Couple packing suitcase

(© AnnaStills -

NEW YORK — A quarter of Americans would risk getting a sunburn if they left their sunscreen at home rather than going back and to get it.

That’s according to a new survey of 2,000 adults. The poll shows that the top items Americans accidentally leave at home are phones (31%), water bottles or drinks (28%), beauty products like deodorant, body lotion, and makeup (25%), and sunscreen (21%).

Only 20 percent of respondents think they could manage without their phone. Meanwhile, 30 percent would leave behind forgotten beauty products and 26 percent would press on without their sunscreen.

The average person has to turn around and go back to retrieve a forgotten item four times per month. In fact, 39 percent of respondents accidentally leave five or more items behind every month.

Check your suitcase before leaving for vacation!

Only 19 percent will go back for what they forgot if they’re on the next street over, while only 15 percent will if they’re a few streets away. Fourteen percent say they will never go back for something they forgot. Sometimes, respondents don’t even know they’ve forgotten something until they arrive at their destination. One in five say they always open their suitcase on vacation and realize they forgot something.

More than half the poll (56%) stress when trying to find somewhere at their destination to buy their forgotten items. Those in the Midwest (76%) and Northeast (75%) are most likely to experience this anxiety. When asked how a forgotten item has negatively impacted their trip, one respondent admitted they experienced “discomfort from lack of sunglasses.” Furthermore, two respondents “had to eat a snack that upset [their] stomach.”

Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of DoorDash, the survey also asks respondents about the challenges of packing and traveling during the summer months. Forty-one percent believe it is harder to ensure you have everything you need before leaving the house during the summer than any other season.

Most commonly, respondents attributed this to needing different items during the summer (59%), but others believe it is because they are focused on too many other things (51%) and because they don’t have as many pockets (45%).

As jackets come off and pants get smaller, respondents are willing to stuff about four different items in their pockets during the summer. Fifteen percent even cap it off at only one or two essentials.

“It’s clear that it’s important to people to stay in the moment and do what they enjoy most. Summer should be about relaxing and having fun, not stressing about packing and forgetting items,” says Fuad Hannon, Head of New Verticals at DoorDash, in a statement.

Pack the snacks!

More than two-thirds (68%) say that being able to relax during the summer is important to them.

In fact, it’s so important that 62 percent of respondents say their relaxation is disrupted when they have to retrieve something they forgot. Furthermore, men are more likely than women to forgo getting up to get something in order to stay relaxed (28% vs. 17%).

Respondents were also most likely to sip on water (41%) or juice (36%), and also enjoy snacking on things like fruit (36%), ice cream or popsicles (35%), and salty treats like chips (35%) and popcorn (32%) when relaxing during the summer months.

When it comes to beach-side essentials — beach towels (38%), cold drinks (38%), and sunscreen (36%) rank at the top of the list. However, for further relaxation and summer enhancement, respondents try new foods (40%), purchase a new beach towel (34%), and get some new toys for their kids (33%).

“Spur of the moment fun can ignite simple summer magic,” says Hannon.

About Chris Melore

Chris Melore has been a writer, researcher, editor, and producer in the New York-area since 2006. He won a local Emmy award for his work in sports television in 2011.

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