A few years ago, my wife and I hosted a workshop at Pinterest’s headquarters in San Francisco. My presentation was on how to find cheap flights and Natalie shared all kinds of packing tips. The woman is an amazing packer! RELATED: Flight Attendant Shares Her Top 10 Travel Hacks Including Some I’ve Never Even Thought of Before

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I chimed in with my packing hacks and said I always carry duct tape because it can be used for everything, from fixing a suitcase and blocking out the little annoying lights found on some air conditioning units and TVs to holding the curtains together, although here’s another brilliant hack for keeping curtains closed in your hotel room. I also use duct tape to tape towels to sharp table corners so my son and daughter don’t get cut when they’re running around the room like little Tasmanian devils.

RELATED: The Travel Hack Hotels Don’t Want Guests to Know About

Duct tape is amazing. I even saw someone drive by me once with duct tape holding their front fender together! However, the big problem with duct tape—which my buddy Spud Hilton (former travel editor at the San Francisco Chronicle) pointed out—is that it leaves a residue behind, which is a real pain to clean.

Spud says he uses gaffer tape instead because it’s just as strong as duct tape and doesn’t leave the nasty residue. Of course, the first thing I did when I returned to our hotel was head to Amazon and purchase gaffer tape.

Sure enough, when we arrived home a couple days later, it was in the mailbox. I’ve now replaced my duct tape with the gaffer tape. It’s not only residue-free but also non-reflective and easy to tear.

I highly recommend gaffer tape for travelers; it can be used for a multitude of purposes and you’ll be glad you have it on hand. If you don’t want to travel with such a large roll, buy some mini rolls or create your own smaller roll by wrapping tape from your large roll around a small object like a straw or lip balm like I do. Then pack the larger roll in your checked baggage.


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10 Comments On "The Tape Every Traveler Should Pack Is Not Duct Tape"
  1. Bruce H|

    I use gaffers tape every day. Great stuff. It will leave a residue eventually if you leave it on something for a year or so.

  2. Barron Fujimoto|

    Gaffer tape is great! I use it all the time. From covering up my laptop’s webcam to adding a bit of stealth over the logos on my cameras, it is super-useful! Just a note, however, that over time (say a year), the adhesive can get gummy so you might want to check on it if you leave it a while.

  3. Kathy|

    I saw smaller rolls of gaffer tape on amazon.

  4. steven aguirre|

    Hi jonnie Natalie and Jack
    Just wanted to remind everyone not to carry a roll of tape in thier carry on luggage … I got my new roll trashed at the Manila airport last week!!! I hate waste!!!!

  5. G Tompkins|

    Adding to what Steven said, you will have it confiscated if you try to carry it on the plane!

  6. Lori|

    Is there a way that you can have your posts fully readable in feedly? For some reason, it only shows the first paragraph, so most times I don’t bother to read the rest since it requires more steps. Is there a way that you could fix that so it is like other blogs? Thanks.

    1. Johnny Jet|

      Good question! I will look into it. Thanks

  7. Brian Bagnall|

    Gaffer tape is very nice BUT it’s almost impossible to tear off a piece with your fingers
    Need scissors that are not always available when travelling
    Old duct tape’s best because you can tear quickly tear off any number of pieces

  8. Brian Bagnall|

    See my comment above

  9. Anonymous|

    I have taken duct tape, but not a roll. I usually take about a yard or so and roll it back up on itself so it is about 3/4 inch diameter. I have NEVER had it even questioned. I put it in a pocket of my toilet kit with toothpaste, 3 oz., and other small items and it is never even looked at. It is enough for anything I’ve had to use it for.

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