20 Travel Packing Hacks: Total Game-Changer You Must Know 2023

There are many ways to pack efficiently, all the while sparing you from any frustrations. Today, we are sharing 20 travel packing hacks that help. These are simple, easy to do, and can significantly help your time on the road.

Travel Packing Hacks

Overpacking or underpacking is a problem every wanderlust has encountered at some point. Our tips and tricks will help you pack well and lightly across destinations.

Packing, admittedly, is not the most fun thing to do. But with a few changes, you can make it more painless for every trip from now. Let’s dive in to learn how you could do that!

1. Roll Your Clothes

Roll, roll, roll, and you can pack extra stuff into your suitcase. Photo by Kindel Media on Pexels

The rolling method is the biggest revolution in packing yet. Folded clothing takes more space than their rolled counterparts. Plus, rolling prevents your pieces from becoming creases and wrinkles.

An advanced form of this technique is the Ranger roll. Once finished, your clothes will look like a tight burrito that won’t easily come undone. It’s a practice favoured by the US soldiers, after all.

It’s hard to believe such a simple trick can change how you pack drastically. However, rolling takes extra time compared to the traditional way of folding. But everything is worth it for the benefits it brings.

2. Packing Organisers Are A Godsend

“A place for everything and everything in its place” - packing cubes can help you follow this philosophy. Photo by Timur Weber on Pexels

These handy travel accessories compartmentalise so everything can be put neatly in your suitcase. Some swear by the use of packing cubes. And we think that couldn’t be more true.

Investing in a set is worth it as it makes tracing and organising your items a breeze. When you need a quick laundry bag or a makeshift pillow, the cells can be it. They are very versatile and can be used however you want.

But organisers aren’t limited to just packing cubes or compression bags. You can use pill containers and pouches for the same purpose. However, they are more suited to storing smaller items.

3. Wear Your Heaviest Clothes

This is one of the oldest, and perhaps most used, tricks in the book. But it never disappoints. Wearing your hiking boots, sweaters and jackets also reduce weight in your luggage (both carry-on and checked).

If you are on a winter trip, consider carrying your equipment, such as a ski, instead of trying to stuff it into your suitcase. It can be chilly on the plane. So aside from your outfits on a plane, taking a fur coat may help.

When you put on your bulky items, remember to utilise the extra pockets with them. By keeping your valuables close, you keep them extra safe.

4. Organise With Your Travelling Companions

Planning and packing are half the fun, especially with friends. Photo by Yakobchuk Olena - stock.adobe.com

There’s nothing as much fun as finding a mate and planning your trip together. You can communicate beforehand to share luggage space and items like Bluetooth speakers or toothpaste.

Look out for each other. Make sure a person packs the necessities such as a first aid kit, emergency numbers, or travel documents. It’s just a tiny gesture, but it can help deepen your bond and make the trip even more fun.

You can stuff one set of clean underwear and clothes into your companions’ bags. That way, when your bags are delayed or lost, you won’t be naked or wearing stinky clothes for a long time.

Tips: Some airlines even allow passengers of the same party to share baggage allowance, be sure to take advantage of it.

5. Plan And Pack Early

Packing at the last minute is a recipe for disaster. You should start assembling stuff into your suitcase about one week, or at least 2-3 days, in advance. The majority of time should be spent on researching and planning.

Besides learning about your destination, you should consult the airlines’ policies regarding baggage restrictions. You can avoid any headaches or unnecessary fees at the airport just by checking in advance.

You should combine this step with our following tips to ensure you have every essential you need at hand. When you have spare time, you can lay out everything to double-check or reconsider what to bring.

6. Make A Packing List

One sheet of paper could reduce your stress to an unexpected level. Photo by LIGHTFIELD STUDIOS - stock.adobe.com

A simple travel checklist can do wonders for your packing. It seems obvious, but this one simple step can help you save a lot of time. A checklist helps you keep track of everything and stay organised at all times.

Things can be hard to keep track of with just a mental note, especially the little things. Towels and sunscreen can be easily left behind on a beach vacation. Even essential items like undergarments or contact lenses are no exception.

As you check and put your items one by one, from top to bottom, into the suitcase, everything is organised and in check. Plus, it can help you decide what to bring and leave behind more effectively.

7. Make A DIY First Aid Kit

Health care on the road is essential. Be sure to take with you at least one first aid kit.

Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya on Pexels

Do you have some cuts and bruises? Pop on a plaster, and the problem’s solved. Food poisoning? Paracetamol can ease your pain. A minor injury might come back to bite you, so always be prepared.

We are not doctors or experts. We will provide only general tips on assembling a simple one for mild sickness and injuries. Simply find a soft pouch or a first aid bag and put everything you need into it. As for what items you should take, here are some pointers:

  • Prescriptions
  • Face masks
  • Antibacterial wipes
  • Anti-diarrhoea medication
  • Plaster (band-aid)
  • Gauze & Tape
  • Moleskin
  • Scissors & Tweezers
  • antiseptic
  • List of emergency phone numbers.

8. Build A Travel Capsule Wardrobe

Packing light with a casual capsule wardrobe doesn’t mean you lack mix-and-match options. Photo by Olga - stock.adobe.com

How to keep things hassle-free when travelling? Easy, keep your wardrobe simple. A collection of basic, functional clothing will help you stay stylish and worry-free on your journey.

Opt for neutral-coloured clothes even if you don’t plan to build a travel capsule wardrobe. They are so easy to mix and match. Another factor is considering a colour palette for your entire wardrobe.

You can keep a seasonal wardrobe (one for summer, one for winter) or the same capsule wardrobe all year round. Nevertheless, ensure that you can create a variety of outfits just from a few staple clothing pieces.

9. Put Things Into Your Shoes

Why leave the inside of your shoes empty when you can utilise that space. Photo by Ray Piedra on Pexels

You should stuff your shoes with soft materials such as socks and underwear to make use of those extra space. Alternatively, it’s possible to pack earrings, necklaces, and other jewellery; remember to wrap them with bubble wrap first. This helps you save space and protects small items thanks to the rigid structure of the shoes.

Likewise, hats can be used in the same way. Lay your hats upside down and stuff them with socks and smaller items. This is also an excellent way to keep your non-collapsable hats in shape.

10. Ensure Everything Is Multi-Functional

When you pack anything that is double-duty, you lighten your load. Why pack a separate shampoo and conditioner bottle when you can have a 2-in-1? The possibilities are endless.

For instance, a Sarong can transform into a blanket, towel, something to cover yourself at religious sites, or a shawl. Another good example is a spork, multi-functional cutlery that is both a spoon and a fork.

The list of small, cheap and versatile travel objects is long. Always think twice before packing anything. We are sure that there are always more convenient options available somewhere.

11. Bring A Secondary Compact Bag

A foldable and water-resistant bag for backup is a total game changer. They don’t take up much space when folded. When you go to the beaches or explore, just unfold, and you will have hand-free storage space.

You may already have a small cabin bag on hand. But more bags are always good and handy when you want to purchase more stuff or gifts, but your bags are already full.

12. Keep Your Clothes Fresh And Smell Good

The easiest method is to keep your stuff air out. This means hanging up your clothes whenever possible. But this is not always the most practical, given you frequently have to move from one place to another during travel.

That is when you need to put dryer sheets or baking soda in the suitcase to keep things smelling fresh. Cedar chips and essential oils are your best friends if you prefer a more natural solution.

If you are wearing perfume or cologne, remember: less is more. Overdoing it may impact how your clothes smell, especially in the enclosed suitcase space.

13. Layer Everything In Order Of Use

Careful packing and planning go a long way, even after the trip has begun. Photo by deagreez - stock.adobe.com

On the topic of rummaging, this is another way to get you out of it. Pack the outfits you want to wear on top and others you want to wear on the last days at the bottom.

Another common tip is putting bulky items (jeans or boots) at the bottom and layer lighter clothes on top of them. This arrangement stabilises your whole suitcase, to boot.

14. Save Some Space For Souvenirs

If you are travelling that far, isn’t it appropriate to bring more stuff on the return trip? 

Most are excited about the upcoming journey but forget about the trip back home. Saving a spare space for the items you can only find at the local shops is a wise practice.

That way, you can avoid the hassle of shipping everything to your home country and the cost of it. Plus, you can carry more if you go overboard with your shopping.

15. Bring Laundry Bags.

Packing dirty clothes shouldn’t be taken lightly. It could smell and make your clean clothes suffer the same fate if done wrong. Unless you do laundry while travelling, you should find a way to store dirty clothes.

As mentioned above, you can use a packing cube to store dirty clothes separately from clean ones. There should be at least two bags, one for lights and one for dark clothes.

Other alternatives, such as plastic bags, work fine. But you may want to stick to eco-friendly choices like laundry bags or beach towels. A local laundrette is only sometimes available, so be always prepared.

16. Pack Essentials And A Change Of Clothes In A Carry-On

Lost or delayed luggage is everyone’s worst nightmare. It can happen to the best of us. When you have your essentials or a set of clothes already in your carry-on, you won’t be left helpless in that situation.

This is especially true for daily medications that may not be for sale at your destination. Plus, it saves you the hassle of opening your luggage in the middle of the plane to get what you need.

17. Photograph Everything

Layout the content of your suitcase, then take a photo. This serves two purposes. One, it helps you keep track of everything to see if you have left anything behind when you pack to return.

Secondly, you take two photos: one before embarking and another when you return home. Compare them and see which items you used on your trip. Next time, leave that thing at home. You just make your pack efficient.

Another upside is a photo of travel documents can act as a backup. If things go wrong (they got stolen), it’s never a bad idea to have a secondary image of your ID, as evident.

18. Prevent Leakages With This One Simple Trick

As your luggage is jostled around during flights (and maybe due to altitude pressure), leakage is more likely to happen. But there’s a genius solution: putting clingfilm (plastic wrap) under toiletry bottle lids.

Even the best travel bottle may be prone to leakage, and such a trick prevent the lotion or shampoo from spilling all over your bags. Simply remove the caps, put a small clingwrap around the opening, and seal the bottle off.

19. Go Light And Digital

Lighter loads mean fewer things to worry about when travelling. Photo by Mediteraneo - stock.adobe.com

Here’s a tip: you can go carry-only. With the right backpack and packing method, it’s feasible. Fewer items to lug around mean more freedom on the road.

A smartphone or tablet is all you need for entertainment, booking, cashless payment, finding directions, etc. Remember to bring a universal power adapter and power bank to juice it up.

An e-reader like Kindle can change the way you read on the road. It can store up to thousands of books in its lightweight body. The best thing? Reading on a Kindle is easier on the eye.

20. Pick The Best Bags For The Occasion

Pick The Best Bags For The Occasion


A hard suitcase with wheels is the first thing people think of when they want to travel. They are good but a little immobile when dealing with rugged or rough terrain.

On the other hand, backpacks are more suitable for going light and adventures. A bag is the way to go if you opt for the carry-only route. 

Each has its pros and cons. In summary, roller suitcases are best for flatland travel and keep suits wrinkle-free, while backpacks are ideal when you travel from one place to another, especially on foot.

Easy, right? You can save so much time and effort with a little bit of how you do things differently. And that’s all we have to say about the best travel packing hacks.

Are there any tips and tricks that you find helpful on your journey? Don’t forget to share so that other travellers can have the same life-changing experience as you do.

And while you are at it, please share this article so that everyone can enjoy the benefits of such awesome travel packing hacks. Have a good trip, wanderlust!

Bao Tieu

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