From Q-Tips to Quarters: 12 Unexpected Must-Pack Items For Every Traveler
From Q-Tips to Quarters: 12 Unexpected Must-Pack Items For Every Traveler - Socks Before Shoes - Stash Extra Socks For Comfy Travel
As frequent travelers know all too well, there's nothing worse than putting on a pair of sweaty socks and shoes after a long day of sightseeing or traveling. That's why packing extra socks is one of the smartest moves you can make when getting ready for your next trip. Why is packing additional socks so crucial for comfortable travel? Let's count the ways!
First, packing extra socks allows you to change into a fresh pair after long flights or activities that cause your feet to sweat. There's no nastier feeling than sliding your feet into damp, smelly socks. An extra pair of socks lets you refresh your feet and shoes so you feel clean and comfortable.
Second, bringing additional socks provides insurance in case your socks get wet during your trip. Nothing ruins a vacation faster than walking around with sodden socks and shoes. If you encounter an unexpected rainstorm or accidentally soak your socks in a sink, you'll be glad to have backups on hand.
Third, extra socks mean you can replace any socks that get worn out or develop holes during your travels. All that walking, hiking and adventuring often take a toll on your footwear. With extra pairs, you won't have to worry about tattered socks cutting into your feet.
Finally, packing more socks allows you to coordinate with different outfits and shoes. Fashionistas know that socks can make or break an ensemble. Bringing options means you can change up your style day-to-day.
The cardinal rule is to pack at least one extra pair of socks for every three to four days of travel. Roll socks tightly and place them in the toes of shoes to save space. Store some socks in your carry-on in case checked bags get delayed. Finally, choose moisture-wicking fabrics like merino wool rather than cotton for maximum comfort and breathability.
What else is in this post?
- From Q-Tips to Quarters: 12 Unexpected Must-Pack Items For Every Traveler - Socks Before Shoes - Stash Extra Socks For Comfy Travel
- From Q-Tips to Quarters: 12 Unexpected Must-Pack Items For Every Traveler - Plastic Bags - Waterproofing And Organization Simplified
- From Q-Tips to Quarters: 12 Unexpected Must-Pack Items For Every Traveler - Safety Pins - Temporary Fixes For Wardrobe Malfunctions
- From Q-Tips to Quarters: 12 Unexpected Must-Pack Items For Every Traveler - Hand Sanitizer - Germ Protection On The Go
- From Q-Tips to Quarters: 12 Unexpected Must-Pack Items For Every Traveler - Ziplock Bags - Keep Items Contained And Dry
- From Q-Tips to Quarters: 12 Unexpected Must-Pack Items For Every Traveler - Paperclips - Unexpected Problem Solvers
- From Q-Tips to Quarters: 12 Unexpected Must-Pack Items For Every Traveler - Hair Ties - Secures Loose Items And Pulls Back Hair
- From Q-Tips to Quarters: 12 Unexpected Must-Pack Items For Every Traveler - Bobby Pins - Temporary Fixes For Hats, Scarves, And More
- From Q-Tips to Quarters: 12 Unexpected Must-Pack Items For Every Traveler - Straws - Makes Drinking Easier While Traveling
From Q-Tips to Quarters: 12 Unexpected Must-Pack Items For Every Traveler - Plastic Bags - Waterproofing And Organization Simplified
Let's start with organization. Between clothes, shoes, toiletries, electronics and other travel gear, keeping everything in its place can feel like a losing battle. This is where plastic bags shine. Sort gear into clear plastic bags by category - underwear and socks in one, tops in another, accessories in a third. This keeps items visible but separated so you can find what you need quickly. Bonus points if you use colored bags to color-code categories. Packing cubes work too, but plastic bags add waterproofing.
Speaking of waterproofing, plastic bags prevent soaked clothes from spreading the misery. We've all been there - a broken bottle of lotion or shampoo covers everything in a thick, slippery film. Or an unexpected downpour leaves your backpack a sopping mess. By sorting items into plastic bags, any leaks or spills are contained instead of contaminating all your belongings.
Bags are also great for compartmentalizing dirty and clean clothes. No one wants grimy socks mingling with fresh tees. Separate the two to keep dirt from spreading and your fresh duds crisp. You can use plastic bags as impromptu laundry bags for dirty clothes.
Don't forget smaller plastic bags for organizing your smaller items like chargers, medications, and headphones so they don't get jumbled in your bag. Separate everything into its own labeled bag so you can find what you need fast.
Resealable bags take organization up a notch by securing contents during transit. Items won't spill out of an open tote or shift around in your pack if bagged separately. Ziplock and other sealable bags compress items to save precious space too.
Using plastic bags inside your luggage also corrals smelly stuff like shoes and workout gear. No one wants stinky shoes or post-hike shirts fouling their clean clothes. Contain the odor by bagging these items separately.
Just remember - plastic bags weaken over time. Inspect them periodically and replace bags that are stretched or have small tears. You don't want your belongings exposed mid-trip if a bag gives way.
From Q-Tips to Quarters: 12 Unexpected Must-Pack Items For Every Traveler - Safety Pins - Temporary Fixes For Wardrobe Malfunctions
A wardrobe malfunction on vacation can put a real damper on your experience. Maybe a button popped off your favorite shirt, the waistband on your pants ripped open, or the strap broke on your new dress. Whatever the case, safety pins offer a simple, on-the-go solution for quick fixes until you can properly repair the damage. Having a small supply of safety pins in your luggage or carry-on provides peace of mind in case disaster strikes your wardrobe.
The most obvious use for safety pins when traveling is temporarily mending ripped seams and reattaching loose buttons. Instead of pitching that popped button or ignoring a split side seam, whip out a safety pin to conjoin the separated pieces for a quick fix. While not as secure as proper stitching, safety pins can get you through the day until you can sew the pieces back together.
Safety pins also allow you to alter pieces in a pinch, like shortening long pant legs if needed. Simply pin the excess fabric to shorten pants to the desired length. You can also pinch in oversized items like button-down shirts at areas that are too baggy. For travelers who pack light, safety pins make it easy to tailor pieces for the perfect fit.
In addition, safety pins can transform clothing by bringing in draping fabric or cinching areas like waistlines and sleeves for more flattering shapes. Fashionistas can use them to accessorize basic tees and dresses too. Cluster colorful safety pins on shoulder straps, necklines or hems to personalize outfits and make them pop. The decorative pins dress up plain fabrics subtly.
Safety pins have plenty of non-clothing uses too. Pin together layers or ends of towels, blankets and sheets to keep them securely in place. The pins are also handy for temporarily mending other textiles like backpacks with small holes or tears. Or pin back drapes and curtains that won't stay shut in hotel rooms. The possibilities are nearly endless!
From Q-Tips to Quarters: 12 Unexpected Must-Pack Items For Every Traveler - Hand Sanitizer - Germ Protection On The Go
The one item that savvy travelers never leave home without? Hand sanitizer. While washing your hands with soap and water is best, that’s not always an option while in transit or out sightseeing. Cue hand sanitizer as the next best solution for killing germs on the go. Here’s why this Travel 101 essential deserves a permanent spot in your carry-on.
First and foremost, hand sanitizer is your number one defense against picking up and spreading germs while traveling. Planes, trains, buses, cabs and other enclosed spaces are breeding grounds for bacteria and viruses. With limited opportunities to wash hands, pump-action sanitizer lets you clean hands frequently and thoroughly. This protects you and fellow travelers from sharing sickness-causing germs. Frequent sanitizing also safeguards immune-compromised travelers.
In addition to public transit, attractions like museums, restaurants and hotels have high traffic and lots of communal surfaces. You never know how many unwashed hands have touched that elevator button before you. A quick spritz of sanitizer after touching frequently handled items curbs germ transmission. No one wants to bring home an unwelcome vacation souvenir like the flu, stomach bug or worse.
International travels pose even greater risks of illness. Many destinations have lower sanitation standards and higher rates of diseases not present at home. Heeding the CDC’s advice, pack plenty of hand sanitizer when journeying overseas. Use it after paying with cash, before eating, after restrooms and when running water isn’t available.
Don’t just sanitize after potential germ exposure either; make it part of your routine while traveling. Use it when boarding planes and touring attractions. Appreciating art minus the germs is much more enjoyable. Developing these habits limits contaminant contact. The easier it is to sanitize hands, the more likely you are to do it often.
So what type of hand sanitizer should globe-trotters pack? Gel formulas are ideal for through-security liquids requirements. Opt for a high alcohol content like 80% ethanol/alcohol to ensure efficacy. Small, portable sizes let you keep sanitizer handy for use throughout your journey. Clip a mini bottle to your carry-on bag so it’s always within reach.
From Q-Tips to Quarters: 12 Unexpected Must-Pack Items For Every Traveler - Ziplock Bags - Keep Items Contained And Dry
Ziplock bags are a traveler's best friend when it comes to keeping belongings organized, separated, compressed, and most importantly, dry. As anyone who's had a tube of toothpaste explode in their duffel can attest, leaks and spills are a common occurrence when we cram all of our travel necessities into luggage. Enter the humble Ziplock bag – this practical packing essential makes it easy to avoid liquid catastrophes while on the move.
The transformative power of Ziplock bags lies in their waterproof seal, allowing you to securely contain liquids and messy items during transit. By storing potential leakers in Ziplocks, you eliminate the risk of shampoo bottles opening or lotions spraying their slippery contents all over clothes and gear. No more arriving to find your belongings coated in a slippery film of toiletries! The watertight seal also contains any spills, keeping them from spreading if a container does crack or burst. Ziplocks contain the mess.
In addition to their waterproofing prowess, Ziplocks compress items to save precious luggage space. Simply press excess air out of the bag before sealing to condense the contents. You can fit way more gear in your luggage when it's compressed versus loosely packed. Travelers using space-saving bags report being able to pack at least 20% more.
Ziplocks also organize gear within your luggage so you can find items quickly. Sort clothes, footwear and accessories into categorized bags so everything has a designated place.Label bags clearly for easy identification. Packing items separately also prevents odors from transferring between belongings. No more dirty shoes stinking up your entire suitcase! With everything in compartmentalized Ziplocks, you'll waste less vacation time digging for buried items.
Another benefit is Ziplocks let you isolate dirty, damp or used items from fresh gear. Pack worn clothes in one bag, and dry pieces in another to prevent odors, dirt and moisture from spreading. Store wet bathing suits and dirty hiking shoes separately too. Containing the grime avoids cross-contamination.
From Q-Tips to Quarters: 12 Unexpected Must-Pack Items For Every Traveler - Paperclips - Unexpected Problem Solvers
At first glance, packing paperclips for vacation may seem odd. But experienced jet-setters know that these humble office supplies are invaluable for tackling an array of travel troubles. While no match for a full toolbox, paperclips offer a surprisingly versatile solution for minor fixes and adjustments in a pinch. They take up little luggage real estate while providing peace of mind that you can handle any paper clip-worthy duties that pop up when you’re far from home.
The most obvious use for paperclips on the go is securing loose papers and documents. By clipping together multi-page itineraries, travel confirmations, maps and important paperwork, you prevent the nightmare of dropped and scattered documents when you’re rushing between flights or sharing info with travel companions. No more reassembling shuffled papers or watching forms blow away in the wind at inopportune times. Paperclips keep materials securely aligned and organized for quick retrieval throughout your journey.
In addition to paperwork, paperclips conveniently replace missing buttons and fasteners on luggage, backpacks and clothing. Temporarily reattach a popped button or close a split zipper seam by clamping the sides together with a paperclip. While not extremely secure, it can get you through the day until a proper repair is possible. Paperclips also serve as makeshift hooks for bags in cramped hotel rooms, clasps for necklaces and earrings whose closures break, cord shorteners and more in a cinch.
Paperclips are also handy when it comes to keeping chargers and electronics untangled. Use them to neatly coil up cords of all kinds in your luggage to avoid knots. Clip the coils in place to secure them so wires don't unravel and tangle in transit. The lightweight clips minimize bulk while keeping items neatly arranged. You can also use paperclips to temporarily repair a broken set of earbuds or eyeglasses while traveling until a professional repair is feasible.
Beyond practical uses, creative types can upcycle paperclips as impromptu jewelry when visiting locales where bling is appropriate or even required. Bend clips into shapes like hearts, circles or initials, then use them to embellish plain outfits and add a personalized flair. The metallic clips add a subtle dash of shine and convert basic tees and tanks into one-of-a-kind statement pieces with minimal effort.
From Q-Tips to Quarters: 12 Unexpected Must-Pack Items For Every Traveler - Hair Ties - Secures Loose Items And Pulls Back Hair
While packing cubes, compression sacks, and labeled plastic bags excel at organizing belongings in luggage, hair ties fulfill a different but equally vital role for travelers by securing loose items and pulling back hair.
You likely never considered basic elastic hair ties as a packing essential, yet these tiny accessories offer ingenious solutions for taming unruly hair and tidying gear while in transit. They take up virtually no space yet provide myriad quick fixes that boost comfort and convenience on the road.
Any savvy jet-setter knows that long, loose hair spells disaster when sightseeing on windy days. There is nothing more annoying than hair repeatedly blowing into your field of vision and mouth. Hair ties solve this in a snap by allowing you to quickly pull back uncooperative locks for fuss-free styling on the go. Secure hair out of your face and focus on enjoying activities rather than constantly battling your mane.
Hair ties also refresh travel-worn dos by smoothing messy ponytails, buns, braids and other updos. Freshen up hair between wearing it down and throwing it up. The ties add polish and a put-together vibe to tousled tresses. Similarly, use the elastic bands to temporarily mend damaged hair accessories like floppy sun hats until proper repairs are possible back home.
In addition to hair management and quick styling, hair ties lend their stretchy versatility to organizing gear and belongings. Wrap ties around rolled clothes to keep them compressed and save space in luggage. The gentle cinching contains contents neatly.
You can also use hair ties to bind together travel documents, cables, chargers and other loose items so they don't get scattered across your bag and the contents jumbled. Simply wind a tie around the belongings to neatly contain them in one place. This keeps everything easily accessible rather than buried at the bottom of your tote or suitcase.
For hotel stays, stretch hair ties over doors or cabinet knobs to create handy holders for small items like cameras, sunglasses, hats and keys that would otherwise clutter surfaces. The impromptu elastic loops keep frequently used items within arm's reach.
Hair ties also prevent headphones, charger cords and other delicate accessories from getting damaged in transit. Carefully wrap ties around these items to pad and protect them inside luggage. The coiled elastic cushions contents to prevent cracking and tangling.
So don't underestimate the power of basic hair ties. While rubbers bands work in a pinch, invest in smooth eyelash elastic, spiral hair ties and phone cord wraps for tangle-free tying that won't snag hair or belongings. Seek soft fabrics like satin for comfortable hair binding as well.
From Q-Tips to Quarters: 12 Unexpected Must-Pack Items For Every Traveler - Bobby Pins - Temporary Fixes For Hats, Scarves, And More
At first glance, bobby pins seem like a peculiar packing recommendation for travelers. After all, these tiny hair accessories are better known for creating chic updos than solving travel troubles. However, experienced jet-setters know that bobby pins offer crafty solutions for far more than styling locks. These diminutive pins provide temporary fixes for securing hats, scarves, jewelry and other accessories when breakages occur on the road.
We’ve all been there - the wind picks up suddenly, and before you can react, your favorite wide-brimmed sun hat goes sailing several feet away. Or the delicate brooch anchoring your silk scarf detaches, sending the fabric flapping behind you. In these frustrating moments, bobby pins save the day by quickly mending broken closures and reinforcing loose attachments to restore hats, scarves and other items to their rightful positions.
Rather than pitching that hat with the snapped chin cord or stuffing the unpinned scarf in your daypack, get creative with bobby pins! Simply crisscross several pins over the broken section to temporarily bind pieces together until a proper repair is feasible. While not extremely secure, the impromptu pins will get you through the day discreetly.
Beyond hats and scarves, bobby pins also provide quick fixes for loose buckles, fasteners, clasps and ties on clothing, handbags and luggage. Prevent a gaping tote or floppy drawstring waist when closures pop open by clamping them together with several crossed pins. The stealthy solution looks perfectly polished from a distance.
In a pinch, you can also use bobby pins to create impromptu earring backs when plastic stoppers go missing. Or pin embellishments like brooches or corsages securely in place on outfits. The possibilities for preventing wardrobe malfunctions are nearly endless with these petite yet mighty accessories!
When purchasing bobby pins for travel, seek corrosion-resistant metal pins with rounded tips. This prevents the pins from snagging delicate fabrics like cashmere or silk. Look for textured pins too, as the tiny ridges provide a better grip. Stock up on assorted sizes for maximum versatility - longer pins secure thicker fabrics like winter scarves more easily.
To save luggage space, purchase collapsible metal pin containers. These flatten for packing, then pop open for easy access while traveling. You can also string pins onto a binder ring to keep them neatly together inside a cosmetic pouch.
While bobby pins work wonders for quick fixes in a pinch, they aren’t extremely secure. Monitor pinned items frequently and re-pin if needed. Remove and safely stow pins before sending garments through security machines or the hotel laundry to avoid damage. And never pin items directly to your hair or scalp - ouch!
From Q-Tips to Quarters: 12 Unexpected Must-Pack Items For Every Traveler - Straws - Makes Drinking Easier While Traveling
At first blush, packing straws for your next getaway seems ridiculous. After all, straws are synonymous with lounging poolside with fruity cocktails or milkshakes - not schlepping your luggage through the airport and cramming onto crowded tour buses. However, hear us out: Having a small stash of straws on hand makes drinking while in transit infinitely easier and more sanitary. Don't believe us? Let's walk through why straws deserve a spot in your carry-on.
First, sipping hot coffee, iced tea, soda, and other beverages is much easier with a straw on planes, trains and automobiles. Trying to gulp back drinks while bouncing down pot-hole ridden roads or hitting unexpected turbulence is an uphill battle. Straws allow you to hydrate without wearing your beverage. Simply slide the straw between your lips for hands-free sipping, no matter how bumpy or jostled the ride. The straw stays put, while you avoid scalding spills.
Straws also curb messes when sampling juicy fresh fruit drinks or smoothies on tropical getaways. Attempting to slurp mango lassis or pineapple coladas straight from the glass? Good luck keeping that delicious dribble off your shirt! Sipping through a straw lets you indulge in overflowing beverages without becoming a sticky, dripping mess.
Sanitation is another benefit of straws for travelers. When journeying overseas or patronizing crowded eateries on group tours, you never know how diligently drinking glasses are washed. Sipping through your own personal straw limits contact with potentially germy cup edges. For travelers with compromised immune systems or serious allergies, this is clutch.
Don't want to sacrifice sustainability? Pack reusable straws made of materials like bamboo, glass, or food-grade silicone. Quality reusable straws hold up well for months of travel without imparting weird tastes. Collapse telescoping and folding designs to stash straws compactly in your bag or wallet.
Alternatively, paper straws are biodegradable and decompose naturally unlike plastic versions. Brands like Aardvark create durable, marine-degradable paper straws that won't disintegrate instantly when sipped through. Pack these eco-friendly straws to cut plastic waste without sacrificing convenience.
While you're at it, toss in a portable straw brush to keep reusable straws gunk-free between uses. Nothing's worse than sipping a refreshing passionfruit iced tea, only to get a mouthful of leftover smoothie remnants. Yuck! A tiny brush scrubs away residue, keeping straws crisp and clean.