Indispensable Travel Gadgets – Medical Tape

Anyone who travels a lot has a list of must-have travel gadgets. Ignoring the obvious — cell phone charger, neck pillow, etc. — this is the first in a series of articles about travel gadgets you might never think of.

My #1 go-to gadget is medical tape. The kind your doctor (or more likely, a nurse) might use hundreds of times a day. Medical tape will do just about everything you can do with duct tape plus it has at least two major advantages:

  1. It can be stuck directly to skin without danger of severe bodily harm upon removal.
  2. The rolls are physically smaller so they’re easier to carry.

I personally carry medical tape with me everywhere I go. Even when I’m close to home and just going about my daily business.

Medical tape holding my power converter to the wall so it doesn't fall out of the socket.

Medical tape holding my power converter to the wall so it doesn’t fall out of the socket.

I was recently in an airport overseas. I needed to charge my phone and there were no USB ports but there were power outlets. I just needed to plug in my trusty power converter.

The problem was that the outlets were installed on an angle and were very loose. My heavy power converter would not stay plugged in. A couple of pieces of medical tape kept it attached to the wall and let me charge my phone.

In absence of a proper bandage, most types of cuts could simply be taped shut. I once broke the little door over the battery compartment on my camera. The camera would not function with the door open so I used a piece of tape to hold it closed.

Like its more famous fix-all cousin duct tape, the list of uses for medical tape is long.

If you go out to buy a roll (or several), there are a few key features you should look for:

  • Most nurses will tell you that plastic-backed tape is generally better than cloth-backed.
  • Cheap consumer grade tape is white. Professional medical tape is closer to clear and usually has a slight texture.
  • The tape should not come in any kind of dispenser. Just the roll of tape is all you need.
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