Bring together a group of well traveled buddies, and the talk will inevitably turn to vacation stories. And someone will often fess up to having made a dumb mistake during a trip. Maybe it was the M&Ms; you dropped on the seat and then sat on. Or else the passport you lost right before a flight abroad.
Here's a mistake that my friends and I have made repeatedly: You buy a poster or print in a market, or get a document with sentimental value (like a genealogical record). Then someone packages the item in a cardboard cylinder. You tell yourself, "Oh, I'll just carry it along with my luggage."
But at some point, you lose the tube. Maybe you forget it at the airport lounge or in a rest room stall. And maybe you left it in security. I've heard enough stories of experienced travelers losing items—and I've lost enough myself—that I now consider it a rule of the road: Items Carried by Hand Through an Airport Will Get Lost. We shouldn't fight destiny, I guess. We should probably instead pack our tubes into larger bags. Or else ship 'em home.
How about you? Have you ever done something stupid on a trip? Wanna share your lesson learned?