The one thing I always forget to do when I travel

Looking-up-directions

You guys, I consider myself to be a pretty organized traveller. I compartmentalize my clothes into packing cubes so everything will be neat and tidy, I double ziplock all my toiletries so that nothing will get wet if a bottle of shampoo explodes, and I keep all my electronics with their chargers and respective international adapters in my carry-on so that I’ll have easy access to things. I even have a little red notebook where I scribble notes and reminders of things like train numbers, flight departures, or the address of a really good bakery I want to try. But there is one thing that I almost always forget to do:

I can’t seem to remember to write the address of the place where I’m staying and look up directions on how to get there.

A pretty important step of the equation if you ask me!

It happens so often that even while I was writing this post I thought, “Oh crap! I still need to figure out the directions to my AirBnB in Amsterdam for tomorrow!” Yup, this is the one thing that I forget to do before almost every single trip.

Sometimes I’ll catch myself last minute just as I’m about to leave for the next destination, and I’ll look things up my phone and save a map for when I arrive, but there have also been plenty of times where I found myself in the middle of a train station / bus terminal / airport searching for local maps and hoping there would be an attendant at the information desk who could point me in the direction of the right bus / metro / tram I needed to take.

The thing is, sometimes I get so focused on making sure that my bags are properly packed, that nothing is being left behind under a hotel bed, and making sure that I get to the train station at the right time, that I completely forget about what happens when I actually reach my next destination. How do I find my way to my hostel, hotel, or AirBnB once I arrive?

This wouldn’t be a big deal if I actually travelled with a SIM card on my phone, but I don’t, which means GoogleMaps can’t come to the rescue unless I can find an open Wi-fi connection, and in some parts of the world that’s easier said than done.

So that is my current dilemma – finding a way to remember to do the most obvious thing possible.

Is there something you’re always forgetting to do when you travel?

Go on, tell me about it so I don’t feel so bad about my own forgetfulness. 

29 Comments

  • Ellie Quinn says:

    So far I’ve actually been quite good at this! However an app that really helps me is maps.me, you don’t need wifi just phone signal and it has gps and often has most accommodations on there! Obviously won’t happen unless you have an idea of where you’re staying and for transport ect but helps with the wifi issue! 🙂
    Ellie Quinn recently posted..5 Quiet Beaches in Thailand.My Profile

    • Audrey says:

      Thanks for the tip, Ellie! I haven’t tried Maps.me before, but I’ll have to download it on my phone and see how it works.

    • Alayna says:

      Oh my gosh! I totally just realized the importance of this on my trip to China. Arriving at the bus station and having no idea where we were meant to go in the middle of Golden Week was overwhelming to say the least. Other tips I discovered is to A: have someone write the name of the hostel, hotel, etc. in the native language (especially in China where english speakers are rare) and B: call the hostel ahead of time to make sure the number is accurate. We also discovered this the hard way when we tried to get a hold of two of our hostels through the number provided by the hostelworld website and discovered that the numbers were no longer connected, which also made it hard to figure out how to get to our accommodations.

  • Abbi Bishop says:

    I am also guilty of this! It’s not so bad when you arrive somewhere touristy or English speaking, but in smaller places it can be a bit of a nightmare. We didn’t prepare at all when we landed in Delhi – big mistake! But, I have found that (on iPhone at least) Google maps will half-work if you have location services turned on. You can’t get directions, but you can at least see where abouts on the map you are! Thanks for posting this, Abbi – spinthewindrose.com

  • veena says:

    Haha, I do the same thing, and I can even do you one better. When my friend and I went to Istanbul 5 years ago, we both completely forgot to book a hostel before we left Bangalore. We landed in the Ataturk airport, collected our bags, and then looked at each other going, “What do we do now?” We somehow found our way to Sultanahmet, discovered that the park there had free wi-fi, and set to work finding a hostel in the area. We literally went to the first one we found, and luckily they had dorm beds available for us and for a friend who was arriving that evening. Thank goodness it worked out! It was August 2010, Istanbul was Europe’s “City of Culture” for the year, and we didn’t even think about the fact that rooms would have been booked up weeks or even months in advance. I certainly learned my lesson on that one and at least make sure I have something booked for the first night I’m in town — but getting there is a whole other issue I am slowly having to remind myself about!
    veena recently posted..book number sixteen of 2015 + booker prize winner 1983: life & times of michael k [jm coetzee].My Profile

  • I always forget to do a last minute check before I leave the room for the last time — I always assume that I just packed everything. Needless to say, I’ve left quite a lot behind over the years. Thankfully it’s usually just small things like a souvenir or a book but it still hurts!
    Deepti @ Endless Postcards recently posted..10 Places On My Europe BucketlistMy Profile

  • chewy says:

    I do that too sometimes! Sometimes I also forget to check what terminal I need to go to for my flight. Oops!
    chewy recently posted..One year post operation: Tiny scar and a numb faceMy Profile

  • We were pretty good about the maps – would always save screenshots of maps while we had internet, then use the pictures to help taxis, or when we were finding our way there on transit.

    It has to be some random toiletry. Without fail, I always forget one, OR, if I’m traveling carry on only I am physically removed from my razor and have no choice but to buy the 6-pack of cheapos on arrival… never fun.
    Victoria | Girl Tries Life recently posted..11 Blogs I LoveMy Profile

  • I am right there with you! I am a notorious last-minute direction finder. Which is all fine and dandy in the US, but whenever I’m abroad without a phone it gets me into trouble. My parents and I *thought* we had directions to the place we were staying in Northern Ireland, but alas. We should have done a better job.
    Amanda | Chasing My Sunshine recently posted..US Road Trip Stop: Manhattan, KansasMy Profile

  • Alisa says:

    I almost always either forget my toothbrush or my pjs, or both. For some reason when I’m double checking that I’ve packed everything I never think to check for these two items. No matter how many times I travel, if I forget something it is one of those. I should probably make a packing list.
    Alisa recently posted..Photo Sunday: My Favorite D.C. PhotoMy Profile

  • Something that really helps with addresses is to save the location to your Google Map on your phone – a small star will appear on your map of X city. I can’t be bothered to print out directions every time I check into a new hotel so this trick has helped me tremendously! Plus I always know which direction to go towards when I walk back to my hotel afterwards.

  • AHHH SAME!! And then I’m always scrambling and stressing myself out, haha. One day…I’ll get it right…one day.

    Happy travels 🙂
    Lauren Meshkin @BonVoyageLauren recently posted..Top 3 Summer Foodie Events in Los AngelesMy Profile

  • Lauren says:

    I have the exact same problem! Now I use Tripit (the free account) so I always have the Airbnb address & phone number in my phone (even offline). I can show the addie to the taxi driver, and if they don’t know where it is (sometimes a problem with apartments instead of hotels) they can call & get directions in their native language.

    Also, I don’t remember which travel blogger said it (wish I could give credit), but someone wrote about chilling when you hit your destination, instead of being so goal oriented. I totally took that advice to heart. Now when I arrive I find an internet cafe, get a cocktail, hook up to some wi-fi, and take my time figuring it out. 😀
    Lauren recently posted..Travel Insurance from World NomadsMy Profile

  • Claire says:

    Dude, maps.me is the way and the light, Ellie is right. It’s helped me out a million times whilst on the road. Its database isn’t as exhaustive as Google but it works entirely offline and at least you can get a vague idea as to where you are in the world 🙂
    Claire recently posted..Everest Base Camp Trek: Day 8 — Pangboche, NepalMy Profile

  • Oh yes, I have done this a NUMBER of times, and still do, ha…
    It brings back the good old days of traveling without a phone. Vintage Traveling Colleen.
    Colleen Brynn recently posted..Gluten-Free In Europe?My Profile

  • Voskosmos says:

    I always forget to check what the currency is at my destination. I’m so used to using Euros, and don’t remember to change money in advance for countries that use something else!

  • Saravana says:

    After reading your post, I started counting number of items I forget when I travel. In that, the most important is medicines.. One thing I never forget is my camera 🙂
    Saravana recently posted..Fishermen in GoaMy Profile

  • hahaha! I ALWAYS forget that too. The worst is when you’re standing in customs but you can’t look it up because there’s no wifi.

  • Dee Tanjutco says:

    I always tend to do that too! But I think the most terrible thing that happened was when I forgot to pre-book a hostel in Bangkok. Imagine the horror: an 18 year old girl traveling alone knocking at every hostel she’s stumbling upon at 2AM asking if there’s a spare bed to sleep on. Good heavens that was quite tragic and frightful, to be honest. That’s why I always tend to double check if I’ve pre-booked a place to stay on my next destination. Hahaha! I also forgot to bring my credit card once, such a hassle always asking my mum to send me money thru Western Union. But it’s traveling, and sometimes the best memories are from the most tragic yet beautiful adventures. Safe travels to you, Audrey, and sending my love from the Philippines. x

  • I have this phobia of getting motion sickness during my journey, especially on buses, and a few days before going away I keep making mental notes to pick some up from the pharmacy. Funnily enough it’s always one of the few things I forget to pack! I also avoid wearing contacts on the day of the flight just in case I forget to pack my glasses!

  • Claudia says:

    I am quite well organised, except yes, I also regularly forget to print or write or save somewhere the name of the hostel where I am staying. And I often end up having to go to an internet café to log on and find out! But the best was when I forgot my passport at a copy shop. I had gone there to make copies just in case I lost it!!
    Claudia recently posted..Eleven things that Latin America taught meMy Profile

  • anil_traveller says:

    Maps.me gets my vote too! 🙂 Not exactly an organized traveller and I tend to forget a lot of things and wing it most of the time, somehow always works.

  • Britt says:

    There is always one thing you forget to do! I’m even worse- I’ll forget to book the accommodation all together let alone look up where I’m going!
    Britt recently posted..Why I Hate The “How Do You Afford To Travel?” QuestionMy Profile

  • Ryan says:

    Ha! I actually never prebook accommodation usually, but when I do, I always fail to write the address as well. Always so unprepared, when I arrived in Rome I looked for 3 hours!
    Ryan recently posted..Memoir: Fragments of NostalgiaMy Profile

  • Becka says:

    Wow you are seriously organised! I forget everything. As long as I have my passport and phone, I’ve achieved something. I never know my flight details although I do sometimes manage to screenshot the address to the hostel…Sometimes. X

  • I totally do this too and regularly land somewhere new thinking, “Dangit…I did it again!” and hoping there’s WiFi…

  • Cest La Vibe says:

    There’s many things that I forget once in a while, but that’s one thing I always remember. Keep it written down on multiple pieces of paper, and keep a piece of paper with directions and addresses in each piece of luggage!
    Cest La Vibe recently posted..MIRRORLESS vs DSLR: Choosing the right cameraMy Profile

  • You are not alone! I own a vacation rental in Asia and although I always send the location details to my prospective guests, it seems 70 percent of them always call me when they arrive in the Philippines because they forgot the details. These phone calls can get costly and make for a bad start to a vacation.

  • I tend to forget to book fun city tours with smaller companies that will actually show you a real side of the city itself. I tend to travel by my own rules and underestimate the great tour guides that I could find nowadays. Those small nitch tour operators. I’m sure you all know about.
    Maria del mar recently posted..Beginner’s guide to La rentréeMy Profile

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge