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Suitcase space is at a premium when you’re travelling, so be smart and take things that have multiple uses.

1. Zip lock bags

These little wonders are a staple of every smart traveller. Zip lock bags can be used to store liquids that could spill, carry a wet swimsuit, keep your travel documents dry and protect your camera or phone on a rainy day. Now that airports have restrictions on carry on liquids, they have become even more essential. All liquids under 100ml in your carry on will need to be zipped into a bag. Take a few in different sizes and you’ll be prepared for any situation.

2. Large mouthed water bottle

Many cities now have free water stations dotted around, so it’s a good idea (both for your wallet and the environment) to take your own bottle. But your bottle can also do double duty in your suitcase – wrap your jewellery and put it inside so it won’t get lost or broken, use it to hold all your cords or chargers, or fill it with small cosmetic tubes full of liquid so they won’t get squished. Just make sure you give it a good rinse before you take it out for the day.

3. Cosmetic or jewellery bag

It’s tempting to just fling all these essentials into a plastic bag and be done with it. But if you are careful with your choice you can actually get a lot more out of this kind of bag. Choose one that is a little more stylish and you can easily use it as an evening bag or clutch. Just give the inside a wipe with a damp cloth and you’re ready to go.

4. Scarf or pashmina

Never leave home without one. A big scarf has a hundred different uses – it makes a great blanket for chilly plane cabins, can roll up into a pillow, become a makeshift curtain for a too-bright window, be wrapped around a laptop for protection, hang over the edge of a bunk for privacy, and much more. The scarf can accomplish just about anything.

5. Hair conditioner

Choose a simple, cheap conditioner for travelling and you’ll be able to use it for a whole lot of other little jobs. It’s a great eye makeup remover, cuticle cream for dry nails, shaving cream and will calm frizzy or staticky hair. Conditioner is a great option for washing your delicates in the hotel sink and can even be used on dry clean-only silk items (just soak them for a few minutes in a sink full of warm water with a tablespoon of conditioner). A dab of conditioner will silence a squeaky hinge, loosen a sticky zipper and protect your leather shoes from snow and salt. Genius!

What else would you add to the list? Share your travel tips in the comments below. 

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