Every frugal traveler should include a trip to the Dollar store as they prepare for their vacation. I was there today…actually looking for a fingernail file and started snapping photos of some of the ‘finds’ I’ve purchased for our travels in the past – and recommended on this blog. I drew some interesting looks from the manager until I explained what I was doing…. I can only imagine what other customers thought. haha! Oh well!! 🙂
Though many of these things can be purchased at Walmart, Target….Dollar General, Family Dollar, etc… what I’m referring to are the stores that sell everything for $1 — Dollar Tree, The Dollar Store, Deals, etc…
If you’re going on a cruise, check out Dollar Store ‘Finds’ Specifically For Cruises
TRAVEL SIZE CONTAINERS
This is the BEST place to get travel size containers for cosmetics, shampoo & conditioner, crèmes, etc… 🙂
These TSA approved containers have lids that are ‘secure’ so you don’t worry about leakage. However, for worry-proof, pack them in Ziploc bags from……You guessed it!!! The Dollar store…for $1 🙂
These containers come in 10 packs – .10 each!! Use these for anything small (earrings, Advil/Tylenol, wax earplugs, etc…) that won’t leak as they have snap-on lids.
Another option: A 6-pack for $1 These lids seem a little more secure….
Adapt your ‘quality’ to what you plan to use it for….
Travel sized medication bottles. I think I’m more ‘in love’ with the size of the bottles than anything. We have long ago used all the meds in our travel size bottles, but keep refilling them with ‘new’ meds each vacation. I even combine several meds of varying shapes/colors into one bottle to save space. NOTE: If you do this, realize that medication has expiration dates. We make a point to use all the meds in a bottle when we return home…but refill with new meds for the next trip. I don’t rebuy the bottles…but the medication is ALWAYS ‘new’ on every trip.
For those on a regular medication or vitamin regiment, these pill organizers are great. There are options to fit everyone’s schedule. Just keep looking until you find one that meets YOUR needs.
I really like THIS one for 3x/day vitamin or medication schedule. OR use this large container for the whole family…dedicate a row…or rows…to each person and keep everyone’s meds in the same container.
Here’s a Hack: Use these (any size) for ANY small items you need to keep track of…earrings…rings…ear plugs…
We use these for lunches. When we fly, we take a small collapsible insulated bag in the suitcase along with one (or 2) of these. Most hotel rooms have a mini-fridge with a small ‘freezer’ section for freezing.
If you’ve read many of my posts, you know we take plastic bags on all vacations. You just never know when you’ll need one. On our last trip, my bracelet broke….I gathered all the beads together in a bag and brought it home to re-string. The uses are endless!! 🙂
All you will need is 2-3 bags of various sizes, NOT entire boxes. 🙂
Ear plugs come in handy quite often – flights, hotels, cruises. This set comes with a small container for storage once the package is opened. I have two of these!
Duct Tape – Again, if you’ve read many of my posts you know we ALWAYS take a bit of duct tape on trips – and usually use it for something. I recommend wrapping 2-3 feet around a pencil stub instead of taking the whole roll. These rolls at Dollar Tree were very small if you wanted to take the whole thing…. Regardless of how you do it, this roll is $1!
FOR THE KIDS:
Dollar Stores are a GREAT place to find items to keep the kids occupied on any trip…flight or road trip. There’s everything from puzzle books to paperback classics (books) to stickers/sticker books to inexpensive plastic toys that won’t cause stress if they’re lost en route.
Puzzle books and Workbooks:
Workbooks for preschoolers – when they still think this sort of thing is fun! 🙂
…..Coloring or Activity Books
Small toys – plastic and cheap!! You won’t worry if they’re lost 🙂
Washcloths for that flight. Take these (DRY) in a plastic bag – If you need to clean up a mess – or freshen up, ask the flight attendant for a cup of warm water (or cool water??). This is better than taking the nice washcloths from home and risk them getting lost.
These are nice – everyone can have their favorite drink flavor – for MUCH less $$ than sodas.
Some might have an aversion to purchasing food from the Dollar Store but I have found many things to be the same brands as the grocery stores/discounters sell. I always check the expiration dates and occasionally find items “close’ to expiration, but have never found anything actually expired. Because I’m usually shopping the week before we travel, the close expiration date isn’t a problem.
Other snack options….all individually wrapped. These are great for grabbing before a day on the beach or in an amusement park…or going on a hike or tour.
Cookies in smaller quantities. Though we don’t purchase the Trail mixes, we DO really like these cookies – (The fig newtons are as good as the name brand imho) OK…I’ll admit it…..I buy these on a regular basis – not just on vacations. The small size makes it easier to ‘justify’ the purchase…. 🙂
If you’re staying in a place with a kitchen/cooking facility, these smaller size mixes are great for making a dessert for one evening – without having to deal with remainder.
Peanut Butter! Our snack of choice – It’s protein and my family LOVES it. Dollar Tree has both the “To Go’ packs which are great for flights. (Food is so expensive at the airport or on the plane and TSA restricts what you can bring with you.) We either use it as a dip for celery, etc…or bring some crackers and a plastic SPOON ( can’t bring a knife through security….).
The small jars were great for taking to Hawaii. Groceries are so expensive on the Islands and we wanted to bring as much with us as we could. This size was perfect for a week.
These are more ‘finds’ we took to Hawaii. Again the small size meant we could use it all before flying back home. It was really nice to pay $1 for each one rather than the $4-$6 they charged at the grocery stores on the islands. As you can see…these are name brands.
IS THERE MORE??
These accordion files will keep paperwork, tickets, confirmations, etc… organized (yes, I DO print some things…its just easier to handle paper when going through security lines than phone/ipad, etc… )
Not pictured, but they also have awesome PLASTIC folders for these same items..if that’s what you prefer. They won’t get torn up as quickly as cardboard/paper folders.
If you’re vacationing in the wide outdoors, this HEAVY DUTY foil will be great for making Hobo Meals. Get it for $1!!! 🙂 🙂
OTHER ITEMS (not pictured)
- PAPER!!! Dollar Tree is a cavernous hole for a paper addict such as myself. I LOVE the sticky notes in all sizes and colors…and pads…notebooks…Everything my little paper-addicted heart could want is there…for $1
- Then…there’s paper’s best friend…the colored pens!!! 🙂 Packs of 4 – or 6 for $1.
- carabiners – large ones for $1…or smaller ones in packs of 2/$1.
- Shower caps to cover shoes when you pack…to keep clothes clean’er’….
- Mesh laundry bags – great for that return trip home.
There you have it! With a trip to the Dollar Tree… (and a few dollars) you can have a lot of things to make your travel easier, less stressful and certainly less expensive.
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- Walt DisneyWorld on a Budget
- Travel Tips
- Cruises Part 6 – Besides Clothes, What do I Take?
- Dollar Store ‘Finds’ Specifically For Cruises