When you’re traveling with kids, you’ve got to be resourceful—reallyresourceful. Okay, so maybe you can’t fix a broken boogie board with a paperclip and a stick of gum the way a certain 1980s TV character could. But by stashing a few simple items in your carry-on, you’ll be able whip up quick solutions to all sorts of annoying travel dilemmas. The next time you find yourself in an unexpected pinch--on the plane, in your hotel room, or wherever your trip takes you--your MacGyver-esque travel pack may just save the day.
Masking or duct tape:This may become your most versatile travel item. Travel-sized rolls are available, but for extra MacGyver points, just roll a little duct tape around a short pencil to make a “mini roll.” Use it to:
· Create a makeshift suitcase label
· Repair a luggage tear or zipper break
· Temporarily fix a drooping hem
· Solve a variety of wardrobe malfunctions, like a broken belt, shoe strap, or bra
· Stop a drip in your hotel room sink
· Seal over the drain in your room so you can hand wash
· Quiet a rattling tray table
· Pair with tissue or a cotton ball for a makeshift Band-Aid
· Salvage a torn umbrella
Binder clips:Toss a zip-top bag of small binder clips into your carry-on and you may wonder how you ever lived without them. Yes, you may find them endlessly useful for wrangling your travel docs and money, or keeping the kids’ papers organized. But you can also use one as an emergency bookmark, hair tie, or razor cover. Even more important—especially when traveling to new time zones—is to use one to clip hotel curtains together, eliminating that slice of light that’s keeping you awake.
Outlet plug:Be the family hero--whether at a crowded airport charging kiosk or in the hotel room--by packing a simple plug that changes a two-item outlet into a four-item one. You’ll be eternally thankful you don’t have to choose between your in-room coffee or charging the kids’ electronic devices.
Dental floss:Besides the obvious use, dental floss can fix a popped button, slice through cake or soft cheese, act as a makeshift shoelace, tie back hair, or serve as a clothesline in a hotel room that doesn’t have one.
Add these handy problem-solvers to a complete travel pack that includes moistened wipes or hand sanitizer, a stain-removal pen or laundry sheet, a few safety pins, Band-Aids, an all-purpose salve like Vaseline or Aquaphor, and a permanent marker. Stock everything in a zip-top bag or clear cosmetic case to find it easily in your bag, and—just like a certain secret agent—nothing will slow you down. Happy travels!