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If you’ve traveled by plane in the past few months or watched any news coverage on airports lately, you know that lost luggage has also become a major issue, along with delays and flight cancellations. If baggage fees weren’t enough of a deterrent for you to skip full-sized rolling luggage already, images of lost luggage in airports across North America have pushed most travelers into rethinking whether they need to bring a backup outfit for every day they are away from home. If an airport is in your future, you need travel hacks.
Specifically, we’re talking about travel packing hacks, like the newly popular Apple Airtags technique for keeping track of your belongings.
Apple Airtags have become one of the most popular travel companions, helping owners locate their lost luggage that has taken an unplanned detour.
Packing lighter is another way travelers can have a less stressful trip, and that’s why we wanted to put together some of our favorite TikTok-inspired packing hacks. That can mean using space-saving travel hacks so that you’re only checking one bag instead of two or fitting all your belongings into a carry-on for shorter trips.
When making your packing list, keep in mind a few tips that will help pare down your belongings.
- Choose clothes that are from the same color palette. This will make it easier for you to mix and match.
- Look for nooks and crannies. We are big fans of packing socks and underwear into shoes and hats. Not only does this utilize valuable space, but it also helps the larger items hold their shape.
- Don’t pack clothes for every day if you’re gone for more than five days. Whether you’re staying at someone’s house, an Airbnb or a hotel, you will likely have access to a washing machine or laundry service. You can also pack a travel-sized bottle of laundry detergent and wash your clothes in a bathroom sink.
- Roll your clothes. Why does this work? We’re not sure, but it does, and it can help ensure clothes arrive without wrinkles.
Don’t let baggage fees and lost luggage scare you off your next trip. Instead, pack smarter with a few simple travel and packing hacks that will save you time and space. More room for souvenirs? Yes, please!
1. Stow-N-Go Travel Luggage Organizer and Packing Cube Space Saver
Being organized is one of the best ways to pack less, which is why we like the Stow-N-Go Travel Luggage Organizer and Packing Cube Space Saver. The hanging closet design of the Stow-N-Go helps travelers see all their clothes in one spot, making it easier to remove unnecessary items before leaving home. The Stow-N-Go has a compression feature that helps reduce the size of clothing by 30 percent while still providing structure and organization. A zippered section at the bottom of the case can be used to store valuables at the start of the trip and keep dirty laundry separate from clean clothes. Travelers can fit the Stow-N-Go into carry-on suitcases less than 20” or use two in a full-sized suitcase. We also like the Stow-N-Go for forgetful travelers who want to keep all their items in one place and avoid the risk of leaving items behind in a hotel.
Stow-N-Go Travel Luggage Organizer and Packing Cube Space Saver
2. Hibag 12-Pack Roll-Up Space Saver Storage Bags for Travel
BEST SPACE SAVER
I packed for myself and my two kids for a two-month trip home this past summer in only two suitcases using vacuum-sealed bags. They are a game-changer. If you’re traveling to a destination where you’ll have access to a vacuum, or you have room to pack the included pump, a more robust option like these Spacesaver bags are your best bet since you can fit more in them, and they are highly durable, making it easy to reuse them. This set of Hibag compression bags are also useful because they don’t require a vacuum or pump and still compress clothes efficiently. They do take a bit more work to get the air out but can save you a ton of space and the 12-pack has sizes that work for carry-on luggage and full-sized suitcases.
3. LeanTravel Compression Packing Cubes
Compression packing cubes are another great travel hack to save space in your luggage. They typically don’t compress as much as vacuum-sealed bags, but they still add space and are a great way to keep your suitcase organized. You’ve probably heard of this popular packing hack, but seeing just how easy they are to use may convince you to finally order some of your own.
To make the most of these packing hacks, you can pack for multiple people in one suitcase using the compression cubes or organize your clothing by days or activities.
4. Bumkins Waterproof Wet Bag
Bumkins is a baby and toddler company that makes everything from bibs to silicone dishes for little ones, but we love their waterproof wet bag for travel. Initially designed as a place for parents to store their child’s soiled clothes and diapers while on the go, the Wet Bag is also a great travel hack. Throw in your wet bathing suit during a day trip, store your smelly gym clothes after a workout, or keep your toiletries organized. We also like storing just-in-case items, including a shirt, a pair of underwear and socks, a toothbrush and deodorant in the Wet Bag and keeping it with our carry-on in case our luggage is delayed. A side clip makes it easy for users to attach the Wet Bag to their carry-on, meaning it won’t take up room inside the bag. We’ve had our Bumkins Wet Bag for years and washed it countless times. It still looks great and dries fast, another bonus for travel use.
5. Homest Laundry Bag
BEST FOR DIRTY CLOTHES
I’ve previously written about my love for laundry bags while traveling and it’s worth repeating. Affordable, convenient and versatile, the two-pack of XL laundry bags from Homest are a great packing hack when using a full-sized suitcase. They can help organize clothes at the start of your trip and keep dirty and clean clothes separate at your destination. The laundry bags can be used for trips to the laundry mat while you’re traveling and can also double as a day bag for the beach (they hold a lot of towels).
6. Fjallraven Kanken Hip Pack
BEST FANNY PACK
Hip packs or fanny packs have come back into style and this early 1990s staple is the ultimate traveling companion. Keep your most important items on you with a fanny pack like the Fjallraven Kanken Hip Pack. We especially like this model since it has a stiff exterior that holds its shape, making it easy to quickly find your passport, credit cards, phone, earbuds, lip balm, hand sanitizer and more when going through security or running to make your connection. The adjustable strap allows users to wear it cross-body or around their waist. We also like the top loop for attaching items, including water bottles. A fanny pack helps frees up more space in your carry-on and most airlines don’t count these smaller items as carry-on or as a personal item. If you’ve ever forgotten an item at security, you’ll also appreciate that a fanny pack can provide a convenient place to keep all the items you typically hold in your pockets.
Read More: The Best Fanny Packs You Can Buy Today
7. Men’s Arrowood Triclimate Jacket
We’ve tried a lot of jackets at SPY, and the Men’s Arrowood Triclimate from North Face is one of our favorites. This versatile jacket is ideal for travel since it has an outer waterproof and windproof shell with a hood and an inner fleece layer that can be removed and worn separately, giving customers three jackets in one. Great for fall or spring, this layer-friendly jacket works for hikes and nights out on the town. It has zippered pockets for securely storing passports, credit cards, phones, and personal items.
Read More: The Best Men’s Technical Jackets
8. Beveetio Travel Bottles
BEST FOR LIQUIDS
We know that suggesting travel-sized toiletry bottles isn’t groundbreaking, but for toiletry bottles to be useful, they must meet certain criteria. Is there a variety of sizes? Are they easy to label? Simple to fill? Will they remain securely closed while in transit? The Beveetio Travel Bottles check all these boxes. The 15-pack includes smaller containers, larger squeeze bottles, and a pump spray. It includes two plastic paddle sticks that help move lotions and creams from larger containers into the smaller, TSA-approved cream boxes. All made with BPA-free material, the leak-proof containers can be stored in the included clear bag, which is great for going through security.
9. Harry’s Shave and Shower Kit
BEST DOPP KIT
This convenient grooming kit is one of the best packing hacks for men worried about losing toiletries when they go through TSA airport security. If you don’t want to make your dopp kit, you can still save space with a set like Harry’s Shave and Shower Kit. It’s one of our favorite dopp kits thanks to its durable design, which consists of tear-resistant fabric. The TSA-friendly kit comes with a Harry’s razor, shave gel, face wash and 2-in-1 shampoo and conditioner. There’s still room for extra toiletries, making it easy to keep all your grooming goods in one compact space.
Read More: The Best Men’s Toiletry Dopp Kits
10. Mophie 3-in-1 Wireless Charging Pad
Cords aren’t the biggest item you pack when traveling, but you still want to cut where you can. For Apple users, a charging pad like the Mophie 3-in-1 makes it possible to charge your iPhone, Apple Watch and AirPods in one spot with one cord. Not only does this save space, but it also requires one outlet versus three and means fewer cords to lose/get tangled in your bag.
Read More: Best Mophie Deals
11. The North Face Borealis School Laptop Backpack
BEST PERSONAL BAG
Choosing a personal item for your next trip can be a big decision. You want something that is lightweight but won’t break mid-trip. It needs a thoughtful organizational structure without so many pockets that you can’t find important items. Depending on your travels, it may have to look good in a restaurant and on a hiking trail. That’s why we like The North Face Borealis School Laptop Backpack. The light but durable backpack has Flex Vent technology to help keep you cool, a removable waistbelt and sternum strap that are great for all-day wearing, two extended mesh water bottle pockets and a spacious main compartment that includes a padded laptop sleeve that also works for tablets. We also like the front bungee system that can hold a jacket, shoes, or other items, helping to free up room in your bag that would otherwise be taken up by bulky items.
Read More: The Best Backpacks for College Students
12. The Large Everywhere Bag by Away
Whether your carry-on is your only piece of luggage or you’re using it in addition to a checked bag, make the most of your space with a bag that is easy to organize. The Large Everywhere Bag by Away is one of our favorite carry-on options because the full zip opening allows it to open flat like a suitcase. This makes it easy to see everything in your bag and utilize packing hacks, like compression cubes and vacuum bags. The bag has a padded laptop sleeve and several zippered pockets for secure organization. We also like the trolley sleeve that allows travelers to slip the Everywhere Bag over the handle of a rolling suitcase.
Read More: The Best Weekend Bags
13. FresKaro Auto Locking Carabiner Clips
BEST BAG EXTENDER
Fear not if you’ve run out of room in your luggage while traveling. A carabiner is a do-it-all accessory that can help extend the size of your luggage. Attach sneakers, a tote filled with bulky items like jackets, a water bottle, or a toiletry bag to the outside of your carry-on by securing it with a carabiner. A carabiner can also be used while you’re traveling to secure the straps of your backpack or duffel to a chair or table to thwart thieves.
14. Cincha Travel Belt
The Cincha Travel Belt allows travelers to turn just about any bag into an easy-to-carry personal item. Great for day packs or large totes with souvenirs that your purchase while traveling, the Cincha secures bags to the handle of a suitcase, making it possible to use smaller daypacks, which typically don’t have a trolley sleeve passthrough, as personal items while traveling.
15. Customizable Snap Scarf by Lululemon
One of the best ways to travel light is to find items that can be multipurpose. I’ve been traveling with my Customizable Snap Scarf by Lululemon for about eight years and it has never let me down. Its Rulu fabric is super soft and easy to wash, it is sweat-wicking for active travelers and it has four-way stretch. The scarf comes in black or heathered herringbone and both look great for a night on the town or a day on the trails. It’s a scarf, a hood, a blanket, a pillow and your new favorite travel buddy for temperatures ranging from cool to downright frigid.