forgetful person

I’d like to say that we’ve all been there. But it’s simply not true. Some of us are more forgetful than others when it comes to remembering everything we need in our suitcases.

Take my sister’s boyfriend. My sister knows his reputation for leaving behind life’s essential items so, while they wait to check in, she likes to quiz him about his packing. “Toothbrush? Swimsuit? Hat?” Once, before a flight to Italy, he got right up to the check-in counter before realising he’d left his passport at home.

He’s a scatterbrain and he’ll never change. (My sister forgives him, though, because he’s a good travel companion once they get to their destination.) But missing flights because of forgetfulness does tend to take the fun out of holidays.

So what’s the solution for sloppy packers like him? If you’re forgetful too, try these tips.

The tough-love approach

Forgetful people, you could argue, are just living in the moment. Organised sorts should pal up with them. If they’re natural organisers, they’ll enjoy standing over their friend’s suitcase, barking commands, until everything that’s required goes in. In fact, almost every free-and-forgetful spirit I know has a somewhat bossy friend or partner. That’s why my sister and her boyfriend are a match made in heaven. (Sorry, sis.) I just think she needs to hone her tough-love technique. Don’t ask questions in the queue – do it before you leave the house. Step, up sister!

The Velcro travelling suit

My sister came up with this idea, and I’d feel disloyal if I didn’t include it. Said boyfriend should add a Velcro patch to all his travel essentials, put on a Velcro travel outfit and then roll around the house until he’s got everything. I think this tip may need some work.

The dedicated travel bag

travel bag

This, forgetful friends, is the achievable equivalent of the Velcro travelling suit. It’s based on the theory that everything truly essential should fit in a carry-on bag of airline-approved dimensions. Choose a bag that you’ll always use for travel and nothing else, and keep it perpetually packed with your passport, a credit card, toothbrush and essential toiletries (within the carry-on restrictions), medications, a few sets of smalls and whatever else you can’t do without. It may mean spending a little to duplicate your basic kit. But it’s worth it.

The just-in-case budget

Shopping at airport

I stand by the dedicated travel bag solution, but it has two shortcomings. One: it may be too extravagant to duplicate some of the things you see as necessities (your smartphone, e-reader or camera, for example). And two: the essentials vary from trip to trip – just compare Christmas in Lapland with August in Majorca and you’ll see what I mean. If you’re a chronically forgetful traveller, it may be worth adding a little extra to your holiday budget for emergency buys at the airport or abroad – especially if you’re the kind of traveller who’ll spend the whole holiday missing your music because you didn’t pack your headphones.

What do you think of our tips? Can you do better? Let us have it in the comments below


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