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  • Marla

6 Fantastic Travel Tools – From Your Junk Drawer

Updated: May 31

Travel Tools From Your Junk Drawer

There are so many “travel essentials” on the market these days that it’s hard to choose what to buy. A lot of them sound great.

But what if I told you there are some travel essentials we never leave home without – and chances are you already own them?

They’re sitting in your junk drawer.

Sure, traveling with an airplane phone holder mount or a mini white noise smart sound machine may make you more comfortable. But your junk drawer is full of quick fixes that may just save the day. These versatile items are also small and easily fit into a carry-on bag, suitcase, or purse. Plus they’re all disposable and replaceable.

Here are six fantastic travel tools from your junk drawer you should not leave home without.

1. Paper Clips

Paper clips are one of my favorite items to travel with since they are so versatile. Yes, they are great for keeping tour vouchers, brochures, and other papers together. They can also be used to keep a baggy or stubborn light curtain closed.

But they are especially handy since they can be unbent and reshaped. I’ve used paper clips as a mini screwdriver, a lock pick for a suitcase, a sharp point to puncture plastic, even as a tool to remove a broken wine cork from the bottle. Since it’s impossible to rebend them to their original shape I always carry several.

2. Rubber Bands

Rubber bands work well for keeping larger bags closed and bigger stacks of papers together. But they’re also helpful grippers to open jar lids since they can provide that extra traction. I’ve also used them around door knobs to prop a door open and as a camera wrist strap.

3. Pens

I know that some people swear by the “notes” section on their iPhones. I use that function, too.

But as a writer and travel blogger, I prefer to write things down the old-fashioned way. It’s also easier and faster for a tour guide to jot down the spelling of a particular varietal she’s talking about or a recommended restaurant. In Austin, Texas a very nice policeman borrowed my pen and wrote out on the back of a receipt a set of directions to a neighborhood we were having trouble finding via GPS. And pens can do more than write; I’ve used them more than once as a mini measuring ruler.

4. Binder Clips

Binder clips are another fantastic travel tool from your junk drawer. They’re a stronger version of paper clips when it comes to holding things together. They work better on heavier curtains and thicker containers, such as potato chip bags.

5. Scotch Tape

A small roll of scotch tape can be very useful to patch up a tear in a paper ticket or a hole, say in a backpack. But scotch tape also helps keep a hem up, especially when you’re in a hurry. While some people prefer to travel with duct tape, I find it unwieldy and too wide; duct tape can also leave ugly sticky marks.

6. Bubble Wrap

Technically I don’t keep bubble wrap in my junk drawer since my junk drawer is pretty small; I keep it on a junk shelf in the closet. But I include it here, especially if you’re like us and like to purchase a bottle or two of wine while on vacation. It’s much more protective than simply cushioning wine among clothes in the suitcase, and the bubble wrap is flat and compact, so it’s easier to travel with than some of those fancy wine protector products. We’ve also used it to protect other items needing delicate handling, like ceramics or glassware. I simply save bubble wrap when it's part of a package I receive.

Travel Tools From Your Junk Drawer

We hope that this list of fantastic travel tools from your junk drawer helps you the next time you’re on the go.

What other travel essentials do you recommend traveling with? Please share! Send us a message at Always feel free to reach out to us with any questions or feedback.

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