Today’s guest post is by Christopher Elliott, author of “How To Be The World’s Smartest Traveler” (National Geographic). This column originally appeared in USA Today.
If you've ever left something behind on vacation, then you probably know how Jerry Rothstein feels.He's forgotten his shoes (in Caracas, Venezuela), a sportcoat (in Inverness, Scotland), toiletries (in Hong Kong), and, "most serious of all, my passport in the room safe at the Mandarin Hyde Park," says Rothstein, a retired equity research analyst. Fortunately, he recovered all of the items.
|Chargers are among the items most often left in hotel rooms.|
A survey by the research firm Kelton Global showed that 29% of Americans are more likely to accidentally leave a belonging behind in a hotel room than take a hotel item.
|Take home all the toiletries you brought with you.|
The most commonly left-behind items according to Kelton’s poll:
|Brushes, combs, clips, and |
curling irons are often
left in hotel bathrooms.
2. Toiletries (42%)
3. Electronic devices/chargers (40%)
4. Jewelry, including watches (15%)
5. Underwear (13%)
6. Hair styling tools (13%)
Tips from travel pros
|Check night stands|
for small pieces of jewelry.
A few pre-departure tips will ensure you leave with everything you brought. They include understanding what you could leave behind and strategies for remembering not to forget them.
1. Don't hide items during short hotel stays
Graham Denio, the director of loss prevention and guest services at Atlanta’s Westin Peachtree Plaza says guests should forget about trying to hide items. "Items tucked away are the ones that we frequently find," he says. "Leave them out and visible on counters during short stays."
2. Don't stash all your valuables in one spot
Always double-check every drawer and cabinet in your room (and the safe) before checking out. Make sure you have your passport, phone, chargers, computer and wallet. Store backup cash in a different pocket or billfold, and keep bank cards in separate places.
3. Embrace brightly-colored baggage
|Eye-catching colors help|
you remember luggage
or cubes when packing
Colors matter, too, as Rita Coomler, a retired nurse from Tucson, Ariz., discovered. She recently returned from a trip to New Zealand, but when she unpacked her luggage, she found a dark purple luggage cube with her clothes was absent. She'd left it in her room at the Barclay Suites in Auckland. Coomler contacted the property, which eventually mailed her the cube.
"My recommendation?" she says. "Cubes are excellent for the organization of, clothes, toiletries, and shoes. But choose a very bright color that stands out such as lime green, vibrant red, or bright orange."
When it comes to packing or luggage cubes, the more obnoxious the color, the less likely you are to overlook it when gathering up your belongings.
4. Remember the three B's: bed, bath, balcony
|Be sure to check the balcony|
at your hotel or cruise ship
when packing to leave.
Patricia Hajifotiou is an expert on losing things on the road. While she rarely leaves things behind, she has dealt with many customers who abandoned their belongings in hotel rooms, terminals and taxis.
Her strategy is simple. Before checking out, check the three 'B's or spots where travelers are most likely to leave items: the bed, bath and balcony.
The bathroom is one of the three hotel room Bs where you're most likely to leave items. So check behind shower curtains for toiletries and behind doors for clothes you may have hung up and forgotten about.
|Don't forget your|
"Look at and under your bed and check under the sheets," says Hajifotiou, who runs a tour company in Chagrin Falls, Ohio. "In the bathroom, check behind the curtain to see if you left your shampoo or your shaving device. And on the balcony, make sure you didn't hang anything out to dry."
My best advice: Listen to the inner voice, the one that says, "Did you forget something in your room?" If you hear it, chances are the answer is "yes."
Photos from free sources.