Travel Gear Tuesday – Ziploc Bags

Ziploc bags are the most essential travel gadget, period. Sadly, even a seasoned traveler like myself forgets this sometimes. I should have been reminded by Road Warriorette's post on the same topic, if only it had been the week prior to my Orcas Island trip! Or if I had been using the uPackingList application for my iPhone I might have remembered as well.

Normally I always have them in my suitcase, but apparently I had run out and forgot to replace them before I left. I was able to purchase some at the grocery story by the ferry landing, but unfortunately, being an island, I paid double.

There are so many uses for this little plastic bag there is no way I can list them all, but here are some ways that I have used them:

  • To keep bottles containing liquids, gels, lotions from getting all over my clothes when they inevitably open. This leads to the most essential items number 2: tape (duct or packing) to keep bottle lids closed.
  • As a complete replacement to a toiletry kit, not sexy, but functional!
  • To keep socks that I have walked around in all day away from the rest of my dirty clothes when I forget a dirty clothes bag.
  • To organize smaller items together so they don't get lost in the corners of my suitcase.
  • To hold all the business cards and expense receipts in one place when I go to conferences.
  • To hold postcards and other paper souvenirs when I am on a personal trip.
  • When visiting multiple countries with different currencies, I keep the coins in separate bags (in my purse, not my suitcase!) so I can pull them out when needed.

A few other things to note:

  • Please make sure to use these bags until they are dead as they are not the greatest for the environment.
  • Buy Ziploc and not a generic version, they will last longer and stand up to more use.
  • Use the traditional “pinch close” variety and not the zip kind, liquids can leak through the zipped portion.

How about you? Got any travel related Ziploc tips?

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  1. When I travel, I often try to use the mini bottles of everything. However, occasionally I have bigger items that won’t fit into small baggies. Instead, I reuse the plastic bags that bedsheets or comforters come in. They are great for bigger items and then I don’t feel guilty just throwing them away!

    1. @Lauren, what an awesome idea, I will make sure to keep those the next time I buy sheets!

  2. Awesome tips! I try to always bring a couple with me when I travel, because they ALWAYS come in handy. Love the idea about keeping currency separate.

    1. @AndiP, they are a minor miracle!

  3. Ziplocs are a must! I can’t tell you how many times they have saved the rest of my suitcase contents from exploding bottles of goo!

    One thing I do to help with the whole environmental thing is I rewash them. Turn them inside out, and wash in the sink. Then, to dry:
    I save the extra chopsticks from chinese take out, then stand them up in an old vase by the side of my sink. This serves as a ziploc drying rack. Put each bag over one chopstick and let dry. 🙂

  4. (For some reason, my comment didn’t post so here goes again. Apologies if it turns out to be a repeat.)

    “Ziplocs are a must! I can’t tell you how many times they have saved my suitcase innards from exploding bottles of goo.

    One thing I do to help the planet is wash and reuse them. Turn them inside out and wash with soap (if neccessary). Then, to dry, I make a ziploc-drying rack by saving the chopsticks from chinese takeout and standing them up in an old vase. Place one ziploc over each chopstick and let air dry. You can reuse them 2 or 3 times this way.”

    1. @Lyn, awesome tip with the chopsticks! I try to use them until they die as well!

  5. Make sure you store them in your suit case at the hotel. Other wise the cleaning staff is liable to think they are trash…. tis a tragedy when that happens.

    1. @Alisa, wow, never had that happen to me, but good point!

  6. Someone else just gave me that great advice — PLUS an additional recommended item. And that is — a little bit of bubble wrap. Now that you can’t pack liquids in your carry-on, a sheet of bubble wrap sure comes in handy to pack a wine bottle or jar of jam you picked up on your travels with extra care in your check-in bag.

  7. great suggestions. When I travel I put my underpants in one, then the security guys can ‘see’ what is there w/o putting their hands on my delicates!! Learned that somewhere and assume it works..

    Recycling? Always.. In the old (80’s) days I used to recycle the bread bags and wrap as much in them as possible, though the advantages of the ziploc are too great to pass up.