We recently wrote about items that would go from your desk to suitcase but let’s look at other places in the home. For starters, what about the kitchen?
Here are some items for your packing list that seem more at home next to the stove where you cook versus in your suitcase when you are travelling, but they may surprise you!
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Yeah, you can use twist ties to keep bags closed, but have you ever tried using them to keep other things closed, like a backpack or purse zippers?
It’s not a foolproof method to stop pickpocketing, but as pickpockets usually go for easier targets, the twist tie can be a strong deterrent. Just put a twist tie through the holes of 2 zipper handles and twist them shut. Anyone trying to open your zipper will have to fiddle with the twist tie, thus slowing the thief down and drawing some attention.
You can also use a carabiner to do this, but I like the twist tie method – it’s a bit harder to open.
Cleanliness is paramount in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic; remember, of all travel tips, the most important is to stay safe! I never go anywhere without bleach wipes on me. I’ll use them on airplanes and trains to wipe down the armrests, seatbelts, etc., as well as in my hotel room or anywhere else where I feel it couldn’t hurt to give something an extra cleansing.
If you want to read more about how I use bleach wipes, check out this article.
Ziploc Bags, in my opinion, belong in the Hall of Fame of useful items.
For travel, Ziploc bags are perfect for: keeping dry things dry or wet items away from dry things, organizing toiletries, food leftovers for a picnic lunch, wet bathing suits after the beach, storing receipts or paperwork together—the list goes on and on.
I like to keep my delicates in a clear Ziploc bag inside my luggage so that they don’t get handled (or, should I say, mishandled) by security screeners at the airport.
If you need to do some emergency laundry, get a jumbo size Ziploc bag to use as a mini washing machine for your clothes. Just fill it with soapy water, put your items in, take out a bit of the air, zip it up tight, then slosh and massage away — empty, fill with clean water and repeat.
Kitchen garbage bags
Trust me on this one. If you ever get caught in a sudden downpour, you’ll be glad to have a plastic bag to use as a rain shield for your backpack. I like the white kitchen garbage bags better than the large black trash bags because they are smaller and less, well (ahem), garbage bag-like.
You can also use a kitchen bag as an inner liner in your suitcase as an extra precaution. I’ll give my sister credit for this tip, as she does it all the time in case it’s raining, and her luggage ends up sitting on the tarmac of the airport. She’s a bit obsessive-compulsive, but it does make some sense. Just line your suitcase with the bag first before you put your clothing inside.
If you’re staying in a vacation home, apartment or hostel and have access to a kitchen to do some cooking while travelling, you may want to bring some of your favourite spices and seasonings from home to add to your food. Just because you are trying to save money by not eating out doesn’t mean your food needs to taste bland!
I’m not talking about anything crazy like cooking a 5-course gourmet meal. Still, you, might want to cook simple recipes like spaghetti or eggs and bacon. There are spice containers intended for camping that you could use, but you can easily create your own as well.
At the dollar store, I found little tiny Ziploc bags (told you they should be in the Hall of Fame) meant for jewellery findings, buttons, etc. They are the perfect size to bring some of your favourite seasonings along. You won’t need very much, just a tablespoon or so of each spice. Make sure you label each little package with a sharpie, and then put all your little spices together into one bigger Ziplock bag. If you cannot find them at your dollar store, there are many options available on Amazon.
A more accessible alternative will be to find one spice blend that you like that goes with everything so that you only have to pack one single bottle. (If you find a spice like this, be sure to send it to me *wink*).
Not only is honey great in your tea, but it is also antimicrobial, which means that honey can kill microorganisms and stop them from growing. It’s also been known to have some wound healing activity—who knew? So pack a little honey in your bag, whether you want to use it to sweeten your tea or for its medicinal properties.
If you’re interested in other natural remedies, along with honey, for your travels, read our article:
Pack this! 4 Natural Remedies for Travel Ailments
Tea bags and Drink Mixes
I don’t consider myself a connoisseur of tea by any stretch of the imagination, but I do know that I prefer the taste of
I don’t think myself a tea connoisseur by any stretch of the imagination, but I do know that I prefer the taste of specific blends and brands more than others. My go-to tea is orange pekoe. Usually, I’m fine when I’m on a cruise ship because the names and blends are the same as those at home. But on occasion, I find myself in certain parts of the world, or even in the United States for that matter, where my usual tea blend tastes bitter — yuck! That’s why I’ve started travelling with a stash of my own tea bags and favourite hot beverage mixes.
I recently discovered a new tea brand in Ontario Metro Stores: Stash tea, based in Portland, Oregon. Stash is fantastic because they’re always trying out new ideas and flavours, so even their more “traditional” teas have a bit of a twist. They not only want the tea to taste new and exciting, but they also want to surprise you in the best way while doing it. Also, Stash is environmentally conscious; everything is compostable, and they are non-GMO project verified.
Perfect to pack in your carry-on, each tea bag is individually wrapped, making it easy to travel with an assortment of flavours for every mood on your adventure. In particular, I love the Double Bergamot Earl Grey, Lemon Ginger, Peppermint Spice and the Dragon Red Chai
Another favourite thing about Stash tea is when you’re back home, you can reminisce about each beautiful view while enjoying their uniquely named teas. My favourites of these include: “Christmas in Paris,” “Asian Pear Harmony,” “Moroccan Mint,” “Jamaican Butter Rum Black Tea,” or the “Double Grey Portland Fog.” Stash is located in 130 Metro stores across Ontario, so be sure to check them out if you’re interested!
I know other travel writers who don’t go anywhere without hot chocolate mix for that sweet treat, but I always pack a honey ginger tea mix. I discovered these little packages in the Asian supermarket and found they are perfect if I feel a little bit under the weather. By just adding hot water, I get a sweet, spicy drink that soothes my throat, settles my stomach, and makes me feel warm and cozy inside. One pouch gets me a few cups (I don’t like it too strong), and of course, I keep the bag closed in between uses with binder clips. (wink)
On occasion, I also travel with Gatorade powder or Nuun Active Hydration electrolyte drink tabs. I find in certain cities the water can taste musty or super chlorinated; by adding powder or tablets to my water, it masks the taste, and I’m good to go.
Collapsible Travel Kettle
Yes, these do exist, yes I have one, and yes, I love it! Most hotels do have a coffee maker for hot water; however, I’ve heard some horror stories of what people put in there, so to be safe, I always bring my collapsible travel kettle. These kettles are a gamechanger, and I can’t recommend them enough because, trust me, you’ll use and love them.
Reusable Gear: Water Bottles, Coffee Cups, Cutlery, Containers…
If you’re like me, you may like drinking or eating out of something familiar when you can. I always pack a reusable water bottle and coffee cup with me because of that exact reason. It also saves me some money on my trip because I’m not constantly buying plastic water bottles. Or, if you’re a big fan of road trips and love having snacks and food on the go, containers and cutlery are also a must.
To read more about eating and drinking on the road, check out this article here.
If you’re going picnicking or just packing leftovers, beeswax wrap is perfect for keeping your food fresh. Reusable and sustainable, beeswax wrap is ideal for travel; you only need to pack a few, and they will last the whole trip. Typically beeswax wrap can last up to a year, and after that, you can compost them or use them as a fire starter if camping. 100% natural and long-lasting, they’re a great alternative to plastic wrap (which is bulkier in the box and harder to pack).
On that same reusable note, dish detergent is a must. You don’t need to bring the big bottle from home—pour some out into a smaller squeeze bottle (you can get these at your dollar store), and you’re good to go!
This article shows our packing hack for travelling with dish detergent.
Instant Oatmeal Packs
Instant oatmeal goes in the comfort category when you are travelling. It’s not only good for you; it’s filling, has lots of fibre, and is perfect when you need some essential nourishment. All you need is hot water, a bowl or mug, and a spoon, and you’re ready to go!
Whether you’re going on a picnic or you have a craving, peanut butter is another thing that often finds itself in my travel bag. To avoid any potential spillage, I prefer to pack the powdered peanut butter that you mix with water. Powder means I don’t have to worry about peanut butter ruining anything and can still enjoy a favourite snack when travelling.
Oven mitts are great when you’re straightening or curling your hair, and you don’t know where to keep your flat or curling iron. Just bring along your oven mitt from home, and it’s got a safe place to rest!
One of my favourite packing tips is storing your necklaces in straws, so they don’t get tangled. Unclasp your necklace, slide part of the chain through the straw to the other side and then reclasp. Using a separate straw for each necklace, you can now pack as much jewellery as you want without worrying about it becoming a tangled mess!
Can you think of any other travel supplies on your packing lists that would seem more at home in the kitchen than in your suitcase?
Looking for packing suggestions?
– Pack This! Eating and Drinking on the Road
– My Pre-Travel Checklist – Don’t Leave Home Without It