Not Losing It
By Justine Seligson
I’m not sure if I’m the appropriate writer for this column.To give an example, I went to sleep-away camp when I was nine and returned with about half my original belongings.
But that was then. This is now. In the past few years I’ve dramatically improved the percentage of my possessions I come home with (I believe it currently stands around 99%). Having learned the secrets to not losing my stuff, I’m now in a position to share this newfound wisdom, so that you too can return with most of what you left home with. Here are some simple strategies.
• Take note. When I was preparing to go to Iceland two years ago, my mom forced me to write a list of all the items I was packing. While it was initially annoying, I’m so glad I did. Throughout my trip, I kept referring to the list. This way I could tell whether a sweater was missing and I needed to check the hotel room or pool area to try to find it before we left.
• Keep count. Pay attention to how many of each item you are taking with you. That way, when it comes to re-packing--and you know you started with three pairs of jeans but you're only finding two--you need to search around a bit.
• Zip up. Saying you should zip your luggage seems a bit…well, obvious. Nevertheless, I can’t tell you how many times I—and traveling companions—have neglected to look after this tiny detail. It usually happens when you’re trying to cram everything into a duffle and it just doesn’t close snugly. The inevitable occurs: it slips open when you’re rushing through the airport and something little (like lip balm--hopefully not your passport) tumbles out. You don’t notice it until you go to reach for it on the plane and it’s nowhere to be found. So always make sure your bag zippers are securely closed.
• Don’t overpack. Easier said than done. Having too much stuff translates into having to stuff items in pockets and compartments. It’s hard to keep track of and well...easy to lose things.
• Keep an eagle eye. Consider each of your items to be your children. You need to keep an eye on them at all times. Especially if they like to misbehave by hiding under the bed or climbing into the rafters of hotel dresser drawers.
The last thing you want to return home to is the realization that you left behind a favorite top or a pair of shoes. A sure way to kill the buzz of a great trip.
About Justine Seligson: Just-Teens Travel columnist
Justine Seligson, our teen columnist and photographer, is a high school student. Justine started her Just-Teens Travel column providing teen insights, ideas and advice for students (and their parents) when she was in 7th grade.
At 14 years old, Justine won the Cynthia Mullins Award in Youth Photography at the Annual Juried Student Exhibition at Silvermine School of Art in New Canaan, CT. She has also been published on National Geographic's Intelligent Travel blog. See her piece here.
If you would like to suggest topics--or contribute a teen travel piece--e-mail Justine.