When your whole world is only the size of your suitcase, everything you pack has to make a difference. Sometimes, the things you pack weren’t meant for travel but turn out to be the best thing you pack. Here are our 5 top packing hacks that make travel that much easier.
It’s a constant surprise to us that even though the travel accessory market is so developed, items commonly found around the home out-perform those specifically designed to go in your suitcase.
Or that you can’t even find in travel sections at the shops.
Through trial, error and plenty of practice, we’ve got our packing list down to a fine art. But not everything seems like it should belong.
Here are 7 things you might not expect to find travelling the world.
7 unusual things to take travelling
1. Ice cube tray
It’s become a bit of a personal obsession to have plenty of ice in my room when I’m travelling… and at home for that matter.
You might be pleasantly surprised to find a clean, good-as-new ice cube tray in your hotel room or AirBnB fridge. But more often than not, the ice cube tray is either broken, filthy or both. Or just missing.
One of those silicon trays weighs nothing, can’t break and takes up no space, and you’ll have reassuringly icy drinks for the rest of your stay.
2. Multi-USB charger
We’ve been travelling with a power board for a while now (it means you only have to take one adaptor for the country you’re visiting), but this multi-USB power board from HPM goes so much further.
Its bank of four USBs and one USB-C is a godsend for people like us who travel with lots of electronics. But its crowning glory is the wireless charger on top. This is a real game-changer and takes so much stress out of travel.
This little pack, which weighs less than 300g, is full of safety measures too.
It has over-current, over-voltage protection and short-circuit protection, and even over-temperature protection as well.
It also has a detachable power cable with a universal two-pin inlet, so if you were super organised, you could even buy the correct plug for the country you’re visiting.
If you still want to go for a straightforward power board though, HPM’s four-outlet double USB board is light and compact. It also has overload and surge protection.
Travel truth: hotels – even really expensive ones – rarely change their pillows. The dust that builds up in them over time can cause congestion in your nose and throat.
We used to just blame these symptoms on air conditioning or the flight, but our friends and travel companions Clare and Dave have worked out that pillows are often to blame. Covering your pillow with your own pillowcase or even an extra T-shirt really helps.
And, as Christina will tell you in her capacity as Hair Romance, a silk or satin pillow really helps control frizz too.
The same pillowcase can also be used for extra luggage padding or dirty clothes hamper at end of your trip.
4. Nasal spray
If you’re like me and you suffer from blocked ears after a flight, this tip will change your life. I used to suffer so badly with a horrible swooshing sound in my ears after flights I eventually asked my doctor. She told me it’s nothing to do with my ears. It’s my sinus.
I bought a nasal spray decongestant and I’ve never had any problems since! It also does wonders for a hangover.
5. Dryer sheets
It’s amazing how quickly clothes can turn musty when they’ve been in a suitcase. And if you’ve got your shoes in there too, that’s double jeopardy.
A fresh dryer sheet or two tucked into your packing cells or inside your shoes will help eliminate you having to air your clothes when you get to your destination.
6. Portable scales
Christina once laughed at me and mocked me when I used our slender credit card points to buy a set of travel scales. I take after my mum with a predilection for gadgets you see. But over the years (we’ve had them for maybe 10 years now) they’ve proven indispensable.
Even if it’s just the peace of mind knowing you won’t have to repack at the check-in counter or even worse pay fortunes in excess luggage. Budget carriers – especially in Europe – are so strict that even if your hand luggage is a gram over, you get charged.
Look for scales that are small and light but strong, like this one from Target.
7. Fold-away nylon bags
Thin lightweight zip-up nylon bags like these come in so handy when you’re on the road. They take up no space but are perfect laundry bags for undies or even dirty shoes. And at a push, they can even double up as extra luggage if you go on a shopping spree somewhere.
If you don’t use them, they’re also perfect padding for delicate items in your luggage like (ahem) a cheeky bottle of booze you’re bringing back.
There are so many ways to make travel even more fun. We love hearing people’s amazing hacks on getting most out of A to B.
If you have a clever work-around or re-purposed travel essential, we’d love to hear it. Tell us your favourite or most unusual thing to pack in the comments below!