We recently wrote about items that would go from desk to suitcase but let’s look at other places in the home. For starters, what about the kitchen?
Here are five items that seem more at home next to the stove where you cook versus in your suitcase when you are travelling.
1. Twist Ties
You can use twist ties for their original purpose – 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 it might deter people from choosing you as an easy target. 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 before they can get it open, thus slowing the thief down and drawing some attention.
Another way of doing this is by using a carabiner, but I like the twist tie method – it’s a bit harder to open.
2. Ziploc Bags
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 things away from dry things, organising toiletries, food leftovers for a picnic lunch, wet bathing suits after the beach, keeping 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 get a jumbo size Ziploc bag, you can use this as a mini washing machine for your clothes. Just fill it with soapy water and 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.
3. Kitchen garbage bags
Get caught in a sudden downpour, and you’ll be glad to have a plastic bag to use as a rain shield for your backpack. I like the kitchen garbage bags better than the large black trash bags because they are smaller and less well (ahem) garbage bag-like.
As an extra precaution, you can also use a kitchen bag as an inner liner in your suitcase. My sister does this 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 an apartment or hostel and have access to a kitchen to do some cooking while you are 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 that your food needs to taste bland!
I’m not talking about anything crazy like cooking a 5-course gourmet meal, but you might want to cook simple recipes like spaghetti or simple eggs and bacon. They sell assorted spice containers for camping but you can easily create your own.
I found little tiny Ziploc bags meant for jewelry findings and buttons etc. at the dollar store. They are the perfect size to bring some of your favourite spices 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.
An easier 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.
5. Teabags, 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 certain brands. My go-to tea is orange pekoe. Normally I’m fine when I’m on a cruise ship because the names and blends are familiar, but on occasion, I find myself in certain parts of the world, or even in the United States for that matter, and the tea just tastes terribly bitter — bleh! That’s why I’ve started travelling with a little stash of teabags and favourite hot beverage mixes.
I know other travel writers who don’t go anywhere without hot chocolate mix for that sweet treat, but I always pack honey ginger tea mix. I discovered these little packages in the Asian supermarket and found that they are perfect if I’m feeling a little bit under the weather. Just add hot water, and I get a sweet, spicy drink that soothes my throat, settles my stomach, and just makes me feel warm and cosy 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)
I also travel on occasion with Gatorade powder or Nuun Active Hydration electrolyte drink tabs. I find in certain cities that the water tastes musty or super chlorinated – I just add the powder or the tablet to my bottle of water to mask the taste, and I’m good to go.
BONUS Item – Instant Oatmeal Packs
Instant oatmeal goes in the comfort category when you are travelling. It’s good for you; it’s filling, has lots fibre, and is perfect when you need some basic nourishment. All you need is hot water, a bowl, and a spoon.