One Unexpected Item Rick Steves Recommends You Pack When Heading To Europe

Rick Steves has been on a bazillion (not an official number, just our best estimate) trips throughout his life, both as an adventurous young adult and as the host of his travel series, "Rick Steves' Europe." From his travels, he's learned the art of packing light and how to avoid ever needing to check a bag.

Still, Steves recommends bringing a few extras along when hitting the road, including an unexpected household item: tape. A comprehensive packing list posted to his website suggests that travelers should keep a small roll of duct tape in their luggage for emergencies — "mending a punctured bag, solving an emergency shoe problem, and so on," the post reads. In an interview with Business Insider, Steves added another function of the humble item: preventing lost items in your hotel room. He explained, "It's a good idea to duct tape your adapter to your plugs, so you don't pull the plug out of the wall and leave the adapter in the wall." That will especially come in handy if you are traveling from country to country across Europe!

Another travel expert also suggests packing tape

Travel goddess Samantha Brown, who also has a wealth of knowledge on packing for your next trip, agrees that tape is a must-have in your bag. She shared the travel tip in an Instagram reel while showing off her favorite roll of bright-red, Duck-brand duct tape. "Duck tape is awesome. It fixes everything on the road, and you definitely want to go for a fun color," she advises in the clip.

Brown adds that duct tape is especially useful for those traveling with young children or pets. With a bit of tape, you can secure dangling cords in hotel rooms or cover easy-to-reach outlets. A wad of duct tape, says Brown, can also soften hard edges and sharp corners (such as on tables and luggage racks) that could hurt little ones.

You'll likely find plenty of other uses for tape while traveling, from taping an overstuffed suitcase shut, to sealing curtains, to covering a sink drain.

Genius ways to pack tape while conserving space

If you're like Rick Steves and prefer to pack light, you might wonder how a thick roll of duct tape is going to fit in your limited luggage space. However, the packing list on his website offers a solution: "Conserve space by spooling only as much as you might need (less than a foot) around a pen or dowel." This hack comes in handy if you only plan to use tape in emergencies.

If you'd rather have more of the sticky item at your disposal, then look for mini rolls and travel sizes that take up less real estate in your bag compared to a standard roll of duct tape. Even better, opt for a flat roll of tape. Just like the round ones, flat rolls come with several feet of tape, but instead of being wrapped around a bulky cardboard spool, they're rolled into a flat rectangle. These rolls easily fit in a pocket or between items in your suitcase.

Another tip: Besides storing a full package of duct tape in your luggage, consider keeping strips of tape stuck on the insides of each bag you'll be traveling with, including your carry-on and day bag. That way, you always have some ready to peel away and use in a pinch without having to carry around the entire roll.