Tips for Not Leaving Anything Behind

Tips for Not Leaving Anything Behind

Posted May 6, 2016

“I must have left it in the hotel room/on the plane/in the taxi …”   Even the savviest of travelers have had this sinking realization too late. Psychologists say that both the departure from a daily home routine and the many distractions of new surroundings conspire to make us more disposed to forgetfulness when traveling abroad. Various hotel surveys reveal that items most commonly left behind include books and e-readers, clothing, glasses, laptops, keys, dentures, hearing aids, toiletries, and most frequently (and frustratingly), cell phone chargers.

Though hotels typically hold onto abandoned belongings for up to three months, for privacy purposes they generally do not contact guests; in addition, many charge postage or shipping for returning items. Here we offer some tips to help ensure you return home from your travels with not only lasting memories, but also everything you brought with you:

  • Establish a consistent system for where you place things in a hotel room: Routines are crucial to the memory process, so create one for where you always place your belongings in every hotel room: pocket items by the phone, eyeglasses on the nightstand, etc. 
  • Leave yourself ample time to pack:  When you’re running around with just minutes to spare and cramming your belongings into bags, you’re almost certain to overlook something. Take the time to pack carefully and methodically, and try to arrange your possessions in the same places in your luggage each time you pack. 
  • End your usage early:  When in transit, wrap up your activity with plenty of time to arrange your belongings.  Reading your book, checking your phone, or using your tablet up until the moment you arrive at your destination makes you more likely to forget the item in the plane’s seatback or on the floor of a cab.
  • Keep a note listing your most valuable items:  To ensure that you won’t forget your most important belongings – wallet, passport, jewelry, laptop, etc. – list them on a post-it note and keep it in your pocket, or on the inside of the hotel room door, as a prompt. Locate each item on the list before you leave. 
  • Plug your cell phone into your phone charger: As a precaution against leaving this important yet most often forgotten item behind, keep your phone plugged into your charger in a very visible location the final day before your departure
  • Do a thorough walk-through of your room before leaving: As a final precaution prior to check-out, conduct a sweep of your room and look in every nook and cranny. Be sure to check under the bed, the hook on the bathroom door, as well as in all closets and drawers. 

International travel is one of life’s great adventures, and we hope these tips help you eliminate that sinking feeling you get when one of your possessions fails to come along on the next leg of your journey.

Luggage image via Flickr