Top Packing Hacks: Best Travel Accessories for 2023

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Travel success has more to do with intangible factors than we often realize. And one of those intangible factors is packing. How easy – or difficult – it is to pack your luggage can make or break your trip, especially if your trip involves a lot of moving around. When your luggage is your makeshift house, you’d better ensure it’s well organized. Here are some pro packing hacks, featuring the best travel accessories and best travel products to help you save space, stay organized, and make the most of your trip. 

Best Travel Accessories At A Glance

Best Suitcase Organizers and Spacesaver: SegSac Traveler (aka The Hoboroll)

Best Travel Packing Bags for Organization – Compression Packing Cubes by Knack Bags

Best Packing Accessories for Toiletries – Ultralight Hanging Toiletry Bag by Sea to Summit

Best Cable and Cord Organizers – These Simple Reusable Cable Ties

Best Tech Pouch for Cables, Adaptors, and more – Tech Pouch, by Side by Side

All the above – and so much more – are profiled in this article, along with pros, cons, features, and more. Enjoy!

 

What are the Best Travel Organizers and Luggage Accessories?

This post is going to outline a whole heap of luggage organizers, almost all of which I’ve used at one time or another. But it’s very important to note: using them all simultaneously will not make you a better traveler! In fact, too many luggage accessories will take up so much space that you won’t have any room for the things you actually need to bring

You’ll also notice that some items are great for travel organization, and others are meant to save space. The best traveling accessories are those that save space and organize your stuff, and when I find one of these gems, I take them on every trip (you’ll read about a few in this post). 

But generally speaking, each trip is different, and you’ll need to employ different travel packing hacks and travel organizers to suit the mission at hand. 

So have a gander at the various must have travel accessories that I’ve used over the years, and pick and choose best travel items that work for you. 

Note: Many of the links below are affiliate links, which means I’ll earn a (paltry, but still noteworthy) commission on anything you buy when you click through. This doesn’t affect your price, but it does help me to keep running this site and kicking out quality content, so for that, I thank you in advance. 

These are the best packing tools for travel to save space and keep your stuff organized! #travelpacking #traveltips #TheProfessionalHobo


Best Suitcase Organizers for Saving Space

Clothes have a nasty habit of taking up a lot of space. Even if you’re judicious about how many items of clothing you take with you, they’ll likely take up a large portion of your luggage space. With the help of these suitcase organizers, you’ll be traveling in style. 

(See also – Travel Capsule Wardrobe: Best Wrinkle-Free Clothes for Women)

SegSac Traveler (aka The Hoboroll) – Best Luggage Organizer for Carry on

SegSac-Traveler-aka-The-Hoboroll-by-Gobi-Gear-the-Best-Travel-Organizer

I reached out to these guys almost 10 years ago when they launched The Hoboroll (before they renamed it SegSac Traveler), and we’ve been BFFs ever since. Not only did I adore their product, but with a name like “The Hoboroll”, it was like a match made in heaven for “The Professional Hobo”. 

Ingenious names aside, this has ever since been my #1 all-time favourite travel accessory. So much so, that I use it even when I’m not traveling, because not only is it a fabulous space saver, but it’s a great organizational tool. I traveled full-time for two years with carry on luggage only, and it is in large part thanks to The Hoboroll. It’s that awesome. 

The ultralight cylindrical compression stuff sack features segmented compartments inside (including a zippered pouch for valuables) and cinches shut on both ends. Then, the straps around the body of it compress the contents down to a fraction of the size. 

I use the Hoboroll to organize and compress smaller items that would otherwise be lost in my luggage, like socks, underwear, workout clothes, scarves, hats, gloves, bathing suits….it’s a catch-all for smaller wardrobe bits. When I arrive at my destination, I simply open one side of the SecSac Traveler to gain access to the contents, and I leave it like that – no need to unpack! 

PROS: Awesome for organizing and compressing; ultralight material takes up no space or weight.

CONS: Honestly? None. Except perhaps that you’d be advised not to order it off Amazon; they’re struggling with knock-off versions. 

SecSac Traveler Features and Specs: 

  • Ultralight
  • Water-resistant, rip-stop, 30D fabric
  • 5 internal compartments
  • Opens at both ends
  • Converts to day bag by attaching shoulder strap (which admittedly I never use, but makes it handy if you want to use it for outings)
  • Storage pouch reverses to secret pocket
  • Aircraft grade, lightweight aluminum buckles
  • 2 compression straps
  • NO PLASTIC is used in their packaging or shipping process
  • 2 Sizes: 18.5 Liters | 30 Liters
  • Weight: 18.5L – 3.5oz | 30L – 4oz
  • Size: 18.5L – 15″ x 10″ | 30L – 17.5″ x 12″

Gobi Gear – which also makes the Free Spirit 30L Adventure Travel Backpack (which I review in this video), is a part of 1% For The Planet, and they donate 1% of their profits to One Tree Planted (a non-profit in Vermont). 

Click here to order your SegSac Traveler (aka The Hoboroll) – and use the Discount Code the-prof-hobo for 25% off ($10 minimum purchase)!


Are Packing Cubes Worth It? These Compression Packing Cubes Are

Are Packing Cubes Worth It? These compression packing cubes are

What are packing cubes? They’re basically square or rectangular travel pouches with zippers. Nothing special. Packing cubes are great for organizing stuff, but they’re not always the best at saving space. That said – throw in a compression feature, and you’re off to the races. 

Compression packing cubes offer many of the same benefits as the SegSac Traveler – just in rectangular form. I use compressible packing cubes for clothing – especially sweaters and jackets and other things that are especially squish-able. 

From a space-saving perspective, it’s worth noting that I’m specifically recommending using packing cubes that compress. Why? In an ideal world, everything would fit into regular rectangular luggage cubes, which would in turn fit perfectly (like Tetris shapes) into rectangular luggage, making optimal use of all space. In reality, this doesn’t happen. Packing cubes in general are great for organization, but not always for saving space, since it leaves gaps in your luggage that you can’t always fill with other things. But the compression feature in packing cubes marginally makes up for this, which means they’re good for both organization and making the best use of space. 

PROS: Saves space by compressing clothing and organizing items for easy access. Especially helpful when moving around a lot with no time to unpack. Also helpful when packing clothes for multiple climates; keep your sweaters compressed in one cube and only open when you arrive somewhere cold. 

CONS: If you aren’t filling each packing cube optimally, you won’t fully benefit from the compression feature, which in turn means you won’t be saving space (see above for my observations about regular packing cubes). 

I own and am a big fan of Knack compression packing cubes (pictured above). The material is sturdy yet lightweight, the mesh on top allows me to see what’s inside, and the compression zipper is easy to use and helps me save lots of space.

Compressible Shoe Bags

Knack compressible shoe bags are a multifunctional and space-saving packing tool

New to my packing tool entourage in 2021, I am adoring my Knack compressible shoe bags. First of all, they make it easy to pack my shoes without worrying about any of the gunk from the bottoms of my soles sullying anything else in my luggage. The compression straps help to maximize space, and having my shoes in these bags is a great organization tool. The material (similar to Knack packing cubes, as above) is both sturdy and lightweight.

Since my shoes are size Women’s 8.5, I ordered both a medium and large compression shoe bag. The large is absolutely enormous! The medium is plenty big enough, and in fact I can pack both my ballet flats and my travel sandals into it, no problem! I actually use the large shoe bag for dirty laundry, since it’s not just a shoe bag; it’s a great way to organize – and compress – anything at all.

Check out Knack Compressible Shoe Bags here!

Does the Knack name seem familiar? It’s because I own their expandable carry-on backpack and wrote about it extensively here. It’s a solid piece of travel gear.

Spacesaver Bags / Compression Bag for Travel – Vacuum Bags Without the Vacuum

Spacesaver bags are the best compression bag for travel

If you have a ton of clothes to pack, then spacesaver bags (also called compression bags for traveling) will be your saviour. They’re the travel version of vacuum bags, which suck all the air out, leaving a compressed brick of stuff. The difference is, you don’t need a vacuum to make these work; simply fill the bag, zip it closed, and roll it so all the air can escape through the one-way valve. 

These travel space bags are incredibly useful for sweaters, puffy jackets, and other items that unnecessarily take up a lot of luggage space. Also, if you are traveling long-term or full-time with a wardrobe for multiple climates, you can have an organized suitcase by keeping your winter clothes in a space saver bag while you’re traveling through warm climates, and vice versa – making them valuable suitcase accessories. 

PROS: These are super duper space saving packing tools. They’ll maximize luggage space more than anything else will. 

CONS: If you use these bags to squish everything down and then you fill up the rest of your luggage space, you may run into weight issues. (Also, if the bag stops working properly part-way through the trip and you were counting on the space it saves, you could be in trouble – this happened to me once). Lastly, prepare for anything you put into these bags to come out horribly wrinkled if its not wrinkle-free material. 

Get your travel space saver bags at REI or Amazon

The Rolo (Roll-up Garment Bag) – Best Space-Saving Travel Clothes Organizer 

Rolo Roll-Up Garment Bag, Best Travel Clothes Organizer

The Rolo is another travel organizer bag favourite of mine. It squeaks into the space-saving category only by a hair though – in truth, it straddles the space-saving and organization categories equally. I love it because it’s a portable closet; I pack my clothes into it, roll it up, compress it with the straps, and throw it in my luggage. When I arrive at my destination, unpacking is as simple as unrolling it and hanging it up.

It’s water-resistant and incredibly sturdy; I have abused mine for over five years and it still looks brand new. However this is a double-edged sword, since sturdy comes at the cost of being ultralight. Thus, when I’m traveling carry-on only with just one bag, I don’t usually take The Rolo with me. 

PROS: Packing and unpacking is ridiculously easy, and clothes get some compression as well. Ridiculously convenient when moving around a lot. 

CONS: It’s a bit heavy and a wee bit bulky for super ultralight packing. Sturdiness comes at a cost. 

The Rolo Features and Specs: 

  • 2 big clothing pockets, each 13” x 16.5”
  • 2 small clothing pockets, each 14.5” x 8”
  • Unrolled size 45” x 17”
  • Military grade nylon mesh zipper pockets
  • Patented high-performance buckles and zippers
  • 360 degree swivel hook for hanging
  • Reinforced support bar for hanging 
  • Waterproof PVC-coated ballistic nylon fabric shell
  • Compression straps on the outside
  • Shoulder strap for carrying on its own (which admittedly I never use)

Click here to level up your travel packing strategies with The Rolo travel bag organizer! 

Best Travel Packing Bags for Clothes

Sometimes having your clothes well organized is more important than saving space. For example, if you must travel with clothes that easily wrinkle, squishing them down will only exacerbate the wrinkle-effect. In other cases, you might have plenty of room in your luggage, or you’re moving around all the time, and it’s more important to have easy access to your luggage’s contents than it is to save space. 

If this is you, then these travel packing bags – which aren’t really bags at all – are optimal. 

(See also: Checked Luggage vs. Carry-On – and Why Checked is Best for Long-Term Travel)

Packing Sleeves / Garment Folder

Garment Folder Packing sleeves; packing envelopes for clothes

I know people who use packing sleeves and love them. I am not one of those people; at the best of times, folding clothes neatly is not one of my strong suits, which is why I generally must have wrinkle-free travel clothes

These little packing envelopes for clothes usually feature a flat board with detailed instructions on how to fold your stuff around it so it lies perfectly flat, then the garment sleeve wraps around your pile of perfectly-folded clothes. You’ll probably love having a garment folder if you have dress shirts and other clothes that are susceptible to wrinkling. Or, if you’re like my boyfriend and you have a compulsive need to fold everything perfectly, even dirty laundry (I find it endearing). 

PROS: Great for folding clothes perfectly and reducing wrinkles. 

CONS: It’s difficult to keep everything in its perfect folded form if you need to access the shirt in the middle of the pile. It’s also time consuming to fold everything (rolling clothes or haphazardly cramming stuff in your bag like I do is much quicker). 

This Garment Folder by Eagle Creek is very highly reviewed – buy it here on REI or Amazon

Packable Shelves / Portable Closet

Packable Shelves

Packable shelves will do nothing to help you to save space, but as far as packing accessories go, they make packing and unpacking ridiculously easy. It’s like a mini hanging dresser; put your clothes and other items on the shelves, then take it off the rod and plunk everything directly into your luggage. The bottom zippered portion in the model pictured here is great for dirty laundry, shoes, or miscellaneous items. This fits into carry-on luggage (20”), although it wouldn’t leave much room for anything else (depending on how much stuff you put on the shelves). 

PROS: Packing and unpacking couldn’t possibly be easier. 

CONS: If your luggage doesn’t open fully (or you have a backpack that only opens on one side), I suspect these shelves would be difficult to pack and unpack. 

Sto-N-Go Portable Luggage System Features and Specs:

  • 3-tiered organizer with zippered compartment at bottom
  • High-strength hooks for hanging shelves in closet, on shower rod, or over door
  • Latches help to keep everything in place when stowing shelves
  • Fits suitcases 20” and larger
  • Measures 17.7” x 11.8” x 25.2”
  • Amazon Choice product with great ratings

Click here to get your Packable Shelves! 

Packing Accessories for Toiletries and Other Miscellaneous Items

Clothes are only part of the battle when it comes to organizing and packing for travel. Here are some other best travel gear and tools to help you stay on top of your travel packing game. 

Sea to Summit Hanging Toiletry Bag – Best Ultralight Toiletry Bag

Sea to Summit ultralight hanging toiletry bag

After seeing a fellow traveler’s toiletry kit and realizing that my Tuo was considerably bulkier and heavier than I’d thought, I went ultralight and got the Sea to Summit Traveling Light Hanging Toiletry Bag. I was initially worried that I wouldn’t fit everything I needed into it, but my worries proved futile. The large size fits everything I need, and takes up way less space than I thought it would!

It satisfies a lot of criteria that I believe a toiletry case needs, such as: 

  • It hangs, so you can access and use your toiletries anywhere
  • Made of water-resistant/waterproof material
  • Multiple compartments for organization
  • Easy to see the contents for use on the go
  • Super-light, strong and water-resistant Ultra-Sil™ fabric (similar to the SegSac Traveler material, which I adore)
  • It even comes with a wee mirror, which comes in handier than I thought it would

The Sea to Summit toiletry bag comes in two sizes: Small (3L) and Large (6L). I have the large and although there’s lots of space in it, I wouldn’t want anything smaller. (Then again, I have five months’ of toiletries in the bag. If you’re on a short trip, the small might be just fine.)

PROS: The ultralight material is so strong and takes up virtually no space or weight. Fantastic for carry-on travelers with limited space.

The material is also flexible enough that if the toiletry bag isn’t full, it doesn’t take up any more space than necessary. (This is a big win, since many toiletry cases have solid frames that don’t squish down if you’re not using all the space.

It keeps all your toiletries organized and relatively separate from the rest of your luggage to protect against possible liquid spills (although I still take extra measures to prevent leaks like putting liquids in ziploc bags and using the liquid spill trick below). 

(Also, let’s get it right – most of my toiletries are solid; I’m a huge fan of everything that Lush makes; check out my personal packing list to see what I use). 

CONS: Toiletry Cases can be a bit impractical if you travel with carry-on luggage; you’ll need to keep your liquids separate in an easily accessible ziploc bag for clearing security.
That said, it’s only on travel days that the liquids need to be kept separate. As soon as I’m at my destination, I put everything in this toiletry case.

Sea to Summit Hanging Toiletry Case Features and Specs:

  • Dimensions of Large: 10x9x4, 6L capacity, weighs 4oz/112grams
  • Dimensions of Small: 9x6x3, 3L capacity, weighs 2.8oz/80grams
  • Water-resistant fabric
  • Internal mesh pockets and dividers for organization and visibility
  • Durable zips with good grabs for easy opening and closing
  • Shatter-proof mirror

Get your Sea to Summit Hanging Toiletry Bag here!

Pill Organizer (For More Than Pills)

Pill-Organizer

Sure, you can use a pill organizer to bring along nutritional supplements (here are the supplements I travel with) and prescription medications (although, for prescription meds, be sure to have the medicine/prescription label in case you’re asked what the pills are). But these handy organizers are also good for so much more! Here are just a few things you could store in them: 

  • Earrings
  • Necklaces
  • Rings
  • Over-the-counter meds (painkillers, allergy meds, etc)
  • Ear Plugs
  • Coins (if you’re carrying around different currencies)
  • Spices (if you’re renting an apartment with a kitchen) 

Really, anything small that you don’t want lost in the shuffle is a good candidate.

PROS: Keeps supplements etc. organized without having to carry entire bottles. Invaluable for protecting and storing jewelry. Also an ingenious way of traveling with spices you like to use but don’t want or need full containers of. 

CONS: Too many little things in too many compartments might be hard to keep track of, and will use up more space than just using baggies. 

There are plenty of pill organizers out there. Here’s one that looks pretty solid and fits any budget. 

Small Travel Tubs

 Small Travel Tubs GoTubb

There’s nothing worse than a headache on a travel day (or any day). So I keep a small stash of easily accessible painkillers (and allergy meds) in my purse, in a little tub like this one. I also use these small tubs to travel with sunscreen, various creams, and other toiletries that I use in small quantities. 

PROS: Perfect for keeping a small amount of [whatever] handy. 

CONS: Easy to go overboard and have a tub for every little thing. 

GoTubbs are a popular option for travelers; easy to open (and stay shut when they need to). 

Contact Lens Case (for Creams or Condiments)

Contact Lens Case

These are ideal for small amounts of creams and other toiletries you don’t need much of. Also, they’re great for condiments or spices (think: salt & pepper, chili flakes, etc) that you like to add to food on the go but don’t want a whole jar of. 

PROS: Super-cheap, great for small quantities of things for short trips. Also water-tight, which is great for liquids and creams. 

CONS: Small enough that they can get lost in the shuffle. 

They’re cheap n cheerful here

Electronic Bag / Cord Organizer / Travel Charger Organizer 

Side by Side Tech Pouch Cord Organizer

For somebody who loves packing tools, my approach to organizing cords and cables has been downright primitive; until recently I just stuffed everything into a bag and paid the price later when I had to dump it all out to find and detangle the cord I needed.

The problem is, a lot of tech pouches and cord organizers are absolute pigs on space. And when traveling long-term with carry-on luggage only, as I often do, every little bit of space is invaluable.

So when I saw the Side by Side Tech Pouch, I immediately knew I had to have it.

It’s small and compact, but has a surprising amount of space to store all my tech goodies. In it I currently have a USB hub, all my charging cords and adaptors, a portable hard drive, cell phone stand, and even a compact travel light! And I don’t even use all the space available in the pouch; there’s additional room for SD cards, additional cords, and more.

Everything has its place, the construction is solid, and it looks good. I also like the shape of this pouch; because it’s long and narrow it can fit into more nooks and crannies that most tech pouches and cord organizers that are wide and/or fat.

Here’s the deal: your need for a cord organizer depends on what you use to carry your electronics. Many laptop bags and daypacks have special pockets and travel charger organizer features for storing your cords and adaptors such that you wouldn’t need a dedicated pouch. As always, make sure the packing tools you get fit your overall luggage and packing strategy. 

PROS: Keeps your cords, cables, chargers, etc. well-organized and easily accessible.

CONS: All this organization comes at the cost of some additional space and weight.

Check out the Side by Side Tech Pouch here.

Reusable Cable Ties

Reusable-Cable-Ties

At first glance I thought these were thoroughly frivolous. Now, I’m amazed I lived like such a savage before. 

These reusable velcro cable ties come in a variety pack of different sizes and are so handy for organizing cables and cords for storage, and even for keeping excess cord out of the way while in use. This is money well spent – both for home and travel use. 

PROS: Colour-coded ties so you can see at a glance what cord you need (if you remember what colour you’ve assigned to that type of cord). Easy to use and transferrable/reusable. Makes your cords and cables last longer (less wear and tear). 

CONS: It takes a few extra seconds to wrap your cord nicely (compared to simply shoving it willy nilly into your bag). With enough use, I’ve seen the odd thread fray off the ties – it’s mildly annoying but nothing more. 

Click here to get your reusable cord and cable ties. 

The Scrubba Wash Bag

Scrubba_BAG_FEATURES

Even though I consistently hand-wash my clothes (because I’m traveling with carry-on only and/or I have delicate items I don’t trust in many foreign washing machines), I resisted getting a Scrubba wash bag for years in the name of minimalism. This is a shame, because only about 50% of the sinks I encounter can properly handle hand-washing. Many don’t hold water properly, and my universal sink plug is often useless (depending on the sink/drain configuration). I initially thought The Scrubba wash bag was simply a water-tight roll-top bag (aka: dry bag), but there’s more to it than that, and it doesn’t take up so much space that my inner minimalist feels violated. 

PROS: You can do hand laundry anywhere, regardless of the sink configuration. Can get clothes cleaner, using less soap and water. Good for not only travel, but camping too. 

CONS: It’s pricey for what it is; ultimately you could get away with using a regular dry bag. Also, if you’re traveling super duper ultralight, it’s small, but still it’s an extra 145 grams (5 ounces). 

Features and Specs of The Scrubba Wash Bag:

  • Uses less water than normal hand-washing in a sink would
  • Textured washboard inside for thorough cleaning
  • Transparent window so you can monitor clothes (eg: make sure it’s as sudsy as you want it to be)
  • Twist valve releases air prior to scrubbing with the washboard feature
  • Outside backing is sticky so the bag doesn’t slide around while you’re scrubbing 
  • Folds down to pocket size when not in use 
  • Multi-functional: doubles as a dry-bag

Get your own Scrubba Wash Bag at REI or Amazon

And, if you love multi-functional items, Scrubba makes a wash bag/compression sack/waterproof backpack combo that even serves as an outdoor shower!


Luggage Scale

luggage-scale

There’s nothing worse than standing in line to check in for a flight, and watching the check-in agent meticulously weighing all the bags of people ahead of you (even carry-on and personal items), before forcing customers to either pay extra to check their bags or repack on the spot. 

I’ll admit, I don’t own a luggage scale. But, this also means that every time I pack, I’m pretty stressed out. Many airlines weigh carry-on luggage (especially if you’re not checking a bag), and some airlines have very strict (and stingy) weight limits for both checked and carry-on luggage. Thus, a luggage scale is a handy packing aid for luggage that’s on my list of things to get, to reduce pre-travel stress. 

PROS: Know you’re within the airline’s weight limits and/or adjust as necessary before you leave for the airport. 

CONS: I haven’t been able to find one that is rechargeable or uses rechargeable batteries. 

This portable luggage scale is simple, cheap, and does the trick

Cheap/Free Travel Packing Hacks and Tips

I didn’t write this post intending that you would race out and buy every single travel product on this list. It’s a comprehensive collection of travel packing aids so that you can pick and choose what works best for you.

Because let’s get it right: if you bought all these handy packing tools, you might not have much space left in your luggage for your actual stuff, nor money left for your actual travels – and travel is what this whole thing is about. 

When traveling across the world, you’d definitely want to come prepared. From packing the right clothes to packing the best travel accessories, it’s important to make sure you have everything you need for an amazing adventure….including what you need to keep it all organized.

I’m frugal (some would say to a fault). So let’s look at my favourite kind of traveling accessories: the free (or very cheap) kind. Also included are some travel packing hacks that I suspect you’ll enjoy. 

To help with packing, I’ve also included some space saving packing hacks and tips that can come in handy:

1. Ziploc bags

Ah, the almighty ziploc bag. I’ve always got a stash of them in various sizes that I use (and reuse and resuse) for a variety of purposes, including: 

  • Keep small things separate and organized
  • Hand-wash small items
  • Makeshift packing cube / space saver bag 
  • Pack a wet bathing suit (or other wet items)
  • Separate dirty laundry from clean
  • Fill with water then freeze and use to keep foods cold while in-transit
  • Keep liquid toiletries from contaminating other things if they leak 

2. Dryer Sheets

Luggage can get a bit musty over time, either because it’s not being used enough (and has been stored in a humid airless space for too long), or because it’s being used too much (and has seen too much dirty laundry). In both cases, a dryer sheet will prevent icky smells from setting in. Also great for stinky shoes. 

3. Shower Caps for Shoes

Worried that your items will get dirty from your shoes? To avoid packing in a mess, make sure to cover your shoes with disposable shower caps. This will ensure that your items are kept safe from dirt and debris.

Next time you’re staying at a hotel, grab the free shower caps and use them to cover the bottoms of your shoes before you pack them. (And don’t forget to stuff your shoes with other items to help them maintain their form and to maximize luggage space). 

4. Foolproof Liquid Spill Prevention Trick

This one’s gold. Before you pack your liquid toiletries, unscrew the cap and place some plastic over the opening. The plastic can be cut from a plastic shopping bag, plastic food wrap, an old ziploc bag; you only need a small piece. Then, screw the top back on. Ta-dah! You’ve leak-proofed your toiletries. 

I still take it one step further after doing this and put them in a separate ziploc bag, but that’s as much for organization as for protection. 

5. Go For a Color Schemed Clothing

When everything coordinates, packing becomes a breeze. This means packing clothes in the same color so you can mix and match them. Darker colors are easier to pack as they hide dirt better, while lighter colors can help create more outfit options when mixing and matching. Read more about this in my travel capsule wardrobe for women.

6. The Pillowcase Hack

You might be already aware of this hack but packing the pillowcase hack is an outstanding way to save packing space. To do this, simply stuff your clothes inside a spare pillowcase and zip it up. This will help keep your clothes organized and in place, with less packing mess! On top of that, you can use it as a pillowcase when you reach your destination.

This can also be a sneaky way to bring more stuff on the plane than your carry-on luggage will allow; they don’t count travel pillows as luggage space, so your “pillow” could smuggle some extra things on board.

7. Virtual Packing Check List

You can never be too sure when packing, so creating a virtual packing checklist is the best way to ensure you’re packing what you need. Make a list of all the items that are essential for your trip and then make sure to check them off as you pack.

8. Keep a Toiletry Go Bag

As you’re on the go, packing a toiletry go bag is the best way to make sure you have all your essentials with you. A compact and simple pouch that can fit into your carry-on should do the trick. This hack can avoid several times of unpacking and packing, as you’ll have everything you need in an instant. This is exactly what my Sea to Summit ultralight hanging toiletry bag is.

9. Wear the Bulkiest Clothing You Have

You might be confused about this packing hack, but wearing the bulkiest clothing you have is the best way to save packing space. Jackets and boots are usually bulky items that take up a lot of packing space, so wear them while traveling instead. You’ll be in luck if your destination will be cooler than the place you’re leaving from.

10. Foldable Day Pack

A foldable day pack can be folded up to the size of your hand and will come in handy when you need it. Instead of packing a large, bulky backpack, packing a foldable daypack is the best way to go as you’ll have a smaller bag when packing and more space for those items that don’t fit into your suitcase. My fav is the Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Daypack, which you can see me play with here.

11. Tangle-free Jewelry

Avoid wearing bulky jewelry that can easily get tangled by packing them in a tangle-free jewelry organizer. These organizers come with multiple compartments, specially designed to prevent your items from getting tangled or lost. Honestly I’ve yet to find a truly travel-friendly jewelry organizer, so let me know if you have one! Because of this I travel with minimal jewelry and I always make sure it won’t end up in an irrevocably tangled ball.

12. Laundry During the Trip

You don’t want to be packing too many clothes, so the best way is to do laundry during the trip. This can easily be done depending on your destination. Bring a small bottle or bag of detergent (or even better, some eco-friendly and ultralight laundry strips) and hand wash your clothes when needed. It’s a great way to save packing space and packing time.

15. 3 Ingredients to Keep Your Bag Smelling Fresh

Using a small cedar chip, a sprig of lavender, or even cinnamon sticks can do the trick. Simply tuck them into your packing cubes and enjoy fresh scents throughout the duration of your trip.

16. Use Socks as a Cushion

Heels and hats can easily be crushed or bent if placed in a packing cube. To prevent this, simply stuff socks and fill them with small fragile items such as hats, or even shoes to keep them safe from getting crushed.

15. Pack Spare Clothing in Your Carry-on

Traveling is making sure you’re packing everything you need for the trip. But packing a spare set of clothing in your carry-on is a great way to be prepared for any unexpected outcome. In case of lost luggage or any unexpected event, packing an extra set of clothing can save you from potential packing mishaps.

18. Track Your Items with Photos

Taking photos of your items before packing is the best way to remember what you have and where it’s located. It also helps in packing, as you can easily refer to a photo and find where your items are located within your suitcase. If an unfortunate event happens and your stuff managed to get lost, you can use these images for filing an insurance claim.

17. Roll Your Clothes in a Bundle

It may sound ridiculous, but rolling your clothes instead of folding them can save tons of packing space. Roll each item tightly and secure it with a rubber band or packing cube.

18. Packing Cubes are the Holy Grail for Traveling

I’ve already mentioned that packing cubes are essential for packing. Not only do packing cubes keep your items organized, they also prevent clothes from wrinkling and taking up too much space in your suitcase. Always go for the compressible packing cubes to help maximize luggage space.

19. Wrinkle-Proof Fabric is the Way to Go

Regardless of whether you’re rolling up your clothes or folding them meticulously, they’re going to come out wrinkled. So packing wrinkle-proof fabric is the best way to go. You don’t have to worry that your clothes will be wrinkled when you unpack them. Merino wool, polyester, denim, wool, knits, spandex and lyocell are just a few of the fabrics that don’t wrinkle easily.

2o. Solid Toiletries are a Must

With numerous unpleasant encounters with airlines regarding our toiletries, packing in solid form is always the best way to go. Besides being safer and lighter, solid toiletries can be used for multiple purposes such as shampoo, body wash, and even toothpaste. Even solid perfumes are already available in the market.

21. Multipurpose Clothing

Since you’ll be wanting to pack light, packing multipurpose clothing is a must. A few items you can bring that suit multiple purposes are shawls, which can be worn as a scarf or used as an extra layer over your outfit or even a beach towel or sarong in a pinch; and packing light jackets with multiple pockets for extra storage.

22. Develop a System

Here’s a final piece of advice to tie everything together. Successful travel packing (and unpacking, and packing again) depends on having a system from which you don’t deviate. Everything has its place, and that’s that. This is especially important when traveling with checked luggage, because the larger your bag is, and the more stuff you have, the more likely you’re going to lose stuff in it. 

I don’t know how many times I had to tear my luggage apart in search of one thing; something I’d ingeniously tucked into a specific pocket (thinking it was so smart I’d never forget) before immediately forgetting where I’d put it. I actually lost something for years, once. Years.

By developing a system that is uniquely yours, you’ll not only be able to put your hands on anything and everything with ease, but it will also dramatically reduce the time it takes you to pack. 

Frequently Asked Questions For Packing Like A Pro

Apart from this amazing list of packing accessories for travel, you might still have some questions about packing for your next journey. Here are some frequently asked questions that can help you plan your packing list:

Q: What is the most useful item for traveling?

A: The most useful item for traveling would depend on the type of trip you are taking. However, some of the best travel accessories that can come in handy regardless of your destination include packing cubes, a lightweight daypack or crossbody bag, and earplugs. I’m also a sucker for this travel power strip and surge protector. I never (ever) leave home without it.

If you are a fan of carry-on bags, I would highly suggest that the SegSac Traveler luggage organizer is the most useful item (which I featured at the beginning of this article). It’s an ultra-lightweight packing cube that can fit into any suitcase or backpack, and it’s made with compression technology to maximize space. It also features great organizational systems such as pockets and compartments, so your packing items are neatly organized.

Q: What accessories do I need to travel?

A: When it comes to packing for a trip, the best thing you can do is keep your packing list short and simple. 

Here’s a list of essential packing accessories that everyone should have when traveling: a packing cube or two, a lightweight daypack or crossbody bag, the SegSac Traveler, and some cable ties to organize cords. 

You’ll also need to pack adapters for charging devices such as your phone or laptop, as well as a travel adaptor if the outlets at your destination are a different configuration. If you’re going somewhere with unpredictable weather conditions, packing a rainproof jacket is also a must.

Q: What should you not bring on vacation?

A: In addition to fact that packing light is important, some items are just better left at home. Electronics such as laptops and tablets take up a lot of space and can be difficult to carry around while traveling, if you’re not working remotely along the way. If you’re a professional or a digital nomad who needs to bring your laptop with you, consider packing your tech in a lightweight sleeve and packing it in your carry-on.

Another item that may not be necessary for a short trip is extra sets of clothes. Instead, try packing accessories like scarves and shawls which can be used in multiple ways to change the look of your outfits and won’t take up too much space.

Other items that shouldn’t be brought on vacation include expensive jewelry, excessive amounts of clothing and shoes, and items that could easily get lost or stolen.

Q: How do I pack for 7 days?

A: Knowing how to pack for a 7-day trip can be tricky. To make packing easier, it’s best to plan out your activities and plan what you’ll need accordingly. Planning these are just the beginning and can be too mind-racking as you don’t know what packing items you need to bring.

Packing for a week-long trip can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be! To ensure you’re packing everything you need without overpacking, refer to this post for a full packing list guide.

Q: What should I pack and not forget?

A: When packing for a trip, it’s easy to forget essential items. To avoid this, make sure you pack items in your carry-on such as your passport or visa (if necessary), ID and credit cards, any medications you may need, chargers for devices, and some basic toiletries such as sunscreen, insect repellent, and hand sanitizer. It’s also a good idea to pack a map of the area you’re visiting and cash in the currency of your destination.

Do you like Travel Gear and Packing Hacks as much as I do? 

It’s okay! You’re not alone. Don’t seek therapy. Instead, read these posts: 

The Ultimate Packing List for Long-Term Travel

The Best Anti-Theft Bags, Purses, Backpacks, and Luggage

Travel Capsule Wardrobe: Best Wrinkle-Free Travel Clothes for Women

Best Travel Clothes for Men

Checked vs. Carry-on Luggage – and Which is Best for You

The Best Carry-on Backpack for One Bag Travel

…and all my other Travel Gear posts and reviews


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2 thoughts on “Top Packing Hacks: Best Travel Accessories for 2023”

  1. Thanks for the great guide Nora! The favorite item on this list that I use all the time is the cable tie, it’s just so helpful in keeping everything tidy 🙂 I haven’t tried the Rolo yet, but it looks interesting; I’ll add it to the list of must-tries items!

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