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How To Be a Travel MacGyver

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When you're often on the go across multiple airports and time zones, you learn to be resourceful. You have no choice! OK, so maybe you can't exactly fashion a garment bag out of a paper clip and a piece of gum the way a certain 1980s TV character could. But by stashing a few simple items in your carry-on, you'll be able to whip up quick solutions to all sorts of annoying travel dilemmas.

Since space is always at a premium, it's key to focus on things that can do double or triple duty. When packing these compact items that can be put to not-so-common use, toss them in a zip-top bag or clear cosmetics case so you can locate them easily. The next time you find yourself in an unexpected pinch on the plane, in your hotel room, or wherever your trip takes you, this MacGyver-esque travel pack may just save the day.

- Masking or duct tape. This may become your most versatile travel item, one that should have a permanent home in your carry-on. Travel-size rolls are available, but for extra MacGyver points, just roll a little tape around a short pencil to make a "mini roll." Use it to:

- Create a makeshift suitcase label
- Repair a luggage tear or zipper break
- Temporarily fix a drooping hem
- Solve a variety of wardrobe malfunctions, like a broken belt, shoe strap, or bra
- Stop a drip in your hotel room sink
- Seal over the drain in your room so you can hand-wash delicates
- Quiet a rattling tray table
- Pair with tissue or a cotton ball for a makeshift Band-Aid
- Salvage a torn umbrella

- Outlet plug. Be the hero at a crowded airport charging kiosk and give yourself more flexibility in your hotel room by packing a simple plug that changes a two-item outlet into a four-item one. You'll be thankful you don't have to choose between the lamp, your in-room coffee, or your computer.

- Binder clips. Toss a zip-top bag of small binder clips into your carry-on and you may wonder how you ever lived without them. Yes, you may find them endlessly useful for wrangling your travel docs, business papers or foreign currency. But even more important — especially when traveling to new time zones — they can clip hotel curtains together, eliminating that slice of light that's keeping you awake.

- Dental floss. Besides the obvious use on your pearly whites, dental floss can fix a popped button, slice through cake or soft cheese, act as a makeshift shoelace, tie back hair, or serve as a clothesline in a hotel room that doesn't have one.

Add these handy MacGyver problem-solvers to a complete travel pack that includes moistened wipes or hand sanitizer, a stain-removal pen or laundry sheet, a few safety pins, adhesive bandages, an all-purpose salve like Vaseline or Aquaphor, and a permanent marker. Keep it stocked and in place in your bag and — just like a certain secret agent — nothing will slow you down.