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Nothing ruins a trip faster than realizing you’ve forgotten something important. It’s usually a small but crucial item that you can’t do without like your phone charger, sunscreen, or a travel document.
Planning your trip well and having a checklist can help you avoid such inconveniences. But even then, it’s easy to miss something amidst the dozens of other things you need to pack. What can help is knowing the items you are likely to forget and make sure you don't.
Here are the things many people tend to forget when packing for a trip or vacation. Add to this list any items you’ve forgotten on previous trips. Save this list and check it everytime you pack to make sure you haven’t forgotten anything on it.
Forgetting one of your travel documents is not just inconvenient, it could bring your entire trip to a halt or leave you stranded in a strange place.
Once your trip is confirmed, your first step should be assembling your travel documents and packing them somewhere safe. Do not wait until the last day to start hunting for your passport. That’s the worst time to discover it’s not where you thought you kept it after the last trip.
Packing your travel documents ahead of time also gives you time to get any documents that need application or processing such as medical insurance, health certificate or driving permit.
Once you’ve arrived at your destination, keep all the documents in a safe place where you can’t forget them (ideally in your travel bag or suitcase). It’s easy to forget something at your hotel when packing for the trip back home.
Many people will often forget one or two items when packing their toiletries. Common items forgotten include sunscreen, lip balm, moisturizer, toothpaste and toothbrush, hairbrush, deodorant, and others.
Forgetting toiletries is usually not a big problem since you can buy a replacement in transit or at your destination.
But it can be a major inconvenience if you use a special product that’s hard to find elsewhere. For example, a specific sunscreen or lip balm brand. Sometimes, you may also be traveling to a place where it’s difficult or impossible to buy a replacement. For instance if you are going camping or traveling to a remote location.
So just to be safe, write a list of all the toiletries you’ll need on your trip and use it while packing. To help you remember everything, run through your daily routine in your head. This will ensure you don't leave out anything you use often.
Probably the most annoying accessory to forget when traveling is a phone charger. What makes it especially annoying is that it will be right there in your bedroom or living room and you’ll forget to pack it.
Another common forgotten item is a travel adapter when you are traveling outside the country.
Luckily, phone chargers and travel adapters are fairly easy to get in most cities and airports, so you don't have to suffer the entire trip.
To reduce the risk of forgetting your phone charger, I recommend buying one specifically for traveling and keeping it in your travel bag. Also get other travel-specific accessories like a travel adapter, power bank, and headphones.
Clothes are the main thing you pack when traveling, so most people do pretty well when it comes to packing the clothes they need. But it’s easy to forget a particular item especially when you pack in a hurry.
I have friends who’ve forgotten to pack a sweater or jacket, extra underwear, socks, and pajamas. Have a checklist specifically for clothing and use it to make sure you don't forget to pack anything.
Here are a few other things people often forget to pack.
- Sunglasses - thankfully, you can buy a replacement pair at the airport.
- Prescription glasses - this one is bad. If you can’t do without them, you can get a new pair where you are as long as you have a prescription. Otherwise, you’ll have to get a new eye exam.
- Prescription medicine - the best solution is to call your doctor and ask for a short supply. They will authorize you to get it from a nearby pharmacy. If you are outside the US, get a new prescription at a hospital or see if you can get the drugs over the counter.
- Dirty laundry bag - it will be too late when you realize you don't have a dirty laundry bag and have to improvise or mix your dirty or clean clothes. So remember to pack a spare bag at home or get our self-cleaning clothes that don't get dirty or stinky.