As a full-time traveller who also likes to spend a lot of time in short-term rental apartments, I've had to devise numerous ways to make my unique life circumstances easier. This has led me to do hours of research and through years of experience and testing, I've come up with this list of the best life hacks that work great both when at home, or on the road.
1. Double Hanger Space With Can Tabs
I love when a hack helps me to recycle, and makes my life easier. Even though my life fits into a backpack, I still find that there's never enough closet space for my clothes. To combat the clogged-closet epidemic, simply thread a soda can tab over the hanger so you can hang another hanger from it. Simple, yet effective.
2. Shower Cap Shoes
When I'm travelling, I hate to have the dirty soles of my shoes touch all of my clean clothes. This is an easy fix. Cover the shoes with a shower cap and voila! This is also great for when you come home with muddy shoes, or if you don't want to put the dirty shoes in your closet.
3. Close Bags With Clothes Pins & Hanger Clips
This is a pretty well-known trick for at home. When you open a bag of coffee, rice or basically anything, you can roll it and seal it up nicely with a clothespin. If you're travelling and don't have a clothes pin, check the hotel closet for hangers with clips, remove them and seal your bags with them instead. I'd say they work even better than clothes pins.
4. Binder Clip Your Cords
Binder clips work great as a cord organization tool when you're at home. Clip them to your work desk or TV stand and thread the cords through them to keep them from tangling. On the road, you can do this as well, but when you're packing up, wrap the cords around the clip for easy and tangle free travel.
5. Save Your Cables
I've personally gone through too many Apple cords to count (they seem to break down faster, don't they?). To prevent your cords from disintegrating and fraying, wrap some electrical tape around the vulnerable ends, and then place a spring around the cord to stop it from folding while in transport.
6. Wi-Fi Range Extender
Whether you're in a hotel room with a weak signal, or you have some wi-fi dead spots in your house, a Wi-Fi Range Extender can help ensure that you have full bars wherever you are.
7. Combat Shoe Odour With Newspaper
This is a trick that you can do while at home or while traveling because, unlike foot powder, newspaper can be found everywhere. Fill your shoes with a ball of newspaper when you're not wearing them and the paper will absorb moisture and help prevent odor.
8. Be A Smart Folder
Trying to cram a lot of clothing into your luggage? Always roll your clothes in tight, cylindrical balls to save space. When at home, fold your clothes and stack them vertically in your drawers so that you can see everything easily.
9. Keep Your Collars Wrinkle-Free With a Belt
When you're packing collared shirts, loop your belt through the collar to prevent folding and wrinkling. This also works when you're hanging them in your closet. Fully button the shirt over a hanger and place the belt inside the collar to make sure it's ready next time you have to wear it.
10. Freshen Up With Dryer Sheets
Whether you're sleeping in a smelly dorm, or you just want to have a fresh smelling home, tape a dryer sheet (or two) to your fan or air conditioner and enjoy the fresh smell of lavender and vanilla wafting through your living space. You can also toss a sheet or two in your luggage to keep your clothes smelling fresh.
11. Sunglass Smartphone TV Stand
This can be a good hack for airplanes that don't have TV screens in the headrests, or for those boring days in the office. Place your phone on your overturned sunglasses and watch YouTube to your heart's content.
12. Pack Picnics Smarter
When I'm traveling, I love to pack picnics so I can head out to historic sites, beaches or campsites with a tasty lunch. A few of my favourite food packing hacks are the CD spindle bagel holder, straw spices and the empty six-pack picnic kit (all pictured below).
13. Doritos Fire Starter
I'm not sure how comfortable I am with the fact that my snacks are highly flammable, but Doritos work great for a barbecue starter at home and a campfire starter when travelling or on a wilderness holiday.
14. Freeze Grapes as White Wine Ice Cubes
Sometimes you just want to crack into that bottle of white wine right when you get home from the grocery store. Nobody wants to put ice cubes in their favourite Chardonnay and water it down, so always have some frozen grapes in the freezer to use as wine ice cubes. This trick can also be used for warm beer or pretty much any beverage you want cold, but not watery.
15. Save Your Flip-Flops With Bread Clips
I can't count how many cheap flip-flops I've gone through while on the road. If you're not quite ready to say goodbye to your favourite sandals, place a bread clip over the button on the bottom of the flip-flop to stop the toe loop from pulling through a split sole.
This should give you at least another month or two of wearing. You can also put the bread clip on brand new flip-flops as a preventative measure. A little bit of tape placed on the opening of the bread clip can prevent it from falling off prematurely.
Live Smart. Travel Smart.
These are my favourite hacks that I use while traveling and while I'm at home. What are your favourite hacks and how do they work? Please share with me in the comments below!
Nick Wharton is one half of the couple behind Goats On The Road, and the bi-weekly travel column on CreditWalk. Their website is designed to show others how to turn their travels into a lifestyle. Masters at making money online and on the road, they've been travelling since 2008 and have explored some of the least visited places on earth, finding adventure wherever they go.
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