Useful Travel Hacks

Hack: A strategy or technique adopted in order to manage one’s time and activities in a more efficient way. Any method of doing something that either simplifies or makes your life easier.

Our retirement has allowed us to do a fair amount of traveling, for which we are very grateful. Although we enjoy being home and the day-to-day familiarity of our city, neighborhood, and friends, we are always looking forward to our next adventure. In fact, before we put away our luggage after a trip, we make sure that, zipped inside, are items we don’t want to forget when we hit the road again.

Our list of travel hacks has developed over time. As we identify items that are handy to have or we wish we had packed, we add them to the list. Nothing is expensive or unusual (in fact, you probably have most of them already) but they may not be what most people think to pack.

Nightlight
Hotel rooms and other lodging can be very dark at night, especially if they have blackout curtains. Pitch darkness and an unfamiliar room layout can lead to bumped shins, stubbed toes, and maybe even finding yourself in the closet rather than the bathroom. We bring along a nightlight just in case our room is too dark to safely get around.

Binder Clips
If the problem instead is light leakage because the curtains don’t close properly, large binder clips are great for pulling the edges of the curtains together.

Electrical Tape
Have you ever turned off the lights in a hotel room only to find a bunch of bright lights lighting up the room? Not only can clock radios and microwave displays light up a room, TVs and smoke detectors have teeny LED lights that can drill into your eyes, especially if you are light-sensitive. A piece of electrical tape can cover these lights and let you sleep.

Flip Flops
Maybe it’s just us, but we don’t like to walk around barefoot in hotel rooms, so each of us keeps a cheap pair of flip flops by our bedside. We also wear them in the shower. They don’t take up much room in our luggage and they make us more comfortable.

Long Charging Cord
Electrical outlets found on the road are often inconveniently located. Having a long charging cord (ours are 10 feet long) makes it easier to plug in wherever you are.

Pouch of Useful Stuff
On our earlier travels, when we needed items like rubber bands, paper clips, small binder clips, highlighters, scissors, or post-it notes, we would have to take the time to find a store. In addition, we often had to buy a lot more than we wanted (a box of rubber bands instead of the two or three that we needed). Finally, I got smart and put together a small travel-size supply of these items. When we get home, I resupply my yellow pouch of useful stuff and put it back in my suitcase for our next trip.

Personal Business Cards
Soon after we retired, we had personal business cards printed. Now when we meet people we want to keep in touch with, we hand them one of our cards. This avoids the need to scramble for a pen and a piece of paper to write down our contact info (our cards have our names, email addresses, and phone numbers). A card has less chance of getting lost than a scrap of paper and it’s easier to read. There are a lot of companies that print business cards (we used Vistaprint) and most offer a ton of design choices. We picked a two-sided design so we could print a travel quote on the back.

There are many other items to consider as well (an empty envelope to keep receipts in, a thin plastic bag for dirty laundry, tiny flashlight, etc.), all while balancing weight and bulk versus convenience.

So, how about you? Do you have any items that you wouldn’t leave home without? Along with clothing, toiletries, camera, maps, and journals, is there something – or things – you make sure to pack? I’d love for you to share your favorite travel hacks that have helped you enjoy your time away.

Author: Janis @ RetirementallyChallenged.com

My blog is about travel, relationships, photography, and whatever else pops into my head (even, sometimes, issues surrounding retirement and aging).

191 thoughts on “Useful Travel Hacks”

  1. Good ideas. Might I add:
    -instead of packing a night light, download a night light app on your smart phone
    -instead of packing binder clips, use the skirt/pants hanger in the closet
    -have you mentioned packing cubes?

    1. Thank you for your suggestions! I guess we are old school, preferring to have the nightlight plug into a bathroom outlet, but good to know that there is a nightlight app, in addition to the regular flashlight apps. I’ve never tried packing cubes but I know people really swear by them. I would think that clothes would get really wrinkled, but maybe not. I’ll have to check them out.

      1. I always take a night light too, so I can find the bathroom. I checked out the night light apps and didn’t see any that I liked.

  2. What a great list for travel, Janis! I am happy to read that I pack most of those items (a personal card is a great idea). Even staying with friends and family, we can use many of these items. We also bring a surge protector with multiple outlets, some even have USB ports, so we can charge multiple devices. I bought an additional charger for my Fitbit and keep it in my travel bag so that can stay charged.

  3. I like your ideas, especially the nightlight and the binder clips. I always wish I had scissors along, but as a diehard carryon-only traveler, I can’t bring them! A few things I always have with me are:
    * a fold-up, very lightweight reusable bag for the grocery store, the beach, or anywhere I might need to carry something during the day (mine are by Envirosax and I love them; I have multiples!);
    * my own earbuds for music, movies, or just blocking out noise;
    * scanned copies of passports in plastic bags, tucked into a hiding place;
    * mini first-aid kit kind of like your little pouch, with just a few Band-aids, blister pads, ointment, etc.; and
    *a carabiner or two for hanging things up anywhere!

    I could sit here all day and review my little must-haves, but in fact I must head to the airport soon for my own next adventure! Have a great weekend!

    1. Those scissors only come along if we are driving or have a checked bag… isn’t it sad that we can no longer have those things in our carry-ons. I’m glad you mentioned the reusable bags, I also have one that folds into its own pouch… very handy! And, yes to the mini first-aid kit… we don’t leave home without our moleskin.

      Enjoy your adventure! I hope we’ll get to read about it soon!

  4. Hi Janis,

    I know several retired people who have had cards made up, and I certainly will be doing the same in a few months. I think it’s a really smart idea.
    Great travel hacks! I bought a long charging cord specifically for travel. Same reason as you stated – outlets are often inconvenient placed. I also have a wall plug adapter that contains 2 USB ports, for charging my phone and iPad, that is one of the first things to go into the carry-on. I also am a fan of packing cubes. I have regular ones and now compression cubes. They are fantastic for keeping your luggage organized. I find it handy to pack ziplock bags of varying sizes whenever I travel too. They provide extra protection if bringing home damp clothing or something that could open up and spill in the luggage. And I always pack an assortment of tea bags (caffeinated and herbal) in case I want to relax with a cuppa, while I am away from home.

    Deb

    1. I really like the idea of a wall plug adapter… I’ll have to add one to our supplies. And, you are the second person to mention packing cubes, maybe I need to try them on our next trip (small bag/extended time away). I love our cards and everyone seems so surprised and impressed when we hand them out.

  5. These are great hacks! My husband printed business cards on our printer and it’s so much better than writing anything down. I also carry a small fleece throw because I’m always cold in a hotel room. Somehow I sleep better with it. It squishes in the luggage pretty well as long as it’s small and lightweight!

  6. How timely, as my suitcase sits by the door, packed & ready to go. Great hacks, especially the little bag of doodads. The need for a night light is always good…who wants to stumble into the clothes closet instead of the water closet when your bladder is bursting? lol

    I have taken to traveling with a neck pillow that converts into a small rectangular pillow which I often use because most hotels come with Paul Bunyan pillows that are too large for me. Sometimes I strip the pillow case off one of the hotel pillows and slip my pillow into it to minimize the night drools that seem to be a mark of age, I guess.

    1. I’ve been eying those neck pillows for plane flights but haven’t purchased one yet. I love the idea of one that converts into a small pillow. You are so right about the pillows in many hotel rooms. When I can (if I have the room and my husband isn’t looking) I like to bring my own pillow, but a smaller one is a great idea! Enjoy your trip where ever you are going!

  7. Hi, Janis – I LOVE your travel hacks. They all make sense to me. I was happy to see that your list included elastic bands. I never travel without them (or without a few plastic bags of varying sizes). They are both super lightweight, and their uses are endless.
    Elastic bands = loose objects fastener, bag sealer, poster scroll, hair tie, cord shortener, lid securer, toddler lock, pencil grip, finger splint, an eraser, a finger exerciser, a diversion……
    Plastic Bags = keep documents and other travel items neat, clean and dry, organize/compress clothing, dog clean up, isolate wet items, keep phone dry, car travel clean up, wash delicates, impromptu ice-pack, reusable bag for purchases, reusable clean bag for food/leftovers…..
    I also love your business cards. I should have snagged one from you when you were here!

    1. You are so right about the multiple uses of simple, everyday items. Just like binder clips don’t have to be used on binders, elastic bands and plastic bags are useful for so many things (never thought of using rubber bands as finger exercisers, though 🙂 ). I’m sorry I didn’t give you one of our cards… I guess we’ll have to wait for our next meet-up!

  8. You’re the second blogger today to give helpful travel tips. This is great! I like the idea of electrical tape and binder clips. Those would be helpful, for sure. I make sure to pack a few ziploc bags and a few plastic grocery bags; both can come in handy at the weirdest moments. And we each have a plastic spork that we travel with. Mundane but ever so useful.

    1. Good point about the plastic utensils. I usually have a few individually wrapped knives and forks with me just in case (bonus hint: if you run out, individual plastic utensils can be often be “borrowed” from the deli section of most grocery stores). Ziploc bags, and other plastic bags are always handy to have. What other blog had travel hints… I’d love to check them out!

  9. Great list Janis. The flip flops and long charging cord are definitely key for us as are the business cards. Love yours. Really cute design. Looking forward to exchanging mine with yours in the future. I plan to add a highlight to our travel kit. Wonderful tips in the comments section here as well.

    In addition, when we travel overland, we always carry a travel blanket …in tropical climates, a sarong is good enough. We also bring our own pillows. The Captain has this little cylinder that can carry two down pillows (compacted). Nothing is worse than a bad pillow to ruin a good night’s sleep.

    1. I would love to see how The Captain manages to compact two down pillows into a small space. Sometimes I am able to bring my pillow, but it isn’t always practical… and I ALWAYS miss it when I leave it at home. I look forward to receiving one of your cards!

      1. He is a miracle worker. I only managed to stuff one into that same small space when we needed to change rooms at our hotel and he was not there to help me repack. I gave up in the end and stuffed the second pillow in my backpack… luckily I packed light and had some extra space

  10. Hi Janis, I enjoyed reading your travel hacks and all the comments too! I always take a small pencil case/pouch with a collection of bits similar to yours. It’s the little things that can be so handy like travel cups for our numerous cups of tea 🙂 . Great to read your hacks and the reasons why you pack such items. Thanks, I’ll be sharing.

      1. No they don’t but that would be an even better idea Janis! I stuff things into ours to make the most of the space and they fit inside each other which helps. Disposable coffee cups are so bad for the environment so taking our own with us makes us feel a bit better. 😊

  11. Great list and good comments. We always carry a night light because it is easier than finding your phone in the dark and much safer. I think destination and length of stay affects a final list, but technology is a constant and how to deal with all those cords. 🙂

  12. What great suggestions, Janis! My ex was a travel agent, and she never came up with ideas like these. I especially like the flip-flops because I never trust how clean hotel rooms are, especially when I get up in the middle of the night to make a nature visit. I also love the idea of the printed cards — it’s kind of like the old days when you handed someone your calling card. Well done. – Marty

  13. I used to pack a clunky nightlight, but now I’d use my phone if I needed light. Most of the time motel rooms have lights on appliances, and they are enough to guide us. I love your idea for using large binder clips to close gappy curtains.

  14. Hi Janis! Gosh…you and your husband sound very much like my husband and I, re things we always take with us…including permanently storing useful item in our cases.

    The night before my 20-something niece went off to some far-flung part of South America on a charity mission, I dropped by late the night before she left and handed her a penknife and a ball of string (I never go anywhere without my penknife)…she thought it was a little unusual but she took them…and the day after her arrival managed to leave her most of clothes near an open window in the hostel where she was staying… which then got soaked in a deluge of rain. She was immediately able to make a make-shift clothes line!

  15. Great tips to consider…depending upon the wheres and hows of the trip.
    I agree about the foot thing…tho I usually just wear my socks in the room/during the night even though I hate the icky dirtyness that renders them useless for wearing later!!!
    😦
    My quirky NEED? I travel everywhere with my coffeebean grinder! I am such a coffee snob – but also, I can then brew up some local coffeeshop bean offerings while in my hotel/wherever room for that very first cuppa in the AM. (usually my french press is small enough to throw into baggage in case there’s no way for me to brew!)
    sigh…simple pleasures are not always easy to translate into traveling light!

    1. Coffee first thing is a must for me too! Where do you get your boiling water? Hotels often have those in-room coffee makers now, but I often wonder how clean they are. I don’t consider myself a germaphobe, but I don’t trust that everything is thoroughly cleaned.

      1. Great question! I,too, have a problem with using those in-room coffee makers mostly because there is no way for me to clean them after housekeeping does…When there were no pods, it was easier.
        Anyway. Firstly, if there’s a microwave in the room or in the downstairs lobby/breakfast area – I use that. Secondly, often there is a canister-dispenser of steaming hot water for hot tea in the lobby and/or the breakfast area alongside the coffee canister-dispenser.
        Also – I have been known to bring along a mini travel coffee maker! They can be a bit bulky, but like I said before, it all depends upon the context of the trip. And a few filters are super easy to tuck away for use in that application.
        😉
        So glad you understand, you coffee snob, you!

  16. Great suggestions. I’ve used binder clips for curtains. I like the electrical tape idea. I recently resorted to a bandaid on a particularly obnoxious smoke detector light – didn’t work as well, and I forgot to take it off when I left. Oops!

    I always travel with a cork screw and plastic wine glass. 😁 Also a swimsuit and flip flops (and bedroom slippers).

    I’m going to get some personal cards done – great idea.

    1. I think we’ve left tape over a light a time or two… or three. Yes to the corkscrew (if checking a bag when flying). Fortunately, a lot of decent wines come with screwcaps now. I’m glad you like the card idea. We really like ours (and choosing just the right design is fun!).

  17. Your post inspires me to continue dreaming about retirement and being able to travel at the moment’s notice. Great hacks. And I agree – bringing your own pillows are a must too!

  18. Hi Janis, I LOVE suggestions to make travel easier. Especially from “normal” people who travel:) Binder clips is something totally new. Good idea! I am light sensitive and I do a lot of unplugging in a new room. Electrical tape is a great idea.

    I can add a couple of tips I received years ago. A couple of inflatable plastic hangers. Wet bathing suits and other items dry much faster. The hangers deflate and take up minimal room.

    Re: the packing cubes, I find certain brands can be quite expensive. I have saved some of the cubes when purchasing sheet sets. They often come in good sizes with a zipper enclosure.

    A great post, Janis. I learned a lot from you and from the comments:)

    1. I’ve never heard of inflatable hangers! Also, good idea to use the sheet set packages. They always seem too nice to throw away, yet I never put my sheets back in them. I think I still have a few so I’m going to try them. Thank you for adding to the list!

  19. Love these ideas, especially the one about flip flops. I’m going to begin packing a cheap pair in the outer zipper pocket of my suitcase. Thanks for the tips!

  20. Hi Janis! Thom and I do much of the same (although we might not be “quite” as organized as you!) One thing I NEVER leave home without is a wave machine. Because I sleep so lightly and every little noise can wake me up, I use it at home. Of course, I had to find one that allows me to plug it into any outlet anywhere in the world so I paid extra for that option. It is fairly small and doesn’t weigh to much and I can’t tell you how many times it has helped me sleep in different bedrooms around the world. Of course, I also travel with ear plugs and even an eye mask. Hmmmm…does this indicate how light a sleeper I am and how I manage it???? ~Kathy

    1. Wow, you are a light sleeper! I am too but since I have hearing loss in one ear, I just sleep on my “good ear side.” Problem solved! I could never get used to a sleeping mask but I’m glad it works for you. Sometimes it’s almost impossible to block out all the light (our place in Ucluelet was VERY light).

  21. I carry my iPad, phone, headphones and battery charger in one packing cube and slip it into my carry on, with small cords—no worries fishing out anything that I need! My multi port charger is in the carry on. I use both types of packing cubes- compression for undies (my sister packs her pillow in one), the regular ones for outfits. The HUGE advantage is that I simply take out the entire cube and put it in the drawer (hanging the outfit I am going to wear the next day).Downy makes a wrinkle release—I love it.
    I DO carry on my small scissors (allowed) and a tiny sewing kit. I always carry Rose water refreshing wipes for my tired travel face and hands. A flat hat, wright socks and a pocket raincoat round out my wardrobe. Post Its (since I often wake before my husband), several pens, and my collapsible water bottle are in my bag.
    My challenge was my actual bag. I went through many of them!
    Lots of other good ideas here.
    Happy Travels!

    1. I am definitely going to check out those multi-port chargers and packing cubes… especially the compression ones! I haven’t used the Downy product but I imagine clothes can get pretty wrinkled when compressed. That will be on my list too. I’m curious about your collapsible bottle. I saw an ad come over Facebook today (do you imagine they are monitoring my blog? 🙂 ) for a collapsible bottle made out of silicone. It was a bit pricy, but maybe worth it. What type do you use?

      Thank you so much for your comment and your tips!

  22. We always carry electrical tape, but I never thought about using it to black out those lights on the clocks, etc. Excellent idea!
    We use the tape on our luggage when we fly. First we tie luggage straps around the width of the bag, then use the tape to securely anchor the flapping end of the strap down.

      1. Not yet – but I’d rather have the tape cut than a lock cut off! And the tape is just hard enough to get off (without cutting it) that I think it would discourage a thief.

  23. Those are all great travel hacks Janis. While it has been many years since I’ve traveled, I did the same thing and kept an “emergency kit” of all the comforts of home in my bag at all times, only removing the kit to replenish it when I returned before I tucked the suitcase away til the next trip. I never walked on the hotel carpet and also took the flipflops along so as to not walk barefoot in the shower either. I even typed up had a list of items to double-check before packing and that helped on tours when we moved around a lot. I love binder clips – they work great to secure anything and keep it in place. We used them a lot a work and had never seen them before working in a law office. Because my blog is predominantly about walking, I was forever telling other walkers about it after they saw me taking picture. Because the title of the blog is longish and hard for people to remember, I’d be forever jotting it down on a piece of paper so it was handy to give to people, fellow walkers mostly. I finally decided after hearing a Vistaprint commercial to go ahead and order cards with my blog name on it – now if someone is interested in reading the blog, I fish out a card and hand it to them. P.S. – The percentage of people who say they have read anything I’ve posted is not so great, but I got the cards for a good deal, so it’s their loss, right? 🙂

    1. I have had cards made for my blog too, although I don’t hand them out nearly as often as I do our personal business cards. We have packing lists for each of our trips so we can remember what worked and what didn’t (what we wished we had packed more of, and what we could have left at home). I’d like to think I’d remember… but not so much. Lists are a great way to pack smarter next time.

      1. Yes lists are great Janis and I typed mine out and xeroxed them back in the day and just had a highlighter to check off everything. I used them even when we took a trip to my grandmother’s house – in those days, it seemed I had all the contact lens paraphernalia and case, etc. and wore makeup and had hair styling products – all that stuff, not to mention just regular toiletries, and items like you mentioned … it was a big effort, but the list I did helped. For me, as to the cards, I like to give it to someone if I’m taking a picture of their boat, or their house (I never use the street address) but I’ve taken pics of decor for Halloween or Christmas and then they know I’m not weird, or a realtor or stalking their place. 🙂

          1. I decided to do that Janis because once I was on a street in the nicest part of town where there are old and stately homes. I saw nice Christmas decor, especially the wreaths that were not only on the door, but often on upstairs windows. So I decided to do a post for Christmas Day called “Wreathed in Smiles”. I was taking pictures of these homes on Emmons Boulevard, careful not to show addresses. I was walking home about a half-hour later, and a car pulled up close to the curb and the woman rolled down the window and rudely said “I want to know why you’re taking pictures of our house – are you a realtor?” She was pretty wound up about it – I mean she could have asked in a gentler way. I told her about my blog, gave her the blog name, told her the title of the post and it would launch on Christmas but did not have a card to “verify” who I was. She wrote it down I think or maybe Googled it on her phone while I was standing there. I hope she saw it as I gave her house the bottom right-hand corner spot. I took too many pictures and could not fit them all into the collage but it taught me a lesson … take info re: the blog going forward. I had a similar experience just last week at a pony livery which will be a future Thursday Throwback post. I was taking pics of the ponies and a little girl climbed on … her father (presumably) saw me with the camera and barked “don’t you take her picture!” Yikes! I asked the other parents if I could take pics of their kids and they said “certainly” – I gave them the card and said “I’m no professional, but look for the post here sometime in the next month –
            I’m real backed up with posting.” Geez! Here was the post re: the wreaths. Then I used a 4X zoom camera and the pics were not as large … https://lindaschaubblog.net/2015/12/25/wreathed-in-smiles/

  24. So many great suggestions and tips here. Funny, I am in my bed looking at the binder clip on the curtain to hold it together to prevent the light coming in. But had not thought of travelling with it! Even though no matter where we go, I use chairs and bags to prevent a gap in curtains for morning light to sneak in.

    I usually travel with duct tape. I know it sounds funny, but believe you me, it always comes in handy. I cannot even count the ways.

    I also have a small bag with herbal medicines and my supplements and this one has grown so much that it now takes up way too much room.

    I also always travel with an assortment of pens and especially a few black permanent markers. These always come in handy. Another one was mentioned I think by Lex. I always have a canvas bag or two to use for when we go to markets or anything else.

    I am much like you… my backpack is permanently packed with these items as I like it to be ready and not to have to redo the bag over and over.

    Love the business card idea for contact info for people one meets. Good one.

    Peta

    1. Yes to pens and permanent markets! I never thought of duct tape, but I bet it often comes in handy. I’m glad you mentioned the canvas bags… I wanted to add a couple of those (or maybe those nylon ones that fold up into their own little pouch) for our next trip. If you get personal business cards, there are a few sites that lets you upload your own design… maybe you could use one of your watercolors!

  25. These are great recommendations. I especially like the Pouch of Useful Stuff idea.
    I’m with you 100% on flip flops. It took many years and many tears to get rid of my plantar wart (I even wrote a post on the saga) so I don’t go into showers anymore without flip flops (except my own, of course).
    The husband and I just got business cards of our own… mainly to promote the blog and podcast, but also as a way to connect with people we meet on our travels. I would never have thought of doing it without the blog and podcast as a motivator, but it’s such a good idea for anyone as you point out, and they’re not terribly expensive.

    1. Ugh… plantar warts! Yes, flip flops for us on the carpet, tile, and into the shower. Some may think that’s overkill… until they get a foot infection. I have both blog cards and personal contact cards (although I pass out the personal cards the most). They are fun to have and just about everyone says, “Wow, good idea. I think I’ll get some too!” Thank you for your comment and the follow!

  26. Good list. I add a small (16 oz) hot water pot. when traveling, I carry herbal tea bags and coffee (via instant) packets inside. Then can have tea and that first morning cup pretty much anywhere. I also carry my reusable mug for the same purpose. Makes things so much more homey to relax before bed with a cup of tea. I love packing cubes. Things are so much more organized. Can drop them into a dresser in a room, or just find things easily.

  27. It’s rare than Alan and I travel without our RV, but several of your tips will come in handy for a fly-in trip we have scheduled for later this year – so thank you, Janis! Your yellow pouch reminds me of our “office.” That’s what we call the pencil box we keep in our travel trailer that holds our glue, scissors, tape, paper clips, pens, markers, stamps, envelopes and notepad. It definitely doesn’t compare size-wise to the office in our home, but we’ve used every single one of those items on one trip or another over the years and we were happy to have them (conveniently!) with us.

  28. Those are great tips! I bring along night lights, and have a white noise app on my phone for when I can’t get a fan…it helps to sleep, particularly in a hotel with noisy neighbors. I love the idea of electric tape for the lights on the TV and clock, etc, as those lights do bother me! I’ve been just draping a wash cloth over them, but tape is a much better choice. And is it wrong to say that I often bring a corkscrew with me when I travel, just in case???? LOL!

  29. Hi there, I didn’t read all the comments, so I know I’ll be repetitive on a few. I recently got the multi-USB port charger and really like it. I also always pack a multi-purpose big cotton scarf and/or pashmina – Blanket/beach wrap/ simple dress spiff up. And if traveling internationally, I add in duct tape and an ace bandage. Two things you often cannot find and come in handy if needed for many things. I like the “personal cards” and will get some. I have my blog cards, but not one for me & Tim.

    1. I appreciate your input! A couple of people mentioned the multi-port charger, but I wasn’t aware of a travel version. A large pashmina is a good idea. Kate mentioned cold hotel rooms and we both agreed that the hotel blankets were germ machines. Having a pashmina would be handy. I think you’ll like having personal cards… they really help foster connections as you travel. You could make two-sided ones for your summer and winter homes 🙂

  30. Each “hack” is really useful, but I would never have thought of the business cards! What a useful and really creative way to make some new friends and hold onto them! 🙂

  31. I always include a lightweight scarf or shawl that I can tie on to my day bag or backpack – it keeps the sun off the shoulders, keeps me warm in air conditioned shops and malls etc. and when the sun goes down in the evenings, goes on my head in windy spots and covers me up in churches etc. It can serve as a bit of a pillow or roll up into a support for the lower back on a plane. I’ve something to sit on if unsure of the surface and a ‘table cloth’ for my picnic lunch.

    1. That’s a great idea! I guess the key is to find one that doesn’t get too wrinkled and isn’t too big or small. Once you find the perfect one, it’s definitely worth adding to the must-have list! Thanks for the comment and the tip!

  32. Great ideas, Janis!
    We made cards when we knew we would be spending a lot of time on our boat…it’s a “thing” to exchange cards with other boaters as you meet them at marinas or anchorages. Very convenient with boat name and photo as well as contact info.
    Dan just suggested that we do as you did…something more general with our contact info north and south.
    Liked the WBA Deb’s idea of the USB plug adapter. Makes so much sense, along with longer cords!

  33. Great ideas! I travel frequently but have not thought of a lot of the things you mentioned in your post. I’ll have to pack some of these things next time!

  34. Great tips and useful info, Janis. I like your “miscellaneous” pouch. We have a miscellaneous box. All your experiences are what creates this list of useful travel hacks, which come in handy for many travelers. As for us, we travel with our own house, so we have the luxury to carry “everything” with us at all times. And, we have fantastic black-out shades. 🙂

    1. I guess our stuff pouch (like your miscellaneous box) is like the junk drawer so many of us have in our kitchens at home. It’s nice to have these items handy and in a place easily found. It does help to travel in your home. I know that I take more stuff with me on a road trip vs. a plane trip. Good to have blackout curtains!

  35. These are really helpful tips, I really like your idea of having a personal business card as a way to keep in contact and meeting people. I never thought about bringing a flashlight in case of blackouts.

  36. Janis, great tips here. I am enjoying reading the comments almost as much as your post. Not sure if anyone mentioned, but very important to pack are disinfectant wipes for hotel rooms and cruise ship cabins. Wiping the phone and TV remote are first on my list. I also take a few twist ties to collect our charger cords into a neat bunch. That is especially helpful in a cruise ship cabin where desk space is at a premium. I use 2 gallon zip lock baggies instead of packing cubes. They make packing tee shirts, under ware, socks etc. easy and when you get to your destination, you just toss the bags into a drawer. Good stuff. Thanks!

    1. We always have wipes too, although I admit that I’m not always diligent using them in a hotel room. Twist ties are a great idea… I’m adding them to my stuff pouch today! Do you get a lot of wrinkles from packing your tee shirts in a zip lock? If so, how do you get rid of them once you reach your destination?

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