Practical Travel Tips

Travel Hack: The Hardware Store Item Every Vacationing Parent Needs

Before you hop on that plane or hit the open road, take a quick trip to your local hardware store or big box retailer and pick up a roll of painter’s tape. You know, the blue kind that peels up easily. If you’re a crafty mama, you probably already have some on hand.

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After discovering a few uses for blue painter’s tape, I always pack it.

It’s Great for When You’re Getting Ready To Go

  • For packing: To save space and to keep Little A’s numerous outfits organized (what’s more frustrating that digging through “Toddler Clothes Soup”?), I roll her outfits and then secure each one with a piece or two of tape. For example, I take a matching shorts and t-shirt set, fold each piece lengthwise, lay them flat one on top of the other, and then roll them together fairly tightly. Then I add a piece of tape to make sure the roll stays tight. Some travelers use rubber bands, but for me, painter’s tape is superior for two reasons: 1) I don’t have to worry about Little A getting her hands on a rubber band and then popping it into her mouth. 2) Painter’s tape doesn’t wrinkle clothes like rubber bands do.
  • For labeling things: When you travel with a little person, you don’t have time to argue with your husband about whose toothbrush holder is whose. (Are The Husband and I the only ones who can’t remember stuff like that?) A little piece of tape with your or your spouse’s initial in Sharpie will prevent any useless, time-consuming bickering about toothbrush holders, razors, and so on.

It’s Great for Where You’re There

  • For setting up a temporary clothes line: A length of cord or a shoe lace tacked up at each end with painter’s tape, and you have a place to dry your clothes that won’t damage the walls.
  • For sealing a half-finished snack: You know how it is. All those snacks come in easy-to-tear packaging. That’s great when you need to open the package. But what about when your little person doesn’t finish his pretzels? You might stick that bag in your purse and hope for the best, but you know what you’re going to find: the packaging in two or three pieces and yucky, lint-covered pretzels at the bottom of your purse. Instead of taking that risk, use some painter’s tape to seal the bag. Then those pretzels are where they’re supposed to be and lint-free when your little person wants to finish them off.
  • For sticking down a tablecloth or placemat: Little A’s fondest desire seems to be the old tablecloth trick, the one where you pull the tablecloth off the table but leave the place settings intact. Yeah. Keep the table and the floor at a restaurant or rental a bit cleaner by taping down the tablecloth or the placement under your little one’s plate.
  • For setting up an art gallery: Was your little Monet inspired by that morning’s trip to the Louvre? Did she grab her crayons and make some art? Then go ahead and put it on display where you’re staying.
  • For staying safe: X marks the spot! Prevent crashes into glass doors and other unfamiliar hazards in hotel/B&B rooms or rented apartments by marking anything that your little one might not perceive very well with a painter’s tape X. The Husband and I also use this trick at home to remind Little A of the glass shower doors.

Have I inspired you to add painter’s tape to your stash of travel necessities? In what other ways would painter’s tape benefit travelers?

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