Handy helpers for a long trip

If you're a frequent traveller — or even if you're not — these handy tips will help smooth out the little annoyances that may crop up while on the go.

Handy helpers for a long trip

Put toilet paper tubes to good use

You'll find some nifty uses for toilet paper tubes in a hotel room — so save a few empty tubes at home to take on your trip. Or, in the hotel, you could stash empty tubes before the maid has a chance to discard them. Read on for some ways to use them.

  • If your laptop computer power cord is unruly or takes up too much desk space on your worktable, loop the cord in a loose coil and stuff it into the tube to keep it contained.
  • Pamphlets, small prints and other fragile paper mementoes almost never make it back home without a crease or two — so roll them carefully and insert them into the tube for safekeeping. For larger papers, you might need to tape two tubes together or bring along a tube from a roll of paper towels.
  • Mosquitoes are annoying roommates. If they appear unexpectedly and you're unprepared with spray or other repellants, make your own "flypaper." Just wrap some adhesive tape around the tube, sticky side out, and set it upright on a flat surface.

Buffer sore bums

Long car rides can take their toll on your rear end and lower back. So why not turn bubble wrap into a comfy seat cushion? Just place a long double layer of bubble wrap, bubble side out, against the back and bottom of your car seat. Your body will conform comfortably to this cushy padding. And consider this: If you do some shopping along the way and come across a fragile item you just can't resist buying, you'll have some packing material right at hand!

Aromatherapy at 35,000 feet

We all know how stressful air travel can be, so why not bring along some sniffable relaxants? Before you leave home, drip some lavender oil or clary sage oil onto cotton balls. (Herbalists have long prescribed both as calmatives.) Pack the cotton balls in a small, self-sealing plastic bag or pill bottle and take them out for a good whiff when you want to unwind or doze off. You might also want to dab a dose of these oils onto your skin as you would perfume to make sure you'll arrive at your destination smelling fresh.

Cap your camera

When shooting a picture in the wet, slip a disposable shower cap over the body of your camera so that the lens pokes out of the cap opening. You'll be able to press any buttons you need to, thanks to the thinness of the plastic.

A beanbag camera steadier

If you want to shoot pictures from a speeding car, a train or a boat, you'll find it almost impossible to keep your camera steady. The answer? A makeshift beanbag. Just pop into a supermarket and buy some dried beans or rice, pour them into the foot of a pantyhose leg, tie it closed and rest your camera on the beanbag to keep it from vibrating as you snap your picture.

Don't let the little things get to you when you travel. These creative tips will help keep it all running just a little but smoother.

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