Traveling can be equal parts thrilling and nerve-wracking. There’s the excitement of seeing somewhere new, but there’s also the anxiety about forgetting to pack something. You don’t want to pack more than you need, but you also don’t want to risk leaving essential items at home. What items should you prioritize to help ensure you have everything you need?
Rather than bring things that only serve one purpose, pack multipurpose items. Save space in your luggage and potentially save on baggage fees with these four inexpensive, easy-to-find objects.
Modern flashlights do more than help orient you during a hotel power outage or find a lost item behind the TV. Some lights from manufacturers like Fenix come with an SOS setting if you get lost during your travels and need to signal others. Fenix flashlights with a high lumen output can blind criminals who may target tourists, and you can use a durable flashlight for self-defense.
Do you like to read physical books on night flights? Rather than risk disturbing passengers around you with the plane’s overhead light, pack a flashlight with a red light in your carry-on luggage. That way, you enjoy the story without waking up anyone with a bright light.
You may not think of a flashlight as something that brings you peace of mind, but it can when you understand the tool’s many uses. Some lodgings may harbor harmful pests that may try to hitch a ride in your luggage. With a flashlight, you can examine the bed mattress’s seams for signs of life. The intense beam leaves no room for doubt about whether your room’s bug-free.
You don’t need much room in your luggage to pack a few reusable quart- or gallon-sized plastic bags. The handy multipurpose tool works great for carrying a few bottles of water, medication or delicate glass containers. Don’t head to the hotel pool without a plastic bag to hold a wet towel or valuables.
Reusable bags also help you organize outfits. No longer must you dig through your suitcase to find that shirt you know you packed. Choosing something to wear can take longer than you think when you have a busy trip agenda.
Pack your kids’ snacks in small plastic bags, which is a great way to teach them about healthy serving sizes, too. Travelers of all ages experience queasiness from the motion of a car, plane, train, or cruise ship, but having an empty plastic bag on hand can help with motion sickness.
While hotels provide towels for guests, they may not have Turkish towels, which are highly absorbent and easy to pack in your luggage. Use the item as a makeshift blanket while napping between destinations or for chilly airports when you find yourself without a jacket.
Turkish towels also work great as pillows for sleeping in the airport while waiting for a delayed flight. When you have more items to carry than you do hands, lay out your towel and use it as a temporary bag.
If you see bungee cords on sale before your trip, grab a few! The multipurpose tool takes up little space, and they’re great for repairing a broken bag, attaching your carry-on bag to another suitcase, and holding a defective hotel bathroom door open or closed.
Make packing bungee cords a must if you travel with young children. A bungee cord becomes a makeshift baby gate when you drape a towel over it, and you can baby-proof cabinet and drawer handles by looping a bungee cord through them.
No matter if you’re traveling spontaneously or with a plan, multipurpose items help you become a more efficient traveler. Save space in your suitcase (so you can bring back more souvenirs) by prioritizing multi-use items that check all the boxes.