Suitcases have a tendency to go from perfectly organized to a jumbled mess very quickly during travel. Often, we’re faced with having to rush out the door to our next destination. Between random searches by the TSA and baggage handlers jostling your luggage around (and the contents within), you’re lucky if your things are still organized when you reach the hotel. Here are a few tips on keeping your things organized while traveling.
Sealable Plastic Bags
If you’re like me, you probably travel with an abundance of electronics including a camera, camcorder, laptop, iPad, mobile phone, extra batteries, and a wireless hotspot. All right, so I’m not the lightest of travelers, but I do manage to fit all of this gear in a single camera bag thanks to a modular system via sealable plastic bags.
For example, my camcorder batteries and charging cables go in one bag, and my mobile hotspot — along with its charging cables — go in another. When the TSA checks the bag, everything is in a clear modular compartment that the agent can easily see without having to rummage through cables. In the hotel room, I can easily grab the right cable for the right piece of equipment, plug it in, and return it to the bag once charging is complete. This also helps with keeping track of everything because you only have to remember how many packs you brought with you instead of every bit of gear piece by piece.
Modular Pouches or Packing Cubes
You can also invest in some modular pouches and/or packing cubes that fit inside your bigger piece of luggage. This is a trick that military forces have used for years to pack outrageous amounts of gear in a seemingly small space. These packs don’t look quite as cheap as plastic bags, and many of them are just as transparent for security checks. You can usually cram a lot in a single bag using the independent compression caused by the individual pouches to keep your clothing from overwhelming storage space.
Roll Your Clothes
If modular packing isn’t your cup of tea, you could try rolling your clothes. Folding is a great way to keep clothing neat and tidy in a drawer, but if you’re working with a limited space, you might find a rolled-up undershirt takes up a lot less room in your luggage. Further to that, a proper rolling technique will actually reduce the occurrence of wrinkles that can occur during travel.
Keep Items You Use Often at the Top of your Bag
Another important rule of thumb while traveling is to keep the items you access most often at the top of the bag. You never want to dig to the bottom of a bag to get the first thing you’ll need out. This will result in everything else either needing to be taken out, or being shifted into a disorganized mess. If at all possible, keep these items as close as possible to the bag’s opening.
With these tips in mind, you might find that you’ve not only kept your luggage organized, but saved a lot of extra space in the process.
What are your packing tips? Comments welcome.