Sergio Avila

“I Forgot...!” AAA Northern California Reveals the Most Forgotten Travel Items

Northern California travelers need to keep track of their sunscreen as it’s commonly left behind.

WALNUT CREEK, Calif. (July 22, 2021) - Travel is experiencing a robust rebound in 2021. When packing for a trip, it’s all too easy to leave an essential item behind. To help avoid that dreaded phrase “I forgot...” AAA Northern California uncovered the most common items travelers overlook and created a checklist for those hitting the road.

A survey conducted of more than 2,000 travelers, including those in Northern California, revealed most travelers (51%) forget an important item when traveling. Although it doesn’t ruin your trip, the perfect travel selfie may suffer the next time an important item is left behind.

The five most common forgotten road trip items include:

  • Toothbrush or toothpaste
  • Cell phone charger
  • Hair related products (brushes, razors, product)
  • Underwear or socks
  • Other articles of clothing.

Location, Location, Location
Californians (38 percent) are more likely to forget sunscreen than their desert-dwelling neighbors in Nevada and Arizona.

Half of Utahns (50 percent) surveyed say they have forgotten cell phone chargers.

Californians (35 percent) feel the most stressed when they've left something important behind for themselves or their children.

Arizonans feel the least stressed if their partner or spouse forgets something important (14 percent compared to 11 percent of all respondents).

Alaskans feel the most irritated when they forget something important (58 percent compared to 45 percent of all respondents).

Forgetfulness isn't limited to the outbound portion of a trip. Thirty-five percent of all respondents admitted they'd left a cell phone charger behind at a destination, the most common item left behind on a road trip.

Generational Divide
If you’ve left something important behind for your road trip, experience is in your favor. AAA Northern California found Baby Boomers on average forget one or two items. Meanwhile, Millennials and Gen Zers are likely to forget three or more things.

Pet Parent Tendencies
Those who travel with their pets are more likely to have a structured packing style with a process and a checklist. However, this group (37 percent) is also more likely to be extremely or very stressed when they forget something important for their pet compared to 31 percent of respondents who feel extreme stress when they forget something important to their children.

Don’t Forget With These Tips
Being prepared is the best way to avoid leaving an important item behind so AAA Northern California recommends:

  • Making a list.
  • Laying everything out before packing.
  • Packing in advance instead of the night before.
  • Double-checking all bags before departing.

To help travelers prepare for their next adventure, AAA Northern California has created the following resources, including a checklist and various articles on how to prepare for specific trips.