Don’t leave your vacation feeling stressed.
Even the most frequent travellers have left their phone/passport/wallet in their hotel room at least once. While you could be the most orderly of packers with a systematic To Do list, when distracted, it’s also far too easy to leave behind a few essentials such as phone chargers, battery packs, belts, toiletries and so on.
Here’re 18 travel hacks to help make sure your next trip is a fuss-free one and you’re not running back to your hotel or AirBnB at the very last minute to retrieve your passport.
As much as this sounds like you’re back in school, when you do lose your [insert device/charger], the fact that it has your name on it or a distinctive mark will help your hotel/AirBnB host identify the item and have it sent back to you. It goes without saying, you should expect to foot the bill for postage, so have your credit card/Paypal account ready.
Travelling can involve moments of whirlwind madness. In a rush, even the most organised person can forget their passport or keys. Make it easy for yourself to track any missing thing down by purchasing a Bluetooth-enabled Tile Mate. Attach it to your passport holder or key ring for example, and when you need to locate it, fire up the app and “ring” for it with a single touch of a button – just don’t forget to sync it first!
How many times has your favourite sleeping t-shirt/stuffed toy/socks etc… gone missing while on the road? It’s really not housekeeping’s fault, it’s yours. Before you leave your room daily, check the bed, under the pillows and sheets quickly to see if your nightdress or T-shirt is wedged in the crack – and don’t forget to check under the bed as well. If you don’t have the time to do so, hang the Do Not Disturb sign so your room remains exactly as you left it. Housekeeping staff often have to clean on a deadline so don’t blame them for doing a swift job of tidying up your room.
Apply the grocery store logic when packing and do it systematically. Start from the back of the room and check every drawer to see if you’ve left anything behind, open the safe to remove valuables, make sure the closet has been cleaned out, ensure toiletries have been packed etc… once you’re done, look over the room one more time before you call hotel staff to help you with your luggage,
If you leave packing to the very last minute, the haphazard “throw everything into the suitcase” style will surely see a few essentials – toothbrush, beauty cream, hairdryer – left behind. It’s best to pack the night before, leaving just the essentials out for the next day with space at the top of your luggage so these can be stowed away easily.
When you’re in a foreign location, it’s unlikely you’ll need your house or car keys. Use a carabiner to attach them to your phone charger’s wire and coil the wire up. That way when you pack up your charger, you’ll also pack along your keys.
Choose an old sunglasses case or reusable zip lock bag to keep all your cables together in a neat manner. If you want to keep them from tangling with each other, cable ties or file clips (coil the wires and clip them in place) come in handy. If you can, have a spare set of cables stashed away in your luggage at all times, this way you won’t have to unpack them after every trip.
Accessory pouches look more presentable but it’s also easy to misplace an item that isn’t accounted for. Try storing necklaces and earrings in individual sections of a pill box, that way you know exactly how many items you’ve brought along. Pro tip: Store the pill box in one of your shoes so you won’t leave it behind.
Another item that goes missing far too often. Next time, pack your watch rolled up around some spare cash — this way you won’t leave it behind on the bedside table if you’ve taken it off for a shower.
Not the whole kitchen, just a colourful pot holder so you can store your flat/curl iron safely when it’s still warm. It’s too easy to leave it on the bathroom counter to cool down, and before you know it you’re running out the door without it.
If you’re overseas for a short trip, consider packing by the day/activity in clearly labelled zip lock bags or packing cubes, this helps to save space and keep the packing/unpacking to a minimum. If you’re really worried about leaving clothes behind, note down the items in a list and tick them off once they’re packed.
Short of an emergency, very few people use hotel laundry services. Do use their laundry bag to store your soiled clothes. Just make sure you stow the bag in your luggage or keep it in a drawer when you’re out of the room for the day — otherwise, the housekeeping staff might assume by mistake that you wish to send those clothes for laundering.
Whether it’s for last minute shopping or for storing dirty clothing, keep a spare easy-to-pack-away bag handy which you can attach with a luggage strap to your cabin luggage, this way you’re not struggling to make space for everything at the check in counter.
Shop for one online or at Muji. It’ll safely store all your tech necessities – cables, chargers, adaptors – in one place so you won’t be hunting for them the night before you leave.
Raise your hand if you have forgotten to empty the hotel safe before. To avoid this, store your luggage close to the safe so when it’s time to pack, you won’t forget to open it up to remove precious documents and items.
Use a spare contact lens case to carry a portion of serum and moisturiser handy for the flight over. This will also come in handy on your last morning when you’ve already packed away your full toiletry set so you don’t have to unpack everything for a dab of serum.
The morning of your departure, make sure you unplug your phone/laptop charger from the wall and either pack it away in your suitcase or leave it on top of your cabin baggage in a noticeable position. This way, you will remember it when you’re zipping up your bag to make a move, instead of leaving it lying on the desk.
If you enjoy reading while on vacation, or just before you go to sleep, make sure to keep away your book/kindle the morning of your departure. Similar to your charger, either stow it away in your cabin luggage or keep it on top of your luggage so it won’t be left behind.
By Charlene Fang, May 2019
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