When you forget to pack the essentials, you risk ruining your own trip. Whether you’re missing details of the Sistine Chapel’s colorful ceilings because you forgot your glasses or stuck inside your hotel room battling a cold while the rest of your travel companions hit the beach, you’ll definitely regret not giving your luggage a thorough check for the most commonly forgotten things to pack.
Essential Things People Forget to Pack
Even if you’re naturally forgetful, there are many ways to plan your packing ahead of time so you won’t forget to pack these essential travel items.
When it comes to warding off the dreaded airplane cold, your first line of defense is to sanitize everything, especially the tray table. Having sanitizer handy can make all the difference between enjoying your trip and spending your precious travel time recovering from a cold.
How to Remember: Small travel-friendly bottles of hand sanitizer are the best option to keep your seat station clean, but they’re also very easy to forget. Do yourself a favor and buy your hand sanitizer in bulk. On Amazon, you can snag an eight-pack of travel-sized Purell bottles for under $20. Then stow one in each of your suitcases so you always have hand sanitizer ready, no matter which bag you bring with you.
If you do find a runny nose or throbbing headache ruining your trip, you’ll want to make sure you have the right remedy on hand. Keeping a small bottle of ibuprofen, capsules of cold medicine, or other over-the-counter remedies at the ready means you won’t have to interrupt your trip with a visit to the pharmacy.
How to Remember: Always travel with a first-aid kit and keep the medicine you need well stocked. Look for a small bag like this 100-Piece Kit and keep it ready to go in your preferred day bag. If you need to travel with your prescription medication and don’t already use a pill organizer, bring one along. Travel sometimes means crossing timezones, so a weekly organizer can help you keep track of your pill schedule when the days start to blur together.
Glasses and Contacts
Nothing ruins a day of sightseeing like not being able to see properly. Finding a new pair of glasses or contacts while away from home is no easy task, and if you’re in a foreign country, you might have to find a new eye doctor to write you a prescription.
How to Remember: If you primarily wear contacts, always leave extras in your luggage when you’re not traveling. If you’re out for the day, try to keep a spare set in your purse or wallet in case you find yourself in need of a fresh pair. If you’re worried about leaving your glasses at home, keep them out in the open while you pack, preferably near your wallet or phone. This way, they’ll be less likely to slip your mind when it’s time to go.
When you go to check into a flight or hotel and something’s not right with the reservation, you’ll want to have your itinerary and confirmation emails handy.
How to Remember: Since you might not always have Wi-Fi, screenshot everything and keep it in an organized folder on your phone. Or go old-school and print out a hard copy. You can even keep it all organized in one of these nifty travel binders.
A hairbrush is one of the most common things people forget to pack, but you’ll feel this one the hardest when you face your bedhead in the mirror every morning. Hotels often offer complimentary combs, but if you’re particular about your hair, as many travelers are, you’ll want to make sure you’ve packed the right tools to tame it.
How to Remember: Invest in a good fold-up brush to keep in your toiletry kit. You’ve probably tangoed with the cheaper end of the fold-up brush spectrum, but the TOUCHBeauty Detangling Brush is a quality option that promises silky hair and gives a good scalp massage.
If you forget your passport, you’ll need to turn right back home and go get it. And if you don’t make it back to your flight on time, you’ll probably have to pay a fee to get booked on another flight and risk losing a day of travel.
How to Remember: Your passport should be the very first thing you grab when you start packing for an international trip. If you often have trouble remembering where you put it, get yourself a nice passport holder and the Keyco Item Tracker. Just slip this flat card into the holder and link it to the app on your phone, and you’ll be able to find your passport at the touch of a button.
A Rain Jacket
If you’re going somewhere notorious for rain, an umbrella won’t always cut it. Add a rain jacket to your wardrobe and save yourself some trip-ruining discomfort.
How to Remember: You might think an extra jacket will take up too much space, but there are many rain jackets that compress down to small packages like the super lightweight running jacket for men and women.
More from SmarterTravel:
- The Ultimate Packing List
- The Ultimate Camping Packing List: 29 Essentials
- 10 Multi-Functional Dresses for Simple Packing and Styling
Jamie Ditaranto is a writer and photographer who is always looking for her next adventure. Follow her on Twitter @jamieditaranto.