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Cheapo Travel: 20 things to bring on your trip

Why go shopping? Here are 20 things lying around your house that you should bring on your next vacation.

I compiled this list last week, sitting on the porch of my holiday cabana in Costa Rica, looking at the temporary clothesline I’d rigged up with the twine I brought in my suitcase.

The key to deciding what to bring is analyzing the size-versus-benefit ratio. If it takes up almost no space in your suitcase and isn’t heavy, why not bring it along? But keep in mind that you can’t bring liquids or anything sharp if you’re taking your bag on the plane.

Of course, if you’re driving, you can bring your spare horse. Okay, just kidding on the horse, but you can bring that coffeemaker.

Things you can carry onto the plane:

1. A few yards of twine. Makes an instant clothesline, ties up bundles and annoying kids, makes a handle for boxes. Just kidding on the kids. No, I’m not. Yes, I am. Don’t tie them up. Use the duct tape.

2. Small plastic baggies. There’s always something that needs to go into a sealed bag, from sunscreen to leftovers, and they take zero space.

3. Plastic grocery bags. They come in handy for wet clothes, extra trash bags or shopping.

4. Hydrocortisone cream. For the bug bites, heat rash and even sunburn. If you don’t have any at home, head to the dollar store.

5. Cello tape. For taping that note to the mirror reminding someone to wear deodorant. Or taping up parcels.

6. Duct tape. My brother once taped his muffler back onto his truck after it was knocked off during a four-wheel-drive in Utah. Don’t laugh, I once taped my hiking boot back together when the sole peeled off during a long hike in the Baja desert. But don’t tie up the kids, just imagine it and you’ll calm down.

7. Pen and notepad. Write down the name of the great restaurant or taxi driver. Or the email of your new best friends.

8. Nightlight. If they use the same electrical current as we do, this is endlessly useful. I usually stick it in the…

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