Travel Organization Tips: Cube, compress, fold, roll
The suitcase explosion of tousled, tangled, disorganized piles is – or should be – a thing of the past these days with the wide array of accessories that don’t add a lot of weight but help you travel with more organization. You need travel organization tips! Think of it as feng shui for your travel suitcase – aaaaaah, relief!
In addition to creating up to 20 percent more space and keeping clothes wrinkle free, organizing clothes and other luggage items with today’s lightweight packing cubes, small stuff sacks, compression bags and garment folding systems can make bag searches at check-in or boarding gates run as smoothly as possible. If you are lucky enough to get flagged for a search (and some of us are certainly more “lucky” than others), security won’t have to wrestle through loose clothes and leave luggage contents looking like the post-holiday clearance table at a department store. In the end, surprise searches are faster, tidier and less stressful for both parties involved. And you can still arrival at your travel destination nicely organized.
The other beauty of travel suitcase organizers is the ability to literally “live” out of them either in your bag or, if you must unpack, in a dresser or closet. When you are ready to pack, you just zip ‘em up and put them back in your suitcase. Hanging clothes get folded just so (or rolled up neatly) and tucked around them. Packing is no longer a nightmare ordeal that takes hours – especially if you are moving every couple of days on a holiday. Follow our travel organization tips to begin organizing your luggage and life.
Travel Organization Tips: Compress it
For bulky items, such as sweaters, jackets and even mounds of clothing that won’t mind if a few wrinkles get factored in, a clear, plastic compression or vacuum bag is an ideal packing organizer. Load it up, squeeze all the air out and, presto, the volume can be reduced by as much as half. One idea: Pack one along to stash anything you might buy along the way.
Travel Organization Tips: Cube it
Packing cubes come in a variety of shapes and sizes to fit almost every size of luggage and packing need – these days they also come in super lightweight nylon that nearly float away in their lightness. Some have breathable mesh on one side and a moisture-proof (a.k.a. stink-proof) mesh liner on the other. Fill the open mesh side with rolled up socks, rolled underwear, rolled T-shirts, etc. As items get worn and dirty, they get loaded onto the other side until laundry time. Some also have double zips so you can compress your cubes, once loaded, or leave them uncompressed and thus larger if your collection grows on a trip. Buy cubes of different colors, so you can readily identify for example undies in one, workout gear in another, and miscellaneous items in another. Mesh cubes make it much easier to get through security checkpoints fast if a hand inspection is called for.
We have also found that a small zip cube in a light color is great to toss in a shoulder bag for quick access to necessities like wallet, phone or glasses. You can even use a nylon handle that often exists on the cubes to attach them to smaller shoulder-carry items like camera bags to add a little extra carry-along room.
Travel Organization Tips Fold it
Taking a page from high-end clothiers, good packing folders contain a folding board that will help you fold your clothes correctly, flat and wrinkle-free — although you can also leave the board at home to save a little weight. Once items are folded, they are simply stacked inside the folder, with pants, jackets and skirts on the bottom and dress shirts on top. Collars should be alternated, facing in opposite directions. This will keep the folder balanced. With the folding board slipped on top and the packing folder secured with hook-and-loop closures, your clothing will remain essentially wrinkle-free and ready-to-wear upon arrival even if tossed loosely into a duffel or travel pack. You can mix colors to identify whose folder is whose without a need for rummaging inside.
This travel packing system works especially well for nicer apparel, such as blouses, button-front shirts or trousers and slacks. Non-wrinkle-prone like knitwear, however, items can be easily folded lengthwise and rolled tightly – or compressed (see first item above).
Travel Organization Tips: Hang it
Think small here. We’ve seen toiletry kits that are large enough to require wheels just to get them from the luggage to the bathroom — not ideal. This is the perfect time to acquire a selection of accessory bottles with screw-on or pop-open lids — 2-ounce to 3.4-ounce maximum capacity (100 ml max size for carry-on, per security rules). We have found that most tops that tilt to flip open with a thumb push aren’t secure – they often don’t close tightly and you get “goo” everywhere.
These travel containers will be used to pack along sufficient shampoo, conditioner, potions, lotions and pills to last the duration of your trip. Remember, however, you can also in most countries buy supplies in local stores so don’t feel as if you need to carry enough for several weeks if your trip is lengthier. Or, you can just wait and buy all of them upon arrival.
Toiletry kits should be compact, offer organizer pockets, and stow efficiently and securely into the luggage without taking up too much room. They should also protect the contents of the luggage should a bottle inadvertently develop an unfortunate need to leak its contents.
Travel Organization Tips: Shoe Sack
Your will learn the value of a shoe sack the first time you attempt to mix a smelly, dirty shoe from a long run or walk, with clean, previously uncontaminated clothing in the same luggage — results are not pleasant. Shoe sacks keep the dirt contained and also prevent shoes, if you are packing dress shoes, from becoming nicked or scuffed by zippers and sharp edges inside the luggage. And bleeeccccch, who wants the bottom of your shoes, that have been on some likely unsavory terrain, hanging out next to your other stuff?