How far away do you have to be from a valuable item, before that item loses enough of its value so that you decide not to turn back for it? Is there a formula? You know, like if V > D/2 where V is the value of the object in U.S. Dollars and “D” is the distance you are away from it in miles, then you’d have to be more than 200 miles away from a $100 object before it just wasn’t worth it to turn back, right? I don’t know if there is such a formula, but if there’s not, I’d like to be on the committee that derives it. Perhaps there would be a Nobel Prize involved…
I have the perfect example. At the end of last year’s hunting season, I inadvertently left my winter hiking boots at the cabin. The cabin is 237 miles from my house. The boots are top notch, water-proof, insulated to 20 degrees below zero, and although they’re covered in mud, blood, crusted leaves, and years of melted snow, I love those boots and they’re not easy to replace. With a full winter season in front of me and months of ice fishing and snow removal on the horizon, I faced a dilemma. Do I spend $250 on a new pair, or do I drive all the way back to the cabin to get them?
Travelers face this same dilemma in hotels all the time. Anyone who tells you that they’ve traveled professionally for years and that they’ve never left anything behind in a hotel room is lying, plain and simple. From paperback books to cell phones, laptop chargers, and miscellaneous cables, hotels all over this great nation have accumulated a nice little booty of my travel trinkets. I even left my college ring in the soap dish of a hotel shower once, but I moved a virtual mountain to get it back.
I’ve come up with a nice little ritual that helps me gather all of the gadgets and travel things that I need on the road. Before I leave my hotel room for the last time, I STOUF it! S.T.O.U.F. stands for:
Shower – Always double check the shower and bathroom. For some reason, I always manage to leave my razor in the shower. Due to a lack of outlets in the main room, the bathroom is also a favorite hiding place for my cell phone charger.
TV – check the TV area. This is where my personal set of keys always seems to be. It’s also a fine place to leave your wallet.
Outlets – Check every single outlet in the room. This is where you’ll find cords and chargers for everything from laptops to iPods.
Under the bed – I left a really nice pair of loafers under a bed in
Fluff – Fluff the covers of your unmade bed linens. Do it. I was in the middle of a great book once and since I read in bed, the book made its way under the covers and out of sight. This is a good way to lose an iPod too, if you’re not careful.
So, there you have it. My new boots are broken in now (yes, I bought a new pair) and I’ll start STOUFfing the cabin too!
EXTRA: If you have questions for Ken regarding business travel, hotels, airplanes, etc, please send an email! Your questions will be recorded and Ken will answer the best ones in his Ask the Expert podcast show.