Be sure to double check your hotel room before handing back your key card. It turns out that almost half of Canadians admit to leaving personal items behind when they check out. A new survey by Leger marketing found that 43 per cent of us have forgotten something in a hotel room.
I once forgot my cell phone in Mexico. I’m not sure how. I’m a former travel writer; I’ve checked out of more hotels, motels, inns and B&Bs than most people will ever see. I always do the wall to door systematic scan as I leave the room for the last time. Still, that time, I left my phone on the desk and didn’t notice until my flight landed back at Pearson.
It was a flip phone when everybody else had already switched to smart phones and therefore was a target of mockery by my friends, but still, I felt pretty dumb. Fortunately, most people forget items that are less valuable than their phones. According to the survey, toothbrushes are the things most often left behind by travellers.
That makes sense. You don’t want to pack your toothbrush until the last minute so you can brush your teeth before heading out. Every time I start a new toothbrush, I throw the old one into my travel bag for backup. You’d think my kit would be filled with old toothbrushes by now, but no. They’re probably scattered in hotel and campground dumpsters across the continent. Here’s what else we leave behind.
The top 10 items Canadians most often forget in hotel rooms
1. Toothbrush – 18 per cent.
2. Phone charger – 15 per cent. Always check your chargers. They’re usually plugged into the wall, often behind the desk. Very easy to forget.
3. Sunglasses – 14 per cent. If it isn’t bright and sunny out when you leave the hotel, you won’t miss them before it’s too late.
4. Books – 10 per cent. Hint: Don’t put your book in the nightstand drawers. In fact, on shorter stays, don’t use those drawers at all. That’s where items go to be forgotten.
5. Hats – 9 per cent. The top shelf of the coat closet. You can’t see it in a visual scan of the room, and it’s almost certainly where you’re leaving your hat.
6. Makeup – 8 per cent. The same as the toothbrush, it’s those items you wait until the very last minute to pack that are most often left behind.
7. Shoes – 7 per cent. Obviously, you’re travelling with more than just the one pair. The others are in the closet.
8. Toys – 7 per cent. Kids are the worst. (I have a five-year-old.) They bring toys everywhere and aren’t able to keep track of where they put them. But it’s an absolute disaster of epic proportions when they discover they’ve been left behind. Let kids choose only a few favourites to bring when travelling, and be sure that these are all accounted for when checking out.
9. Prescription glasses – 6 per cent. If they’re not in your pocket where they belong, they’re in the drawer beside your book. Hotels won’t throw out glasses right away. If you get in touch with the front desk, you can arrange to have them shipped back to you.
10. Wallet – 2 per cent. Don’t forget your wallet. Always double check your wallet. The risks for identity theft aside, the hassle of replacing all your IDs, debit and credit cards make this a huge pain.
What the items on this list all have in common is that they tend to be the last-minute things that we leave behind. You won’t pack your toothbrush, makeup, or even your phone charger the night before checking out. You want to start off fresh and with a full battery for traveling. Most of us don’t pack your wallet or glasses into our suitcases, but wait to grab them on the way out the door.
So the key take-away is to double check all surfaces, counters, closets, drawers, and outlets to ensure that none of your personal items are left behind before you close the hotel room door for the last time.
For this report, the Leger Marketing group surveyed over 1,500 Canadians earlier this year.