Travel supply stores have made a fortune selling things you can get for free, according to IndependentTraveler.com(R) (http://www.independenttraveler.com), the travel site devoted to providing tips and practical advice for travelers.
Trash: Old Pillowcase
Travel Essential: Travel Laundry Bag or Shoe Bag
Don’t throw away old pillowcases — travel supply stores sell similar sacks and pouches for $10 or more. Use your old pillowcase as dirty laundry bags or shoe bags. (Secure the top with rubber bands if you want some closure.)
Trash: Old Wallet
Travel Essential: Dummy Travel Wallet
Hang on to your worn-out wallet, and use it as a decoy when you’re traveling. Keep most of your money and credit cards in a second “real” wallet or money belt, and then put some small bills in the dummy wallet. If you run into thieves in a foreign land, throw the criminals your dummy wallet, and make a quick getaway.
Trash: Bubble Wrap
Travel Essential: Protective Wine Bottle Sleeve
To protect packed bottles from breakage, travel supply companies sell protective sleeves that retail for around $10, but you can easily make your own. Put a bottle of wine on that sheet of bubble wrap that has been hanging around in your closet. Fold over the bubble wrap so it covers the wine. Cut the wrap to fit the wine, and staple the side and bottom, leaving an opening at the top.
Trash: Sheet/Bedding Packaging
Travel Essential: Case Organizer
Most comforters, sheets and pillow cases are sold in sturdy, rectangular, clear, plastic casings. These casings, which are quite durable and usually have a zipper, closely resemble “packing cubes” — zippered containers, which cost around $20 for a set and help travelers organize luggage.
Trash: Egg Carton Tray
Travel Essential: Jewelry Box/Disguise
A half-dozen egg carton tray makes a good travel jewelry box that doesn’t appear enticing to thieves and protects your jewelry during your travels. The plastic container in which wet wipes are sold also makes a handy jewelry box, without the separate compartments.
Travel Essential: Mesh Bag, Luggage Spotter, Laundry Line…
You can use old nylons to bind up a broken suitcase, to tie around your luggage for easy identification at baggage claim, to use as a laundry line in your bathroom or to use for washing delicate items (instead of a mesh bag).
Trash: Yogurt Container
Travel Essential: Tie Protector
Save $7, and make your own tie protector. Roll up a tie, and pop it in the empty pot to prevent it from getting creased in your case. Just make sure you wash the container thoroughly.