They usually say that you get wiser with age. For me, there are many things that could describe me getting older. Gravity has taken its toll, bikinis have become wider and hotel rooms have become more expensive. However, I really didn't feel much the wiser when a few weeks ago we checked into the first hotel in Portugal and opened the suitcase. But I'll start the story from the beginning.
I've always been a big proponent of lists. I write lists when I go grocery shopping. I write lists for everything that needs to be fixed on the weekends. And I write lists when I go out and travel. If I have a list, I know that nothing falls through the cracks. The lists for our trips often begin to be filled several weeks before the trip. Have I checked that the passport has not expired? Do I need any vaccinations? Have I booked an extra bed for my daughter? It's a little more than half the journey to snuggle around with a small list and happily make a small cross in the margin. However, I have a few Achilles heels when it comes to my lists. I rarely have the energy to write lists for shorter trips and I often manage to forget the things that I have to pack in the morning before departure. I just keep forgetting to pack important things. Before the trip to Portugal, I didn't write a list of course. So, how hard can it be to pack when you're only going away for a week?
As a side note, I must say that the worst packing mistake we ever made was when we left our Mountain Buggy stroller at home in the hall. I can still remember how the heart stopped and the air froze when the man and I realized at the check-in for the flight that a piece of luggage was missing. I also got a bit of that feeling this trip. Because as you may have understood by now, I made a packing mistake.
I usually say that most things you forget can be bought on the spot. Mascara and toothbrush can be found in the smallest grocery store and even socks can be found at a gas station. But what I forgot about this trip almost panicked me. We all have our Achilles heels when it comes to our morning routines. For me, it's my hair. It's not straight and it's not curly, but it's a little in between. Just a little annoying error. To fix the hair there are two options: Flat iron or curling iron. And not just any straightener or curling iron. I threw probably ten wrong purchases in the recycling before I found my current hair saviors - the straightener from GHD and my "hair magic wand" that you wrap your hair around into curls. Without access to any of these, you'll find me crawling in the reeds with a big top hat pulled down over my head. When I was standing in the hotel room in Lisbon brushing my teeth, I started to feel a little creeped out. Such an unpleasant feeling of a thought that is maturing, but not quite ready to be thought. I felt something was wrong. Suddenly the worry popped up like a mean little monkey on the shoulder. Did I really pack the curling iron and straightener??? I run out to the suitcase, pull out the contents and rummage around. Not a hint of power cord. The flat iron and curling iron were simply at home in the toilet, where I put them to cool before packing them into my bag! Epic fail! What am I doing now?!? Plan B is quickly taking shape. A hair knot can save the holiday! Hair clips! Where did I pack my hair ties? Did I pack them down at all??? Uh, no….
No curling iron, no curling iron and no flat iron. At this point I was doubled over on the floor in shock feeling sorry for myself and wondering if I really needed to go to Sintra the next day or if I should aim for the nearest Media Markt instead. What's a ball at the castle without a hair straightener? This would be a holiday without pictures of me simply. My husband (and probably half the hotel) did not escape the drama that unfolded in the hall. The holiday was a disaster! "I think I have a hair tie with me," says the man suddenly. As an epiphany, we find ONE small hair tie in the man's toiletry bag, a forgotten and hidden little hair tie from a previous trip. A hair tie doesn't make a summer, but now the problem didn't feel completely unsolvable anymore.
We didn't go to Media Markt the next day, but me and my hairpin had a great day in Sintra. The hair tie was monitored with great care and was without a doubt my most prized possession during the trip. The hair band even let me be in some photos. As in the picture above from Porto. Where it almost looks like I've done my hair.
So dear friends, the next time we go out and travel, I'll write a serious packing list again. Such a list in writing style with checkboxes on a nice piece of paper. At the top of the list will no longer be passports and tickets, but hair ties, straighteners and curling irons. Because no matter how much I travel and the older I get, unfortunately I probably won't get wiser when it comes to packing.
If you want to read any of my packing tips despite this admission, you will find inspiration for your next packing list at Packing list for holidays with children and Packing list for a weekend trip with hand luggage only. Pack calmly! :)
Have you been here? What did you think of the destination?
Travel blogger, gastronaut, photographer and family adventurer with over 55 countries in his luggage. Eva loves trips that include beautiful nature, hiking boots and well-cooked food. On the travel blog Rucksack she takes you to all corners of the world with the help of her inspiring pictures and texts.