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Travel: the things everyone forgets to pack

Once upon a time, while travelling in Greece, I was stuck on a train that was either broken down or waiting for the line ahead to clear (there was an announcement, but my Greek is somewhat lacking). There were three people in my small carriage. One of the other people began to sing, as if singing along to a radio nobody else could hear. The other person, in response to the unwelcome crooning, immediately produced earphones and turned their music up. I made note that from now on, I would never travel without headphones. But what else do people forget to pack on a regular basis?

First, if you’re planning to travel, be sure to keep up to date with pandemic travel restrictions, or you could find that you have travel plans that you are unable to fulfil – see this information on a COVID travel refund for more details.


Following on from the ‘headphones’ tip above, we must consider all the waiting around that goes hand in hand with travelling. There’s the airport and the inevitable delays. There’s the actual flight itself. There’s the potential for bus or train travel when you arrive, and, of course, there’s the potential for noisy people to make you wish you had your earphones. The key is to mix it up. Taking one travel book isn’t enough. But books are big and heavy, meaning you’re going to need other options. Load your phone or other device with movies and games, and download something like a language course – you’re going to have the time so why not use it.

Tumble dryer sheets

Do your feet usually smell? Not really? How about after a full day at the office that led to drinks that led to getting home after midnight? Notice any slight pong, then? When travelling, you’re going to be in your shoes from the early morning until late at night, often without changing them. Somewhere around day four or five, you’re going to start noticing the unmistakable whiff of an unloved shoe. Tumble dryer sheets hold the answer. Simply tuck your shoes up at night with one sheet placed flat to the insole, and wake up to shoes that smell as fresh as an Alpine breeze in spring time. Whatever that smells like.

Washing machine tablets

Everybody has their favourite jeans. They fit well, they have a good length, and they don’t pinch in at the sides. Good old favourite jeans. They never let you down. Except when you spill something on them and you have to resort to plan B, which might be something like a backup pair of jeans that aren’t quite long enough or a pair of khakis that don’t really go with the top you want to wear tonight. This is where you need to have a few washing tablets to hand – using the wash basin in your hotel room, you can fix the minor marks on your clothes without having to run to the shops and make sense of which washing products to buy.


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