Staying organized when traveling can be extremely challenging. Here are the 5 things I have found and always use. They will change your travel life!
How many times have you traveled somewhere, whether it be by plane, train, or automobile, and felt disorganized, disheveled, and like you generally could have done a better job of organizing all your stuff along the way? Me too! Through great trial and error (sometimes greater than others) I've learned some valuable skills in this department, and I now never leave home without these five things.
1. Compression Bags
These simple (and very inexpensive) things have made it such a joy to pack for a trip. In fact, getting to use them is my favorite part of packing. Sounds dramatic, but it's true. I LOVE THEM!
Basically, they're really big Ziploc bags. They don't need any kind of vacuum attachment like some others do, and they're endlessly reusable. They come in two sizes - large and really large, so no matter what you're packing there will be a size that works.
Simply put your clothes in the bag so they fit comfortably with a little extra space allowed. Seal the end of the bag almost all of the way, and just start rolling, squeezing out excess as you go. Yes, just like a sleeping bag. When you reach the end and you feel like you got all the extra air out, seal the end. You'll have a tightly wrapped burrito! Just stretch the bag back out flat and put it in your suitcase. Voila!!
Yes these are great because they're space savers, but there are several other bonuses too! Here's my list so far:
You choose how you want to separate things - maybe all the shirts are together, pants are together etc. Or maybe you seal up outfits so they stay together. Your call, based on how you like to stay organized.
Items stay sealed and separate until you need them. Maybe you have several clothing items you don't need or want until later in your trip. Just keep them in their bag (clean!) until you want them! In my experience, I've taken several mission trips where I made separate plans after the clinic ended. This is a great way to keep those nicer street clothes separate for the duration of the clinic.
Maybe you're on a multi-city trip and will need different clothes for different cities. Perfect way to keep things separated!
So handy for airport security, whether you're only using a carry-on or you're checking your luggage. If you're going through security with your carry-on and you need to open your suitcase for them, having sealed bags that contain your clothing makes it a snap. And I sure hate when I check my bag and open it upon arrival only to see everything out of place and know some stranger pawed through my stuff... by using these bags no stranger will ever touch your clothing! I suspect it makes their job a little easier as well.
Have you ever had your suitcase zipper break? Now if it does, the number of items you'll have to gather off the floor will be much lower, and it'll be less embarrassing.
You would think that using this method would wrinkle the hell out of your clothes, right? I'm sure there are fabrics that wrinkle terribly no matter what you do to them, but I have had nothing but good luck with how my clothes look when I unpack them, time and time again.
In summary... get these! You won't be sorry. And be forewarned that if I see you in person and this subject comes up you'll have to hear how much I love them all over again:)
2. Packing Cubes
You've probably heard of packing cubes, and there's a reason. They've become pretty popular in the last couple of years. Basically, their purpose is to help you organize your smaller stuff into smaller sections within your suitcase.
Think about all of those smaller items you take with you... you can only shove so many things into your shoes, am I right? Think socks, undergarments, swimsuits, etc. Or even sandals. Whatever. These cubes are wonderfully helpful at keeping like items together and organized. And used in tandem with the Compression Bags above, you are guaranteed to stay organized and super tidy.
The ones I prefer (see here) are lightweight, can be squished down flat really easily when not in use, have mesh for breathability, and come in lots of colors!
3. Hanging Cosmetics & Toiletries Bag
How many times have you been in some random hotel or house bathroom with the tiny countertop (or worse, a skinny sink edge!) covered with all of your miscellaneous makeup, lotions, salves, etc.? It's disorganized, a total pain in the butt, not very sanitary, and also makes the space unusable for anybody else you're sharing the space with.
I say: hang it all!! No matter where you are I am sure you can find a place to hang these items that keeps them off the countertop and yet still within easy reach.
The added bonus? By using this cosmetics and toiletry bag, every item is clearly visible and safely held in each pocket. It makes it easy to spot a missing item that you may need to replenish before you leave home. And the whole bundle is so easy to roll up and go at a moment's notice!
4. Hanging Jewelry Bag
Yeah yeah, you get the idea, I love hanging things... well my travel jewelry bag is no different.
Sometimes I carry zero jewelry, but other times I carry a lot of different earrings, necklaces, whatever. Keeping them separated and untangled can be a big challenge if you don't store them correctly. It's also a pain to take everything out and lay it on a counter somewhere so it's visible and accessible when you need it. Having a travel bag that's specifically for jewelry is a lifesaver!
5. Lighted Mirror
It's a rare moment that I find myself in a hotel or home with a bathroom that has excellent lighting. It just never seems to happen for me! So to apply makeup or simply examine my face closely I always found myself drifting to a window, searching for some natural light and using a puny compact mirror that is part of my cosmetics. No more.
I now use this small and very powerful lighted mirror that also magnifies. It has an adjustable base, and it can sit on a table or even stick onto a vertical surface. It's also super tough so it can handle getting bounced around in transit. Now you never have to head out exploring without perfectly applied makeup!
Do you have a travel organizer recommendation? Please tell me. I'm all ears - and I'm always on the lookout for an even better system!
The links above are affiliate links, and, at no additional cost to you, I may earn a commission if you make a purchase. I use (and love!) all of the products listed here and recommend them because they rock and have made my travels better. If you would like to purchase any of these items, please use my links shown here. It helps support my website in a big way. If you have any questions about any of the products please email me.
BTW... looking for tips on how to get the most out of each trip? I've got em'! Read My Travel Planning Have-To's at https://www.hereonalayover.com/post/alwaysandwithoutfailmy4travelprephavetos!