5 Brilliant Items That Make Packing Easier
Our top picks for clever packing tools for a neater suitcase will help you stay stress-free now and later.
Going on vacation is undeniably fun—but packing a suitcase for that travel is decidedly less fun. Fitting everything on the vacation packing checklist in a suitcase is an accomplishment all by itself, though that can sometimes mean reaching a vacation destination with wrinkled, crumpled clothes or a white shirt that was packed next to some shoes and is now sporting some unpleasant dirt marks.
If getting everything you need into a suitcase before the big trip is the only thing stopping you from entering into full-on vacation mode, you’re not alone. As many travelers can attest, finding ways to keep your items organized and wrinkle-free without adding extra weight to your suitcase is a daunting task. From keeping your dirty shoes and clean clothes separate to helping you find exactly what you need upon arrival, we’ve curated a travel packing list of clever items that will make packing (and unpacking) a cinch no matter where your travels take you.
Each type of travel has its own wardrobe, and its own packing requirements. A trip to the beach calls for packing cubes or wet bags to keep damp bathing suits and sandy towels separate from post-beach happy hour clothes. A business trip requires packing tools to help prevent wrinkles and creases and to protect boardroom-ready shoes from scuffs and dings. And a leisure trip to explore a new city could benefit from some sturdy shoe bags, to keep dirt from the streets off clean clothes.
With these clever packing tools, fitting everything you need—and keeping it all clean, neat, and unwrinkled—for a successful travel experience will be a breeze. No matter what happens on the journey, may it be extensive layovers, flight delays, or missed connections, you can rest easy knowing your suitcase’s contents are in good shape.
Ever open your carefully packed suitcase only to find it a hot mess after touchdown? Packing cubes will organize all of your essentials and help keep them that way—even as your luggage is jostled to and fro en route to its final destination. As an added bonus, these mesh ones allow you to see what’s in each compartment, so you won’t have to tear apart your entire suitcase looking for that one thing you need before checking your bag at the airport.
To buy: $45; amazon.com.
When poolside lounging and piña coladas are this close, the last thing you want to worry about is ironing your rumpled cover-up once you reach your locale. To prevent silks and cottons from getting wrinkled in your suitcase, try packing them in plastic garment bags—plastic reduces friction, which causes those stubborn creases and lines. Better yet, you can buy garment bags in bulk for next to nothing, or simply use one you’ve had lying around from the dry cleaners at no extra charge.
To buy: $1 each; ebay.com.
Mesh bags are extremely versatile, making them a go-to packing accessory. Use them to stow your delicates, group toiletries together, and even separate your dirty laundry.
To buy: $5; amazon.com.
These travel bags—available with drawstring or zippered closures—have rave reviews, and with good reason: The bags are waterproof and available in larger sizes for those with bigger feet. The bags are also lightweight and good for use as a toiletry bag, dirty clothes holder, and more. They are even large enough for heeled shoes—great news for travelers who like to dress up on the go.
To buy: 4 for $12; amazon.com.
Keep your cosmetics and other toiletries carefully contained in this customizable case, which has a brush holder, inner compartments, and a removable pouch. It is tall enough for bottles and tubes to stand upright, or you can neatly stack everything inside for quick access once you reach your destination (or during a layover). The case takes up a lot of real estate in your suitcase, but all your liquids (really, all of them) will be carefully contained inside, keeping your items organized and your clothes and shoes dry and clean during your travels.
To buy: $52; sephora.com.