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Insanely Useful Travel Items You Never Thought to Pack

We all know the packing essentials. But what are some items you never thought about packing that will be useful on your family vacation?

As a frequent traveler, I’m always on the lookout for items to make my family’s traveling experience easier. I recently asked Adventures in Familyhood’s Facebook followers for their most unconventional but insanely useful travel item that they always pack.

They came up with a lot of great suggestions. Plus many of these items are double duty. I compiled my favorite answers and added some things we always bring along too. Here are 9 insanely useful travel items you never thought about packing.

Neutrogena Acne Wash

Diane from NY suggested bringing Neutrogena Acne Wash. Not only is it a great face wash, it is super helpful in taking out stains. Having a tween in the family, this can be something we would use anyway.

Clothes Pins

Jennifer in NY suggested clothes pins. They are useful for hanging up wet clothes and making sure those clothes stay put. For us, clothes pins have been useful on road trips. They’re good to use for closing bags of snacks or cookies. They could also make a good substitute for a paper clip in a pinch.

Baby Wipes

Cori always brings baby wipes on trips because they have so many uses. I agree. Even though our kids are well past the diaper phase, we still bring along a package of baby wipes. They’re great for cleaning up sticky messes, cooling cloths, stain remover or wiping down hotel items. Baby wipes are also good for getting rid of sand on your body from the beach.

Ikea Shoe Rack

Alison uses a hanging shoe organizer that she bought at Ikea. Many hotels and cruise ships have banned the over the door shoe organizers because they can scratch the surfaces. This hanging one goes in the closet. It can be useful for storing anything and everything. You could also hang it on the hook on back of the door in the bathroom to store toiletries.

Dryer Sheets

A family can amass a large pile of laundry. If you’re not going to do laundry until you get home, it’s going to smell. Lynn suggested to bring dryer sheets to throw in the laundry bag. We’ve also used them for smelly sneakers.

Surge Protector

While hotels are making a good effort in providing more outlets and USB ports, it’s still not enough for some families. Ann suggested bringing along a surge protector/ power strip for that reason.


My students call me the queen of post-its. They get a good laugh about how many I use during a class period. My obsession with post-it doesn’t stop there. I always have a pack of post-its on me when I travel. I use them for obvious reasons like writing down reservations or places we want to go in a day. I’ve also used them to cover up the automatic toilet flushing sensor. When my kids were little, the noise of the toilet flushing used to scare the bejesus out of them. We found if we covered the sensor with a post-it we could delay the flushing until the child was out of ear shot of the toilet.

This tip is also included in our 10 Best Life Hacks for Your Disney Vacation.

Plastic Bread Ties

Don’t throw away the plastic ties from your loaf of bread. We always have a few of these on hand in case of a flip flop emergency. You can read more about how to use a plastic bread tie to save your flip flop in our 10 best life hacks for your day at the beach.

Metal or Silicone Straws

More and more destinations are banning plastic straws for environmental reasons. While they offer paper straws as an alternative, some cannot handle the texture or feel that the paper straws disintegrate too easily. You can buy reusable straws in metal or silicone instead.

What are some unique, but insanely useful travel items you always pack? Let us know in the comments.

useful travel items to pack

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Sunday 28th of July 2019

We bring a bath mat for the tub.

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