Something I learned early in life about traveling is that you can’t prepare for everything. I remember my first travel experiences. I was so nervous that I’d forget something, that I would spend most of the days leading up to my travel going through all the details again and again. I remember pacing back in forth in my bedroom like a caged animal triple checking that I had packed my laptop, only to realize after I got to my destination, that I had forgotten my power cord. Even now when traveling with Cathy, she’ll always ask while sitting in the driveway “Are we forgetting something?”. My answer always is “of course we are”, because no matter how hard you try, you always forget something when you travel.
Minimize the Damage
Once you get past the reality that you are going to forget something, you can start to approach your travel differently. Instead of being consumed about remembering everything, minimize the damage. By that I mean, there are things that you must have that will be a “trip killer” if forgotten like tickets, wallets, passports, etc… Cathy feels better with checklists of those trip killers and makes sure those are the first things packed. It doesn’t guarantee you will remember everything, but making sure the trip killers are packed will at least prevent your trip coming to an abrupt end.
Plan for the Worst
Not to be negative, but it isn’t a bad thing to be thinking about what you would do if forgot to pack something for a trip. It can be as simple as shorts substituting for a bathing suit, or knowing that your cell phone can be your flashlight because you forgot to check the batteries in your headlamp before a hike.
- Always pack a change of clothes, toiletries, medication, other essentials in your carry-on. Just in case the airline forgets that you wanted your bags to arrive with you in Portugal instead of Guam, you’ll manage until things get sorted out
- It is a good idea to purchase travel insurance to recover cost of things lost, damaged, or delayed in traveling
Pack a week ahead of time
Packing a week early allows for figuring out that there isn’t any more sunscreen in the house, your favorite shirt now has a stain on it or your medications are up for refills. Waiting until the last minute to pack on a weekend when the doctor’s office is closed to refill a prescription is added stress no one needs.
Put It On the List
No matter if you are a “pen and paper” person like Cathy or are dictating to Siri like me, a packing list is always a good way to avoid forgetting most things when you travel. Personally I like to avoid killing trees, so I love computerized lists. There are tons of apps that can make lists, share them with people, set reminders, and loads of other features. I use Keep, since it is free and easy to use. Unlike the “pen and paper” version, I can create and catalog saved lists for all my needs. I have hiking packing lists, international travel lists…you get the point.
Passing Along Some Tidbits
When you are traveling, it is a good idea to be prepared for the unexpected. Here are some things I have added to my packing list that I would always bring. These are some of my favorite items
- Bestek Travel – Nothing worse than not being able to recharge your electronics because you forgot a converter on your international trip. I love this converter because it is also a surge protector, has 3 110V AC USA outlets and 4 USB ports.
RAVPower FileHub Plus – Love this gadget. First of all, you can just plug your SD cards into it to be backed up, it can be your own wire mini-cloud for media sharing or a wireless travel router. It can also bridge or extend Wifi on a secure connection and is a power bank to recharge devices. It sells for under $50 and totally rocks.
LifeStraw Water Bottle – Ever wake up really thirsty in the middle of the night but didn’t have any bottled water in your room and pretty sure you’d die if you drank water from the tap? Well, the LifeStraw Water Bottle is a must have. It will filter out all the bad stuff and provide gallons of clean water. Save the planet and some cash.
It Will Be Alright
I started the blog by talking about how I would always respond to Cathy’s “are we forgetting something” question by saying “of course we are”. I wasn’t being flip or dismissive. It is just my way of telling her that we will be alright and that no matter what, we can handle it. No matter how much you try, you can always find a new way to forget something. The latest for me was looking at my check list, getting the item listed to pack in my hand, then getting distracted and not actually putting it in my suitcase.
- Never check something off your packing list until you see it physically in your luggage
With that, I will wish you all safe travels, and Roar Loud if you remembered to pack everything or if you didn’t!
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