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11 Clever Uses for Duct Tape When You Travel

You don’t need to be MacGyver to get creative with how to use duct tape in your travels. Got a busted backpack? Duct tape can help. Is your bottle of sunblock leaking? Slap a little tape on it. Smart uses for duct tape on vacation are almost endless.

Clever Uses for Duct Tape When You Travel

From blocking unwanted light in a hotel room to patching up your tent on a camping trip, these are the top uses for duct tape when you’re on the road.

Fix a Broken Suitcase or Backpack

[st_content_ad]If your bag comes off the luggage carousel with a rip in the side or a damaged handle, use duct tape for a quick repair. This will get you and your bag through the airport—or maybe even the rest of your trip—without your underwear spilling out or the handle breaking off completely.

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Block Unwanted Light

What if the hotel’s blackout curtain doesn’t quite cover every part of the window, or the TV has an annoyingly bright green light even when it’s turned off? You can duct tape the curtain to the wall or stick a little piece of tape over the light to bring full darkness to your room.

Mend Clothing

Oops—a stray branch tore a hole in your rain poncho while hiking through the woods. Stay dry by patching it with a piece of duct tape. Is the hem of your pants starting to unravel? Tape it up from the inside until you can get home and stitch it up yourself.

You can also fix shoes with duct tape. It can cover a hole in the toe from the inside or temporarily seal a sole that’s starting to detach. Duct tape may not be the most fashionable option when it comes to clothes, but it’ll last you until you can get to a store and buy something new.

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Fix Broken Glasses

During the first international trip I ever took with my now husband, he accidentally sat on his glasses and spent the next hour fiddling with tiny screws to ensure they held together until we got home. A quicker solution would’ve been to slap a strip of duct tape on them and call it a day.

Remove Lint from Clothes

Who needs a lint roller when the many different uses for duct tape include peeling unwanted fuzz or pet hair off your clothes? This is particularly useful for business travelers who need to look presentable for meetings or conferences.

Seal a Leaky Bottle

Don’t let shampoo or sunblock seep out into the rest of your bag. If a bottle is leaking, wrap duct tape around the edge of the lid to seal it off.

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Childproof a Hotel Room or Vacation Rental

If your kids are at an age that makes electrical sockets dangerous to their tiny fingers, you can quickly and easily childproof your vacation digs by putting duct tape over any outlet within reach. You can also tape drawers and cabinets closed to keep them safe from prying little hands.

Repair a Tent or Mosquito Net

This one could be a literal lifesaver: In countries where fending off mosquitoes means protecting yourself from malaria or yellow fever, you can use duct tape to mend any tears in your mosquito netting or tent.

Seal Off Smoke

Here’s hoping you never find yourself in a hotel fire, but if you did, duct tape might (again) save your life. You can use duct tape to seal off the door jamb if smoke comes billowing in while you wait for rescue. You can also put duct tape over any air vents that might blow in smoke from other parts of the building.

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Fend Off Clingy Shower Curtains

In some small hotel rooms and cruise ship cabins, the shower stall is so cramped that you can barely turn around without the curtain clinging to one body part or another. Pin it back with a few squares of duct tape, and enjoy your new freedom. (Be sure to do your tape job before things get wet.)

Stabilize Cruise Ship Furniture in High Seas

It’s hard enough to sleep on a rocking cruise ship without hearing the scraping of closet doors and dresser drawers as they slide open and shut. Lock them in place with a strip or two of duct tape as the ship rides out the storm.

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Concerned about packing a hefty roll of tape? Save space in your suitcase by bringing a small roll of travel duct tape like this one from Survive Outdoors Longer.

What other uses for duct tape have you discovered in your travels? Comment below.

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Follow Sarah Schlichter on Twitter @TravelEditor for more travel tips and inspiration.

By Sarah Schlichter

Deputy Executive Editor Sarah Schlichter's idea of a perfect trip includes spotting exotic animals, hiking through pristine landscapes, exploring new neighborhoods on foot, and soaking up as much art as she can. She often attempts to recreate recipes from her international travels after she gets home (which has twice resulted in accidental kitchen fires—no humans or animals were harmed).

Sarah joined the SmarterTravel team in 2017 after more than a decade at the helm of Sarah's practical travel advice has been featured in dozens of news outlets including the New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, USA Today, Budget Travel, and Peter Greenberg Worldwide Radio. Follow her on Twitter @TravelEditor.

The Handy Item I Always Pack: "A journal. Even years later, reading my notes from a trip can bring back incredibly vivid memories."

Ultimate Bucket List Experience: "Road tripping and hiking through the rugged mountains of Patagonia."

Travel Motto: "'To awaken quite alone in a strange town is one of the pleasantest sensations in the world.'—Freya Stark"

Aisle, Window, or Middle Seat: "Aisle. I get restless on long flights and like to be able to move around without disturbing anyone else."

Email Sarah at

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