Traveling with Adult ADHD: Entertaining Packing Stories

by | Jul 18, 2019 | Organizing ADHD | 2 comments

Packing Stories

In my years as an ADHD coach, I’ve heard many entertaining stories about traveling with Adult ADHD. Many of us can share a calamity we’ve faced while traveling. With Adult ADHD on board, travel can get interesting.

Sharing these stories is important, and not only because they are funny. One icky thing about living with ADHD is thinking we are the only one who does goofy stuff. Trust me. You aren’t alone!

A recent ADHD Success blog post, Don’t Just Drop Your Suitcase, prompted Rick, a former ADHD Coaching Client, to send me this email:

Hi Dana–Right on! I have at one time or another forgotten just about everything.  I now keep a packing list in each suitcase, which, of course, I often lose, so it is also easily found on my computer desktop.  My best packing story is about the time that at 6 AM my wife was dropping me off at the airport, and when exiting the car, I said to her, “These jeans feel strange.”  She replied, “That’s because they’re mine!” And, I hadn’t packed any other pants.

The most common stories about traveling with ADHD?

  • Forgetting things. Wallets. Socks. Pajamas, etc. (My dad forgot to take his dress shirt to my brother’s wedding and had to wear a Hawaiian shirt instead.)
  • Losing things. I can’t tell you how many clients I’ve had frantically getting their passports replaced days before leaving on an overseas adventures. Stressful and expensive! Also, losing things on the trip!
  • Being late to the airport. Need I say more?
  • Packing WAY TOO MANY CLOTHES. No, you won’t wear 15 shirts in one week.
  • Packing wet clothes because the laundry wasn’t done in time.

My own ADHD travel story

Once, many years before my ADHD diagnosis, Favorite Husband and I had arranged the trip of a lifetime. We were going to Tahiti. We had the trip planned perfectly, or so I thought.

Part of my plan was packing the night before our dawn flight. Makes sense, right? Isn’t one ADHD rule of life never do anything until the absolute last minute?

Except my last minute plan backfired.  Our flight to Tahiti was moved a whole day early to avoid a French airline strike. Of course I hadn’t prepared a thing for the trip.

To make it worse, it was during my corporate days and since I was stuck at work leading a huge systems training session I had to go straight from my office to the airport.

The only way we could make our flight was for my ever-patient husband to pack my luggage for me. Good thing I didn’t need much more than bathing suits, shorts and coverups for our vacation!

That’s probably why Favorite Husband still gets nervous about my approach to trip packing. I still don’t actually pack my suitcase until the night before a trip. That’s when my brain kicks into gear. However, what he doesn’t know is I now do lots of thinking and preparing before hand. Usually I have most everything ready to go at least a couple of days before we leave. All I have to do is toss it in the suitcase.

I’ll spare you the story about the time I forgot my wallet….

You can say one thing about traveling with Adult ADHD. It’s rarely boring! Do you have any great travel stories? Share them below in the comments!




  1. Mayhem

    Hi again!

    Think really made me LOL..

    being newly diagnosed, i look back on all the funny ADHD-related stuff that has happened to me:

    missing my station, forgetting to pack underwear, packing waaay too much, packing 2 bags & having to pay for the second, putting valuable jewellery in check-in & losing it… the list goes on! & once my dad & i travelled together alone, & he’s verrry disorganized as well, let’s just say that trip was eventfully horrific!

    also.. i always pack stuff ‘in case of emergency’.. like 2 pairs of extra shoes & socks in the summers..

    but even before my diagnosis i started the lists approach..

    could u help on this one bit though.. even lists don’t prevent me from grabbing things at the last moment that i will probably won’t need & will end up losing.. i know that’s coz of impulsiveness, but what to do?

    thanks in advance

  2. danarayburn

    Mayhem- This is where building your ADHD awareness plays a big part. Noticing those last minute grabs to stuff things in the suitcase that weren’t on your list and talking yourself out of it. If you were to watch a video of me packing you’d hear me saying, “No, Dana, No” while taking extra stuff out of my luggage. Hope this helps and thanks for writing. Here’s to your ADHD Success!


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Welcome to ADHD Success

Tired of struggling with ADHD? You’re in the right place. ADHD Success is loaded with free, practical tips to help you get organized, manage your time, and live more easily with Adult ADHD. Like what you read? Sign up for the newsletter now! No Spam. I promise!

Like Dana on Facebook: