There are lots of things you don’t want to leave behind when you are going in either direction - the most important of which, I’ll share by telling this story.
Imagine that a certain person traveling with her two golden retrievers got half way across on the last ferry of the day. That was when she suddenly realized that she had left her car keys on Block Island. Now, some things could have been sent over on the plane and she could have picked them up in Westerly, but not if she couldn't drive. Leaving her keys had the benefit of inconveniencing and immobilizing her at the same time. So she took a cab to a local hotel with her dogs, convinced them that her dogs were fine under the circumstances, paid extra for that, stayed over night, had her husband send the car keys over in the morning, and took a cab back, picked up her keys and finally went her way with keys and her car.
The simpler thing would have been to do what she does now. She has a list of highly forgettable items, which she uses on herself and also on any visitors by repeating it over and over, no matter how many times they've heard it, no matter if they're offended that she would think they could possibly be that careless, and no matter how bored they are. She repeats it whenever they are on their way to or from the ferry, coming and going in either direction. This list does not include things that are unlikely to be forgotten - big and bulky items, like car seats, diapers, the dogs, or the children themselves, although if that ever happens, she's prepared to add them to the list of forgettable items, or perhaps in that specific case, the list of unforgettable items as well.
Our friend has a strategy for remembering everything and it has four essential elements. The first thing is she uses the list. The second thing is that as she's packing, she puts forgettable things where she would have to trip on them as she goes out the door. Over the years, she has developed a pattern of shepherding things into the front hallway, where they can't disappear from sight. She puts electrical items, like chargers, plugged into an outlet right next to the front door. She most emphatically says that she does not keep important items on a crowded bookshelf, in a dark spot under the bed, or mixed in with blankets and pillows, in the couch or on top of the bed. She also warns against the pocket of your jacket, unless that's a special, inviolate spot, in a jacket that is guaranteed not to be switched for another jacket at the last second, or possibly left in the back seat of a car. And while she hates to over-dwell on a single incident, she says to be careful with things that feel like car keys in that pocket, especially if they are other people's keys, like your husband's for example. The third thing is that when she is in collecting mode, and especially when she is in a hurry, she does not let anyone interrupt her process. Not for any reason.
You might think that the last suggestion might be bad for your relationships, but it's really not, at least compared to what happens when you get to the other side and you have to tell your husband that you would have had the car keys except for the question that he couldn't wait a minute to ask, and why do you have to be the one that keeps track of everything anyway, and maybe next year you might just go on vacation by yourself.
The last thing is the little known fact that the time to check for your things is not five minutes after you were already supposed to be on the ferry. This is the universal question that applies to everything about living on Block Island. Is there any way to make this as easy on ourselves as possible? Do we really have to hurry all the time?
So here is the list, in this priority order. (You can download a .pdf of this list, here.)
The List of Forgettable Things
Medications. (See note.)
Ticket for your ferry lot.
Camera battery charger.
Cell phone charger.
Hands-free Phone Listening and Talking Device
Hands-free Phone Listening and Talking Device Charger
Any child’s necessary blanket, toy, formula, book, project, sea shells, pacifier, device or DVD.