In order to have the travel experience of your life, you want each day to be worry-free. And what’s more worrisome than not being able to find a personal belonging you deeply value? Reports of lost items increase during times when people travel such as weekends, the holidays and summer vacations. Don’t let your trip get sidetracked by having to chase down missing items! Our travel experts have compiled a list of ten of the most commonly left-behind travel items, and how to avoid losing them.
1. Keys – Since you won’t need your keys in the Caribbean, why not leave them behind? Give your house key to the friend picking you up from the airport, or leave your keys with a trusted neighbor. The best way to ensure you won’t lose something while traveling is not to bring it with you at all. If you do travel with your keys, make sure to zip them up in an out-of-the-way compartment inside your carry-on where they can safely remain until you need them again.
2. Cell Phone – Do you have an In Case of Emergency (ICE) number saved in your phone’s contacts? This is an easy way for someone to help get your phone back to you if it’s found. If you notice your phone is missing, the first step is to have someone call it. But avoid this scenario altogether by not setting your phone down in odd places – like a restaurant dinner table where it could blend in with the clutter. Eating establishments are the #1 place cell phones get lost. So, always keep it in a pocket or purse.
3. Passport – Be sure to always keep this critical travel document on your person or in your carry-on (ideally in an inside pocket); and never in your checked luggage. Store a photocopy of the main page of your passport in your suitcase as well as leaving one behind with a trusted relative to expedite the replacement process if necessary. Or, take a photo of your passport and save in a secure location online, like Dropbox.com. In the rare case of a misplaced passport, one of our on-site travel coordinators (or a cruise line/tour company staff member) will assist you in contacting the State Department or US Embassy immediately.
4. Clothes and Shoes – Ever gotten back home only to discover your favorite pair of socks is now no longer a pair? After you’ve packed your suitcase and are about to leave your hotel room, go back and do a “final sweep” checking every drawer, behind-the-door hooks, closets and under the bed (where things can roll or inadvertently get pushed.) Personal items can often get concealed underneath unmade bed covers, so be sure to search through every nook and cranny.
5. Laptop/Tablet/E-reader – Can’t disconnect? If you choose to bring electronics with you, be sure to label them with your name and contact info. A unique case or cover doesn’t hurt either. A traveler once called her hotel’s Lost and Found to ask if they had found her black Kindle. Their response? “You wouldn’t believe how many black Kindles we have here.” Make sure yours is recognizable, which also helps ensure it won’t be picked up by someone else accidentally.
6. Chargers – Not surprisingly, chargers are the most often forgotten items left in hotel rooms. Once you unplug, you tend to forget about them. As soon as your device is charged, get in the habit of unplugging the charger from the wall, not the device from the charger. When you do the final scan of your hotel room, be sure to check the outlets as well.
7. Cash/Wallet – Before leaving on a trip, it’s a good idea to clear your wallet of all the credit and membership cards you won’t be using. After all, you won’t be shopping at Costco or racking up movie rewards while you’re traveling. And when heading out for a day of sightseeing, don’t take all your cash with you. Rather, leave a good portion of it in your room’s safe.
8. Jewelry – Diamonds may be a girl’s best friend, but, when traveling, it’s best to opt for cubic zirconia. If you simply must bring valuables with you, make sure they stay on you at all times. Never pack them in checked luggage. And, when packing them in your carry-on, make sure they’re kept in a small bag (as pictured above) so you can grab them easily if needed.
9. Camera – If you can’t eliminate traveling with a camera (by taking pictures on your phone, for instance) be sure to keep it attached to yourself at all times. A neck/wrist strap or fanny pack is great for this. Another helpful tip is to take a picture of yourself holding a sign stating: “If found, please contact [phone number and email] or return to [this address].” Someone scrolling through your camera can easily determine your identity this way and reunite you with all the priceless photographs from your travels.
10. Luggage– Great News: The odds of losing your luggage while flying are actually very low. According to the Air Travel Consumer Report issued by the U.S. Department of Transportation, you face less than a 1% chance that a major airline will misplace your bag. Help reduce these odds further by making sure your bag is properly labeled. Don’t rely only on airline tags, which can become detached. Be sure your bag has a more permanent label with your email and cell number so you can be tracked down while traveling. (The TSA also advises your contact info be kept on the inside of your luggage as well.)
Bonus Tip: Can’t seem to keep track of your belongings no matter what? If all else fails, try a geo tracking device! Tile, an innovative Bluetooth gadget, is tracked by an app you download to your smartphone. It can help locate a misplaced phone, laptop and even keep track of luggage on every step of your journey. (Watch the video here.)
These handy tips should help you avoid losing anything on your next travel experience. We want you to return home with all your belongings–and a lifetime of memories. If you have any tips or tricks you’ve personally found helpful, please share them in the Comments section below!