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Don't Get Left Behind

“I don’t need a list, I’ll never forget something important like my passport!”

That’s what almost everyone says, but according to a survey by Sainsburys Bank, 1.4 million UK travellers have forgotten a passport or some other important document.

Getting to the airport, station or port and realising you don’t have something essential to your trip can mean missing flights, cruise departures, and more – and that often means being left behind with a lot of additional expenses.

The survey produced some sobering statistics:

·         1.4 million UK travellers have left travel documents at home at least once.

·         64% of people surveyed check the weather at their destination, but only 52% check their passport the week before they depart.

·         2.7 million have missed flights at the start of their holiday – many of these probably had to go back home to collect forgotten documents or items.

·         2.3 million have failed to buy travel insurance before they left.

·         1 in 10 of those surveyed said they felt like their misplaced or forgotten documents had ruined their holiday.


Important Documents

Passports are just one of the documents travellers have been known to leave at home. You’ll also need:

·         Printed flight/train ticket or booking confirmation

·         Travel insurance policy

·         Booking confirmations for your hotel, car hire, and any other services or tickets you’ve booked in advance.

·         Prescriptions for all medication

·         EHIC if you’re going to Europe

·         Driver’s licence or international driving permit if you plan to drive at all


Having electronic tickets stored on your mobile is great, but you should have printed copies too in case your phone is lost or damaged.  

Keep a copy of your passport separate from the actual passport, and if you have any visas for the trip, make a copy of those pages too. It’s unlikely you’ll need to use these copies, but they can be absolute lifesavers if a passport is lost or stolen while you’re away.


What else gets left behind?

Not surprisingly, it’s usually the things we need most. We’re so conditioned to have those necessities nearby that they can easily slip our minds when we pack or rush out to the waiting taxi – a member of our team once left her coat on the bed at home and only realised once she had checked in at the airport!

Toiletries like toothbrushes or deodorant are relatively easy to replace in most destinations, but it’s still an extra hassle that you could do without. It can also be hard to find your preferred brand in a foreign country.

If you travel frequently, why not keep a set of those basic requirements in a holiday kit that’s ready to go? Stock a toiletry bag with a toothbrush, travel-size toothpaste, shower gel, hand sanitiser, shampoo and moisturiser. Don’t forget things like band-aids, paracetamol and antacids, and simply replace those items if you use them.

When packing a suitcase for a long trip, many people forget items like socks or underwear. These can be bought in most destinations, but they could be a lot more expensive – especially if you’re on a cruise.

So make that list – go through a typical day and write down everything you use – from brushing your teeth and getting dressed in the morning to your pyjamas and slippers before bed.


Remember those meds

Medication is one of the most difficult things to replace if you leave it behind. You’ll need a copy of your prescription, a doctor who can assist with a new prescription for the country you’re in, and a pharmacy that stocks what you need. Your travel insurance can help with this, but it can take time to find the correct equivalent of what you use at home, and not all medicines will be available everywhere you go. This is one of the reasons it’s essential to update your medical declaration with any new conditions, symptoms or medication before you travel, as without the correct details your travel insurance may bot be able to help.

Make a detailed list of medication that you take regularly and occasionally, and make sure you pack enough for the full journey, plus extras. It’s important to arrange these quantities ahead of time as your pharmacy may require a letter from your doctor to dispense more than your usual quantities, or to provide them at an earlier date than usual.


Leaving your hotel

Forgetting things can happen when you check out of a hotel too. Always look under the beds, and make sure you haven’t left anything in the room’s safety deposit box.

With hands full of luggage and holiday mementos, it’s not surprising how many travellers check out of a room and then have to run back to retrieve that passport or ticket left on a desk. Or only realising once they’re on their way to the airport… and missing a flight as a result.

The solution? That list comes in handy when you leave too! Use it to start and end your holiday on a happy note.