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Top 10 Items You Forget to Pack When Travelling (and what to do about it)

Updated on July 27, 2012

If you are anything like me, you probably enjoy packing, taking time as you neatly fold every shirt and line up all the shoes to bring before carefully placing them in in your bag, and having everything ready a week before---just kidding.

I abhor packing with a passion. However, I do enjoy violently stuffing everything in my luggage an hour--or two at most--before travelling, and I have ended up leaving behind the most bizarre, yet incredibly important items (i.e.underwear).

Whenever I arrive at my destination, I wonder "What could I have left behind this time?," and every time I open my luggage: Surprise! But I like it like that. Why? Because I'm adventurous that way.

For those who suffer from "suitcase haste," or the condition of being too stressed to pack properly during the time leading up to a destination holiday, I did some research and compiled a list of the most common items left behind during a holiday.

Based on a recent study commissioned by Viking River Cruises, Brits spend around £118 million a year on forgotten holiday items and nearly half (41 per cent) of us forget to pack one item. Nearly 15 million holiday essentials are left behind every year.

However the study took note of how people surprisingly found time to bring along some home comforts, including brown sauce, marmalade, and pork pies.

Now, once you have gotten your orange marmalade in there, read on to find out some more of the travel essentials that you might have forgotten in this top ten list:

1. Mobile Phone Charger

it's funny how we would manage to leave behind an essential component to making our mobile phones work: a charger!

For those into trekking, camping, mountain climbing, or travelling to other remote destinations, chargers may not be needed anyway, but a mobile phone is a good thing to have during an emergency.

There are plenty of eco-friendly inexpensive universal solar chargers, with adapters to suit any mobile phone's charging needs, as well as e-readers, tablets, MP3 players, and others. Simply leave the solar chargers out under the sun and charge your mobile phone when you need to.

What to do if you left it behind: Ask assistance from the hotel front desk.

A mobile phone charger is the most left behind item in hotels. They probably have one that suits your phone.

Borrow or ask them for it. Heck, somebody else is probably charging their Iphone to their heart's content this very minute using the charger I left behind months ago and for that, you're welcome.

2. Mobile Phone

People have been getting along without mobile phones for centuries. They used telephones, telegrams, snail mail, smoke signals, and other forms of communication.

What to do: If you're the adventurous adrenaline junkie who likes going off on his own to hike or mountain climb, its best to notify friends and family members beforehand of where you are going. Give them a timeline for when its safe to assume that if they haven't heard from you in <this amount of time>, you are probably in...DIRE EMERGENCY AND NEED SOME SERIOUS HELP RIGHT ABOUT NOW!

Otherwise, you can always communicate through the internet, call, or borrow a friend's phone.

3. Glasses

Another essential, yet regularly forgotten item.

What to do: If you forgot your glasses, I'll assume your trip won't involve much reading. However for those instances when you do need to read something, such as a menu, label, dosage on a medicine bottle, or receipts, there's an app for that.

If you did manage to bring your glasses, don't forget to bring a....

4. Book

Sometimes whole vacation trips have been defined by the book I was reading at that time.

While you spend the day enjoying sightseeing or surfing, you feel an added sense of excitement. You know that at sometime during your day, you will be able to spend your leisure time at some corner, with a beautiful view, going through the pages of the really good book you brought along with you.

What to do: Hotels always have newspapers and magazines available. There are many interesting articles you'll be able to ponder on. If you're not an avid book lover, just pick up anything, whether a pamphlet, romance novel, or dirty magazine. Read, read, and read. It pays to read.

5. Toothpaste

Leaving your toothbrush and toothpaste for the nth time may not seem as important since they can be found everywhere for you to purchase.

It may actually be a good thing. Fluoride, a common ingredient has been found to decrease fertility in many animal studies. It causes multiple problems with sperm quality. Chronic exposure to fluoride has also been linked to neurological and thyroid disorders, hormonal imbalances, and heart disease.

Sodium Laurly Sulfate is another harmful ingredient that causes the natural balance of your hormones to disrupt.

What to do: Take it as a sign to ditch toothpaste and start using a natural and homemade toothpaste recipe. All you'll need is baking soda, coconut oil, stevia, water, essential oil, Dr. Bronners Castille Soap, follow these instructions, and your good.

6. Toothbrush

What to do: If you are out in the wild and have left your toothbrush at home, feel free to take your pick between any of the following oral hygiene measures:

If you have done so, congratulations! You have joined the ranks of your early ancestors who have been using these tools for their dental health since before recorded history.

For other travelers, these vending machines would come quite handy to you:

Chewable Toothbrush Vending Machines
Chewable Toothbrush Vending Machines

A chewable toothbrush is a miniature moldable toothbrush. It can be used even without water and can be found mostly in bathroom vending machines.They come in different flavors and some even include a small breakable ball of toothpaste on the bristles.

7. Sun Cream

Have ever heard of "Everybody is Free (Sunscreen)" by Baz Lurham?

If you haven't, check out the video below and read the description. I promise it's worth it.

He starts with,

"If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it. The long term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience."

And then he goes on to dispense a lifetime treasure fold worth of advice that we all could benefit from. Finally he ends with the words:

"But trust me on the sunscreen."

He could have chosen to repeat any of the valuable lessons he was able to learn from his own "meandering experience," but instead he chose to repeat the one advice that he explicitly stated in the very beginning: WEAR SUNSCREEN. Makes me shudder to think of the consequences of disobeying.

Then again, advice is wasted on the youth.

8. Flip Flops

Flip flops are great for the beach. The flip flops of the Brazilian brand Havaiianas have this buttery creamy feel that makes it comfortable and irresistible to wear that you'll soon find yourself wanting to wear them everywhere. Don't.

It even made it to the list of Nina Garcia's Top 100 items to have in your closet. There you'll find it explicitly stated as "Havaiinas."

What to do: If you are at the beach, you could borrow a friend's when he/she is not using it or ditch them. You're at the beach. Anything goes.

9. Shoes

Shoes are another one of the the top 10 most left behind items according to the recent Viking River Cruise's commissioned study.

I imagine it would be quite uncomfortable in the airport or at the hotel, being barefoot and all, having left your shoes at home.

What to do: Own it, and pretend you are on a travel adventure. Probably doing some solo backpacking around the world and have traded in your shoes for some other essential in your travel arsenal. (It helps if you are wearing a huge backpack) Offer your services for food at the hotel or ask bystanders, sans shoes, for a train ticket to your next European destination.

I have seen this happen, and it works.

Travel Adventure
Travel Adventure

10. Passport

What to do: If you leave your passport at home, I guess the only thing to do now would be to go home to get your passport and all the other travel essentials that you have left behind.

There you have the top 10 most left behind items according to a recent study by Viking River Cruises.

Enjoy your travel!


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