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24 Household Items That Make Travel Easier

Evelyn Hannon

Over the years hundreds of women-centered bits of advice have made their way into our Journeywoman IN BOX. Some of them are so simple and so smart that you wonder...'why didn't I think of that, first?' Happy packing, everybody!

1 HANGING SHOE ORGANIZERS -- writes Linda in Miami, USA - Look for those folding shoe organizers that hang in the closet (the kind with shelves one under the other) not pockets. Pop one of those into your suitcase. At your destination they are great for stashing shoes, small evening purses, rolled up belts, your umbrella and any other accessory that you'd like to have handy.

1 WHO NEEDS AN IRON? -- writes Gabrielle in Los Angeles, USA -- Are you worried that your clothes don't look right after you take them out of your suitcase? I always travel with my hair straightener. It does double-duty by acting as a mini-iron for crinkled collars and small clothing wrinkles. It saves the day when I can't get easy access to an iron and ironing board. P.S. My husband loves it, too (not for his hair but for his shirts).

1 THIS SMALL TOWEL IS CHEAP AND FAST DRYING -- writes Leslie in Palm Beach Shores, USA -- It's a 24"x18" microfiber towel (cheap, from an auto care store where it is sold as a polishing cloth), it takes up little space, weighs next to nothing and dries in a snap. I used mine mostly as a personal-size towel but it also came in handy for wringing dry hand laundry. Other uses for a second towel might be washing the windows on the rental car and spiffing up shoes after some muddy walking.

1 A GREAT USE FOR A SOAP DISH -- writes Erin in Vancouver, Canada -- My tip is short but sweet and costs $1.00 in any Dollar Store. Buy a plastic soap container with lid attached (the kind that holds a bar of soap). Believe it or not, most pocket cameras fit nicely in them. In this way the camera is kept well protected in your purse or your backpack and you don't have to worry about the lens becoming scratched or dirty.

1 CARRY A FEW CLOTHES PINS -- writes Leslie in Toronto, Canada -- Use them for those hotel drapes that refuse to close properly. Perfect for blocking out the early morning sun as well as discouraging potential "Peeping Toms."

1 A SMALL ROLL OF ELECTRICAL TAPE HAS A MYRIAD OF USES -- writes Evelyn in Long Island, USA -- A skirt hem come down? Tape it up in a pinch. Leaving your luggage at the hostel for a few days? Tape everything closed so nothing can be slipped in or out. Shipping a box home, want to put souvenirs into your journal, need to take fluff off a black sweater? Hurrah for electrical tape!

1 PACK A PLASTIC SANDWICH CONTAINER -- writes Phyllis in Seattle, USA -- I always keep a plastic container in my day pack. It might sound silly but it really does come in handy. Whether I'm on land or on a ship (getting ready for a day in port) if I don't finish my breakfast the non-perishables go right into the container and it becomes my snacking station for when I'm out sightseeing. That tiny cinnamon bun or the bunch of grapes are perfect when you need a pick me up sometime during the day.

1 PACK AN UMBRELLA FOR CHINA -- writes Julia in Singapore -- Yes, there could be rain when you're in China but that's not the only reason I'm suggesting you pack an umbrella. My reason is so much better. If you're going to the outskirts of any Chinese cities, you absolutely must bring along a collapsible umbrella. You see, not all toilet doors close properly -- some don't even close at all and some have no doors entirely. In those instances open that umbrella and shield your body. It can make you feel a bit more private.

1 CARRY A GOLFBALL IN YOUR SUITCASE -- writes Pam in Boulder, USA -- I always pack one in my luggage. Think that's strange? Well, think again. A golf ball is heavy so if I need to plug the sink, it will do that, no matter what the drain size is. If I have a stiff muscle or a back spasm that impairs my mobility, I put the ball under a towel and lay down and roll around on it until the muscle relaxes or the stiffness is gone. If it is not possible to lay down on the ball, I just put it between me and a wall and do the same thing. Voila, instant therapeutic massage.

1 CARRY CLOVE OIL WHEN YOU TRAVEL -- writes Linda in Midlothian, USA -- One travel tip that I've found to be very useful when I'm on the road is to keep a bottle of Clove Oil with me. Yep, aside from smelling like Easter-dinner-in-a-bottle, it's an amazing analgesic and antibiotic. Great for tooth aches (or any mouth discomfort), teething pain, nausea and lots more. The herbalists can tell us more about this remarkable antiviral, antifungal, antibiotic, but for me it's an essential oil that's an essential traveling companion.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Thanks, Linda! I'll be checking with my local health food store to find out more about this oil. I always like to be sure I'm using it in the proper way before I put it into my suitcase.

Use your mesh laundry bags for packing...

Yes, you can buy pricey canvas rectangular bags (12' x 14") to store your undies, t-shirts and socks (about $12.00 each). Instead, I buy mesh laundry bags ($1.00 each) that are the same size and are perfect for grouping your clothes in your suitcase. Or you can buy smaller ones (2/$1.00) and have double the pleasure organizing to your heart's delight. Mesh bags also have the added advantage of allowing you to see at a glance what's inside each bag.




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