight, the wheels smooth. Plus I really appreciate the flat interior, I don't have to work around the runners like in my old bag.. I got the white one, it is so good-looking!" — Young Senior
This large waterproof backpack provides the space and organizing potential of a regular carry-on. It includes a shoe compartment and interior wet bag to keep soiled clothes separate, a USB charger port and a trolley sleeve for fitting over luggage handles. You can get it in 15 colors and two sizes.
Promising review: "I recently bought this for a trip on a train, and it was perfect! The 'extra fabric' some people mentioned is actually part of the bottom compartment built for shoes. If you do plan to pack shoes, you definitely can’t fit as much in the main compartment but that’s to be expected. Very comfortable, has enough pockets for all my needs. The usb/portable charger pocket is fairly big, but you do have to work with it a bit to get a fairly large charger into there. Otherwise I’m obsessed with this bag and have already taken it with me on two other trips!" — Diana
This 3-piece luggage set includes two carry-on pieces and one larger checked bag, each one fitted with TSA-accepted security locks, spacious dual-compartment interiors and silent multi-directional spinner wheels.
Promising review: "Purchased for our trip to Mexico and it did a great job. The locks are solid and feel like they will endure the test of time. The rollers are very smooth and with the larger suitcase, it still feels like the smaller one." — Josh
There is no shortage of compartments inside this overnight travel duffel that's made from a high-density water-resistant material. Inside, there are three separate organizational pockets, and on the outside, there's a trolley sleeve that also features a zippered pocket.
Promising review: "This is the perfect bag for traveling. There are a bunch of pockets, multiple ways to carry it, and it’s very sturdy. The zippers and fabric do not feel cheap at all. I use it for overnight shifts at work and have gotten several compliments on it. The color is super cute and true to the pictures." — Julie Huber
This 21-inch soft-side carry-on is a classically designed piece of luggage for those who don't want much fuss when it comes to their travel bag. It has a roomy main interior, multi-directional spinner wheels and two external zippered pockets for added storage.
Promising review: "I used this carry-on suitcase only once (in cabin). It is a high quality, very convenient suit-case. It has 4 wheels and they roll smoothly on different types of pavement and floors. The outside pockets are very thought through, the creators of this product really put themselves into the shoes of someone who travels. I had a feeling that all my needs were thoroughly thought through in advance, all my needs were taken care of. I am totally satisfied with this beautiful suitcase and highly recommend to anybody (as a carry-on cabin suitcase)." — Elena Khamagaeva