Whether you’ve been struggling to close your suitcase for hours or you’ve nicely managed to fit everything in – it might still happen. You’ve left home, you’re sitting in a taxi or you’re already on the plane and suddenly – whoops. Forgetting things you really need isn’t unusual and sometimes it can be a real headache.
Your travel documents, tickets, money and medication are the essentials – without them your trip might not even start. Here are 10 other things to remember when packing.
It’s wise to charge your phone, laptop and camera before you travel. Just remember to pack your chargers and not simply grab your devices and go (everything’s supposed to be wireless, right?). Make sure you check if you need an adapter too. It’s also a good idea to save important contacts to your phone and download any travel apps you may need well in advance.
Photo credit: Andy Rennie
2. Explosives in hand luggage
Okay, maybe not explosives, but how many times have you been at the airport security check and thought, “dammit, I forgot”? The most common things people accidentally leave in their hand luggage are liquids such as cosmetics and contact lens solution, and sharp items like Swiss army knives and manicure sets. Also, remember to check the regulations for your flight. Medication and food items aren’t allowed on some flights. You don’t want to waste time at the airport security check just because you accidentally left a jar of jam or a hazardous item in your hand luggage.
This one’s a classic. Some people leave their toothbrush at home on purpose because they’re readily available, and some hotels even provide them. As it’s something you use every day, it’s easy enough to accidentally leave your toothbrush on your bathroom shelf. The same goes for a hairbrush, shampoo, soap, a razor, makeup and everything else on your “Things I Can’t Survive Without” list.
Photo credit: David Simmonds
Taking pictures is an important part of travelling for many people. It would be a pity to miss some great shots just because you forgot your camera, memory card, charger, lens or anything else you need for documenting your trip. Many professionals even create checklists to avoid forgetting essential pieces of equipment.
Photo credit: Angelo De Mesa
Some people use headphones to make long journeys more tolerable, while others use them to ignore the people around them. Imagine spending hours creating your perfect travel playlist and forgetting your headphones. What a pity.
Photo credit: Laura Lafond
6. To exchange money
Many people leave this one at the bottom of their to-do list. This is especially the case for those living in the Eurozone – sometimes we forget that there are other kinds of mysterious coins in the world. Check the currency of your destination before you depart as exchanging currency in advance might just save you money.
7. Book or a diary
There might be times when you’ll have to entertain yourself or when you simply want to sit down and relax. Having a book or a travel journal with you is always good idea. The only thing to keep in mind is that you probably shouldn’t drag the whole Harry Potter series along with you. You should also consider how much time you actually have for reading and writing. You may think that being on vacation means you’ll have plenty of free time, but you’ll probably be fairly busy when travelling.
Photo credit: cmkalina
8. Ear plugs and a sleep mask
It can be difficult to enjoy a trip when you’re tired and grumpy. If noise and light disturb your sleep, remember to bring along a pair of earplugs and a sleep mask. They’re handy for long drives and flights, and also if you’re staying in a hostel. They might not help with blocking out annoyingly loud people though, but sometimes this is just part of travelling.
Photo credit: Syed Nabil Aljunid
9. Dress according to the climate
Some people seem to forget that the weather is not the same everywhere. If you live in a warm climate, remember that rain exists and pack a rain jacket. If you’re going on a summer vacation, pack your swimsuit and something warm for the evenings. Check the weather forecast for your destination and note the night temperature too. I’ve met people in the Arctic who surprisingly weren’t prepared for snow.
Photo Credit: Sven & Fida
10. To pack less
This is the hardest thing for most people to remember. It’s tempting to bring along your whole life, but consider the length of your stay. Also, think about whether you plan on buying things on your trip and if so, save some space. It’s wise to pack the essentials and leave everything else behind – you probably won’t end up using most of it anyway!
Photo credit: Davidlohr Bueso
Every packing checklist will be different depending on the destination. I mean, of course you’ll bring along your tent on a camping trip, but it won’t be useful for a weekend in Paris. Always read about your travel destination before you depart. Maybe there are some clothing customs you should be aware of, for example women must wear headscarves and men mustn’t wear shorts in many holy places. Pack the essentials first, then start adding your favourite sweaters, jeans, shoes, fishing rods – I really have no idea what’s hidden in those massive suitcases. And don’t panic – you won’t need all of this.
Opening photo credit: Davidlohr Bueso