Please sign in to post.

Flat Things

These things are in the "What if I need it " category, but they are just so easy to pack.
1) A forehead strip thermometer for my first-aid kit.
2) A disposable pair of sunglasses from the Optometrist's office.
3) I like the little note that RS puts in his wallets, so I have added the joker from a deck of cards to mine.
4) I make a laundry sheet by putting a used softener sheet on a piece of foil, painting it with detergent and drying it on the dashboard of a hot car. Cut a strip for hand washing in the sink.
I like the idea of adding extras without more weight on my shoulders. What do you slip into your bag?

Posted by
5697 posts

Expired driver's license -- for when you need to leave ID to get an audio tour.

Posted by
41 posts

I forgot to mention nose strips to help with snoring.

Good idea about the ID!

Posted by
8638 posts

eyeglass repair kit
small roll of duct tape
tube of super glue
safety pins & rubber bands

Posted by
339 posts

Great ideas. We helped someone repair their glasses with duct tape while waiting for our rental car in Florence. Fortunately they were in my shoulder bag.

Posted by
1501 posts

Blister Bandaids. Baloons that you blow up and lay your clothes on to dry your clothes faster.

Posted by
1243 posts

I usually pack some lavender sachets from Trader Joe's in my packing cubes. They are meant for use in the dryer, but that is not how I use them. They just help keep things fragrant and pleasant.

A few years ago I purchased a wine stopper from a store across from the Basilica of St. Anthony in Padua. The top is a pic of the Basilica. It is small, cute, very useful, and reminds me of earlier trips. Plus, St. Anthony is with me.

Some kind of flat ribbon. I have some the size of a shoe lace - because you never know how it might come in handy. So far, I have not used this, so it might cycle off the list.

Extra zip lock bags and a supermarket size plastic tote bag or so. Years ago, stores in Europe handed out plastic freely and easily, now not so much. The change may be a good thing, but sometimes a plastic bag is called for.

Debbie

Posted by
8293 posts

Well, I don't know, you people must travel to third world countries. I find I can usually buy anything in Europe that I may have forgotten or not thought to pack. Safety Pins? Universally available. Oh wait! I just re-read Kathleen's post and now realize she was kidding. Especially point No.4.

Posted by
41 posts

I guess I really didn't explain about the glasses. I have lost my prescription sunglasses before. The the disposable insert could cover me until I have new ones made. Again, a "what if I need it" type item.

I like to take what I want before I leave home. I buy forgotten items when I get there, but it still means I am carrying the same extra stuff throughout the rest of the trip, sometimes in a heavier package.

Posted by
756 posts

Ziplock bags just come in so handy especially the quart and gallon size.

Posted by
14250 posts

For myself, altho safety pins are available everywhere, I always have some in my purse and suitcase. I can bet that if I need one it will be at a time when stores are not open or when it is not convenient to get to a store.

I second/third the small roll of duct tape. The last 2 trips I've been on I gave mine away the last day to another tour member who was having a suitcase issue and just needed to get it taped up and home.

I love the detergent soaked softener sheet. Since I don't live in the heat of Florida any more I'll have to work on how to accomplish that!

For the last 3 trips I have packed a plastic coat hanger. I know many use the blow-ups but I can never get them to stay inflated. I also pack a tall kitchen garbage bag in case clothes don't dry and you need to isolate them in your suitcase until you get to your next stop.

Posted by
28 posts

Paper money - Euros, Pounds, Krones, Francs, Kronas, etc., etc. etc. They all fold up very flat and are versatile to get what you need. Also a Pepto-Bismol Packet for when I eat too many weisswursten. CHEERS!

Posted by
222 posts

I second the hangers. I always carry 3 - many times there aren't many hotel hangers or they can't be removed from the closet, etc. Also I like to hang my clothes somewhere besides the closet so they can air out overnight or to dry faster if I wash them. I also take a flat sink stopper and a stretch clothesline.

Barb

Posted by
1450 posts

a "sheet" of new twisty ties......like 6 or so. use to fasten suitcase zippers together and have used a bit of one once to replace a screw in glasses.......

Posted by
32265 posts

@LauraB,

"Expired driver's license -- for when you need to leave ID to get an audio tour. "

That probably won't work for people living here. When a driver's license is renewed, they seize and destroy the old license and provide a temporary paper copy, which doesn't have a photo or much other information.

Posted by
11613 posts

A 2.5 gallon ziploc bag for doing laundry in the sink (it happens). You can zip it up with laundry soap, clothing and water and let items soak if they need to, and "agitate" by hand. To dry out the bag just turn it inside out while you are sightseeing. I usually pack two for a really long trip (2-3 months) in case one rips, but that's never happened. And I've never spent more than 15 minutes on laundry task.

Posted by
18 posts

Kathleen, I must ask...are you packing in a 20" carry-on bag only? I am very interested in packing light for an upcoming 11 day trip through Europe, and I am stripping down to bare minimums! So, you leave me wondering how to plan for those little-extras-that-might-come-in-handy while meeting my weight restrictions and 1 bag ninja requirements.... Please share what kind of luggage you take and the final weight of your carry on bag. Disregard any of this if you plan to check a ginormous bag and have a carry-on bag with a huge personal tote. :)

Posted by
5057 posts

Several have mentioned a small roll of duct tape. It is also available in a flat package called "Pocket Duct". 2" x 18" and is enough to do most repairs. TC

Posted by
41 posts

rbovine1, I have a 22" plus a personal. And I also have a husband with similar bags. We distribute shared items between us and it gives us a bit of room to pack extras, as long as I can still carry the bag comfortably and can fit souvenirs. Packing very light as we do allowed us to bring back all sorts of mementos, including a baggie of volcanic beach pebbles from our beach in Crete!(honeymoon) Obviously, our goal was space not weight. We were in Amsterdam, Italy and Greece for 17 days and I kept my clothes minimal, matching and washable. With such extreme weight limits that come with your airlines, I would really pare down my clothes (heavy) wear/share some of my husband's clothes,(socks/tshirts)and skip most of the light extras. And not bring back stones.

From reading the above comments, you should be able to just pack cash, zipper bags and duct tape and consider everything else optional! :)

Posted by
14250 posts

Just adding re: duct tape. I get the small rolls in the craft section of someplace like Walmart. My current favorite is the Aqua Jaguar print. No plain duct tape for me!! They are not flat but they are small.

Posted by
1976 posts

-Eyeglass repair kit
-Spare eyeglasses and current prescription
-Kleenex (for use as toilet paper)
-Plastic bags, grocery and ziplock, for wet/dirty items

Posted by
3428 posts

A 'sewing kit' - 1"x2" piece of cardboard with various threads that match our clothes, 2 needles, spare button or two, and assorted sized safety pins. Have fixed umbrellas, luggage, shoes and clothes.

A 'first aid kit'- baggie with assorted band-aids, individual sized antibiotic ointment, anti-itch ointment, gauze, wipes, small adhesive tape, and seri-strips. Another with Aleve, Benadryl, omeprazole, Dramamine, and cough meds. Have needed when not near chemist's. (like the idea of the forehead strip thermometer)

I also do the expired driver's license- I use old ones as the 'id info' inside all my luggage, as our address is still the same. Same with the twist ties- and I take a few rubber bands, and extra zip top baggies.

A list of all medications (generic and brand names, dose size and times) and medical conditions, dates of surgeries, etc., our doctors and their phone numbers, our pharmacy and phone number, and emergency contacts with phone numbers.

Posted by
1450 posts

back to flat...........do they still make those flash lights that are like a thick credit card and you squeeze them? I used my slightly bigger flash light when I was rummaging in my bag for Advil in the middle of the night and was trying not to wake my room mate....and we used it to read the map in the rental car after dark......note to self.....find destination before it is pitch black out!

Posted by
333 posts

I too always take ziplock baggies- usually the gallon size. They can be great for wet items that need to be kept separate, they're also good for little items you might collect along the way (ticket stubs, brochures, etc.). One of the best uses of the gallon ziplock is to protect my camera when it's raining. I'll bring one and poke a hole in the end to let my camera lens through and secure it in place with a ponytail holder. This way I can keep taking pictures/video in the rain without hurting my camera.

Definitely bring Band Aids and a few safety pins. They take up no room and you'll almost always end up using them!

Don't forget a notebook and pen for journaling and/or writing down important information.

Posted by
41 posts

So many cool and useful ideas. If you spread all of them on the bottom of your suitcase it would only be a 1/4 inch high and add only negligible weight. Exactly the kind of thing I like, extras without paying for it in room or weight of your bag.

Posted by
5837 posts

Not flat but compact and handy for repairing stuff is a small Leatherman or similar multi-tool. Unfortunately I inadvertently packed one in my carry-on and the TSA added it to their collection. But if you do check a bag its handy to have.

Posted by
28 posts

A credit - card sized magnifying lens, or, better still, one that comes with a light. Works nice for menus, maps, etc.

Posted by
2513 posts

Great ideas - many of the above find their way in my gear. A few of my flat travel essentials:
- Instead of duct tape I wind several feet of Gorilla Tape (black) around a piece of old plastic credit card. It is sturdier and more flexible than duct tape and matches my black travel accessories.
- Cheapie plastic contact lens cases from the eye doctor for small amounts of spreadable cosmetics (antibiotic ointment, cortisone cream). They stack easily in the 3-1-1 bag and don't leak.
- In an Altoids "mini" sized metal container: sewing kit, buttons, safety pins, mini eyeglass screwdriver (use for glasses and battery compartments), small binder clips.
- Individually packaged hand wipes
- Individually packaged Shout/stain remover wipes
- Travel sized packets of kleenex
- Zip ties
- White dental floss (you can sew up anything, including luggage)

Posted by
9042 posts

Download the aps on your smart phone for flashlight and also for magnifying glass. Let your phone be useful and save packing space and weight.

Posted by
11613 posts

Jo is so right, my iphone and ilad have replaced at least a half dozen packed items (not including books, now on ibooks).

Posted by
1450 posts

more expensive than the 99 cent variety, but flatter.......the kind of flip flops that they sell at the pedicure place. if you were only going to wear them in your hotel room or occasionally downstairs for breakfast, they would be sufficient. for winter trips, totes brand slippers are also very flat.............a perfume sample tube in a favorite scent could be comforting and useful...........

Posted by
796 posts

Many great Ideas.

For me, ziplock bags; keep one in your day bag or purse for the leftovers. I have just done that in Paris, where huge salads had tons of ham on them. I took some home, to the apartment for breakfast. And many other uses too!

individual hand wipes, the kind with a lot of alcohol, which can also be used to wipe surfaces. I use them in the plane to wipe off my tray, arm rest, which are probably full of germs, imho.

I have a very small, not flat, light that winds up, about 1 inch in diameter ish. I use it at festivals after dark, and do keep it on my purse all the time at home. Smaller than a headlamp. I might hhave found it at the camping store, MEC in Canada, similar to REI.

Copies of my passport, color if possible.

Tissues in small packs, although you can easily find these.

Safety pins.

Not exactly flat, a small container of Advil or the like, with a bigger container in the suitcase. I also carry a flat pack of an anti-histamine, which I use for sinus stuffiness.

Have a great trip.