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9 Travel Mistakes I Always Make

When we travel, chances are we’ll leave home without something important.  I find that even with all my travel experience and numerous checklists, I sadly make the same mistakes over and over again. Here are several travel mistakes I find myself making on a regular basis. So remember, I’m not perfect, I just play perfect on TV.

1. Forget to Check the Weather

I have this uncanny ability of thinking that whatever weather I am in will be roughly the same weather I am going to. I have a general sense of whether it’s a warm or cold destination and pack accordingly but I rarely check the weather to see if there’s a fluke heat wave or a chance of rain for the entire week…which leads me to me to #2 on the list.


2. Remember That it Rains

Yes, it does in fact rain where I am going.  So do I remember to pack a small umbrella? Never.  Really who remembers?


3. Bring My Toothbrush

This is a given. I ALWAYS forget my toothbrush. Why I don’t buy five toothbrushes and just put them in every piece of luggage I own, I have no idea.

4. Leave Without My Printed Itinerary

I usually remember to print it but that extra step of taking it from the printer bin just eludes me every time. I always have it somewhere on my phone or computer, but I also like to have a paper copy to jot down notes and revisions.

5. Forget at Least One of My Chargers

Luckily this happens on the other side of travel as well, when people are packing up in a hotel room to go home. Even your most basic hotel has a shoe box of every kind of charger that’s been left in the outlet under the desk.

Related: [Leaving Your Charger Behind]


6. Pack Hair Styling Products

It’s hard finding travel sized products abroad. And it breaks my heart to know that after I spent 20 minutes doing my hair, without a nice finishing spray it will look like crap in five.  Stock up on samples or travel sizes of your favorite brands so you always have extra to throw in your bag.

7. Think That a Hot Weather Place is Hot

Warm places like Florida can be miserably hot, but anything with four walls and a roof is air conditioned so aggressively that I’m often left wondering as I shiver through a meal at a restaurant: “Isn’t this the weather you wanted to escape?” Lesson: Going to a warm destination? Always bring a sweater or light jacket.


8. Take a Bathing Suit Just in Case

I don’t really enjoy swimming but whenever I see a nice hotel pool or chance to go for a dip, I think what if.


Save Some Ones and Fives for Tipping

I never seem to have change at the beginning of my trip for the bellhop when I check-in or at the end for the housekeeper when I’m checking out.  This means an extra trip down to the hotel desk to get change. Before a big trip we all head to the ATM where it dispenses only 20’s. So try to start collecting ones and fives a few days before you leave. Side note: In NYC clerks hate breaking a $20 bill. You’ll get the eye roll, the breathy sigh. It was easier for me to break a 20 US dollar bill in Cambodia than in NYC.

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This Post Has 24 Comments

  1. I never missed your show when it was on TV. Have most of the DVDs. Via them, I am allowed to “see” places that I will never seen first hand. Thank you for all the enjoyment you have provided to so many people.

  2. Thanks for the reminders. I can never sleep on a long flights, I always forget to take some melatonin.

  3. I went through a forgetting to pack socks phase, so I have souvenir socks from several trips. Now I pack too many socks.

  4. Good advice in general, but not to rain on your parade….carrying an umbrella everywhere is usually a waste of good space–and you’re going to,lose it anyway. Buy one if and when you need it. A good raincoat, however, is another thing is you’re going to a rainy destination.

  5. Samantha – I used to have the same problem, not just forgetting chargers but when I did bring them, a total tangled mess. Then I found the Samantha Brown jewelry case with the 5 small cases inside. This has been a life saver. We usually have 2 or 3 cords so I keep a set of cords, camera battery charger and one of the little cases is a small office supply case with scissors, tape, stapler. I can’t tell you how many times I had to look for tape in a hotel because we were going to celebrate a birthday or whatever and forgot to bring tape so I could wrap the gift. this is the case I also bring along at work because everything is in there.

  6. So true. I finally remembered to bring a separate envelope of singles and fives for tips and it made my trip so much easier!!! I did go camping once and forget to pack socks…brrrrr!

  7. Here a secret: Some hotels have a complimentary toothbrush kit. Just call housekeeping and they’ll bring one down to you. I have 22 now.

  8. I keep some of my “standards” like an small umbrella always in my suitcase. Thinking about getting extra chargers to keep in it because that’s something so easy to forget when you charge up the night before! I’m guilty of thinking warm (or cold) is different feeling then here in South Texas! Learning to have a little of everything (sweater, swimsuit, etc) without overthinking it too much! 🙂

  9. I keep some of my “standards” like an small umbrella always in my suitcase. Thinking about getting extra chargers to keep in it because that’s something so easy to forget when you charge up the night before! I’m guilty of thinking warm (or cold) is different feeling then here in South Texas! Learning to have a little of everything (sweater, swimsuit, etc) without over thinking it too much! 🙂

  10. I always use a Check-list to be sure I have everything, especially on oversea trips. So I was pretty confident when I took a land tour when our boat docked in the Florida Keys. I had lovely day exploring, but when it came time to head back to the ship, I suddenly realized that I left my Passport Book in the my cabin safe. Fortunately my brother was with me and he had his passport. I had my Passport Card in my wallet and we have the same Last Name. We got through Security OK,but it would have been a different story once we sailed to a different country outside the USA. It taught me to “PAY ATTENTION” when heading into a foreign country. Now, I check INSIDE my bag before going out!

  11. >If you have pierced ears- bring at least 4 extra pairs of earring backs (for post earrings)- I carry those extra backs in a contact lens case.
    >If you have noise cancelling headphones- charge it up before you leave
    >Take a few plastic bags (from the grocery); also fill a gallon zip lock baggie- with one other gallon size plus 2 quart size as a back-up- for gels, shampoo or damp clothing
    >Bring a mobile power charger for your phone- they make them in slim models that look like a lipstick. Be sure to turn off any background apps- turn off cellular data to save on roaming charges.
    > Put your home address inside your suitcase, just in case your luggage tag falls off

  12. Every single one of these applies to me too!!! Also, if it’s warm where I live, I always forget a coat when I’m going to a colder climate. I’ve bought more coats in Chicago and St.Paul, MN…..

  13. Wonderful post!
    I have done few of them, but doing them taught me how to do it right next time and that’s where I hopefully corrected it and not hoping to repear any of them.

  14. Ditto! I now have a travel drawer which Inclds list of “must haves” qtips, those tiny little polish remover packs, travel size hair sprays & mousse. I ran thru a phase when I was always forgetting my hair brush.
    As one of your age 50+ readers: Recently I’ve added to the list “10x magnifier mirror” so I can actually see how the makeup looks when I travel. Now, the problem is I tend to leave a trail of mirrors on the hotel counters.
    Multiple lists required- need an app! 🙂

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  18. I ALWAYS forget to pack my pjs. I pack TOO MANY charging cords and have NEVER used the swimsuit I ALWAYS pack. But a very wise traveler once told me, “They have stores where you are going too”, so the souvenir t-shirt never goes to waste.

  19. This article is so funny! I’ve done all of these things!
    The worst was our last trip to Quebec City. I forgot my styling brush, toothbrush and blush, for some stupid reason. Bad hair for most days, finally found a toothbrush and lipstick for blush!

  20. I bought a travel toothbrush that I keep in my travel make-up bag along with my travel -size deodorant and an extra tweezer and shaver and comb. Since doing that, I’ve never forgotten my toothbrush. I take sample size toothpaste that i get from the dentist every six months.

  21. After forgetting those certain essentials, I now have those pre-packed. We bought compact umbrellas that never leave our suitcases, and a “technology” bag with all the charging chords, plugs and a small extension cord. Keeping a generic packing list on the computer that we print a week before we travel helps as well.

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