Duct tape (Shutterstock)
List Words : Hazel Plush | 14 October

7 really, really useful things that most people forget to pack

They're small, they're cheap, and they'll help you out of a sticky situation: these nifty items might not be top of your packing list, but they should be

Duct tape

This is the jack of all trades. Use it to patch up your guidebook, repair your walking boots (a la Cheryl Strayed in Wild), fix a hole in your tent, get red desert dust off a white t-shirt or baby-proof your hotel room by covering up exposed sockets. Job done.

Clothes peg

Clip a peg to your toothbrush and – tah-dah! – you've got an impromptu toothbrush stand. Ideal for hygiene fanatics. Also, a nifty device to hold curtains together for privacy or keeping out sunlight while you're napping.

Safety pins for wardrobe malfunctions (Shutterstock)
Safety pins for wardrobe malfunctions (Shutterstock)

Safety pins

If you're worried about your purse or passport being snatched, use safety pins to attach them to the inner lining of your bag. Want an extra deterrent? Use a pin to secure the bag's main zips together too. Pack a handful to help with lost buttons, broken jewellery, hitching up your trouserlegs in unexpectedly balmy climes, or tightening your waistband after a bout of Delhi belly.


Want to keep your hostel door open to make friends? A wedge is rather useful. Want to add security if your door only has a flimsy lock? Stick a doorstop underneath to make it really, really hard to open from the outside. Extra peace of mind in sketchy areas.

Extension cord (Shutterstock)
Extension cord (Shutterstock)

Multi-way plug socket

Only got one power socket in your room but need to charge your camera, phone, kindle and nosehair trimmer all at the same time? You need a multi-way plug socket. Excellent for grabbing a quick charge in a café or train, or making friends in a hostel where there's only one socket. Just don't forget your adapter...


Pashmina, scarf, bandanna, sarong... Whatever you call it, a large rectangle of wafty cloth goes a long way when you're travelling. Use it as a cover-up in Muslim countries, an impromptu pillow case in grotty hostels, an emergency towel, a picnic banket, a sun hat-wrap, surrender flag and more. You could even tie it to a long stick and turn it into a hobo knapsack, should your backpack fail.

Waterproof bag (Shutterstock)
Waterproof bag (Shutterstock)


Waterproof bags don't just keep water out – they will also keep it in, which is useful if you don't have time to let wet clothes dry before packing them. If you're wild camping next to cool water, keep food and drink fresh by sealing it in a drybag, weighting it, attaching to a rope and submerging it in the depths. Hey presto – cold beer! Also handy as an emergency water bucket.

Main image: Duct tape (Shutterstock)

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