I like to think I’m an easy going person but nothing gets me frustrated like losing something. It’s not about the value of the object. What really irks me is spending time looking for the lost item, having to go without it or replace it, and the general disappointment in myself for being scatterbrained.

When travelling, the opportunities to misplace something seem even greater. Between schlepping all your stuff around with you and unpacking and packing in different hotel rooms, the chances you’ll leave something behind are greater. Sunglasses, keys, phone, charger, passport (!!!): these are all things that could easily slip out of a pocket, slip between couch cushions, or be left at a restaurant.

That’s why I’ve come up with tricks to never lose an item again (or at least help do it less). Read on if you’re prone to losing things!

1 – Be Consistent

“A place for everything and everything in its place” seems like a stuffy old Victorian saying but man oh man has it saved me. If you designate one place for your keys, phone, and bus pass, you’ll never be fishing through your purse(s), jacket pockets, and camera bag every time you need them. When you come home, choose a bowl, a table, or a key hook for your precious stuff so it’s always in the same spot. When you’re out, choose one pocket and only use that one. Make sure that pocket zips shut though!

Don’t hide things in your shoe.

You might think it’s clever to find a special hiding spot for your precious items, but you’ll have a way harder time remembering where that special place is if it’s not a place you use consistently.

2 – Create Kits

I keep my wallet, ID, cash, passport, and bus pass together in an envelope wallet and rarely split the kit up. That way, I always keep it close to my body and know where everything is at all times. If I’m changing purses, I know I can just move the entire wallet and I’ll have everything. The same thing goes for my tech kit. It might feel bulky to bring all the cables, but if I keep it all together, there’s a much lower chance of me leaving a charging cable behind. I try not to split up my toiletry kit when I’m settling into a hotel. I keep everything that belongs in the kit together in the bathroom or on my nightstand. I’m not this extreme, but I have friends who have duplicates of things for home and travel so their kits never get taken apart and there’s no risk of forgetting something at home.

3 – Don’t Spread Out

Like with the toiletry kit, I try not to spread my stuff out when travelling. Always return your items to their designated spot as soon as you’re done with it. Using a credit card to pay? Don’t put it down on the counter. Return it to your wallet and put your wallet back in your purse immediately. Switching camera lenses? Don’t put it down on a surface, put it away on yourself — in a pocket or bag, so even if you forget where it is, at least you’re not leaving it behind. I also apply this principle at home when I’m using tools. If you always put something away right away, you’re less likely to leave it lying around and have it kicked under the couch by accident. If something falls under the table, don’t wait until later to fish it out. You’ll probably have forgotten by then.

4 – Make Mental or Written Lists

Phone, keys, wallet…we all know that little self-patdown we all do at the front door before leaving. Do that but for everything. Before leaving an Airbnb, go over all the items you took out of your pack while there. If you’re softcore, go through the list in your head, or picture what you packed and check if it’s still there. If you’re medium core, use a notes app to make a quick list and cross check it. If you’re hardcore, laminate a list and stick it in your bag (dad, I’m looking at you).


5 – Geotrack Your Gear

If you’re beyond help, put a tracking device on your wallet, camera, and passport. I use a little device called the Tile. You can use it as a keychain or get a slim one to stick on flat surfaces, tuck in your suitcase, or slip in a wallet. You can then keep track of all your tiles, make them ring, or pull up a map to locate them if they’re lost.

For a limited time save up to 40% on Tile Combo Packs.

Happy Travels xox