You know the sinking feeling of arriving at your hotel, ready to tackle your first vacation margarita and head down to the beach to catch a few sun rays, only to realize you forgot to pack your swimsuit? We also know that feeling all too well. Even though we get to travel a lot as editors (and would like to think we have packing down to a science), there is always that one small thing you left behind: headphones, a pair of running shoes, your contacts.
To help make the packing process a little more turnkey, our New York–based editors got together and made a list of the things we always forget to pack. And we're not talking toothbrushes, tampons, and shampoo, i.e., the essentials that are easy to purchase at most pharmacies (unless you're going somewhere really remote). No, these are the items you'll have a hard time replacing and that will give your heart a sinking feeling once you realize you left them behind. So bookmark this list. Here are 14 things not to forget when packing for your next trip.
iPhone Charger, Laptop Charger, and Battery Packs
There's nothing quite like the devastation of getting to your destination only to find out that you have 1% battery left and no charger. Always pack a small pouch containing all your chargers (and a few extra battery packs, just in case).
Prescription Glasses, Sunglasses, and Contacts
If you can't see, you'll miss all the wonderful sights that your trip has to offer. Remember to pack your glasses or contacts as well as a pair of sunglasses or two.
This one is a given, but it's happened to the best of us. Always triple-check that you have your passport and a few ID cards with you. While you're at it, scan copies to have handy in case you lose your belongings. It'll make getting a new passport at the embassy a lot easier.
Even if you're not going on a beach vacation, you never know when the prospect of a jump in a pool, spa, or sauna will unexpectedly arise. I've been in this situation too many times. Always pack a bathing suit, even if you're going to Antarctica.
If you're anything like me, your face and the tropical sun (no matter the SPF) are never a good combination. Remember to pack a baseball cap or straw hat if you're going anywhere near the equator. You can thank me in a few years when your face is wrinkle-free.
Never turn down a morning run, an out-of-the-blue workout, a healthy hike, or even a long walk just because you don't have the right footwear. A pair of running shoes is always good to have, even when you're not planning on working out.
A Few Books
Whether you prefer reading on your Kindle or you like the feel of a physical book, pack a few beach reads. Even if you don't have time to actually read on your trip, you'll thank me when the entertainment system is broken on your next six-hour flight.
Headphones or Earbuds
I can't even tell you the number of cheap airport earbuds I own as a result of forgetting to pack my headphones. I like bringing a combination of Apple earbuds and larger noise-canceling headphones on flights.
Long-haul flights are an absolute nightmare when your feet are cold. Always pack a pair of socks or two in your carry-on so you can return to napping in peace.
And pack a few extra pairs in your suitcase for your return flight in case you don't have time to wash the first pair on your trip.
Regular sunscreen is easy to buy at the pharmacy, but if you have a specialty face sunscreen you like to use, pack it with the rest of your toiletries. It only takes a few days of slathering generic oily sunscreen on your face to see pimples rear their nasty heads.
Have you ever taken a trip with a few friends only to realize you forgot to pack pajamas? Even if you sleep in your birthday suit at home, you'll be happy you brought sleepwear when you're sharing a twin bed with one of your girlfriends. Sleeping in your gym shorts is never fun.
Your Signature Scent
Perfume is not really something you can buy on the fly, so you'll be devastated to realize you forgot to pack yours, especially if your trip involves romantic dinner dates or important meetings.
Same as with socks, you never want to be stuck on a cold flight with no layers, so always remember to pack a warm sweater. Not only will it help you cozy up on your long-haul journey, but it will serve you well if the mercury drops one night at your destination.
A Few Handy Essentials
Even if generic toiletries are easy to purchase once you get at your destination, here are a few things to throw in your cosmetics case to avoid a trip to the pharmacy: hand sanitizer, your prescription medication, a hairbrush, a toothbrush, a razor, face wipes, floss, tampons, stain remover, and painkillers.