Have a little extra room in that suitcase or carry-on? Consider bringing a few packets of alcohol wipes – their many uses may surprise you.

When it comes to medical supplies that don’t require you to carry an extra bottle or tube of liquids through the airport security checkpoint, individually packaged alcohol wipes are tough to beat. They’re flat, lightweight and extremely affordable.

Here are just some of the uses travellers can find for packaged alcohol wipes…


The isopropyl alcohol in these wipes is useful for removing a fair number of annoyances for travellers. For starters, it’s great at removing adhesive residue. This can come in handy when you’ve just opened a new product that’s left your hands sticky. It’s also helpful when you are trying to remove adhesive from the container of a purchased souvenir so it doesn’t collect lint and other debris in your luggage.

Alcohol also can assist in removing ink stains, which are common for business travellers or anyone who needs to consistently take notes on the road. Simply treat the area with the pen mark by rubbing and dabbing with a moist alcohol wipe. Not only will the ink be removed, but the alcohol evaporates quickly. You’ll look fresh as a daisy for that business meeting.

One of the most surprising uses I’ve ever witnessed for these little packets is when I saw a fellow traveller use them to wipe the grime from her windscreen wipers during a road trip. The oil had built up from driving on wet roads, resulting in a smeared windscreen. A few swipes of the rubber blades with some alcohol pads and our view became crystal clear.

Of course, they can also be used to remove grime from other surfaces such as mobile phone screens, cosmetic mirrors and earrings you may have left in the bottom of your toiletry bag. It’s also a good idea to have them on hand to clean basic travel tools such as thermometers or tweezers.


Many people use rubbing alcohol as a deodorant substitute at home, so why not put that same trick to use on the road? By keeping a strong supply of alcohol wipes in your gear, you can get by for a few days if you run out of your favorite brand and the nearest pharmacy is a lengthy bus ride away. Alcohol wipes can also provide minor relief for itching insect bites, sparing you the need to carry an additional liquid product.

It’s important to note that the wipes themselves need to be replaced periodically as well. If you are the type of traveller to use up a box every couple of months, you’ll likely be fine. However, if you expect to be able to pull out an individually-wrapped alcohol wipe that’s been in your vehicle’s glove box for the past two years, chances are you’ll be disappointed with the results.

These things do dry up, just like the hand wipes handed out at fast food establishments. Invest in a good brand with a strong percentage of alcohol in the solution and you should be fine. I also prefer the thicker wipes when I can find them, as they leave me with more fluid to work with when removing ink and dirt.

What’s your go-to travel item that you always take with you? Let us know your travel tips and tricks!