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My Top 6 Items I Forget to Pack

This guest post is brought to you by Amy Moore.

As a wife of a pilot, I travel standby. That means I don’t always make it to my destination, and I rarely make it using the original route I plan. Checking baggage is not an option, so I have to keep the luggage to a minimum. Add to that I usually have two preschoolers and their many accessories along with me. You probably can see that the packing process gets a little stressful.

But, I travel often and I like to think I’m good at it. I’ve got the TSA checkpoint down and can get through with the kids faster than most single passengers. I can route myself through very creative stopovers and sweet talk even the most jaded of gate agents to get me to my destination.

My constant packing failures keep me humble. I’ve tried to get a packing routine down to no avail. Every destination is different and requires me to think differently. I usually have a couple of items I put great importance on and I make sure I have them, but I never make it with everything I need. Here’s a list of some of the things I’ve forgotten on my various travels.

>>Here’s what to do if you forget to pack something.

1. Socks

I forgot socks on a hiking trip once. That left me with one pair – the socks I was wearing. I tried to wash them in the sink one night during the trip, but that made the situation worse. It was really humid so they didn’t dry during the night, so then I had wet dirty socks. That one pair of socks got thrown away the moment I hit my door at home.

2. Underwear

pantiesThis is the same story as the socks. I had the pair of underwear I was wearing, and that was it! This time I ditched the pair I was wearing and went commando. Not my proudest moment, but you have to do what you have to do!

3. Deodorant

Believe it or not, I forget this a lot. I think it’s because I leave it out so I can use it the morning before I leave. I mindlessly put on deodorant and then forget to drop it in my bag. Once I forgot to put it on before I traveled, realized it at the airport right before my flight, and didn’t have any to put on. I bet that was fun for the people next to me.

4. Toothbrush

Also an item I keep out for use before I leave. I never realize I’ve forgotten it until right before bed, and that’s usually too late to replace it. If I’m traveling with my husband I can beg to use his, but no one ever likes to use someone else’s toothbrush. Sometimes the front desk will have one for purchase, but I’m always embarrassed to make that call of shame.

5. Contact Solution and/or Contact Case

Another item I’ve forgotten more than once. My husband is blessed with perfect vision so he’s no help on this one. I’ve tried to use water as a replacement. Yeah, don’t do that! Dry, painful eyes taught me that lesson the hard way. I’ve used the disposable cups to put my contacts in when I’ve forgotten a case. That particular hotel had one of those plastic coffee trays in the bathroom with beverage stuff on it, so I set that on top of the cups. It wasn’t the best “case top” but I improvised. I’ve also slept in my contacts, but that’s an obvious last resort.

6. Reading Material

This may be the most painful of all. There are only so many times you can look through the Sky Mall catalog without falling into a bored coma. It can also lead to the dreaded chatty seatmate. I like to give off an anti-social vibe to avoid this scenario and burying my nose in a book or magazine is the easiest way. This is less of a problem now that I have an iPad, but just thinking about it makes me shudder.

I’ve been trying to learn from my mistakes. I now have a full set of travel toiletries so that I don’t have to think about packing anything the morning of my flight. Let’s hope that helps!

>>We’ve all had planning mishaps or packed the wrong things. Learn from others to avoid travel mistakes on your next trip!

Big thanks to Amy for sharing some of her not-so-proud packing moments with us! I’m sure we’ve all been there once or twice. Amy works for as a liaison to the travel industry. You can catch up with her on Twitter.

Written by Brooke

I run the show at Her Packing List and love packing ultralight. In fact, I once traveled for 3 entire weeks with just the contents of a well-packed 12L handbag. When I'm not obsessing over luggage weight, I'm planning adventures or just snuggling with my pet rabbit, Sherlock Bunz.

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Reader Interactions


  1. Lissa says

    I travel constantly in my job. I bought four matching pouches and labeled them: makeup, toiletries, meds, and hair. I bought duplicates of everything I use at home but smaller versions. I can be packed in 5 minutes to go anywhere and have the basics with me.

  2. Erin says

    Same here! I’m a musician, and I CONSTANTLY do overnight gigs out of town. I have a toiletry bag that’s pre-packed with almost everything I’ll need, except things I only have one of, like my glasses or my birth control. (Those are pretty easy to remember because they’re so important.) That way, I’m never without deodorant, contact solution, a toothbrush, extra contacts, etc. It took a while and several panicked Google searches for the nearest 24-hour store, but I’ve learned! For me, it’s really the best way.

  3. Tandra says

    Keeping duplicates is always handy. For things that I can’t keep duplicates of, like my meds, I take them the night before and then toss them into my purse right away, so they aren’t unsafe in my checked bag and aren’t left behind. I had to learn that in college, when I traveled back and forth for breaks and such.

  4. Zoe says

    As a front desk agent, I have to tell you, there are far worse things that are requested than a toothbrush! Always make the “call of shame”. Most of the time at 3 star chain locations, they have them for free, even if there are some for sale ;o)

  5. Caitlin says

    I have never forgot any basics, like sock and underwear, but one time my brother and I had the same colour pants and I packed his instead of mine! I wore them for a few hours before realising whose they were. I was wondering why they were big around the waist and too long…had i shrunk and got skinnier? haha

  6. Glamourous Traveller says

    I know the feeling of forgetting your contact lens solution! How I deal with it? I always have a small tube(?) of contact lens re-wetting drops in my handbag. This ALWAYS goes into any handbag I carry since I tend to get dry eyes. When in a pinch, you can use them as a solution as well. They may sting a little when you put them on, but works anyway. I wouldn’t recommend it for long term wear, but ah well, a girls gotta do what a girls gotta do right?

  7. Harmony says

    Really your best choice should be to go out and buy contact lenses solution if you have forgotten it. Those lenses need to be cleaned properly otherwise you run the risk of being infected by the black amoeba. The last thing you need is to lose your eyesight all because of a dirty lens. My boyfriend is a doctor and he has seen 2 cases of the black amoeba just this week, both stemming from poorly kept contact lenses. I don’t mean to scare anyone but better safe than sorry. I’m pretty sure sight seeing would be a problem without your eyes.

  8. Julie says

    I’m notorious in my family for my bad memory. I have forgotten to pack just about every item at least once (including sunscreen on a trip to the Caribbean and another time my hairbrush; how do you forget a brush!)

    The ultimate “forget” that I will never live down is forgetting my passport for an international flight. It gets worse. I was dropped off at the airport and didn’t realize until I was at the front of the (looong) check-in line. And it was late at night.

    Luckily I was able to contact the friend who dropped me off and wake up my mother (at midnight) who put the passport in the mailbox for my lovely friend to pick up and drive back to the airport to me. After all this I still managed to catch the flight.


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