Why Tape Is The Secret Weapon You Need To Pack For Your Next Hotel Stay

When you pack for vacation, you probably have the usual items in your suitcase: Clothing, toiletries, shoes, travel documents, a good book, and snacks for travel. What you might not think to pack is a roll of duct tape. If putting tape on your packing list sounds sort of odd, keep reading, because this item is a secret vacation weapon more versatile than that pair of black pants that goes with everything. There are so many things you can do with it, including child- or baby-proofing a hotel room. In fact, in that case, it's an essential for a safer trip. In fact, it's up there with Ziploc bags, which you should always pack in your carry-on


Even if you don't have the little ones with you, there are all sorts of uses for duct tape, from keeping the drapes closed to fixing broken suitcases. You can use it to help you sleep, and to make sure you claim the correct suitcase. Here are all the things you can do with duct tape in your hotel room and when you venture out to explore new places. (We will not judge you at all if you, like travel expert Samantha Brown in her Instagram post on the subject, call it "duck tape." It's more fun that way.)

Child-proofing a hotel room with duct tape

If you have duct tape in your home, you already know how useful it is for everything from actually taping ducts to fixing broken items. In a hotel, however, it's an essential tool for child-proofing. After all, it's exceedingly unlikely that your hotel has done that for you. There are dangers in that room, like one that Brown mentions in her Instagram post: Hanging cords. There could be one on your drapes or window shades, and they're usually looped, which is a choking hazard. You can use duct tape to secure the cord high up and away from kids. Another danger spot is outlets. You can easily cover them with the tape to keep little fingers and items out. 


If you have a very small child, taping the toilet lid down (if there is one) can help prevent drowning. Another spot is the hot water tap. You can tape it in an off position to prevent scalding. Are there sharp corners on the bed frame or table? Roll up a little ball of tape or a Ziploc bag to cushion the corners and tape them down to secure. That goes for rooms with children or clumsy adults. One suggestion from Brown is to use gaffer tape instead of duct tape as it tends to leave less residue. It's harder to find in stores, so plan ahead and order it on Amazon if you don't know the area you're going to. 

More uses for duct tape beyond keeping kids safe

There are more uses for duct tape beyond child-proofing. One commenter on the Instagram post mentioned taping hotel drapes together. Those thickly-lined, heavy curtains are supposed to block the sun, but somehow always seem to have a space between them. Did you overpack? You can use that tape to keep your suitcase shut if you broke the zipper or if it looks like it might burst if thrown by a baggage handler. (Pro tip: 4-wheeled suitcases are less likely to be damaged there.) Do you have a hole in your shoe or is the sole coming off? You can use it to secure the shoe parts temporarily so you don't have to buy another pair until you get home. 


One thing that can drive us crazy in hotel rooms is a blinking light from the TV or other electronics. Take a tiny piece of tape, cover the light, and sleep soundly all night. Are you worried that you might open the minibar in your sleep and get charged an insane amount of money for five peanuts? Tape it closed so you don't have to think about it (or to keep kids out of it). Brown suggests getting it in fun colors, and if you do that, you can also mark your suitcase with it to differentiate it from others, as another commenter on the post pointed out. Finally, make sure you take all the tape off before you check out.