You’ve saved for your trip, planned out your itinerary, and now it’s time to pack your bags. There’s no doubt that packing efficiently and staying organized throughout a trip is a challenge, but with the right tools, you can stay on top of things no matter how long you'll be traveling. Luckily, we have some ideas.
1. Packing cubes
You can mindlessly toss your belongings into your suitcase, but you should give everything its own place so that you know exactly where to reach when you need something on your trip. The eBags Six-Piece Packing Cube Value Set is our top choice because you get a large cube for bulkier items, a medium sized cube for everyday clothing, a smaller cube for undergarments, and three slim cubes for smaller items. The cubes are lightweight, durable, and under $50.
2. A fanny pack
Hear us out: the ‘90s are back. A backpack can make your back too hot, a purse can make your shoulder hurt—a fanny pack can store your phone, wallet, keys, and other essentials, plus it’s hands-free. If you’re ready to hop onto the latest trend, the Waterfly Fanny Pack is a best seller on Amazon and comes in a multitude of colors.
3. A rolling carry-on
Your carry-on bag stays with you during all of your travels, so you want one that is reliable and easy to maneuver. Our winner, the Samsonite Flexis 21” Spinner, features high-quality wheels that easily roll from surface to surface and make it easy to move around obstacles. This suitcase also has three outer pockets, so you have easy access to things like a charger, magazine, or a snack.
4. A laptop sleeve
We know that you should never travel with a naked laptop in case there’s an accidental drop—*winces*—or any spillage in your bag. Laptop sleeves aren’t suits of armor, but they could save your computer from its demise, as they feature water resistant material and a layer of padding for your device. Our managing editor for lifestyle and emerging categories, Amy Roberts, suggests the Domiso Water Resistant Laptop Sleeve Case because of its cross-body strap, handle, and large zippered pockets.
5. A toiletry bag
If your skincare items are your most precious cargo, a bag that treats them as such is a necessity. You'll want a toiletry bag that’s waterproof so you can toss your shampoo and conditioner bottles in them straight from the shower and again, you never know when something might spill. Eagle Creek’s Pack-It Original Wallaby repels water, is washable, and has two zippered compartments.
6. A travel mirror
Part of staying organized while traveling is anticipating your needs. If you’re traveling with other people, you may notice that the bathroom is often occupied—and so is its mirror. You’ll want a mirror you can set up anywhere to get ready for the day or for bed. The DUcare Portable Folding Vanity Mirror receives praise on Amazon for being compact and durable.
7. A jewelry holder
Whether you’re traveling with your everyday staples or some fun costume jewelry, you need a way to keep your pieces safe. The Bagsmart Travel Jewelry Organizer features designated necklace, earrings, and ring slots, plus extra pockets for things like safety pins or hair ties.
8. An international converter
Keeping charger cords organized and accessible is a battle, but there’s a way to win. Even if you’re not traveling internationally, a converter allows you to plug in more than one device at a time, so your belongings aren’t scattered across the hotel room outlets. The Unidapt Universal Travel Power Adapter can charge up to five devices at a time and works in 160 countries with adaptability for outlets in North America, the United Kingdom, Continental Europe, Australia, Asia, and more.
9. A first aid kit
Hopefully you won’t have to use a first aid kit, but even in the event that a blister pops up on your foot, you’ll want to have one on standby. The DeftGet First Aid Kit is compact but features everything you’ll need, including: scissors, bandages, adhesive tape, antiseptic cleansing wipes, stainless steel scissors, and more.
10. An under-the-seat bag
If you thought we forgot about a sturdy under-the-seat bag, we didn’t! In fact, we have opinions on the subject. The Tom Bihn Western Flyer fits under an airline seat with room to spare and it comes in a variety of colors and patterns. Its size, durability, and organizational pockets make it perfect for a weekend getaway, too.
Prices are accurate at the time this article was published, but may change over time.