28 Unique Packing Travel Hacks You Need to Know Before You Go

Efficient packing can make the difference between a hectic travel experience and a seamless one. Here are my top packing travel hacks to help you maximise space, minimise hassle, and travel smarter.

Packing travel hacks

Are you looking for packing hacks to save space? These packing tips for international travel are guaranteed to help you pack your suitcase or backpack efficiently, so you don’t need to worry about luggage weights at the airport, or finding that essential item when you land.

These suitcase packing hacks will help you plan what to take, how to pack it, and how to organise your possessions for maximum efficiency. So, read on for the best travel packing hacks!

Best Packing Hacks for Travelling

All the best travel packing tips you need in your life.

Packing travel hacks for your electronics

1. Use an Apple AirTag, Tile, or similar

You just leave the AirTag in your checked luggage and then you can see exactly where it is, and when it’ll arrive. The wait at the baggage carousel becomes all the less stressful for it!

These are useful for keeping everywhere TBH – I have one attached to my car keys. You can find a cheaper version here.

2. Get a long strap for your phone

If you’re always getting your phone out, putting it away, and then having the fear that it’s gone (me!), then attaching it to a long strap might relieve some of those ‘oh god I’ve lost my phone’ moments.

You can just attach the long strap to the inside of your bag, or your pocket. Always make sure Find My Phone is turned on too. Here are more tips for not losing your phone – from someone who used to lose their phone a lot.

3. Pack an external battery

Get an external battery with different types of charging sockets on so you’re never caught without charge for your essentials while you’re travelling. You can get them pretty cheaply now, and they’re invaluable in times of need.

Check out my guide to external chargers for festivals if you want some advice on which one to buy.

4. Pack a four bar extension lead 

Take one of these beauties on your adventures and you won’t need to faff around with all the adaptors for your kit. It’s also a great way to keep all your charging equipment in one place to reduce your chances of leaving it behind.

You could even just take all your chargers and leads plugged in, for minimal charging drama. This is one of my top packing hacks for travel – it works so well!

Packing tricks for children

5. Pack Dobble and Uno 

They don’t take up much space but are always useful for passing the time at airports and stations, and in the evening too. Use this packing travel hack, instead of whipping the TV out all the time – although that’s great too!

6. Pack separate little boxes of food

If I gave my son a portioned lunch box he’d want it all right now, and pester me till it was empty. Instead, spread the snacks out using little tupperware boxes. Remember how many you’ve packed though, to avoid finding some mangey sandwiches a few days later.  Don’t be tempted to go cheap on the Tupperware – make sure it’s BPA approved for food.

7. Take an inflatable paddling pool

Or, you could always buy one when you’re there. But, these are great on the beach or by the pool for little ones. Just pop them in there, with a few toys, and they’ll be happy for hours – or at least 10 minutes. Also a great spot to sit and eat some ice cream and just wash it away (for you or the baby / toddler).

8. Don’t pack EVERYTHING for babies

Remember, people have babies all over the world. You’ll be able to buy a lot of the baby things you want to buy when you’re there. Definitely wipes, usually nappies – although when we were in Ibiza we couldn’t find any big enough for our little guy. You can also get food and drink for babies to save taking it in the luggage.

what to pack for toddlers

Check out my specific packing lists for babies and another packing checklist for toddlers, here. You don’t need it all!

9. Take milk in an insulated bottle 

If you’re worried about having the right chilled milk for your little one, you could pack it in a cold insulated bottle when you get through security. Just buy some from WHSmith or Boots and it’ll stay cold for hours.

My Hydroflask says it keeps drinks cold for 12 hours – that should give you long enough to get to your next cold milk.

10. Take an extra tote for the plane

Sometimes it feels like the amount of stuff a kid has just regenerates. Take an extra tote bag on the plane so you can decant some of it.

I find this really helps me to stay organised on the flight as I can put what he really needs in the tote bag and have that with us, and then put the rucksack up top. It just gives us that little bit more space to manoeuvre in our seats – and it means I have snacks and a nappy easily on hand.

Organisational travel packing hacks

11. Use travel packing cubes 

Even if you don’t officially buy a bunch of packing cubes (recommended), you can pack your possessions in smaller bags to section them off. This really helps when you’re trying to organise your suitcase as you go, and you can see what you’ve got left and clean better too!

winter packing list

Want to go further with your suitcase packing hacks? Well, if you’re sharing a case – have a colour for your packing cubes each.

12. Foldable toiletry bags for everything 

These foldable toiletry bags are great for organising your bits and bobs – especially kids’ clothing, toiletries and toys too. Just don’t leave them hanging round the room, and NEVER on the back of a door. Guaranteed to forget them that way!

13. Use hanging packing cubes

These hanging packing cubes are really good for staying organised if you’re in a small space, like if you’re going campervanning or camping at all. You can just pack your smaller items in there, and then lift them out when you arrive.

14. Try a shoe organiser, for clothes

I saw this really cool packing hack on TikTok where the mum had packed all the baby clothes in one of those shoe organisers, so all the outfits and nappies were carefully distributed between them. Such a good way to have all you need on hand to grab out of the suitcase.

This could be another great way to stay organised as you travel.

15. Organise your back pack with clear zip bags

If not zip bags, then at least unique smaller bags so you know where everything is immediately, and can quickly put your hands on it.  

16. Use a travel jewellery box 

These travel jewellery boxes are great for keeping all your precious bits together, without just letting them get tangled in a bag. They look good too!

Top travel packing hack: thread necklaces through drinking straws and fasten the clasp. This keeps them from tangling.

17. Use a cords and leads organiser

I have this one from Amazon. It helps to keep all my cords and leads organised and in one place for travels – meaning I’m not faffing about trying to pull them apart in my bag. Much like the jewellery!

18. Put socks in shoes

Make use of all that space when your feet aren’t in them!

Stuff your socks down into your shoes. That way you’re not only making the most of the space, you’ll also be ready to go when you get to your destination.

19. Make sure to pack a sealable laundry bag

You don’t want the eau de holiday to take over your clean stuff, do you?

I’d recommend taking a sealable laundry bag to keep the filth from the fresh.

Top luggage packing hacks

20. Research your destination

To pack efficiently for your destination, you need to know what the weather is usually like at the time you’re going, and what it’s predicted to be when you’re there. Then, take a look at some packing guides for your destination for tips too.

packing hacks for travelling

I’ve written a few packing guides for the destinations I’ve been to:

21. Don’t overpack

This has to be the number one packing hack for travel.

Pack, and then take at least 10% out, ideally 25% – you don’t need it all! Less stuff, less stress – the more stuff you own, the more it owns you! 

Packing list for the Carribbean

You’ll find travelling a lot easier the less you have. It still makes me cringe when I think about how many toys I took when I took my toddler to Jordan. It was totally unnecessary and made the taxi journeys a game of Tetris before we even got in. Pack light. You can buy things there.

22. Take key items

Having said that – you want to have your essentials. A hat is often useful for changes in weather, a thermal top doesn’t take up much space, a sarong is a useful and adaptable idea and merino wool is always a good idea.

Take the testers from hotel rooms, and reuse the bottles. You don’t need to waste money on miniatures if you just decant your shampoo and conditioner into the small bottles. 

Shoe packing tip: Place the bottoms of your shoes in a disposable shower cap to separate them from your clothes and keep your items clean. Or, just put them in a carrier bag, of course. I wouldn’t bother with expensive shoe covers!

23. Plan to do laundry on the road 

If you’re going for any longer than just a few days then doing laundry while you’re travelling can save a lot of hassle. When we were in Jordan I was expecting to do this, but there was never the facilities. Cue me trying to wash my son’s clothes in the shower!

On our recent trip to Lanzarote though, we stayed in a villa and so I did a wash every second day to stay on top of toddler laundry and so I wasn’t overwhelmed by laundry when I got back home. In places like Vietnam for example, it was very easy to get my clothes washed at the launderettes in the cities.

24. Roll / fold / vacuum clothes 

Well, the debate goes on. What IS the best way to pack your clothes?

Personally, I’ve tried vacuum packing them and I wasn’t convinced. It was a lot of faff. I’ve done the folding thing – that’s just instinctive, right?

It’s the rolling that takes the top packing style for me though. It’s definitely the best use of space in my view. Rolling your clothes instead of folding them not only saves space but also reduces wrinkling. Rolled clothes can be packed more tightly and can fill up the nooks and crannies in your luggage.

Place your clothes on top of each other, and then roll them all together to get items as condensed as possible.

25. Know your luggage limits 

Having to repack your bag at check in because you’ve packed too much is the worst. You’ll undo all your good packing skills. Make sure you know exactly how many kilos you’re allowed, and how many you have, before you go to the airport. Make sure those figures match!

packing hacks for travel

You can get this luggage weigher to check, if you need. Don’t take your maximum luggage allowance – that’s asking for trouble. Dirty washing seems to weigh more, and you might want to pick something up while you’re there too.

26. Use the right suitcase for the occasion

Medium sized suitcases are great for city breaks and beach holidays – as you’ll probably need less stuff. If you’re going on an adventure holiday then you’ll want something you can carry on your back. And if you’re going long haul sightseeing, then a bigger suitcase is probably a good idea.

Antler Clifton review

I’m currently using these snazzy Antler ones I was gifted. Love them – and Reggie loves pushing and riding them too!

27. Pack your first outfit on top

So, you’ve taken all my advice above to make sure your suitcase is packed properly and efficiently, but what happens when you arrive in your destination and you just need an outfit to go out in? Well, pack that outfit on top.

Kokkari Bay

All your other clothes will be rolled up together, but save one outfit on top (complete with fresh underwear) you can access easily. Then you don’t need to go searching, and trashing all your organisation, for that one outfit to leave the hotel in.

28. Don’t forget your reusable water bottle!

C’mon, it’s whatever year it is – we don’t buy plastic water bottles anymore. Get yourself a Hydroflask water bottle and you’ll be able to fill up at the airport, the hotel and in restaurants with ease. Save your money!

Sneaking more on the plane

It seems to be a sport now – to see what extras you can get on the plane. From wearing all your clothes, to concealing it under a coat, to buying a specially adapted travel pillow stuffed with knickers, there are a few packing hacks to get more of your stuff on the plane, but let’s save that for another post, shall we?

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