Packing Panic



David Whitley wonders whether forgetting to pack something has to be a disaster after all


Where have I put my driving licence? The one important question runs through my head repeatedly as I ransack the house. I even have to tidy my desk in a bid to find it. Eventually it turns up in the drawer downstairs. Now where did I put my passport? It seems as though it got moved whilst tidying my desk. I scrabble around in the piles of ‘tidied’ stuff until it appears on the spare bed. I elected to put it safely in my plastic document wallet. Then it’s simply a case of finding where I’d put my driving licence again. And then remembering where I’d put the document wallet.


This is what tends to happen every time I go away. For all my best intentions, I almost always end up packing right at the last minute. It’s like I enjoy panicking. But if there’s anyone in the world who manages to go away without undergoing some degree of packing panic, I’d put them down in the possibly psychopathic serial killer category. It’s only natural; there’s always that nagging doubt that you’ve left something behind.


This is usually because you have left something behind. The crucial question is whether that something is truly vital to the operation, or just something that will prove a mild irritation once you realise it isn’t there.


Some things I almost always forget. Swimming goggles and towels are most common, which is annoying. But I can always borrow the hotel’s bathroom towel and buy a new pair of goggles. I always end up stealing the hotel’s laundry bag or – if it’s not posh enough to have one – the bin liner out of the bin in my room. That’s because I always forget to take a bag to put my dirty washing in.


There are also things that get left behind. I’ve left razors in the bathroom, guide books on a train and – most infuriatingly – phone chargers in the plug socket. In every single case it has been a nuisance. But aside from the cost of buying a new one and the couple of hours spent finding where to get one, it was a surprisingly minor nuisance.


And it has gradually led me to the conclusion that there are very few absolute necessities. The only thing that it would be a true disaster not to take would be my passport. And maybe my driving licence if I’m hiring a car. We live in an era of e-tickets so even if you forget to print yours out, chances are you’ll be able to go online and find it again. I don’t recommend this, incidentally – I just reckon it’s not an absolute catastrophe if you lose your print-out.


Everything else, pretty much, is easily replaceable or traceable. Now then... where did I put my driving licence?


What’s the worst thing you’ve forgotten to pack or left behind in a hotel room? Share your shame with the world by leaving a comment below.


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