The Pantry Staple You Should Always Pack In Your Purse Or Carry-On

Traveling can be complicated, and packing even more so. You've got to keep liquids in a special baggie, dig through giant suitcases for small items, have snacks in arm's reach for the kiddos, and have toys to keep them occupied. What if we told you that one single item could make many of these problems disappear? Not only that, but this item is inexpensive, easy to find no matter where you are, simple to use, and has endless possibilities. 

That magical item is probably already in your bag if you're heading off for a flight, but it can help you out on car trips, at work, and anywhere you go. This humble item is a Ziploc bag, and you should always have this in your carry-on and/or in your purse. Let's take a look at the endless uses for the Ziploc bag that go beyond the one you use to keep those three-ounce toiletries as you go through the TSA security line. 

Ziploc packing hacks

We all use Ziploc bags for carry-on toiletries, but it's worth zipping up full-sized items like shampoos in your checked bag so they don't leak. Keep larger baggies to pack your wet bathing suits and workout clothing so your unused clothes don't get damp. The same goes for shells and items collected from the beach, which might be full of sand and water. While you're at the beach, keep your electronics dry and sand-free in a baggie. If you have kids, you probably already use baggies for little snacks. Why not try packing puzzle pieces or crayons in there to keep them busy? If you're traveling with a baby, you can even pack entire outfits in Ziplocs so you don't have to dig around endlessly for that one tiny sock. 

On the plane, keep your medications in a baggie for easy reach during the flight. It's also a great place to put cords and chargers, and you can keep your jewelry and/or hair ties in one place. You can also pack your delicates in baggies so if the TSA needs to open your bag, they aren't flying all over the place with someone's hands on them. 

A Ziploc will work as a sick bag in a pinch if you tend to get airsick. Also, if you buy something fragile that you must put in a checked bag, try filling a few baggies with air to use as packing material around it to protect your item. 

Other practical uses

Ziplocs have uses off the plane and outside the car as well. Patricia Schultz, author of "1,000 Places to See Before You Die" told Insider that she likes to use Ziplocs to grab a bit of that large meal to take home for later. (We're not saying to take advantage of a buffet this way. We're also not not saying that.) 

Having these handy can be great for using the hotel ice machine to hold ice for any hiking injuries. You can also wet some washcloths and put a bit of soap on them to store in a baggie to clean up spills and grubby faces after lunch. If something drops into a puddle or anything gross, you can use a baggie as a glove to pick it up. One of our favorite Ziploc hotel hacks is to put one around the TV remote, which is one of the dirtiest and germiest places in a hotel room. Heck, you could even turn a Ziploc inside out and put it in the bathroom glass as a liner or hold it around the phone handle. The possibilities are only limited by your imagination.