By Lowell & Kaye Christie, F47246
Resealable plastic bags should be high on a traveler’s list of must-have accessories. They provide secure storage for items and do it in a way that saves space. Supermarkets carry such bags in several sizes and weights. Generally speaking, we prefer using freezer bags. They stand up to more abuse and can be washed and reused for many purposes.
1. Protect important papers
Travelers can accumulate a great deal of paperwork, even if they’re away for only a couple of weeks at a time. Longer periods of travel mean even more paper to handle. For years, we’ve stored important records, receipts, warranties, and instructions in a plastic storage bag. This way we know nothing gets lost. By stowing the bag in the same place every time, finding it is easy.
2. Keep maps and campground directories handy
Are your maps always sliding around (and, at times, hiding) as you drive? Store them in a plastic bag. The bag can then be anchored to the dashboard — or other metallic area near the copilot’s seat — using a magnet-backed clip such as those sold to keep snack and cookie bags closed.
3. Bag your snacks
Have you tried the new flat-bottomed storage bags? Several companies have added them to their product lines. Drivers get hungry, too, and they will find it easier to grab a cookie without being distracted from the act of safe driving.
4. Carry a wet sponge or cloth to use as you drive
There may be some people who never snack while the motorhome is moving down the highway, but we haven’t met any such disciplined souls. The problem is that your fingers can become sticky or greasy, and you can’t dash to the bathroom to wash. Keep a dampened washcloth or paper towel in a resealable plastic bag in the driver’s area, and say good-bye to sticky fingers.
5. Pack toiletries and first-aid supplies
If you travel infrequently, you can rifle through the medicine cabinet and fill a resealable “toiletry bag” with the necessities just before leaving. When you return, it’s easy to put the contents back in your bathroom. But if you travel frequently, it’s worth having separate supplies in the motorhome, ready to go. Summers are very hot where we live, so we can’t leave just anything in the coach without risking leaks and spills. Therefore, we designated an area in our house for items that need to be moved into the motorhome on hit-the-road days. The packed bags are easy to find, easy to use, and easy to bring back into the house when the trip is over.
6. Don’t forget your prescription medication and vitamins
We’ve used pill packs (plastic containers that hold a week’s supply of pills divided by days) for many years, and they’re particularly nice when traveling. With each day’s pills already sorted, all you have to do is remember to take them. To ensure that you do, place the pill packs in a plastic storage bag and keep the bag where you’re certain to see it, such as in the silverware drawer, on top of the dinner plates, or in your sock drawer.
7. Store your games
It’s nice to have a few games or puzzles in the motorhome for rainy days. But who hasn’t come to the end of a jigsaw puzzle and found a few pieces missing? Annoying, isn’t it? You’ll never lose dice, playing cards, or parts of jigsaw puzzles if you remove them from their original boxes and stash them in individual plastic storage bags. Besides, it’s more challenging to piece together a jigsaw puzzle when you can’t glance at the picture on the box.
8. Keep craft supplies organized
If you’re a crafter, you’ll want to carry along the necessary supplies for your project for use during downtimes. You can’t draw without the requisite paper, clipboard, pencils, etc. Put smaller items in a plastic bag or bags and shove the sealed end under the clip of a clipboard. If needlework is your thing, store yarn or thread in bags to keep it clean. Not only will your material be protected, but it will be easy for you to find the color you need.
9. Keeping in touch
Family and friends enjoy hearing from travelers, even if they do feel a bit jealous. A plastic bag makes an ideal carryall for postcards, stamps, stationery, and a pen. Of course, you still have to dig out the bag and do the writing. Come to think of it, Kaye’s super-organized sister-in-law prints out mailing labels for family and friends, so she doesn’t need to address the envelopes. Smart gal.
10. Help with the laundry
Here are two good reasons to pre-measure laundry detergent and other additives into plastic bags and stow them in the coach. First, it’s less costly than buying small containers of soap, softener, or bleach. Second, it makes a dreary job a little easier.
11. Store leftovers
Everybody eats leftovers, but when you have a trip coming up, plan ahead and make enough to carry along. You have better things to do than cooking (such as sight-seeing, talking to people in the campground, or walking the dog). Pack the extra food into single serving-sized bags, and you and your traveling companions don’t even have to eat the same food. Remember, however, that storage bags aren’t safe in the microwave. Place the food in heat-proof containers before warming.
12. Save freezer space
Whether at home or in the motor coach, refrigerators don’t seem to expand to hold all the items you want to put inside. Freezer compartments are even less cooperative. It helps if you place items into smaller packages. To store a large bag of bagels or rolls, put just a few into several small freezer bags, and you’ll be able to get far more inside.
13. Wash and reuse
Remember to wash your empty bags and get them ready to use again. You wouldn’t believe how many times we’ve reused a particular bag; they certainly hold up for a long time. By using and reusing resealable bags, just think of the money you’ll save for more travel.