Many times, when we are getting ready for our adventures we want to buy the latest and greatest in order to be better prepared than a boy scout trying to earn his badges. However, you often don’t need to look farther than what you already have in your house.
I’m not even going to mention duct tape because ever blog post out there that mentions bringing practical things has duct tape. Don’t get me wrong, a small roll of that stuff goes a long way, but don’t leave out its sidekick cousin- super glue. Super glue is great for more than just permanently sealing two things together, like a spoon to a table just for kicks.
- Emergency Kit- I am clumsy and have cut myself numerous times, I guess it stems from my hatred of washing dishes. I already have to wash the knife, but I’ll be damned if I have to wash the cutting board. Long story short, I’ve cut myself a lot, like Edward Scissor hands nicks and cuts and this last time it was pretty deep. Super glue can be used to suture cuts, and save you a trip to the hospital for stitches. Though, try not to use it for major emergencies like piecing back together a chopped off appendage. It also can be used to cover a blister to prevent further irritation.
- Fraying Sweaters – If you ever pulled a strand out of a sweater/shirt or an end became loose and started to fray a dab a super glue can help keep it in place. Yes, those who are handy with a needle and thread can do better but a dab of this stuff does the same.
Why go fancy, when you can go original. While there are a million and one new individualized things you can buy that serves the same purpose, nothing is as versatile as just using a rope instead.
- Clothes Line – I bought a fancy rubber clothes line that worked great until I left a full load of towels, jeans and a blanket on it – and it snapped. I went to a store, in the town I was in at the time, and bought a simple little rope about 4 meters long and have stashed it away for our next adventure because it has been a life saver ever since.
- Straps – I’ve used to tie up some of my stuff sacks to make a jerry-rigged compression sack of sorts. Also, when you begin accumulating things and need to strap something to the outside of your bag, a little rope goes a long way.This can also be said about having some extra shoe-strings. Before I actually had to use them because mine eventually broke, I used shoe strings to tie my pants when I rolled them up – think sleeping bag style.
This isn’t just for the ladies, though to be honest Aiko was the only reason we had these.
- Bathroom trouble – These are great for cleaning yourself after a bathroom break that didn’t leave you clean, due to either paper thin razor edge toilet paper or a having to use the toilet paper tube because the roll is empty. Hostel’s aren’t always the best places to ensure a fresh roll of triple ply toilet paper is in your bathroom.
- Shower – When taking, say, a 3 day trip through the Salt Flats of Bolivia and there is no shower option the first day and the second day wants to charge you which your pride won’t let you pay – these serve as a great temporary fix. Emphasis on temporary.
- Electronics Cleaner –These things are great for cleaning your electronics, especially your keyboard when it has had one too many encounters with greasy fingers.
Zip lock bags
Not just for sandwiches anymore, but still it is pretty good for sandwiches. An old cereal bag will work as a good alternative as well.
- Dry Bags – I know this is on a lot of other lists, and for good reason too. Spend the money and get the really good kind, of all shapes and sizes. This is great for an added sense of security when your bag gets wet, or you are in a sandy area. Why buy super expensive dry bags when you can use these.
- Compression sack – Aiko would use these for her undies, socks, and other small clothing. Stuff them in a bag, partially close then smoosh the air out before sealing it off.
- Food – obvious default but when traveling from one location to the next and you don’t want to throw away your leftover dinner that you cooked last night at the hostel, you’ll be grateful you have these. I don’t know why I didn’t think I’d have leftover food. We bought a small sealable Tupperware but it was bulky, and a good ziplock bag works better.
There are all types of these, I like the ones with the little snap part that seals it together but the traditional ones work as well. You can also use small thin carribeaners.
- Security – These are great for connecting two zippers together as a deterrent for pick pockets and would be thieves. As my old college roommate would always tell me, most crimes are crimes of opportunity. He was a criminal justice major, so maybe a bit more paranoid about safety than I, but he had a point sometimes a simple deterrent can be enough to save your stuff. True, I know zippers themselves aren’t that secure but when walking with your backpack strapped to your bag in a crowded area, you can’t always be sure whether or not someone is reaching into your bag.
- Keys – Hostels always put some super huge keychain thing attached to their keys, and I don’t like walking around with just a single key.
- Zipper Pull – They break sometimes, and when you only have one hoodie with you it makes a big difference.
The all-purpose cleaner, and then some more. There are hundreds of uses for vinegar, and while you can probably buy it anywhere, having a small sturdy bottle that can hold it is worth the investment. Often vinegar bottles aren’t thick quality and the caps are really cheap. We simply used a small coke bottle to hold ours. This is mainly for white vinegar but there are other uses for Apple Cider Vinegar such as for sinus infections and diarrhea.
- Yeast Infections – This may sound odd, but my wife swears by it. A bit of vinegar mixed with water and used to clean your private parts is a sure way to keep you clean. This can be very handy when you are squatting over a lot of toilets and are worried about splash back.
- Odor eater – Vinegar is a great odor eater, put some on bread and toss it in your bag over night.
- Disinfect – Let’s be honest, hostel kitchen ware isn’t always the most sanitary. Use vinegar to disinfect cutting boards and knives that may have come in contact with raw meat. Also, if you wash your vegetables in it, you can enjoy lettuce without the worries of what might be on your leafy green vegetable.
- Tenderize meats – You probably aren’t buying the top choice cuts of meat to grill up at your hostel, double that notion if you have trouble even reading the language on the meat package and you’re just hoping it is cow. Soak the meat in some vinegar and it will help tenderize your dinner.
These lightweight travel companions aren’t just for running your clothes through the dryer.
- Odor Eater- I’ve encountered some wretched smelling feet in my travels and while foot powder helps, it can only do so much for hiking boats with no ventilation worn day in and day out in hot climates. If this is you, save yourself and your hostel mates the foul smell and shove these bad boys in your shoes. I’ve also just shoved these in bags and between clothes to keep them smelling fresh.
- Static Cling – the other side of dryer sheets is that they remove static while running though the dryer. This notion can also be applied to your hair, just rub this against your frizzy hair to help tame those fly away strands.
What are some helpful household items that you bring with you when traveling?