29 April 2022 | By Christopher Elliott

Only my closest friends know that I’m not the most organized traveler. It’s a secret I’ve managed to hide pretty well. But when I tried to check into a hotel in Cape Town, South Africa, recently, the truth came out.

I unsnapped my passport holder and a tsunami of airline ticket stubs, grocery store receipts, and COVID-19 test results spilled onto the counter. The scraps of paper betrayed the length of my trip, from a Qatar Airlines boarding pass to an expired PCR test result from Lisbon.

“Take your time,” a receptionist at the¬†SunSquare Cape Town Gardens Hotel¬†encouraged me as I fumbled for my passport. But that only made matters worse. The passport was stuck between slips of paper, and the hotel clerk’s reassurances just made me spin my wheels.