The very nature of being a ready traveler means making sure you’re relatively self-reliant while seeking new adventures in far-off lands. Most travelers have a small list of things they will not leave home without, and for many experienced travelers – even business travelers, duct tape is at the very top of that list.
Duct tape is a cloth-backed adhesive tape that is more easily ripped than cut – so you don’t need a cutting tool to use it. It’s got three layers, the polyethylene (top side), the fabric mesh between, and the adhesive, which makes it a very tough tape. Originally called duck tape – it was green colored and waterproof – hence, like a duck’s back.
The typically silver tape now gets its name for fixing duct work, but it’s durability, stickiness, and flexibility has made it very popular for all kinds of uses. Duct tape even has a fan club – the Duct Tape Guys – who publish a range of medical uses for duct tape, calling it HMO on a Roll.
For travelers, however, duct tape can be used to:
Simple wear and tear can cause all kinds of things to break, but when a traveler is counting on that thing to be in one piece and functional, duct tape comes to the rescue.
Fixing broken things is true to the roots of duct tape, but so is sealing leaking things.
There are all kinds of reasons a traveler may want to seal something up on their trip, and duct tape is often the perfect temporary fix – if not very fashionable.
We’ve even read that it’s a great idea for sealing the door and air vents in case of fire – to keep smoke out. It would certainly work better than dampened towels.
In a medical emergency, it’s all about preventing further damage or infection while you get the injured to a medical care facility.
Got a blister from lots of walking? While not exactly a medical emergency, if you feel a blister coming on, cover the area with duct tape and continue your journey. If you know you’re prone to blisters at certain spots on your feet, cover those areas at the start and avoid developing painful blisters.
If you’re traveling in a foreign country or have doubts about the security of the hotel safe or the safe in your room, you can use your duct tape to hide things.
If you’re traveling a lot of planes, buses, trains, and taxis, use your duct tape to secure your bags as a simple theft deterrent.
Of course, you’ll have to do this AFTER you get through security, but it’s cheap and easy tamper proofing – especially if you need a nap!
There are many little annoyances we run into when traveling. And no, we’re not talking about taping the rowdy kid that keeps kicking you in the back to his seat – although we understand the urge.
There are legitimate ways to use duct tape to stop little annoyances from ruining your enjoyment of your trip.
We’ve also heard that it makes great flypaper – just hang a strip of it from the ceiling or doorways to catch unwanted insects.
While duck tape started out as green, duct tape is most known in a silver color. Today, however, duct tape comes in a range of sizes and colors and can be used to identify things:
Damian Tysdal is the founder of CoverTrip, and he believes travel insurance should be easier to understand. He started the first travel insurance blog in 2006.