Last updated: 03:46 PM ET, Tue November 24 2015

Staff Picks: What's The One Thing You Always Forget To Pack?

Features & Advice | Staff Picks | November 24, 2015

Staff Picks: What's The One Thing You Always Forget To Pack?

You pull out of the driveway for the airport or that long road trip and you think you’ve achieved the perfect pack. You’re a master packer, yes you are. And then when you’re done patting yourself on the back, it hits you.

You’ve just boarded the plane or the cruise ship or you’re 100 exits up the highway when you realize you forgot that ONE THING.

Don’t beat yourself up. We at TravelPulse feel your anguish. Even with more than 200 years of collective travel experience among the eleven folks listed below, we are far from immune from that dreadful moment.

Here’s the one thing each of us have forgotten time and again in our travels.

ROBIN AMSTER, Senior Writer, Travel Agents, Host Agencies and Consortia

It’s a bathrobe. Sure you’re staying with family for the holidays — and they are family — but you still need to NOT walk around their house as if it were your own. You need that bathrobe you have. You may never actually wear it at home or, for that matter, in a hotel room but you’re still a guest in someone’s home and you should have it with you.

JOSH LEW, Senior Writer, Eastern Hemisphere Destinations

Cough drops. I'm paranoid about being that guy who starts coughing mid-flight (and getting dirty looks from everyone else). I always plan to put some Halls in my pocket, but I never remember to do so, even though I have a cabinet full of them at home. Sometimes I'll buy a roll at the airport, but if I do that, I never use them.  

BRIAN MAJOR, Senior Writer, Caribbean and Latin America

I’ve been traveling so long I don’t often wind up forgetting to pack anything. I normally keep a suitcase filled for the next trip at all times. But I do like to carry a power strip and sometimes an extension cord when I’m traveling, as I often find hotel rooms with not enough power outlets or outlets in inconvenient places.

TOM BASTEK, Social Media Manager

It always seems that I am managing to forget either my razor or the blades for it. I rarely forget both. And so I am always trying to find a local store off the resort where I can just buy a make-do disposable razor for the duration of my stay. 

It seems like whenever I am forced to buy a new razor at a resort, they are astronomically priced.  Needless to say, I have two bags of throwaway razors, five different handles and countless blades. Don’t be surprised to see me start up my own Dollar Shave Club just to unload some of this surplus.

BARRY KAUFMAN, TravelPulse Managing Editor

If there’s a bright side to my one thing I always forget to pack, it’s that I’m keeping the Best Buy vending machine at the Savannah-Hilton Head International Airport financially solvent. I have, at last count, nearly 6,000 sets of earbuds scattered around my home because even though I’m a meticulous packer, I always forget to sock a set of headphones away in my carryon.

The good news is that when I’m at home, I always have a set within arm’s reach. The bad news is I have accumulated a ridiculous amount of headphones-purchased-at-airport-prices-related credit card debt. My advice – purchase enough sets of earbuds that you can keep a set in every bag you might use as a carryon. This seems to have solved the problem for me. The larger problem of my chronic headphone forgetfulness remains unresolved.

MICHAEL ISENBEK, TravelPulse Associate Editor

I am incredibly nearsighted, with really thick lenses in my glasses. The thin wire frames I used to have could not stand the might of these Coke bottles, so my spectacles self-destructed quite often. This meant I needed to have an eyeglasses repair kit close by — something I would inevitably forget to bring on trips. If I was lucky, my destination had a well-stocked drugstore where I could find one. If not, tape would have to do. So now, I have a ridiculously huge assortment of cheap plastic ones and nifty metal ones.

GABE ZALDIVAR, Senior Writer, Business Travel, Gadgets and Tech

This might be a bit nerdy, but the one thing I always leave back at home, more than clothes, medicine or devices is valuable data. There are so many apps that allow for offline use, but I always forget to update them with plentiful Internet access when I'm at home. Now I have to search for Wi-Fi to update that map app of the city I'm visiting. Make sure you take a moment to download everything you might need and make sure its up to date. You will be surprised how little data you will actually need if you do.

PATRICK CLARKE, Senior Writer, Hotels and Resorts

As someone with a laundry list of dental issues, it's rare that I forget to pack my toothbrush and toothpaste. However in an attempt to avoid being without it, I tend to overcompensate by unknowingly purchasing a travel-sized tube of toothpaste ahead of seemingly every trip because, hey, they're only $1. But they're beginning to pile up in my bathroom. Let this be your reminder to never travel without a tube of toothpaste and never fall victim to a great deal on a travel-sized tube of toothpaste.

DAVID COGSWELL, Senior Writer, Tour Operators, Middle East and Africa

One of the easiest things to fall through the cracks for me when I’m packing is electrical adaptors. Different companies require different kinds of plug-ins. Certain kinds are more frequently used than others, but you need to go online and research what kind of adaptors are needed in the country, and then take whatever kind is appropriate. Sounds simple enough.

But sometimes you end up at a place that does not conform to what is supposed to be the kind of adaptor that particular country uses. Sometimes what looks like the right kind of adaptor doesn’t quite fit. Maybe its edges are the wrong shape or too large to fit into the socket. These days you need to have an assortment of adaptors to cover yourself. But you also run up against the lack of space in packing and the fact that you don’t want to be lugging tons of extra stuff around the world with you.

When you get to the destination you’ll need at least a couple of them for your phone and your computer. If you don’t have them when you get to your destination, you are screwed blue.

TIM WOOD, TravelPulse Editor-in-Chief

Have you ever watched “Extreme Couponing” and seen the basement full of useless products these couponers buy in bulk? Well, I need some extreme coupons for travel pillows. I click it to my travel backpack, use it during the flight and swear to myself I’m not going to forget it in the hotel room. And then, I’m in a rush to get a shuttle because I overslept and I forget the dang pillow. If all my travel pillows were tagged with a tracking chip, you’d end up with enough fluffly neck supporters to rival any of the extreme couponers’ basement stashes.

CLAUDETTE COVEY, Vacation Agent and Agent@Home Magazines Managing Editor

In the past, my toothbrush frequently never made it from the bathroom sink to my carry on. Luckily, a fair amount of my travel over years has been to all-inclusives resorts, and staff will deliver freebie toothbrushes to room. These days, I never find myself without one. I now keep a travel bag on hand with one of those resort toothbrushes in it – along with other essential items like deodorant and toothpaste. 


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