Oh Crap, I Forgot What!

I’m currently on a business trip which I made the mistake of packing for at the last minute.  While heading out the door I had the feeling that I was forgetting something, but could not determine what it was.  So I left anyways.

After driving for an hour with that feeling I finally figured out missing: my dress shoes and my bag of all toiletries.  So I had some time to determine what I was going to do about this.

The dress shoes I determined I was just going to live without.  I had black hiking boots on in the car and some jeans.  So I’ll skip my dress pants and wear the jeans to make due.  I’m not buying a new pair of shoes for just two days.

The toiletry bag was more of a problem.  I’m not going away for two days without brushing my teeth..ick.  So I first went to the hotel to assess what they had in the room.  I was somewhat in luck that they had a little tub of shaving cream along with the standard soap, shampoo, conditioner and hand cream.  I also check the guest services list to see if they offer a program to offer a free…whatever…in case I forgot something. No luck there.

So I then tracked down the nearest drug store and went shopping.  I skipped any of my usual products and strictly looked for the cheapest thing I could get (its just for two days so I live with it).  I found a toothbrush on sale ($2) and travel size toothpaste ($1.29) and disposal razors ($4).  So including tax I covered my mistake for $8.  Overall not too bad.

Yet what stuck me about this entire event was how people tend to over pack as not to forget something when traveling.  I forgot two fairly important things and it only cost me $8 and some minor inconvenience.  If you stay flexible about your plans the reality is forgetting something is likely not a big deal.  It will certainly cost you money for the odd mistake, but really carrying every little thing you may need is more of inconvenience with overly heavy bags in my mind.

So how about you? Do you pack light and accept the odd ‘oh crap’ moment or do you pack everything but your kitchen sink?

10 thoughts on “Oh Crap, I Forgot What!”

  1. I think you just wasted $8. If that happens to me I usually buy what I always use. This way I know the price and I’m going to actually use it up. Granted, if you fly it’s a bit different story due to liquid restrictions, but still, buy what you are going to keep using.

    I realize that I’m making the assumption you are going to ditch the $8 products, but why not buy the tooth brush you always use. After all you are supposed to switch them out every 3 months anyways.

    My first comment here ever, like the blog, great ideas. Keep doing what you’re doing!
    Chris

  2. I have gotten to a point that unless a trip is longer than 7 days I can get by with a carry on and personal item, and longer if I bring a bar of laundry soap.

    Wear your jacket, jeans, sneakers/workout shoes onto the plane (good for safety also). If the trip is for business, bring a blazer or two and a pair of slacks or two, preferably to mix and match. Then 5 shirts, and varying accessories/jewelry or if you are a guy, ties. People don’t notice the blazer/pants if they are dark or neutral colors, but they notice shirts, jewelry, scarves and ties. Make sure your dress shoes are either small (like some flats that fold down fairly easily) or you stuff your underwear in them so the space isn’t wasted. Bring a versatile overlayer like a cardigan in case it is cold (wear it on the plane). I have a small box in my bathroom of everything travel and keep it all together, so all I need to do is go down there to get travel size everything. I also take the stuff from hotels; they don’t mind (google it), they view it as free advertising, so no need to pay $1 for ridiculously small amounts of product. + a laptop and a book, car charger… what more do you need? I rarely forget something but if I do and it’s something critical like toiletries, I probably would have done what you did, buy travel size so I could take the remainder back home, but I would have gone with a travel toothbrush that I just left in my suitcase at all times so I didn’t have to worry about forgetting it ever again. Same with the razors.

  3. I’m a family of 4 (my partner, and 2 boys) and we pack 1 large suitcase and a carry on for all trips over 7 days. $8 is too much for those items. Most hotels, give away those items for free, just by asking the front desk reception.

  4. I second what Chris said about buying what I usually use (within reason).
    I have learned to pack lighter over the years.

    When I went away frequently (every other weekend while in a long distance relationship), I had an entire set of toiletries always packed so I didn’t have to think about it.

    Now I rarely go away, but my toiletry bag still has everything except deodorant (I have had one go past it’s expiry date before, and they stop working!!) and toothpaste.

    In the past (when I had to be responsible for kids and a husbands packing) I kept a checklist in the toiletry bag to ensure nothing got missed.

  5. I pack light and go with the “oops” method… make do, do without, or buy it on the fly.

    The exception is when traveling with a pet (or maybe children). It’s one thing to cope for oneself, but asking one’s charges to cope is, er, inconsiderate.

  6. Well, you will use the stuff you bought anyways, right? No biggie….but don’t buy travel size anything, it is a waste of money. You should have bought regular size toothpaste but besides that I am sure the razors and toothbrush will be used.
    I don’t worry if I forget things. I know how and where to shop for just about anything and get the best deal. Our latest trip to Mexico actually saved us money as there is no tax and the products were cheaper….go figure.

  7. I forgot my underwear once on a 3 week trip. No going commando though – but since I got some great deals and do most of my clothes shopping down in the States anyway, I figure they pay for themselves. You can never have too much underwear anyway. 😛

    I’m a really minimalist packer. Two carry-on bags for two of us works out just fine.

  8. I’ve found that Ping is usually right, hotels will supply most toiletries if you ask. The last time my bag was lost by the airline, the hotel provided everything from a razor, shaving cream, toothbrush and toothpaste. I was on business and needed black pants, so I visited the nearest Zara, bought the cheapest pair of pants I could and made do. I only needed the pants for 4 hours, so I kept the tags on and was able to return them after for a refund. Moral grey area, or lifehack? You make the call…

    I’ve been able to pack only one carry on sized bag on all my trips (including a week long conference in Europe) after consulting the website “One Bag”. http://www.onebag.com/

  9. I keep a list of items to pack, for personal and business trips, that makes things easy and straightforward. When you go somewhere enough number of times, you can also pack more/less accordingly, for example, hotels in Japan always provide everything including a pair of slippers.

    I agree with the others that trying to limit to a carry on bag can save you tons of trouble, but sometimes that is simply impossible.

  10. I try to pack light, but I still use lists to help me get organized and remember what (and what NOT) to take. I have several saved on my computer from various types & lengths of trips, so I can usually adapt one fairly quickly to wherever I’m going this time. I find a list is invaluable when you’re going to a place you don’t know at all; I travelled to Africa once and had to be certain I had everything I needed in advance. When an airline mix-up meant I didn’t get my bags for four days, I had to replace my toiletries anyway (this unfortunately happened right when you could have no liquids at all in carry-on luggage!) I did buy small travel sizes then, but I brought them home and used them for my next few trips – and if anyone asked, I had a great story to go with my strange-looking toothpaste! 🙂

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