This is why I make packing lists

This week I am on a very busy but short overnight trip. Last night as I was starting to pack I started to make a list. Then thought, 7-30-14-1I’m only gone for one night! What could I possibly need to remember that I can’t keep in my head? To be fair, I did really well. I remembered my clothes, computer, and Kindle; charged all of my devices; and refilled some toiletry items that were running low. This morning when my alarm went off at 3am I groaned, but got up knowing that everything was ready and all I had to do was dress.

It wasn’t until I was about ten minutes from home when I thought, do I have my computer? I remembered putting it in my bag but wanted to confirm, so I started digging around my purse while driving down the empty highway. I felt my computer, but you know what I didn’t feel? My wallet. I pulled a few things out, sure that I would find it and everything would be fine. But no, my wallet was not in there. Efffffff.

I immediately swung off the highway, frantically calling the Home Warrior. When his sleepy voice answered I almost cried in relief. “Babe! I need you to check the table for my wallet!!” I barreled down the interstate, hoping it was there. It was. I made it home in record time, where he ran it out to me (in his PJs. My hero.). (Pictured: the offending wallet.)

At this point the airport was twenty minutes away, and my flight left in an hour. I knew the only way I would make it was to valet park—which I wouldn’t have done if I were planning to be gone more than 36 hours. Praying I was early enough to beat the rush, I ran inside, made it through security (thank you TSA Pre-check!) and walked onto my plane in the middle of boarding. Phew! The slightly ironic thing is that we then sat on the plane for a good twenty minutes before taking off, and was the last person to board my connection. You know it’s bad when the gate agents say, “Oh there she is!” as you dash to the gate.

The moral of the story is that in the middle of crazy travel seasons like I’ve been in for the last few months I just get complacent. I think, there is no way I will forget XYZ. But then I do, and it is so incredibly stressful. It is definitely time for me to get back in the habit of making specific lists of each item I need for a trip so that this doesn’t happen again!

Readers, have you ever missed a flight because you forgot something at home? 


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  1. I have not missed a flight because I forgot something, but here are two corollaries.


    I missed a flight because I was sure that the flight was leaving at, say, 8am, when in fact it left at 7am. I was so sure of the flight time that I did not check the boarding pass either the night before or the morning of. It was not until I got to the airport and looked at the departure board that I realized there was no 8am flight. The next flight to that city was later that day, and I had my boss and a client waiting for me. UGH – not a happy day.


    For those of us who live in or travel to cities with multiple airports (DC, Chicago, NY), make sure to check and double check that you’re going to the airport from where your plane is actually leaving. This happens more than you would think in DC, where Dulles and National are fairly close together. I know several people who have headed to the wrong airport in the wee hours of the morning, or worse, during rush hour.

  2. I’ve missed flights because I’ve slept through 3 different alarms. I use the Packing app. It’s free. What I really like is that you can import and reuse checklists. One button clears the list. There are subcategories for each list (tasks, toiletries, clothes. Etc.). It shows number of items remaining so you know if you’ve completed the subsections. I now have basic lists for each type of trip.

  3. I almost missed my international flight b/c I forgot my computer. Goodness knows how I forgot that. My husband rushed out mid shower and drove to the airport to bring me my laptop. Totally saved me. I was panicked!

  4. I forgot my prescription sunglasses – ended up wearing some gigantic unglamorous plastic fit-over shades on top of my regular glasses at a swanky destination wedding in Mexico. My husband called me “Aunt Edna” all weekend. Shut up.

  5. For a while there, MrB was a little under the pump and stressed at work. He was enjoying it, but it was taxing. He went through a series where he
    a) forgot his laptop charger
    b) forgot his phone
    c) forgot his wallet

    These days, every trip he takes, I ask him to check he’s got things. I tick them off for him.

    There was an instance a while back where I dropped him at the airport (he likes it when I do, and I like to take care of him when I can) and he left his jacket in the car. I only noticed when I got home that it was in the backseat, thought oh well he over packed anyway, and went to phone him to tell him, and realised what I could hear was his phone vibrating in the pocket! And his wallet was there! Well that was the fastest trip I ever took to the airport and he was really lucky that I found him before he HAD to cross through customs and immigration to give them to him. He was gone for 10 days. Would have been a nightmare.

    And I once showed up at the airport for a trip OS without my passport. What a dill. Broke a few land speed records getting home and back for that, and had to park in the short term undercover (thankfully only for a long weekend or I wouldn’t have considered it).

  6. I was 16, traveling with my dad and older brother to a province north of my country, and when we got to the airport I realized I didn’t have my mp3 player with me, and then my dad realized we didn’t have my legal papers to pass the border (they had my mom’s authorization since I was underage and traveling with only one parent). So my brother drove home to pick them up and missed our flight. He caught the next one but it was such a hassle! I learned to never forget essential things (like itineraries and documents!) and I always seem to have nightmares weeks before I travel, about forgetting underwear, chargers, my phone. This time, I’m traveling to NYC next week and I have everything ready and planned since like 2 months ago. Bit of a freaky but I learned a lot about packing, traveling easier and such being comfy on the plane and safe:)
    Love your blog!


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