We all know that travel packing can be an absolute nightmare, especially when you are travelling for a long period of time. What should you take? How much should you take? What random useful item do I need to spend a fortune on in North Face or REI? There are so many elements to packing for a life on the road that it becomes mind-boggling, not to mention how expensive it can get.

Today I’m here to help you out on a few little secrets of random household items useful for travel. Because, travel doesn’t need to be expensive and neither does your gear! There are so many things lying around your home right now that can be super helpful stuffed into your backpack. So, leave the credit card at home and go rummaging.

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1. Sandwich bags

For some reason I have been thoroughly taken in by this whole packing cube craze. I don’t even own a top loading backpack which are the worst for clothes explosions and never being able to find anything but I still love the idea of everything in my bag having it’s own little space. Maybe it’s because I’m actually naturally messy and anything that may help stop that is useful in my book. But, man, are those little zippy bags expensive!

Enter the humble sandwich bag. Whether you opt for the more expensive zip-lock kind of go for the classic pinch-lock ones, these cheap little bags are perfect bag organisers. Oli and I used them for the first time in Nepal and I will never go back to the stuff everything anywhere method. They are clear which makes stuff easy to spot and even if they break, which they will, a whole roll is so cheap and light you can have spares packed alongside them.

2. Carrier bags

A few plastic carrier bags packed in the side of your bag are limitlessly useful. Dirty shoes can be wrapped up and stored easily, dirty laundry can be kept separate and then taken to get cleaned, and they are perfect for carrying snacks to avoid a crumby bag. It’s simple, yet oh so effective and we all love a bit of re-using for the environment don’t we?

3. Bin liners

Keeping to the bag theme for just one more moment, a giant bin bag makes for a perfect rain cover. All the Nepalis did it and when Oli realised that his $1 rain cover from Kathmandu was too small he tried it too with not a hint of soggy clothes. You can also go full on porter style and use a second one as a raincoat!

4. String

While nothing will beat a trusty carabiner, tying your things to the outside of your bag with string works a treat. You can also use this to make a washing line for wet clothes and when you are feeling a little uneasy about your bag being shoved on the top of a bus you can help secure it on yourself.

5. Pillow case

There’s nothing like your bed at home right? Well take a part of it with you! Carrying a pillow case isn’t going to add much weight and when you stuff it with a few items of clothing it makes a perfect pillow for buses and plains and just about anywhere. And when you really don’t trust the sheets, you can put it over the pillow and rest your head in comfort. Neck pillows be damned!

This is not an exhaustive list, and we may come back and add to it over time, but it should show you that travel packing does not need to mean spending a fortune in adventure shops and loading your bag with heavy accessories. A little thought, and a little rummage, go a long way.

What random household items do you take travelling? Have you ever used any of these? Which is the best solution to your packing problems?

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