Frugal Traveler, Traveling with Children

Dollar Tree Items for the Frugal Traveler

Every frugal traveler should include a trip to the Dollar Tree or Dollar Store as they prepare for their vacation.   There’s just SO many items useful for travel.…for $1!!!!  This is my list of favorite Dollar Tree items to buy for travel.

If you’re going on a cruise, I’ve got a “cruise-specific” version of this article:  Dollar Tree Items For a Cruise too.


This is the BEST place to get travel size containers for toiletries…..or small items.

travel size bottles


TSA approved containers for toiletries:  The lids on these seemed ‘secure’, however, for worry-proof, pack them in Ziploc bags from……You guessed it!!!  The Dollar Tree…for $1





These containers have snap-on lids and come in either 10 packs (.10 each) or 6 packs. Either of these would be good for small items such as earrings, Advil/Tylenol, wax ear plugs, or any other small items you need to keep organized or ‘together’.

Just adapt the quality of the container to what you plan to use it for.

Thinking Outside the Box:

Put dice in one of these for playing games on road trips. Shake the container and read the die…all while it’s ‘contained’ in the container. It never goes flying across the car and gets lost!! 🙂 


travel size medications


Travel sized medication bottles.  I like these small bottles for travel.  We have long ago used all the meds in our travel size bottles, but keep refilling them with ‘new’ meds each vacation.  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…then 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 from Dollar Tree are great.  There are options to fit everyone’s medication schedule.  Just keep looking until you find one that meets YOUR needs.

Thinking Outside the Box:

How about using the larger container (3x/day) for the whole family…dedicate a row to each person and have everyone’s meds in the same container.

OR….using it for all the over-the-counter meds:  Tylenol, Advil, Benedryl…  Label the compartments…or just ‘know’ by sight/color what is what.

What About This?   Use these (any size) for ANY small items you need to keep track of…earrings…rings…ear plugs…..

Do you have any ideas for using these ‘creatively’?   Leave me a comment.  🙂



ice packs

We use these to keep lunches cold on all vacations….  When flying, we take a small collapsible insulated bag along with one (or 2) of these in the suitcase.  Most hotel rooms have a mini-fridge with a small ‘freezer’  section for freezing.  We’re ready to pack picnic lunches without worry.


plastic bagsIf you’ve read many of my posts, you know we take plastic bags on all vacations.  We’ve used them for many things over the years.  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!!

I buy a variety of sizes…then take 2-3 bags of each….NOT the entire box.  🙂  They slip into the zippered section of the suitcase and are ready to grab when we need them.

Thinking Outside the Box:

Dollar Tree now carries plastic bags with Disney characters on them.  They would be great for snacks at WDW….  Bring (at least some of) your own snacks and save a LOT of money.


ear plugs



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 because I’m always losing ear plugs!




Duct tapeDuct 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 a great Dollar Tree item for travel.  


Dollar Tree is ‘the place to shop’ for things to occupy the kids on road trips, flights, etc…

Puzzle books…..Coloring or Activity books…..sticker books or stickers…..workbooks for preschoolers – (who still  think that sort of thing is fun!)  🙂  Dollar Tree has them all.  On my last trip there, I even found a number of Disney themed books & stickers.


Or paperbook classics for the reader in the family….
paperback classics


LOOK at these!!!  Travel Bingo for cruises or road trips and the License Plate Game!  This is NEW addition to Dollar Tree’s inventory.  It just keeps getting better-n-better at this store!  🙂


Toys at the Dollar Store


Small toys – plastic and cheap!!  You won’t worry if they’re lost  🙂

Dollar Tree now carries quite a few  Disney®  items…  Great for that Walt Disney World vacation


cheap washcloths for freshening up on flights


Washcloths for that flight….or whenever you need to clean up a mess.  🙂    Take these (DRY) in a plastic bag on a flight.  Ask the flight attendant for a cup of warm (or cool) water to freshen up before landing.

Also great for cleaning up any messes the children make.  🙂     This is better than taking the nice washcloths from home and risk them getting lost.


Some might have an aversion to purchasing food or drink from the Dollar Store but I have found many of their items to be name-brand….and there are several that we really like!    I always check the expiration dates, but have never found anything expired.

flavored water packets

These are nice – everyone can have their favorite drink flavor – for MUCH less $$ than sodas.



Snacks – Trail Mix varieties, peanuts, dried fruit, cheeze n crackers etc….   While I don’t particularly care for ANYONE’S packaged nut or trail mixes (Has nothing to do with Dollar Tree….) the other items are pretty good….and they’re $1!

These individually wrapped snacks are great for grabbing before a day on the beach or in an amusement park…or going on a hike or tour.  They easily go into a flight carry-on or child’s backpack before a day of flying.



Sugar Free candy @ Dollar Tree

Yes…..sugar free candies!!  The packages are small…but if you’ve priced sugar free candies elsewhere, you know they run $5-$7 for packages just a little larger than this. We buy these on a REGULAR basis…. for $1!!!    🙂     Recently, I got a package of Wylers hard candies… (not pictured here) that were really good!  🙂  (I’ve found that inventory on these is sometimes not consistent store-to-store, but every store has something…and we like most of them so can be happy with whatever we find.)


Cookies in smaller quantities.  While we don’t purchase the trail mixes, we DO really like these cookies – (They’re just as good as the name brand  fig newtons  imho)   OK…I’ll admit it…..I buy these on a regular basis – not just for  vacations.  🙂

cookies from Dollar Store

The small size not only makes it easier to justify the purchase…but it means everyone can have their favorite without it costing $15!    🙂


brownies in smaller size

If you have accommodations with a kitchen/cooking facility, these snack size mixes are really nice for making a dessert for one evening – without  having to deal with remainder.



travel size peanut butterPeanut 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, hikes or a day at the beach, AND the small jars.

The small jars were great for taking to Hawaii.  Groceries are so expensive on the Islands so we brought what we could with us.  This size was perfect for a week.

For Flights:  Bring a SPOON for spreading (no knives through security….).



File Folder organizer

These  accordion files will keep paperwork, tickets, confirmations, etc… organized (there are some things I like to print )

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.


EarBuds:  Ear buds - At Dollar TreeYes…Dollar Tree has these too…  Less worry if they’re lost en route if you only pay $1 for them.  🙂






Eye Masks for the red-eye flight….or any time you need ‘dark’.  🙂


heavy duty aluminum foil

If vacationing in the wide outdoors, this HEAVY DUTY foil will be great for making Hobo Meals.  Get it for $1!!!   🙂

What are Hobo meals?   Vacation Meals on a Budget


OTHER ITEMS (not pictured)

  • PAPER!!!  Dollar Tree is a THE PLACE 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!!!  🙂  Packages of ball point OR gel pens in a variety of colors…  The colored pens are not the BEST quality…but they work for what I need to use them for…and they’re $1.
  • Sharpies in regular or jumbo sizes  (singles)
  • carabiners – large ones for $1…or smaller ones in packs of 2/$1.  (great for attaching any number of things to carry-on bags, backpacks, etc…  Nice for flights!)
  • Thinking Outside the Box:  Shower caps to cover shoes when you pack…to keep clothes clean’er’….
  • Rain Ponchos:  These are the very thin ones.  I wouldn’t take them on a vacation where I knew we’d encounter a LOT of rain, but they would be nice for that 10 min. afternoon shower in Walt Disney World….or just in case you have to load luggage in a car in the rain.
  • Disney items:  Ziploc bags, toys, sticker or coloring books

There you have it!  With a trip to the Dollar Tree…  (and a few dollars)  you can have a lot of items to make travel easier, less stressful and certainly less expensive.

Happy Shopping!




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s