You'll probably forget something on your next trip. It might be as inconsequential as a pair of socks, or as important as lifesaving medication, but you will.
More than 8 in 10 travellers forgot something while they were on vacation, according to a survey by Minimus.biz, a company that specializes in travel-size products.
The most commonly overlooked item?
Toothbrushes, followed by clothing and shoes, toothpaste, toiletries, socks, hair appliances and chargers.
The age of the person determined which items they forgot the most
Younger people forget things like food, chargers and socks. Older people forget things like medication, eyewear and shampoo.
What is it about travel that makes us forget and how do you prevent the kinds of oversights that can derail a trip?
There's a scientific explanation for our absent-mindedness:
When you travel, you're not in "automatic" mode - and are more likely to forget something.
People are more likely to forget something if the activity is not part of their routine and it takes extra effort in our brain to complete all necessary tasks if our routine is disrupted, such as when travelling.
In our busy lives, we rely on our routines to get up, get dressed, groom, and out the door to work. We are often in automatic mode.
People also forget things because there's so much to remember. It's not just your itinerary, food, electronics and carry-on, but also what to do with it all. Now that you're at the airport, which terminal? Which gate? And once you're at your destination, try remembering the WiFi password at your rental house or your hotel room's number. It's no wonder people leave chargers and toothbrushes in their rooms. They have a lot on their minds.
A few tips for remembering things:
Double-check everything, starting with your itinerary and ending with your hotel checkout. That means reading your confirmation screen twice and going through your hotel room twice before leaving. That usually works, as long as you're the last set of eyes in the room.
Technology can help jog your memory:
- Try Tripit, and sync it to your Google account, to track hotel and flight itineraries.
- Use Google Keep, a note-taking application, to make a list of items to remember.
- Smartphone app Evernote to stores reminders and to-do lists.
- Use your phone to take pictures of your hotel room number
- Take a photo of the parking level you are on as you rush to catch the plane so you can find your car when you return.
Keep a list of basic travel data like reservation information to your online calendar and weather-forecast links.
When you're on the road, you may forget something - your brain can't handle all the new information. But a few memory-enhancing tools and habits can help you avoid overlooking something important.