5 Essential Pack Items From the Dollar Store.

By Posted in - Featured Post on May 10th, 2011 A wine opener.

As a thriftster one of my favorite places to shop is the Dollar Store (aka 99¢ only store). Growing up I didn’t think much of these stores and for good reason, they generally, at least in my mall, had crap. But then I walked into a 99¢ only store in Los Angeles 10 years back, and as Snoop said, “I had to back up off it and sit my cup down.” It was a heady experience. I mean the store was the equivalent of a grocery store–household goods and all–but everything cost less than a $1.

For those planning their upcoming travels, I suggest checking out your nearest Dollar Store. But Randy, what could I possibly need from the discount chain? Great question, I’m glad you asked. In my opinion, there are actually five essential items for your packing list that can be bought at the Dollar Store.

Electrical Tape: If you are carrying electronics on the road, like an iPhone or laptop, then I suggest packing a roll of electrical tape. Not only is the black tape perfect for mending electrical cords, like the iPhone USB cord, it also works well as a temporary fix for non-electrical issues because it stretches easily and doesn’t leave a sticky residue when removed.

A wine opener.Wine opener: Bummed is what we were when we discovered in Paris that our Swiss Army knife didn’t have a corkscrew. Sure it wasn’t hard to find one, but it cost us about six times what we would have paid if we had bought one at the Dollar Store before our trip.

Bandana/Handkerchief: It’s really just a piece of cotton cloth, but that doesn’t stop Target from selling them for $12.99. Stylish, lightweight and multi-functional, a handkerchief is one of my favorite pieces of travel gear.

Bungee cords: You may never need a bungee cord, but if you do, you’ll be happy that you brought one along on your trip. For example, on our last leg my backpack broke, and we had to rig it up to a wheelie cart with a bungee cord. Because bungee cords are compact and weigh only a few ounces, they are a great item to place into you pack and forget about.

Sewing Kit:
Ripped jeans may be making a come back, but for me, especially if I’m traveling, then I like to keep things sewed up. Packing a sewing kit enables you to make quick, cheap fixes during your trip. And while I’m no doctor, I think you could actually temporary stitch up a wound with one.

Do you have any favorite travel items that you’ve found at the thrift store or Dollar Store? If so, we would love to hear about them in the comments below.

*Please remember all photos on this website, unless otherwise noted, are copyrighted and property of BeersandBeans.com, NarikosNest.com & Bethany Salvon. Please do not use them without my permission. If you want to use one of them please contact me first because I do love to share and I would be flattered. Thanks!

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(41) awesome folk have had something to say...

  • megan -

    May 10, 2011 at 2:41 am

    Great tips, especially the bungee cords – you can use them for absolutely anything! I’ve used them to hang food bags from the ceilings of tents so mice can’t get in, to keep broken van windows open, as a clothes line…it’s like having MacGuyver in your bag! 😀

    • Randy -

      May 16, 2011 at 6:10 pm

      @megan, Yeah, you really can’t go wrong with bungeee cords. Love the tip about using them to hang food bags from the tent ceiling.

  • jill- Jack and Jill Travel The World -

    May 10, 2011 at 5:14 am

    Love the dollar store. It’s just too bad the ones around the Bay Area rarely have anything for a dollar anymore, lol. Great tips! Never thought of taking bungee cord but it completely makes sense.

  • Pete | Hecktic Travels -

    May 10, 2011 at 5:34 am

    Great tips! I don’t know how many times I wish I would have had electrical tape.. I never thought of a bungee cord, but will be going to buy one before our next trip. Thanks!

    • Randy -

      May 16, 2011 at 6:15 pm

      @Pete | Hecktic Travels, Nice!
      Glad we could help out. Yeah, both bungee cords and electrical are so light there is really no reason not to stash them away in your bag.

  • Nick Laborde -

    May 10, 2011 at 11:38 am

    Go figure… the time you actually need the corkscrew on that pocket knife.

    • Randy -

      May 16, 2011 at 6:18 pm

      @Nick Laborde, I know, right. No corkscrew, how did I miss that. Luckily, we were near a market, so we didn’t miss a beat.

      • Claire -

        July 5, 2011 at 3:36 pm

        @Randy, I would LOVE to hear how carry-on-only travellers carry pocket knives, nail clippers, wine openers etc. Is there a gadget that does these things that is carry-on compliant?

  • Hogga -

    May 10, 2011 at 12:39 pm

    A WINE OPENER! I need to put that shiat on the top of my next travel packing list! Fo Shizzy.

    • Randy -

      May 16, 2011 at 6:21 pm

      @Hogga, Fo’ shizzle my nizzle. Yeah, may as well buy it for a buck and save your money for the wine.

  • Jeremy -

    May 10, 2011 at 7:09 pm

    Rubber bands and safety pins!! These have come in handy sooooo many times. And some plastic grocery bags. You might not need them right away, but when you do, you’ll be thanking me.

    • Randy -

      May 16, 2011 at 6:24 pm

      @Jeremy, Excellent tips! In addition to the plastic bags you can also get ziplock bags at the Dollar Store.

  • Lorna – the roamantics -

    May 10, 2011 at 11:22 pm

    ahh i MISS the 99cent only stores! the 99 cent shops in the bay area suck ass. 😉 aside from the sewing kit, i wouldn’t have thought of any of these- great tips! 🙂

    • Randy -

      May 16, 2011 at 6:26 pm

      @Lorna – the roamantics, What’s up with the Bay Area? Of all the places, I can’t believe the bay has faux dollar stores.

  • Scott – Quirky Travel Guy -

    May 11, 2011 at 12:09 pm

    Agreed, the dollar store is pretty much the best thing ever. For a while I was even buying food there, until I started eating healthy.

    • Randy -

      May 16, 2011 at 6:29 pm

      @Scott – Quirky Travel Guy, Yeah, it’s a shame all the food is unhealthy stuff. However, if you drink coffee I’ve found dollar stores that sell faux starbucks instant coffee packs, which are great for traveling.

  • Erin in Costa Rica -

    May 11, 2011 at 7:17 pm

    Love the dollar store 🙂 Great idea for a post!

  • Charu -

    May 12, 2011 at 7:09 am

    Definitely also a pen, notepad, and some good old fashioned tape. And batteries!!! I always run out of batteries.

    • Randy -

      May 16, 2011 at 6:34 pm

      @Charu, Yes, yes, and yes. All great things that are invaluable for us as well. Thanks for the additions. 🙂

    • Charlie -

      July 5, 2011 at 8:19 pm

      @Charu, I always carry 2 sets of rechargeable batteries & a charger; have saved so much money & environmentally friendly too 😉

  • Alex -

    May 12, 2011 at 7:34 am

    Definitely a good list of things to have for your travel and it’s even better when you can get them for only .99$! The wine opener on the swiss army knife is a must though 🙂

    • Randy -

      May 16, 2011 at 6:37 pm

      @Alex, Yeah, its not like any of these things are that expensive to begin with, but why spend more if you don’t have to. I know, I would gladly exchange one of the three knives on the swiss army knife for the wine opener.

  • […] Check out her post here.Five essential pack items from the dollar store. Randy and Beth from Beers and Beans write: “For those planning their upcoming travels, we suggest checking out your nearest […]

  • Rachel -

    May 20, 2011 at 2:43 pm

    I would also add that the dollar store of all dollar stores is the Dollar Tree. They put all others to shame! My eye/sleep mask from there is one of my essentials for traveling!

    • Bethany -

      May 21, 2011 at 10:31 am

      @Rachel, I haven’t been into one of those in so long! I’m going to have to check it out though – thanks Rachel!

  • Liz | Two Weeks to Travel -

    May 22, 2011 at 6:43 am

    I love the dollar store, I also get rolls of duct tape at my local shop, I wrap a couple of feet around a mini mag light that I carry with me on trips or for camping, just pull off a section when you need it.

  • Andrea -

    June 10, 2011 at 8:52 pm

    We didn’t find any travel items at the dollar store, but it often comes in handy for household items. Great tips!

  • Zablon Mukuba -

    June 11, 2011 at 2:14 am

    The electric tape is a must have for anyone carrying electronics while they are travelling

  • Juno -

    June 12, 2011 at 6:21 pm

    Sewing Kit for sure! I bring them everywhere. Not used often but some kind of relief I must say. 🙂 Great list!

  • TravelMaus -

    June 22, 2011 at 4:09 am

    Luv the Dollar Store for all travel items, and yes, a $1 for a box of zip-lock bags is great. In my Dollar Store they’re actually better than the Glad ones. But.. I would never ever buy food items or body creams in a Dollar Store. Because of the ‘fake’ labeling/packaging, I wouldn’t feel comfortable not knowing what the ingredients really were.

    • Bethany -

      June 22, 2011 at 7:07 am

      Thanks for your comment – I never thought of that but I bet you are right! I won’t even bother looking at the moisturizers anymore. 🙂 @TravelMaus,

      • Claire -

        July 5, 2011 at 3:43 pm

        @Bethany, You can always just buy some of those travel bottles for cheap and put in the moisturisers that you know and trust. I have gone the Lush-organic-solids path – solid shampoo, conditioner and moisturiser all the way.

        • Bethany -

          July 6, 2011 at 6:53 pm

          Thanks for sharing! I have sensitive skin and I’m always on the lookout for great products like this! @Claire,

  • Torre -

    July 6, 2011 at 2:49 am

    Ohmygod tape is a must have. It stopped my boat from sinking mid-ocean! Seriously. Several days away from land, we discovered our boat was leaking water fast. We found a hole in the side of the boat squirting water in, so we used duct tape to patch it up. Life saver – no shiz.

    • Bethany -

      July 6, 2011 at 6:51 pm

      wow – that’s an amazing story! Thank god you had the duck tape!! @Torre,

  • AstroGremlin -

    August 16, 2011 at 8:54 pm

    Three items I carry at all times: a tiny Leatherman with scissors, a chapstick, and a miniature Bic lighter. If I ever get stranded on a desert island, at least I can kiss the first person to find me!

    • Bethany -

      August 23, 2011 at 12:43 pm

      Thanks for commenting! Yes, I can see how the chapstick would be a good thing! @AstroGremlin,

  • […] for Australia, I went to my local Dollar Store to find some random nicknacks. As the folks over at Beers and Beans pointed out, you can find a lot of travel items there. I picked up a lock for my backpack, a door […]

  • Lance -

    July 9, 2014 at 6:30 pm

    Great call on the wine opener. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve been in need and never have it. You’d think we learn that lesson. Thanks for sharing!