Quick Packing Tip: Remember your Most Important Items!!

an orange purse with a clipFor every trip I take, as I walk out the door and turn to lock it, I always think, “Okay. As long as I have XXXX and XXXXX, I am okay.” For most work trips, that is my cell phone, wallet, and computer. Sometimes I will add my passport to that list, depending on where I’m going. For vacations, it’s usually my swimsuit. But there are always 3-4 things that are absolute necessities, and everything else can be purchased once I arrive if need be.

A friend of mine evidently does not follow this rule. She travels by car for work often, sometimes two or three different locations in a week. Lately, her luck has been pretty bad and she has forgotten something major three trips in a row. And one of these was a two leg trip. For one set of meetings she forgot her computer and it didn’t really matter. That’s fortunate! I have a trip where I don’t need my computer maybe one in every thirty. But for the second trip, she had to forgo the majority of her sleep one night and drive home to get her computer, then drive back that same night. Eight hours round trip. Ouch! You would think she would learn her lesson after forgetting her computer twice, but no. A few weeks later she forgot her phone.

I highly, highly recommend that you get into the habit of thinking about those top two or three things you need as you walk out the door. Whether it’s your briefcase with your case files in it, your computer, your date book, or something else–if it is a required necessity, don’t forget it! If you are in the habit of forgetting things, put a sticky note on the door so you see it as you leave.

Of course, this plan isn’t always foolproof. Several years ago I went to visit my grandmother in south Texas, and was flying on from there to El Salvador. Except I completely forgot my passport, and my very smart cousin (a former flight attendant) reminded me. Thanks to the Home Warrior and overnight FedEx, I had my passport when I needed it. Sigh of relief!!

Readers, what are your top three necessities for business trips? How do you remember them?>



  1. Hahahaha… mine are, “Computer, cell phone, underwear, eyeliner.” I also literally go through that list as I lock my door every time!

  2. Cell phone, computer, GPS. I think the phone and computer are the worst because you can’t buy a new one on a trip as easily as underwear or make up. I drive to appointments all over the place all the time I am gone so I really need a GPS and would probably buy a new one if it broke mid-trip or if I forgot it. It’s that useful.

  3. I travel every 2 weeks for work — just frequently enough to matter and infrequently enough to forget stuff. I finally taped a checklist to my front door on a small yellow post-it note. What’s on it? Laptop, iPad, iPhone, wireless card, cords, passport, keys. Works every time and has been a godsend. The one thing I always have to turn around for are my house keys. Go figure!

  4. Any time I leave the house: wallet, cell phone, keys. I am so forgetful that this is like a mantra. It is also repeated when leaving a bar, restaurant, etc. For a work trip, add computer and computer charger to the list! I did almost forget my computer once, but noticed about 1/3 of the way to the airport and had plenty of time to go back and get it.

  5. Last minute check on the way out the door: cell phone, wallet, computer (if work trip), and passport (if international trip). Everything else can be replaced from the road if needed.

  6. I always seem to forget a charger or cord or somesuch. After nearly having to cancel a vacation years ago over forgetting my passport, I finally gave up and started a “packing list”. I’ve refined and edited it multiple times over the years, and I keep it in the “cloud”, accessible on my smartphone or any computer.

    Now all I have to do is remember to check my packing list the night before. Almost EVERY trip it has saved my bacon. Forgetting my sunglasses for a trip to California…never again! And how could I forget to pack underpants??? Thankfully that was at the Caymans Islands, so I could pretty much just live in my swimtrunks. But still…3 swimsuits, and no underwear??? Oh well…at least now I know it’ll never happen again!

  7. My goodness, folks, what about the LIST??? I have one list of toiletry items, and another of general travel items. I print it out for every trip and cross things out as they go in my bag/briefcase/whatever. I don’t need every item for every trip (umbrella, sunscreen, or gloves for example), but I cross those out before packing begins. If there’s something I need for the trip that can’t be packed until the last moment, it goes to the front door next to the shoes I’ll be wearing out the door. The LIST goes there too, just to double-check the items that were not crossed out.

  8. I have one of those generic packing lists that came with a planner I bought once upon a time. It has loads of things I’d never pack, some I back seldom, and others that I pack every time. Just scanning the list each trip ensures I never forget anything important.

    Of course, this only works if I go directly from the list to the item. If I get sidetracked on the way to my packing, all bets are off. 🙂

  9. I keep a couple lists that never change (well they do keep getting added to it seems). I have one for ski trips, one for beach trips, one for business trips and one for carry on which basically is the same for all trips except skiing where I carry extra necessities so I don’t miss out on a day of skiing.

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