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Black Friday 2018

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16 Brilliant Dollar Tree Items to Buy for Your Next Vacation

Hip2Save may earn a small commission via affiliate links in this post. Read our full disclosure policy here.

All vacations should start at Dollar Tree.

Sometimes Dollar Tree can be hit or miss, but you’ll be pleasantly surprised at all the fantastic items in the store that are perfect for summer vacations! From packing to planning to playing, check out my favorite finds that are all just a buck!

Packing Essentials

1. Wrap shoes in shower caps.

dollar tree vacation hacks wrap shoes in shower caps hip2save

This little trick keeps the dirty bottom of shoes from rubbing up against your clean clothes. Eight caps come in a pack, so pass them around to the whole family!


2. Get double use out of mesh bags.

dollar store vacation tips mesh bags hip2save

These are great for compartmentalizing outfits in your suitcase and for toting around beach toys (without carrying around the sand). Grab a 3-pack for $1!


3. Use vacuum storage bags for bulky towels.

dollar tree vacation hacks vacuum bag storage hip2save

These vacuum bags are AWESOME and way cheaper than their competitors. Compress bulky towels or chunky sweaters (if you’re traveling somewhere cooler) to save space in your luggage.

A quick tipYou don’t need a vacuum to compress the air! Simply take off the white cap, roll the contents (I flipped mine over after rolling one side to not block where the air comes out), and the air will flow out through the one-way valve. Easy peasy!

Hip Tip: Keep more of your cash with these money savings tips at Great Wolf Lodge!


4. Pick up cheap mini travel bottles.

dollar store vacation tips travel bottles hip2save

Use these TSA-friendly plastic bottles to store your full-size toiletries instead of purchasing mini products – the price per ounce on those mini versions can be so high!


5. Use toothbrush holders for accessory storage.

dollar store vacation tips toothbrush holder hip2saveThese are perfect for storing earbuds, charging cords, or any other slim electronic accessories you have.

Hip Tip: Straight from an ex-overpacker, these packing tips and hacks make filling your suitcase a breeze.


Trip Must Haves

6. Get more comfort (and sleep!) with earplugs.

dollar store vacation tips ear plugs hip2save

In addition to blocking out unwelcomed snoring, you can avoid air pressure discomfort on the airplane by popping in some earplugs before takeoff and keeping them in until you land.


7. Bring along baby powder to the beach.

dollar store vacation tips baby powder

This talc-free baby powder is so versatile – It can soak up sweat, refresh your roots, and it helps brush sand right off of your skin!

Hip Tip: Baby powder makes a great DIY Dry Shampoo! For real. Read more here.


8. Don’t forget gel insoles!

dollar store vacation tips shoe insoles hip2save

As someone who recently traveled and managed to walk 12 miles on the first day of vacation, I urge you to pick up a pair of these. They will keep your feet happy while sightseeing or navigating huge airports. And at just a buck per insole, there’s really not much to lose and comfort to gain!


9. Baby-proof your hotel or rental home.

dollar tree vacation hacks outlet covers babyproofing hip2save

Socket to me: Bring along this inexpensive set of outlet covers to baby-proof your living area while on vacation.

Just to noteif you have a preferred brand of outlet covers, stick with what has worked for your family before relying on a set you’re not used to. You could also test these out before bringing them along. I will say, even as an adult, I’ve had a pretty tough time pulling these out of the outlets.


10. Stash a rain poncho in your luggage… just in case.

dollar store vacation tips rain poncho hip2saveBoy Scouts always pack this essential item, and so should you! These come in handy when you end up dealing with unexpected inclement weather. Getting rained on (and then drip-drying) isn’t the nicest way to spend time on vacation.

Hip Tip: See how Bryn saved $169 on her rental car!


Vacation Goodies

11. Stock up on cheap summer accessories.

dollar store vacation tips sunglasses and summer accessories

There are a TON of cute flip-flops and sunglasses for the whole family at Dollar Tree, along with beach and pool toys! Plus, at $1 a pop, you won’t mind if they accidentally get left behind, or dropped in the sand and stepped on.

Hip Tip: Make this fun floating pool cooler from Dollar Tree items!


12. Pick up headphone splitters for shared devices.

dollar store vacation tips audio splitter for shared devices hip2save

Do your kiddos (or you and your spouse) share a tablet or other electronic devices? Use a headphone jack splitter to share the audio feed when watching movies or listening to music.


13. Pump up the tunes on the beach.

dollar store vacation tips mini portable speaker hip2save

You’re probably not taking your expensive Bluetooth speaker out for sunny days in the sand (or even on vacation, for that matter). Grab this cheap portable one instead!


14. Keep refreshments cool without a bulky cooler.

dollar tree vacation hacks insulated bags hip2save

Instead of lugging around a cooler on your beach vacation or on a long road trip, these insulated bags pack flat and can be tossed out before you return home.


15. Save money on Disney-branded toys and supplies.

dollar store vacation tips disney crayons hip2save

Heading to Disney? Pick up Disney products at Dollar Tree to use during the trip instead of shelling out for similar (and way more expensive) ones while you’re at the resort. Need ideas? Check out the 40+ Disney items you may spot at your local Dollar tree!

Hip Tip: Save big bucks on your next Disney vacation!


16. Take cool photos with a clip-on lens.

dollar store vacation tips wide angle lens hip2save

No need to bring along an expensive camera (unless photography is your thing) with this wide-angle clip-on lens for your smartphone camera.


Written by Emily for Hip2Save. Emily lives in Buffalo, NY where she spends her time drinking lots of coffee, scouring the internet for deals, and tackling DIY projects. She’s a big believer of self-care and living the fullest life possible, all while saving money of course.

Join The Discussion

Comments 71

  1. Sabine

    We are planning an upcoming trip to Universal Studios Orlando for the first time. I was wondering if people would pass along tips to save money and things to do. So far I am finding it is more expensive than Disney for the same time and dates we are going. We will be there 5 days the first week of July. The dates are a must as we will be there for a wedding in another town and this is a fun stop over for the kiddos.

    • Crystal

      We went ten years ago. I got what is called a go card, just Google ‘go card Orlando’. You can choose the number of days you want to do something. It was a bit pricey, but we did three days and got well worth out of it. I think we did 13 or 14 included activities. Mini golf and Ripley’s, and other quick enough touristy things, a boat tour on the gulf, and a dinner ‘theater’ show. Well worth the price, but it is limited to the days you choose. If you buy one day, you have to do the stuff on that day.

    • JenB

      Sabine, if anyone going on your trip is in the military they could get discounted tickets for you. My cousin worked at a resort and got us an excellent discount. Otherwise the more days you spend there the cheaper it is.

      There’s a Universal app that tells you how long the waits are for rides. It’s extremely useful. When something has a short line you can rush over there. If you have park hopper passes you can go to whichever park has shorter lines. It even tells you how long the wait is for the Hogwarts express to the other park. Even if you don’t like Harry Potter the train is better than walking to the front of one park and over to the other one. Drink frozen butterbeer early in your trip because you might love it and want to drink 8. I wore a money belt so I didn’t drop money on rides. It worked out great. We did rent a locker though. The Gringotts bank ride was my favorite. Parking is like $22 a day so it might be cheaper to take an uber than to rent a car. Do the math to decide. Some hotels have free shuttles to the park. Check to see when they last run, as the universal ones end earlier than Disney for some places. There’s a food/shopping district after you park before you go in the parks. You can eat at Burger King etc but they have increased prices too.

    • frecklelily

      We have US annual passes (I’m in FL). You may bring your own food! We would pack sandwiches and snacks. You can also buy a refillable cup for about $13 and get refills all day with soda and icees. It costs about $8 to refill on any other days you go.

    • Christina

      Hi Sabine,

      I’m from florida and go to Orlando at least once a year. You are going a peak season meaning the parks will be packed. My recommendation is to get to the park when it opens as it will be less crowded. Visit the 3 most popular rides first as lines for those during peak season are at least an hour and can even go upwards of 2 hours. Another trick is to go against traffic in the park meaning go to the back of the park first and work your way up. Everyone starts at the front of the park and travels to the back. Research Ubering to and from the park, often time it’s ends of being cheaper than paying the parking fee to park your car, plus they drop you off right at the front so no walking from your car to the front which is far away from each other. Brings snacks into the park and water bottles. Food and drink is expensive. They have water fountains around the park and you can refill your water bottle for free. Don’t know where you’re from but it’s often feels like the high 90’s or even 100 degrees at that time so make sure you stay hydrated and wear sunscreen. Also look for hotels that offer complimentary breakfast and often many hotels offer free transportation to and from the park. Getting free breakfast and transportation for your family is a great way to save some money. We often stay at the Drury inn which offers free breakfast and happy hour and has free transportation to Universal. Hope this helps!

    • kassandra

      I use getawaytoday.com for all my vacation amd travel needs. They are truly the best and offer rhe cheapest prices ever. If you find it cheaper they with price match. Its truly awesome. Just go to there site or give them a call at 855-GET-AWAY. it doesn’t hurt to just see what they can offer.

    • Elizabeth

      We packed fruit, Pringles, a treat, and sandwich wraps (tortilla, meat, cheese, tomato, etc) because they were compact and yummy and all fit in my purse. We stayed at a place (Staybridge Suites) that provided breakfast, as well as a evening “snack” between 5-7pm-ish on certain days. It was enough to be a dinner and was yummy and such an easy free way to end the exhausting day. We got our tickets off of Undercover Tourist (not tax and good deals). We ended up upgrading our tickets for hardly anything so we could go again within the year. We didn’t think the wand was worth it, b/c there was often a line for where you use them and you see what happens. It is anticlimactic, and doesn’t always work. Some people love it though. If you can find a used one off of craigslist (interactive one), even if it is broken, supposedly they will fix it for free at the park.

      • Elizabeth

        I second the thought of getting there for opening. It sets a great tone to the day to get on a few rides without a long wait at first.

    • Linz

      Best investment is the Fast Pass….you’ll save valuable time, whining and heat strokes. I felt like royalty! It’s so worth it….I PROMISE YOU!

    • michelle reed

      You can use American Express points to buy Universal tix. If you are going on an off day, don’t bother with fast pass. We regretted spending the extra since there was almost no lines the day we went. If you are big Harry Potter fans rush back to that section as soon as the park opens and you can ride before lines get long. If you plan to ride the Hogwarts express you have to purchase tickets to both parks.

  2. JenB

    Excellent ideas! I especially like the mesh bag for beach toys

    • Emily (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Thanks, JenB! Those mesh bags can be so versatile!

  3. Niya

    I liked this article very much. Though I went to Dollar Tree I didn’t about some the items above and how to use it smartly. Surely I will use these tips for my next vacation. Thanks for sharing!

    • Emily (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      So glad it was helpful! Thanks for reading, Niya!

  4. Elizabeth M.

    Buy packs of antibacterial wipes too. They sell boxes of individually wrapped wipes. Perfect for when you’re packing lite.

    • Emily (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Good call, Elizabeth! They’re so handy, especially on the go!

  5. kroc

    Def some fresh ideas… the wide angle camera lens for a $1? Cool!

  6. Rochelle

    Great post! I’m a pretty seasoned traveler and I find so many lists like this to be impractical, I liked several of these tips 😊

  7. Lisa

    Anyone used that speaker??

    • Laura

      I’m wondering about that speaker, too! I would rather not have to take our expensive speaker in our checked luggage.

    • Laura

      I picked it up a couple of weeks ago and it was very cheap plastic and did not look like it would work well so I ended up not buying it. I bought one a few years ago for the phone and it never did work so I decided not to even try. Would love to hear if anyone has used it and thought it was decent. I am skeptical based on what I saw.

    • *Angela-Miles*

      I’ve bought one from the dollar tree in the past and it didn’t put out very loud sound.

  8. PiratePrincessMommy

    These are seriously GENIUS ideas! I love the showercap on the shoes one! It would also be perfect for kiddos that carry their sports cleats in their backpack! Thank you so much!

    • Rochelle

      Yes about the cleats!!! So sick of cleaning clods of dirt out of my kids’ baseball bag.

  9. heather

    Don’t forget glow sticks when going to Disney. So much cheaper than the glow stuff they sell.

    • Naomi

      Yes! Exactly what we do every time we go to Disney! And I usually get them out as we are waiting in line at rides at night and always get whispers saying “wow, that’s smart!” by other people in line:) I get 20ct bracelet types so I usually share them with the people in line too. (And it’s a great “marker” when you put them on your stroller! So easy to spot!)

      I also purchase princess dresses on eBay for like $10-$15 before going there and it definitely save us some $$$. Love to stay away from all the shops at Disney so I can save time for other things and all the unnecessary buying urges! lol

  10. ticklemaddie

    I used the mesh bags to separate my undies and bras when washing.

  11. Mrs.W

    So many wonderful ideas!!! Thanks so much! I love the idea of putting shoes in shower caps. My husband is a germaphobe and he hates when I put our shoes in the suitcase LOL

  12. Raquel

    Great ideas!! Thanks for posting!!

    • Emily (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Glad you enjoyed it, Raquel!

  13. Angie

    All good except for the powder. Do not use around children. Not great for adults either but keep it away from kids, most importantly babies and children with asthma and breathing problems.

    • Deb E

      Great to note Angie, and I’d also add most of the air fresheners most go nuts over. We don’t need to be buying all those commercial air fresheners and inhaling those chemicals. Using natural fresheners is so much better for everyone’s lungs and usually cheaper.

    • 50ShadesofLipstick

      It’s cornstarch, not talc. Cornstarch is perfectly safe obviously…we eat it. Just don’t inhale it and you’ll be fine.

  14. karen

    Can u add dollar tree to the list of stores when u swipe left on the hip2save app. I am always searching for these dollar tree posts before I head there and it’d be easier if it was included in the other stores listed there (Wal-Mart, walgreens, target, etc). Thanks!

    • Amber (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Hi Karen! Have you downloaded the newest version of the hip2save app? With the new features I find that I can view all of the Dollar Store deals when clicking on the bottom tab of the app “stores” – and then scroll through the list to “dollar stores”. Hope that helps!

      • karen

        My app is up to date. I don’t have any bottom tabs. I have the 5 along the top.

        • Amber (Hip2Save Sidekick)

          Hmm, maybe send Collin a screenshot of what you are seeing so that we can try to help! collin@hip2save.com

      • takingachance

        odd, I don’t have it either, so I uninstalled it and then installed anew from the play store, still the same, no dollar stores, only 5 listed

        • Amber (Hip2Save Sidekick)

          Darn! Please send over a screenshot of what you are seeing so that we can look into that for you! collin@hip2save.com. Thanks so much!

  15. Em

    While I too like the shower cap idea, grocery bags can work just as well for shoes and other dirty things while on vacation. Just being mindful of cluttering our Earth with too much plastics.

    • *Angela-Miles*

      I agree on that one, we use grocery bags in our things to store shoes, dirty clothes, beach towels with sand on them etc. Then after we are done with them, throw them in the recycle bin. Didn’t have to buy any bags or covers.

  16. Leila

    All great tips! Just be cautious with their travel cases. I purchased some for a trip and felt like the contents leaked very easily all over my bag. I have not had this problem with the Target up and up travel cases however. Not sure if anyone else has noticed this or if it was just a bad set I had received.

    • jen-CT

      They always look like such cheap plastic too. Pick up the tresemme and st ives travel sized bottles. They are easily refillable. Just my 2 cents…

  17. Nancy d

    Pick up a $1.00 first aid kit for your purse and one for the beach bag. It can really save the day if you have bandages with you!!!

  18. marie

    Love the idea of using a shower cap for your shoes when traveling!

  19. Katie

    Where is this dollar store. My store has is definitely not this good.

    • Emily (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Hi Katie, my local Dollar Tree is in North Buffalo if you’re familiar with my area! I was actually pleasantly surprised with the selection there. It took a close eye and some extra time to browse for sure!

  20. Scarlet B

    Great ideas! I especially like the toothbrush holder for cords and earbuds–that’ll be a lifesaver.
    We use shower caps to cover things, like to cover a bowl of pasta salad in the fridge or something like that, instead of plastic wrap. We reuse them several times before tossing them.

    • Justine

      That is very clever -using the shower caps instead of plastic wrap.

  21. April M.

    We just drove from TX to CA and back with 3 kids (8,3,8mo). I stocked up on the activity packs, sticker books and the like at the dollar store before we left. Every time we stopped to eat or visiting people, I gave the kids a new activity. They loved it and it was super cheap. Kept them occupied and saved me a little sanity.

  22. Kate

    Love these ideas!! Thank you for sharing!

  23. Sara

    Walmart has individual ponchos for $0.97 each in the camping section. I buy them for my annual Disney World trips. It feels like I am wearing a garbage bag, but I can throw it away at the end of the day.

    I bought a cord organizer for $19.99 from Amazon(https://www.amazon.com/BAGSMART-Universal-Organizer-Electronics-Accessories/dp/B017SKRWL4/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1524516170&sr=8-1&keywords=BAGSMART+Travel+Universal+Cable+Organizer+Electronics+Accessories+Cases+For+Various+USB%2C+Phone%2C+Charger+and+Cable%2C+Black). It holds everything I bring with me with room to spare. I put the following in it: Apple 30 pin to usb cable, Apple iPad wall plug, Samsung micro to usb cable, Samsung wall plug, Canon removable battery charger wall plug, Nintendo DSi wall plug with attached cord, Anker 2-port wall plug, and Anker 6700mAh battery pack with included short cable. The company makes other cord organizers if this one doesn’t suit your needs. I carry my Anker 26,800mAh battery brick in its own separate pouch.

  24. Holly K

    Hard eyeglass cases for a multitude of small items (mini first aid, jewelry, sewing kit, hair accessories, etc). Disposable washcloths if you use a washcloth for showers but don’t want to carry a bunch of bulky, then wet and gross ones on a trip.

  25. CJireh

    Awesome ideas!!! Especially the toothbrush holders for charging wires and the shower cap for shoes!!! Brilliant!

  26. Donna

    Just returned from a week at Disney, and used alot of these items from Dollar Tree! The mesh bags were surprisingly strong and large…definitely recommend. Also, the collapsible storage boxes were great for staying organized. They pack flat, and can use again at home!

  27. Shannon

    Genius! Thanks all great ideas:)

  28. Justine

    Great tips! I didn’t even know headphone splitters existed! Brilliant!

    • SJ

      Up your game with a blu tooth enabled splitter and 2 wireless, blu tooth headphones. Now there’s no wires getting tangled, nothing to catch, no length to run out of, nothing to trio over…we bought 2 sets of Skullcandy headphones for about $60 each (I’m sure cheaper ones exist) and the blu tooth splitter for $20…best travel investment ever.

  29. Danielle Oakes

    The Dollar Tree mini travel bottles leak. 🙁

    • Cindy

      The Dollar Tree travel bottles are awful if you’re on a plane (the changes in pressure make them leak). They’re okay if traveling by car, but I’d make sure they’re propped upright. Target travel bottles are more expensive, but better quality.

  30. Kelly

    We also get a pop up hamper from dollar tree for vacation. Great to have something for everyone to throw their dirty clothes in! They usually have character travel packs of tissues too!

  31. GotItTogetherish

    This is a great post! Lots of good tips. Thank you!!!

    • Emily (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Of course! Glad it was helpful!

  32. Amber

    Lanyards and a hole punch. Most theme parks and cruises have cards and it’s a pain for both kids and adults to keep track of.

  33. hip2trade

    I purchased the shower caps after reading A previous dollar tree post. Also cheap snacks. A lot of them are national brands. Just check the dates. I buy my 20oz cherry Coca Cola there along with potato chips.

  34. DJ

    We use a reusable bag for our shoes when traveling by car. The powder would have been so helpful to the lady whose son kept crying over the sand being on him. He wanted all the sand off of him 😆. The disposable blue shoe covers used by builders or workers would be good for packing shoes in your suitcase. My worries with the Dollar Tree store items is safety as many of the products they sell are made in China.

  35. Mandi

    Great post! LOVED the hamper idea – gonna add one to our suitcases (and just store it in there so I don’t forget when I start packing) Another Idea***I just bought the clear “condiment bottle set” for $1 (think ketchup and mustard:) ) for shampoo/conditioner body wash for vacation. We have a family of 5 and those little travel bottles are too small – esp. for longer trips – and they are difficult to squeeze without cracking! The “ketchup” bottles are big enough (I didn’t fill all the way up) and easy to squeeze. If not enough comes out, easy to clip the end bigger too! I put plastic wrap over the opening (under the cap), screw the cap on so they don’t leak during the flights – never had a problem. One More Idea***We buy the baby powder and a pair of dollar tree socks and fill them up, store them in a plastic bag for beach trips to get sand off. Just rub the filled sock over your skin and removes sand!

  36. orie4reel

    I’ve bought some portable bluetooth speakers at Big Lots before because I didn’t want to take my good ones with me & I have to say I’ve actually gotten a few decent ones

    • Emily (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      That’s good to know! I wouldn’t even think to grab one from Big Lots but they do have quite a bit of discounted electronics — thanks for sharing!

  37. Paisley

    This is a great post! Will definitely be going to the dollar store and using these tips for our next vacay! Thank you🌞

  38. apwade21

    Awesome tips!

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