Travel item-unexpected favorite

Old May 19th, 2010, 11:13 AM
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Travel item-unexpected favorite

Ever buy something you weren't sure you'd need and found that you were using it again and again?
Mine's a hiking stick- bought as suggested for a Turkey hiking trip and used now whenever I travel anywhere (or hike anywhere). It's really helpful on those endless marble steps without rails found outside mosques and temples, and on those terrible broken pavements.(last used in Greece, India, Nepal and Turkey Run State Park in Indiana )
My stick's by Trekkers, collapses to @ 16", is easily adjusted, and fits into a backpack.
What's something you bought for travel that you found to be much more useful than you thought it would be?
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Old May 19th, 2010, 11:24 AM
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The book of "paper" sheets of soap from REI. I carry-on only and carrying a small bar of soap is messy. I don't like the body wash because I go through it too fast.
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Old May 19th, 2010, 11:43 AM
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less than 1 ounce size spray hand sanitizer pen ... flu season last year made me much more aware. People cough and sneeze into their hand, then touch everything around them. In hospitals use of hand sanitizers cuts transmission of infections by 90% - seems like good enough reason to try it.
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Old May 19th, 2010, 04:59 PM
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Rubber shower shoes. I brought them along once to wear to wear in HI. With some duct tape and the shoes they were perfect padding to bring home a bottle of something. I use them for padding, plus they're handy as slippers and they don't take up much room.
I knew that the duct tape rolled around a pen would come in handy but I've found many uses for it.
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Old May 20th, 2010, 03:49 AM
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I bought a bandana on a whim. Since then I've used it (this list is not in chronological order):
over my mouth to screen out sand/dust in a wind storm,
over my hair in an open jeep,
around my neck in the supermarket's freezer section (to stay warm),
around my neck in the boat (wetted down, to stay cool),
tied around a handful of seeds I poached from a botanical garden,
tied around my forehead to keep sweat out of my eyes when working on the boat,
tied around my dog's neck as an impromptu collar when I forget the real one,
as a snot rag when I was allergic to something unknown on a field trip and caught unawares without kleenex,
as a way to hold ice on an impending bruise,
as a napkin to wrap around a roll I took from a breakfast buffet;
as a rag to wipe my hands when I slipped and accidentally touched dog poop;
as a rag to wipe off my camera/lens when it got rained on,
and finally to lay out in the hotel room to put my rings/watch on bed so I would have a visual clue to remember them when I got up early the next day for a flight.

I'm sure there's other things I don't remember, but I'd say I got my $3 worth out of this acquisition. It's cotton, and a khaki color. It always seems to wash clean - even after all this it doesn't look stained. Won't go anywhere without it now!
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Old May 20th, 2010, 05:55 AM
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Another thing that lives in my suitcase- clean bandana. Priceless.
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Old May 20th, 2010, 12:18 PM
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I always travel with a couple sarongs... can be used not only as beachwear, but also a table cloth, dresser scarf, pool towel, curtain, etc.
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Old May 20th, 2010, 01:32 PM
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Don't laugh- I have an inflatable ice bucket. You just blow it up and it's really well insulated. We used it again recently in Italy. We bought our own wine at the store, had the hotel fill the bucket with ice and sat outside in the garden. We have also used it on trains to keep sodas, beer, and wine cold. You don't need to put ice in it to keep it insulated. It folds to a very small size. It's not a necessity but it gets a lot of use.
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Old May 20th, 2010, 01:36 PM
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Lynn - where did you acquire this wonderful sounding item? Is it actually an ice bucket or is it something else that you use for an ice bucket. I think that sounds like a cool gadget.
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Old May 20th, 2010, 04:21 PM
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I would like to know where to locate one also??
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Old May 21st, 2010, 06:17 AM
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It is actually an ice bucket. I purchased it in the wine section of an upscale grocery store in California. I have also seen it in wine shops.
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Old May 21st, 2010, 06:21 AM
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I actually just googled this and saw a similiar one at Amazon. They call it a " pop up inflatable wine cooler" in the Home and Garden section for $8.95.
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Old May 21st, 2010, 06:59 AM
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Many thanks for getting back to us on this. I think I must have one of these now!
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Old May 21st, 2010, 07:54 PM
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I tried those inflatable travel hangers, but they didn't work out so well. But I think the ice bucket sounds like a GREAT idea!!
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Old May 22nd, 2010, 08:30 PM
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The first time it happened accidentally, but now I always look for a great scarf at our first stop and tie it around my handbag strap. It's a great souvenir, a cool accessory that I get lots of compliments on plus I use it for (many of) the above bandanna uses, but since it's larger, it has also serves as a tablecloth on picnics, protection for my white crops while sitting on cathedral steps, mopping a sweaty brow on those hot summer days, covering my shoulders on visits to cathedrals when I wore strappy tops on those hot summer days (I really much prefer the winter trips!). And when I get home, it becomes part of my decor as a table cover. Love them all.
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Old May 22nd, 2010, 09:08 PM
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A couple of plastic hanger with clips works for me.
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Old May 23rd, 2010, 01:21 AM
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LSky, I planned on taking that over to Egypt with me to wash in my room. I mentioned it to my travel agent and she said "oh yeah, what a good idea".
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Old May 23rd, 2010, 06:49 AM
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MissGreen, I used to have the clothes line but it stretched out and after that it just makes more sense to me to have something that's stable. I can hang the hanger almost anywhere and the little clips(that were left over from the clothesline)do double duty else where. You can use them to clip a curtain closed if there's a gap, hold papers together...

I'm also not a fan of a lot of things that have been made for travel. It's cute in the store but much of it is only one purpose on the road.

Strictly my opinion, I notice that other people make this thing work. I don't like the accessory holders that have 2-3 plastic pockets for the little stuff.
Instead I use give away make up bags from Clinique. They are in different colors and I pack them according to how I would use that product at home. For instance, a yellow waterproof one is the "shower bag". Another will be the grooming bag it holds things that my husband and I share in the bathroom etc.
This way when I'm packing these bags can fit in the empty spaces in my suitcase, instead of taking up space. They are different from each other so we know what bag is what. They are easy to spot in the room while I do my final walk through so I haven't left one yet.

When I come home, I refill most of the stuff when I put my suitcase away. Shampoo isn't going expire before my next trip.
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Old May 23rd, 2010, 08:53 AM
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I always travel with 2-3 plastic hangers in the bottom of my suitcase. they always get used. (and i leave them behind my last stop)
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Old May 25th, 2010, 06:02 AM
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Balloons . . . blow up, put inside shirt or pants you just washed and hung up, and it cuts drying time considerably. Plus, they take up no room . . . are cheap . . . can be presents for kids.

That's my best travel hint and I learned it here on Fodor's.

Sandy (in Denton)
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