When I was growing up, I was lucky enough to do a lot of traveling. To be fair, a lot of this was a lot of non-negotiable “go with mom and dad” jetsetting due to my dad’s job where I predominantly stayed in the hotel finishing homework. But, I also got to hang out in some pretty killer hotel pools, so I’m not complaining. I spent enough time in and out of airports that I’m a security check pro, have strong opinions of most airports, and consider myself an expert when it comes to the lay of the land as far as travel is concerned.
One of the main things my parents instilled in me while traveling was what my mom lovingly called “The Idiot Check.” The Idiot Check was very simple: you do a final sweep before leaving home or leaving wherever you were staying to make sure you didn’t forget anything essential. This practice has saved me from forgetting outlet adapters in the states and eReaders in Hiltons.
But the good ol’ IC isn’t always fool proof. I’m human, after all. Sometimes you leave shit behind, and it isn’t until the plane has landed 500 miles away that you realize your laptop charger is at home. And it sucks.
Your Glasses Or Contacts
If you have perfect vision, and all you need is some Walmart sunnies to protect your baby blues from the harsh rays (much like Joey Tribbiani), all I have to say is: “Va’ fa Napoli.” This is honestly the worst realization. If you don’t have your prescriptions, you’re basically resolving yourself to be doing a whole lot of squinting at menus and nursing quite a number of eye-strain headaches come 4:30 every day. You won’t be able to read your gossip mags on the plane or drive the rental care for fear of missing the unknown signs. Bye bye, functional vacation. Hello, reliving 2nd grade when you couldn’t see the board.
Your Emergency Credit Card
You grabbed your fun card and your debit card and even your checkbook, just in case. But then, unexpectedly, you hit a street vendor with really sick, vintage camera bags or found an outlet that was having a sale on linen shirts. Or maybe you took a tumble and ended up in Urgent Care getting gravel pulled out of your shin. I don’t know, shit happens. But suddenly, the fun card is only useful for maybe $90, and after someone suggested you go to theme night at a strip club your emergency cash is gone too. Fast forward to the rental car refusing to take your debit for a different drop off location and you, my friend, are screwed. That’s when you get to end up wasting the miles you’d been saving for a trip to Iceland or Italy. and tearfully watch them all go away purely so you can get your ass to work on time the next day. Expect the worst, don’t leave that sucker at home.
All Weather Wear
Sure, you might be staying in Key West for nine days, or Norway for two weeks, but you have literally no idea what Mother Nature will have in store for you. Don’t trust your iPhone weather app; it’s not always right. If you are the idiot who only prepares for 90 degrees and above only to whine around the fire pit when it dips below 50 and all you have is a suitcase full or jorts and racerbacks, you have no one to blame but yourself. Give yourself a little wiggle room. Make sure there’s at least one sweatshirt even if you’re going south of the equator, and also one thing that won’t make you sweat like someone who just accidentally spoiled the Game of Thrones season finale at the staff meeting even if you’re heading somewhere known for their glaciers. Be a boy scout — be prepared.
You know the panic that sets in when you’re leaving dinner or Target and you can’t find your car keys? Multiply that times about 100 when you’re shuffling around in your backpack in the terminal for your flight home and can’t find those suckers. Great. Not only do you have to cross every finger and toe that you didn’t lose them on the airplane or the street somewhere and that you’re just a moron and left them on the counter, you have to figure out how the hell you’re going to get into your apartment even though you’re taking the red eye home. And then there’s the wonderful adventure that is getting an entire new set of keys made. Never have you ever felt more sympathy for The Janitor from Scrubs. Keys are already kind of a pain, getting all new keys is an even bigger one.
I don’t how some people manage this, but I swear I have seen it on more than one oh-so-unfortunate occasion. A good friend of mine made it all the way to Vegas for a 21st birthday weekend and then suddenly realized he had reached the strip with no driver’s license and no passport. You know where you can go in Vegas without that crucial piece of documentation? Pretty much only the New York, New York roller coaster and Madame Tussaud’s. And the wax museum when you are stone cold sober and everyone else is plastered and pretending to pick Mariah Carey’s nose or hit Tiger Woods with a club is not fun at all. Make sure you can prove that you are old enough for the daiquiri you’ve been craving since your departing flight boarded. You don’t want to have to relive your high school days and sneak liquor because it’s a recipe for no buzz and no fun vacay photos of yourself reenacting Weekend at Bernie’s. .
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