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Solo Travel - How did I forget that?

Even as a seasoned solo traveler, I've had at least one moment in the last six months where I've gotten to the hotel or home, started unpacking my things and had it turn into a hurricane of things flying left and right until I finally exclaim, "How in the WORLD did I forget that?"

Okay - sometimes the phrasing is a bit more colorful, but you get the idea.

Whether you've left things behind at home that you should have packed, or left things at the hotel that you should have taken home, there's no call for panic. You can get by with a few calming breaths and these suggestions.

If you've left something critical at home, unless you have no car or options, avoid the airport and hotel gift shops to replace them. They're convenient, and they know it, because the prices are generally outrageous for things like brushes, aspirin, feminine hygiene, shaving cream, and toothpaste. As soon as you realize that you've forgotten something, call the front desk. Often, they'll have small toiletry samples and other freebies that can at least get you through the night and into the next morning.

Another thing that you can do if you're chronically forgetful is to look for hotels that are near shopping properties. One of my favorite places to stay in Florida has a Walgreens right next door that's open 24 hours a day. That was exceptionally convenient when I forgot to pack my deodorant, and it was also helpful when I didn't want to spend big bucks on dinner, but instead shopped out of their little grocery section for food. If the front desk is out of the item you need, always ask where a drugstore is. Most cities have 24-hour drugstores and supermarkets that are convenient to hotel locations. Just ask - or even google it.

If you've left something at the hotel, don't expect the hotel to call you to try to return your item. You have to contact the hotel, and most likely will be put in touch with Housekeeping. Now, this is where you need to evaluate the item's importance to you, because the hotel will require you to pay the shipping to get it back. I once spent $35 in FedEx charges to get a shirt back, because the hotel would only ship it via that carrier. If it's an item that can be replaced for less than the cost of shipping, I recommend that you chalk it up to experience, let the hotel donate it, and buy another.

How do you avoid leaving critical things behind? Read on next week. :) Until then, safe travels.

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