From 5-star luxury hotels to skeevy dives, plus all the wonderful mom and pop’s in between, this is one tip we use regardless of where we’re staying. The secret is bobby pins.

Good travel is physically, emotionally, and intellectually engaging. Sometimes that can get exhausting! So it’s important to get good rest to help avoid getting sick, run down, or on your travel companion’s nerves.

Part of good rest is finding a great room. But part of it is also coming prepared with things like eye masks, ear plugs, and a packing list essential: bobby pins.

Bobby pins are the perfect tool to close the annoying gap that lets light invade an otherwise comfortably dark room. It comes in handy especially during long summer days, where some places like Iceland experience 24 hours of sunlight. It’s amazing what a difference it makes.

How it works: Simply draw the curtains as close together as possible, then use a bobby pin to pinch the two pieces of fabric together. Repeat above and below until the curtain is completely closed and is blocking out all light. It usually requires only a handful of bobby pins spaced one or two feet apart.

Why bobby pins are the best: Some people use clothespins, chips clips, or binder clips to close curtains instead of bobby pins. But I prefer bobby pins for three reasons:

1) Most importantly, bobby pins are way smaller and lighter weight than the alternatives. This makes them the best option if you’re packing light. It’s always best to avoid cumbersome piles of luggage and checking bags.

2) I get the dual use of bobby pins during the day for updos. In fact, right now because my hair is long again and it’s been hot, I’d be packing them regardless of their other important uses.

And the back braids 🙂

A post shared by Laura Rowley (@rowleylaura) on

3) Bobby pins have tons of other awesome uses while traveling, too. They make great hacks for toothpaste clips, bodkins, toothpicks, and bag clippers. Bobby pins have come in handy when some of my electronics have required a hard reset, which involved pressing a teeny button inside a tiny hole. I’ve also used bobby pins to pick simple locks (like the kind on bathroom doors), and I’ve even used them as pull-tags that have broken off zippers.

Related Reading:

Why you shouldn’t book your hotel in advance

Five questions you should always ask your hotelier before booking

Six tips for booking your hotel last minute

Five important lessons I learned for myself from “Europe through the back door”

— Laura Rowley



Written by Laura Rowley

I am an artist, flight attendant, and travel blogger.

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