Most travelers have experienced that sinking feeling. The one when it slowly dawns on you: You forgot something. Or someone.
At this point, some take the “forget about it” approach. Let’s just move on with our lives–and our road trip. But some forgetful folks are incapable of shrugging and saying “Oh well” when they lose their sunglasses several cities away. Nor can they make other plans when they forgot the vacation cabin key. These zanies go to great lengths to retrieve the stuff they forgot, or lose sleep, money, and many hours trying.
What’s the farthest you’ve traveled to get something you forgot? The epic journeys that follow have eaten up hundreds, even thousands of miles. And while each story, each decision to go back, is intriguing in its own right, each storyteller emerged with a new motto. That’s right, “Never forget.”
45. Kinda Need That Life Sustaining Equipment
I wear an insulin pump for Diabetes management, and after boarding a flight for a vacation, I realized I forgot it. It’s small, and was hooked to my other pair of pants. Because I need it to live, I had to get off the plane, drive home, get it and come back to the airport. Luckily there was a nice lady at the counter, and she let me switch my flight for 75 bucks. That was almost a 1000 dollar mistake!
Once I left my teddy bear in a hotel in Venice. I was so upset because I had had this bear my entire life and we were already 5 hours away in France when I realized it. I took that bear everywhere with me, so we all had a sentimental soft spot for it. I thought it was lost forever, but my dad insisted that we go get it. We turned the car around and my dad called the hotel to let them know to hold it for us. They told us to turn the car around and asked us where our next destination was. The hotel expressed shipped it all the way to our hotel in Lyon, France on their dime so it was there for us the next morning. Thankfully we didn’t have to travel too far thanks to some wonderful Italians 🙂
43. Just Going To Quintuple Check If I Turned The Bathroom Light Off, See You In Four Hours
Hour and a half to check if I had turned off the hair straightener. I had. And I knew I had.
This was right before I decided to go get help for my anxiety.
42. When Things That Didn’t Even Happen In Vegas Stay In Vegas
We flew in to Vegas for some wild times with friends before driving to Arizona for the national championship a couple years ago.
Got to Phoenix before my brother realized he forgot the tickets in Vegas. He did remember to have a few beverages the morning we left though. 10 hours later we were back in Phoenix.
41. Favor Turned Nightmare
Buddy of mine was out of town and his car got booted for parking tickets. I agreed to go with his ex wife to get it outta the pound. The ex lived 35 miles south, drove to my place, picked me up and we went to the pound to pay the fines. Get there and she forgot her drivers license…We had to drive back to her place and then back to the pound. 2 hours later the car is outta the pound. As I’m driving home I get a flat, spare is flat so I had to limp to the nearest gas station, fill it up and change it. Simple 1 hour favor turned into a 5 nightmare…
40. We’ll Always Have Paris But I Don’t Want Paris To Have My Passport
One time I forgot my passport in a hotel room in Paris, and I realized this on a bus to London, England. I was rejected at the border, and told my best option was to try and find my passport and then I could enter the country. So, I took two trains, a bus, and a subway, back to my hotel, to find my passport sitting exactly where it should have been, exactly where I left it, and I do a much more thorough pocket check before going anywhere nowadays.
39. Too High To Fly
Mine’s pretty bad. I was just finishing my study abroad in Amsterdam and I thought it would be a great idea to finish my trip by eating a magical brownie before my flight. I bought one at the coffeeshop and I didn’t listen to the guy when he said to eat half. I ate the whole thing.
I got absurdly, uncomfortably inebriated. Somehow, I was able to take my huge bag containing basically my life through the public transit and through the airport security and onto the plane. I was so freaking out of it (both literally and figuratively) during the flight that I felt like the 10 guy.
About midway through the flight, they started providing me with free beverages and so I begin to make a toast with myself (makes me feel like I’m not sadly drinking alone). My toast with myself is always (it’s cheesy, I know) “To me and Mr. Pibb. Let us live together, forever, in sickness and in health.” Mr. Pibb is my dog. My dog who I forgot to bring on the plane. I left him in my apartment while I got on a flight to leave the country permanently. Halfway through my self toast, I realized that ivemadeahugemistake.jpg and proceeded to curse myself out for the rest of the flight trying to figure out what to do while extremely out of it and extremely mad.
Because you can’t easily mail animals, I was actually forced to get back on another flight the next day and fly back to get my dog. I had to call my dorm supervisor and explain the situation (minus the substance part) and somehow get him to take my dog for a night. I think he probably thinks that I’m not normal… And so do my parents, except they also made me pay them back for the plane flight. Anyways, that’s how I learned to never eat a brownie in Amsterdam before you fly.
38. Just When You Can’t Go One Mile Further, Up Ahead Is A Traffic Jam
I was staying in Cornwall (south west pointy bit of England) for a week and had just hit the M25 (a motorway around London) when I realized I left my key in Cornwall, 5 hour drive back, stayed in a hotel and got stuck in traffic on the way back for a total travel time to London of 8 hours
37. It’s Possible The Elf On A Shelf Played Some Part In This
A little back-story. My Grandfather passed away in June of 07. He loved holidays with the family, especially Christmas. Every Christmas he would wear a pair of crazy, Christmas-themed socks. Fast forward to Christmas of 07. I decided to wear one red sock and one green sock as a tribute to Grandpa. My Grandma was very touched by this and asked me if I wanted Grandpa’s crazy Christmas socks which obviously, I did. Now I wear those socks every Christmas.
Now to the relevant part. I’m originally from a small town in Nebraska just south of Omaha and my whole family lives in that area. I moved to the Kansas City area, about 3 hours away, in 2009. So, Christmas 2009 comes around and I set out on the 3 hour drive back home. About 2 1/2 hours into the trip I start thinking about how my Grandma lights up whenever she sees those socks and that’s when I realize I LEFT THE SOCKS IN KANSAS CITY. I got off the interstate at the next exit, did an about-face, and drove 2 1/2 hours back to KC. I grabbed the socks, got back in the car, and drove the 3 hours back home again. Basically, I turned a 3 hour trip into 8 over a pair of socks. I would absolutely do it again though.
36. Did He At Least Name His Pet ‘Hurricane’ Later?
My old professor has had a pet rock for 40 years, and always keeps it in his pocket. He was evacuating before Katrina, and was 6 hours into the traffic (only traveled about 20 miles) before he realized that he forgot his pet rock at home. This guy drove back to his house, grabbed his rock, and proceeded to head back into the traffic, while running from a deadly storm.
35. Scaling Peaks With The Key To The Potty
Not long ago I was staying with some friends in a couple of little cabins on the summit of a small Himalayan mountain. When it came time to for us to go back to the town, I stayed behind the group to clean the cabins and fetch water for the local chai shops. Eventually, I set out solo on the 3-4 hour hike down to McLeod Ganj.
About an hour out, I check my pocket and realize I have the only set of keys to the only bathrooms on the summit, bathrooms that we, as travelers, weren’t even supposed to be allowed to use. We were allowed to use them, and to stay in the cabins, only because our guide was friend of the park service. Realizing that this could reflect very badly on him (a guy who I really respected), and that he might possibly be denied use of those facilities in the future, I started the trek back up. This was really very difficult terrain, and it took close to two hours to reach the top again. I walk into the cabin without a word, past the two curious park rangers, and place the keys on the mantle. Needless to say, my knees and calves were destroyed when I finally got back to town, but I was proud of myself for not saying “I don’t care” and tossing the keys off the side of the mountain.
34. Forget The Dog We Need A Leash For The Passports
My family was once driving to Canada. We stopped to pee about 2 hours into the ride. I made a joke about not having our passports, which spurred my mom into looking for them in all our bags. Turns out we left the passports at home.
So we turned around, peed at home, and left again. When we hit the same rest stop, I joked, “Hey, we have the passports right?”
No we did not. We turned around again.
33. He Probably Remembered The Ring On His Wedding Day Though
Four thousand one hundred and thirty six miles. I made it all the way back to Chicago, went to put my key into the door, turned on my heels and took the same cab back to the airport. We’ve been married seven years next month.
32. 15 Miles Is A Long Way When Your Vehicle Is A Human Body
Day 1: Hiking into Glacier National Park, After an exciting first day of hiking about 7.8 miles into the park, I set up camp and began to warm up some water only to realize I forgot my little camping stove… after checking my gear 3 times, I still forgot that stove because I re-pack my gear in my trunk just before heading out. It was a 15 mile mistake… in the rain, up hill both ways.
31. It All Started When The Little Guy Lost His Lunch To Distract Us From His True Goal
Whilst on holiday in Cyprus we drove up the Trudos mountains to visit a monastery. On the way down my 2 year old son got upset so I handed him my watch to play with, a few minutes later he was sick everywhere we pulled over to clean him up and carried on back to the apartment. Later on that evening I noticed my watch was missing, we turned the hire car inside out to no avail. The watch was a wedding day gift from my wife, so basically I was in trouble if it couldn’t be found. The next day my wife convinced me to drive 2 hours up the mountain and on the second stop, there it was by the side of the road still working. Some things are just meant to be.
My son is now 5, and last year he threw the watch on the floor and it hasn’t worked since, I have no idea what he had against the watch but easy come easy go.
30. How Much Further Would He Have Driven To Get HBO, Too?
Not me, but my dad. We used to live in the South of Spain, in Marbella. We also had a condo in Andorra, a small country in between Spain and France about 1100km away from Marbella. We would make the trip by car as Andorra has no airport. Anyway, after we make the drive in about 11 hours and start unpacking, we realize we had forgotten the card that makes the Satellite system work (same system in both places, just the one card). We were going to be there for about a month I think. So my dad drives back the same night to get this card, and then drives all the way back. Long trip to make to be able to watch some TV.
29. Winning In Vegas From Four Hours Away
Drove four hours each way to Vegas and back, leaving at 1AM, to pick up a box of electronics that I’d left on top of my car after a conference. Miraculously, the $10,000 worth of gear was still lying right where it fell off the car, and undamaged.
I don’t gamble but I definitely won big in Vegas that time.
28. A Different Kind Of Forced March
I traveled 400 miles because I forgot my marching band uniform in college for a bowl game.
27. I Can’t Get To Sleep Without ‘Killer Clowns’ By My Side
I had this girl who I had been friends with for 5+ years strong, and we went to the same college together freshmen year. As life goes, she transferred second year to a school that offered a major she wanted. But we stayed in contact and we worked out weekends to visit every month or so the following year.
I went up to visit for a weekend before everyone got lost to finals and holiday break and I brought several B-movies with me (That is a love we shared; awful films) and it so happens that I definitely left Killer Clowns From Outer Space at her place, a full 320 miles away from where I was going to school.
Two weeks later, right before finals I simply had to get this movie back or there was no way I could enjoy my holiday break properly. Did the round trip to pick up the movie, losing out on finals prep time. Was worth it. 10/10 would do again.
26. Perhaps ‘Coat” And ‘iPod” Are Code For More Valuable Objects
Took a train across Ireland to get a coat and iPod I left in a club in Limerick.
25. Spoiler Alert: One Unhappy Ending Here, Kids
I went all the way to Penzance when I was eight to get my teddy bear. I lived in York, and I left it on a cross country train, which terminated in Penzance. It wasn’t there 🙁 . Miss you teddy…
24. This Cat Clearly Never Watched Homeward Bound Movies
I just moved over 600 miles and, while packing up the moving truck, the cat escaped. Well, yesterday I found out he came back. I’m about to drive back to pick up the cat. I love him to death, but damn I hate him right now.
It’s a ten hour trip one way.
23. With A Bit Of Luck You Can Get A Band Member As A Concert Souvenir
I was in a touring band a few years back. Touring C and B venues, often you’re forced to reach out to fans requesting a place to spend the night before an 8 hour drive the next day. This particular show in Texas and an eager young fan jumped at the occasion, stating it’s no problem but he has to leave for work early in the morning. We arrive to his home where his foreign parents greet us with heavy accents speaking barely any English. Let me quickly backtrack and state that our drummer held a very appropriate nickname “Turtle” because of his soft spoken slow moving nature…a great guy. We quickly shower, throw out our sleeping bags on a hard wood floor and crash hard. We wake to a quiet house, quickly gather out things and routinely hit the road…it’s become clockwork. About three hours into the trip we get a call from a sleepy sounding, questioning friend…Turtle. We left the poor guy at the freaking house. Scrambling for excuses we whip the van and trailer around and punch it back the way we came. Three hours of laughing while poor Turtle spent painfully awkward hours with two parents who spoke no English. Oops.
22. No Luggage
I was on my way to Vermont on a snowboarding trip, made it all the way to New Jersey from Washington D.C. and had to turn around to get my suitcase containing my clothes and snowboard boots and bindings. Took us 7 hours because of my mistake.
21. When You Forget Your Bear-Proofing Gear But The Bears Remember To Show Up
I had to hike 13 miles back out to a trailhead and then drive 40 mi to get a bear canister once when I was working in the backcountry in CA. My field partner and I had forgotten them, decided to do the trip anyhow and woke up on the second morning to discover that hanging our food from a tree had not been effective. We rented canisters (out of pocket because ours were at headquarters another 100mi away), bought more food, drove back 40mi, hiked back in 13mi and finished our work (on time, surprisingly). We never told our boss, but we also never forgot essential equipment again during the rest of the season. This was 10 years ago.
20. They Can’t Share The Driving And Other Reasons Cats Don’t Make Great Road Trip Companions
Once my family drove from Colorado to California as a road trip, and we took our cat. So when we leave to go back home, right around the time we cross the Nevada-California border, we realize that the cat is still at my cousin’s house. We lost that whole day driving out and back.
19. A New Spin On ‘Gotta Get Away’
I drove 7 hours to my mom’s house while she was out of the country so that I could break into her house to get my birth certificate so that I could go to Mexico for a vacation. Went through her file cabinet, got my b.c, and immediately drove 7 hours back so that I could make my plane.
18. When You Care Enough To Bring Your Fancy Lenses To The Shower
2 weeks ago for the meteor shower I decided to rent some fancy lenses for the camera I was borrowing and drive to Terlingua, TX (from Houston).
I was about an hour outside San Antonio when I realized I forgot the lenses at home. In the end, what should have been ~650 miles turned out to be just over 1,300.
Still finished the drive same day.
17. When Your Kid’s Toy Is Named For Great Grandma, You’re Not Allowed to Lose It
When I was a kid, maybe 5 or so, I had this stuffed dog named Nana. I named her after my great grandma when she passed away. My family and I were driving out of state to pick up fireworks for the 4th and I got out of the car with Nana. I remember sitting on a stool and putting her on the counter. Then we left, and I passed out in the car since it was really late. Upon waking up I realized I didn’t have Nana. I started crying, remembering I put her on the counter at the fireworks place.
According to my parents, we were about 200 miles away from the store. Without question, they turned around to go back and get her. The shop owner left but Nana was in a bag with a note that said something like “I hope you guys come back for this.”
So, altogether, 400 miles for my stuffed animal. I still have her too.
16. Maybe Try That Leaving The Key Under The Front Door Mat Thing That’s So Popular
Drove nearly 200 miles on our way to our vacation house on the beach one summer, and realized we forgot the keys. Drove all the way home and back again to find the house unlocked
15. Some People Prefer Cool Mountain Water To Warm Soda When They Camp
Well a few years ago me and my family decided to go camping 3 hours up north in Canada to finish up the summer. Almost 2 hours into the bumpy ride on the almost ancient like roads, we realized that we forgot both our coolers on the front porch of our house that contained all the meat and beverages. Without a second we took a U-Turn and headed straight back to be greeted 2 hours later with some warm Ginger Ale and Sprite. Camping, never again.
14. These Shoes Make Me Look Younger, Taller And Richer So I Have To Get Them Back
I bought a pair of really nice looking Adidas high top shoes in Chicago once, and left them at my friend’s lake house in Monticello, IN. I live about 3 hours from there, meaning I spent more on gas than the shoes were worth, to get them.
13. Sometimes The Sweatpants Are Just Sweatpants–This Is Not One Of Those Times
Went from Boston to San Francisco to get a pair of sweatpants I left at my ex girlfriend’s apartment.
12. Back Before It Was Cool To Sleep In Your Car And Call It Camping
When I was a kid dad drove us 5 hrs to a campsite. Get there go to set up the tent and realize they forgot the poles to one of the tents. He drives 5hr back home to get them and then 5 hrs back to the site. Putting up a tent in the dark really sucks.
11. 143 Miles Later The Lost Hat Is Still At Large
A college friend and I were backpacking through Europe, and in Amsterdam, she bought a hat that she really liked. By the time we were in Belgium, she’d lost it, so we went all the way back to Amsterdam, so she could re-buy the same hat at the same shop.
10. Box Of Rocks
Work on a drilling crew and when I got back to our lab on a Friday, I realized I had left the box of rock cores that we had just drilled back on a trailer we packed in a gas station about 3 hours away.
I told the rest of our crew that I was going to go turn the samples in and that I would see them Monday. Instead I drove 6 hours (there and back) to pick up the rock cores.
If they had been stolen it would have cost the company thousands of dollars because we would have had to offset and re-drill the hole.
9. An Up and Down Day For Sure
I once went on a trip to Six Flags that turned into a disaster. The weather got lightningy, so we only had time to ride two roller coasters before they shut down the park. There were a lot of us so we drove in separate cars, and the driver of the second car lost his car keys on the second coaster, and the park employees could not recover them.
I drove three hours to the park in the morning, rode two roller coasters, drove three hours back home to get my buddy’s spare set, three hours back to Six Flags to drop off the keys, then three hours home again.
On the plus side, I got to listen to almost all of Hitchiker’s on audio book.
8. Mountain Climber
I once climbed a mountain to retrieve a camera one of the girls dropped at the top. It wasn’t a very tall mountain, but still.
7. Barely Worth It
I once swam about 200ft to return a koozie to a hot lady at the lake (as it had fallen off her boat). Only I forgot that I’m a terrible swimmer and had to yell for her to come rescue me as I flailed about trying to stay alive.
6. At Least He Didn’t Throw Grandma From The Train
I was once on a road trip from Portland to LA with my parents and 72 year old Grandmother. Somewhere in Northern, CA and 8+ hours into the drive, I was driving and the only one not asleep and I stopped for gas and a slim-Jim (as is the road trip custom). When I got back to the car everyone was still asleep… or so I thought, so I hopped in and drove on. Apparently, my grandmother had woken while I was inside and went in to use the bathroom. This was in the early 2000s and none of us had cell phones. About 3 hours later, mom wakes up in the back seat and says “Honey, where’s grandma?” I just started screaming and crying and flipped an illegal u-turn on the interstate. We made several unsuccessful attempts at finding a phone number to the gas station at rest stops (all before the Internet was readily available) until deciding we were wasting precious time and drove on. When we finally got to the place we’d left her, she was sitting on a bench outside the gas station chatting with the 16 year old saint who stayed an hour past closing with her. The worst part was how she kept apologizing for taking so long in the bathroom as though we felt a 6 hour detention outside a creepy gas station was appropriate.
5. Bag Of Balls
When I was younger, I fell out with a mate of mine when I was at his house for a play-date. I left his home in anger and pedaled home furiously, even disregarding traffic lights (I was really upset). When I got home, I realized that I’d left my fanny pack full of marbles in his bedroom. So I pedaled back to his house again, only for him to claim that I hadn’t left it there – even though I know I had. In an attempt at revenge, at school the next week, I stole his packed lunch so he would starve. I still talk to him from time to time, but I hate him because I know he’s still got my marbles.
4. Here’s The Key
About 3 years ago, I was going on a date (I think it was Valentines) and I asked my dad if he would let me borrow his car. It was a Nissan Altima and it was one of those cars with push to start that turns on if the beeper/keys are within range. The thing is I wasn’t used to this since my car didn’t have this function. Anyways, so I stop at a gas station and at Walgreens before I go to pick up my date. When I get there and I’m going to turn the car off to get out I notice I don’t have the keys with me. I searched all around the car but no dice, so then I have to go back to everywhere I had stopped and try to figure out where I had left/lost them. After about an hour of driving around, stopping various times at the gas station, Walgreens and even going back home desperately trying to remember where I had left my dad’s car keys I went back to Walgreen’s, parked in the same parking spot (trying to recreate the circumstances to help me remember) I notice that the dash’s display is no longer flashing “KEYS OUT OF RANGE” so I get out and sure enough the keys had somehow fallen to the ground just under the car. In total I must have driven about 90 miles, not to mention I was a bit late picking up my date.
3. No Fakes
I left my social security card 6 hours away at home when I needed it to register for my college job, and for some dumb reason it had to be the original and I couldn’t have it fed ex’d or mailed to me.
It was even worse when they just looked at it, entered in the numbers and said ok.
2. Possible Inspiration For The Hangover Part 3
I drove exhausted for 2 hours to DIA, finally found a parking spot on the furthest row of the parking lot, walked the quarter mile to the terminal in 99 degree heat, went to the counter to get my ticket, and my driver’s license wasn’t in my wallet… I had absolutely no idea where it could be. I walked all the way back to my car and tore it apart looking for it, traced my steps from the parking lot to the terminal a couple times – nowhere to be found. Then it dawned on me – I called the bar I was at the night before, and yep, that’s where it was. I had to change my flight, drive two hours back to get my license, turn right around and drive 2 hours back to the airport. That day sucked.
1. You May Not Pass
We were in New York State, and my father forgot that our passports (we’re Canadian) were in the deposit box at the front desk. By the time he remembered, he’d already returned our rented car- and the key to the deposit box was on the key fob, in the car. So now he has to go back to the hotel- a three hour drive- get a locksmith to drill the safe, and then come back.