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"Don't Leave Home Without It" Revisited

by Monica Conrady

ome time ago, I shared with you a list of what I personally found to be indispensable when on the road.

Here again are a few suggestions from my personal travel list.

Ziploc bags. These have been one of my favorite travel aids for years and now they are de rigeur for your carry-on! Three small bottles in a quart-size ziploc is the new rule. Fine and dandy. I also use them for leaky bottles, wet bathing suits and muddy shoes. They help keep me organized — underwear in one bag, hose in another, toiletries separated in still more bags. I file maps, brochures. etc., by area in their own bag. In fact, I am a veritable bag lady!

A rubber sink stopper. Look for a flat, round one which fits over any drain and which you can find for peanuts in your local hardware store. Not only does it come in useful when the sink plug doesn’t work properly — which can happen in the fancy places just as easily as in the el cheapos — but can come to the rescue in those mean establishments where they don’t give you a plug in the first place.

Plastic coat hangers. Many hotels have those unremovable hangers — great for the hotel but irritating to those of us who like to hang things in the shower to drip dry or steam out wrinkles. Then, of course, there are some places with no hangers at all! I now keep one regular hanger and one with clips in the pocket of my rollaboard for such occasions.

A Sarong. Also called a pareu, a sulu, a longhi or a kanga, depending on what part of the world it’s from. This long, rectangular piece of cloth is primarily used as a wraparound skirt (for either sex) but can also be a strapless dress or a shawl. It can replace a towel, you can sit on it or use it as a sheet, a screen, a tablecloth or a wall-hanging.

Duct tape. A small roll of duct tape can come in handy at the most opportune times — like when your luggage falls apart or there’s a tiny tear in your mosquito netting. Stick a strip of duct tape in a bright color on your luggage — I use canary yellow — to make it easier to locate in a sea of black bags.

Bubble Wrap. My new favorite travel aid . I gaily purchased a bottle of Blueberry Wine in Florida before I remembered I could no longer carry it on the plane with me. Bubble wrap to the rescue! My wine arrived home safely in my checked luggage, swaddled in a couple of layers of bubble wrap.

What is it you can’t, or won’t, leave home without?

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