Maybe you’ve experienced your shampoo busting open onto your clothes in your suitcase. Perhaps your camera got damaged in an unexpected downpour, you barely got any sleep because the hotel curtains refused to close or all your makeup smashed into a million pieces.
It turns out everyday household objects from plastic wrap, Tic Tac containers, buttons and straws can make ingenious travel hacks to prevent common and annoying problems that crop up while you’re on the road.
Check out these clever travel hacks which will keep you comfortable and organised on your next trip.
1. Pack plastic grocery bags
Plastic bags are a must for your suitcase or backpack and can be used to wrap your shoes to protect clean clothes and hold dirty laundry. If you’re travelling on a rainy day, they are also great for lining your bag so it doesn’t get wet. Keep a few in your daypack too – they are an extra protection for electronics like your camera gear if you get caught in a sudden downpour.
2. Wear a scarf
Not just a fashion accessory, a scarf can also be used as a sarong at the beach, a blanket on the plane, a mat, a cover up when visiting religious sites like churches and temples and to block out the sun or light.
3. Bring a pillowcase
Instead of bringing a travel pillow, save room by stuffing your pillowcase with bulky garments like winter jackets and use that as a makeshift pillow. You can also use the pillowcase when you’re dubious about the cleanliness of your hotel linen.
4. Tic Tacs for your toothbrush
If you don’t have a toothbrush holder, save your toothbrush from getting dirty in the bottom of your toiletry bag by covering it with an empty Tic Tac container. You can also use old candy containers to store small things like hair pins and safety pins.
5. Use a glasses case
Use glasses cases to carry/separate important items like charger cables for your electronics. You can pick up cases cheaply from any dollar store.
6. Pill containers for jewellery
Pill containers make a great storage solution for your jewellery. Stick items like rings and earrings in each compartment so you don’t have to waste time digging around your toiletry or jewellery bag for them.
7. Buttons for your earrings
Make sure your earrings don’t get lost by fastening them through buttonholes before popping them into your jewellery bag.
8. Straws for your necklaces
To keep jewellery like bracelets and necklaces from tangling (and save time trying to untangle them), pass the item through a straw and then fasten the clasp to keep everything in place.
9. Invest in contact lens cases
Leave the large bottles of shampoos, face washes and lotions at home. If you’re travelling for a short time, you can fill up contact lens cases with your products and save room.
10. Cotton swabs to save your makeup
Opening your makeup bag to find your eye shadow/blush/powder foundation smashed into a million pieces is never fun. To avoid this, place a cotton swab inside them so they won’t crack.
11. Embrace body lotion
Reduce the size of your toiletry bag by embracing body lotion’s many uses. This humble bathroom staple can be substituted for shaving cream, hair conditioner, a hydrating mask and used to tame your hair.
12. Pack clothes pegs
Trying to get some shut eye but your hotel room drapes refuse to close all the way? Keep a few clothes pegs in your bag and use them to clip the curtains together. You can also use a hair clip to do this.
13. BYO water bottle
Avoid having to fork out for overpriced bottled water at the airport by bringing an empty bottle and filling it up after you have passed through security. Most airports have water fountains where you can fill up.
14. Keep it clean with baby wipes
Keep a pack in your bag for quick clean ups on the airplane, or anytime you need to freshen up in general but aren’t near a bathroom.
15. Socks to protect breakables
If you have any breakables in your bag like a glass perfume bottle, stuff it inside a sock or two for padded protection.
16. Save hotel room bottles
Take hotel room shampoo and lotion bottles to fill with all your products for your next trip. These small bottles are usually the perfect size and meet strict carry-on liquid regulations.
17. Be tamper proof with plastic zip ties
Give yourself another layer of protection (along with locks) and use zip ties to secure the zippers on your luggage and make them tamper proof.
18. Keep it fresh with dryer sheets
Want to keep your belongings smelling fresh? Pack some dryer sheets in your checked luggage. You can also do this with a bar of your favorite smelling soap.
19. Fix anything with duct tape
Is there anything duct tape can’t do? You can use it to fix a rip or hems in clothing, fix broken or torn bags, as a sink stopper in your hotel room and generally mend anything else which happens to break on your travels.
20. Plastic wrap your liquids
Unscrew the lid of your toiletry bottles with gels or liquids, cover the opening with plastic wrap, and then put the lid back on. The plastic wrap will help seal the bottle so you don’t end up with shampoo all over your suitcase after a flight.
21. Break out the ribbon
In a sea of suitcases which all look the same, spot yours quickly on the carousel by tying a piece of brightly coloured ribbon around the handle. If you’re feeling particularly festive as we head into Christmas, you could even use a piece of tinsel.
22. Save your cloth bags
If you’re travelling with delicate clothing, protect them from other items in your bag by putting them in those little cloth bags that often come with a new handbag or pair of shoes.