Over the years I’ve amassed quite a collection of what I’ve dubbed “packing helpers,” aka items that help you pack more efficiently. The 5 bags/cubes above are all items that I own and use depending on the type of trip I’m taking.
Essential Packing Helpers
It doesn’t matter if I’m leaving my house on an overnight trip. If I plan on bringing more than one pair of shoes (and I almost always bring more than one pair), I bring a shoe bag along. The thought of the dirty soles of my shoes brushing up against my clean clothing just grosses me out. I own the Ame & Lulu Drawstring Shoe Bag ($36*). I purchased 3 of these bags a couple of years ago, and while I generally don’t need 3 for myself, I make my husband use one as well. Generally I can fit 2 pairs of shoes, sole to sole, in each drawstring bag. The drawstring closes tight, keeping all shoe smells and any debris off of my clothing.
Similar bags: Embroided Shoe Bag ($14 at Last Call) // Monogrammed Floral Shoe Bag ($18.67 at Horchow) // Set of 2 Shoe Bags ($24 at Henri Bendel) // Purple Shoe Bag ($17.99 at eBags) // Set of 2 Peekaboo Shoe Bags ($29.45 at BagsBuy.com)
In a pinch, use a plastic bag!
Like shoe bags, I ALWAYS use a packing cube or two. I feel the same way about my underwear floating around in my suitcase as I do my shoes. Namely, gross. Thus, I always use a small cube for my undies, even on a short trip. If I’m using a large suitcase I will use the other packing cubes to store tees and tanks in because I find it’s helpful for separating clean clothes from dirty clothes. If I’m using a carry-on suitcase I will not use a bunch of packing cubes because they take up too much space. I can’t even remember where or when I purchased my packing cubes because I’ve had them so long, but my set is almost identical to what’s in the image above.
I have used a Vera Bradley Brush and Pencil Case ($26) to carry my makeup for probably the last 10 years. I generally don’t travel with a ton of makeup, so this small size fits my needs well. (I used to travel with lots of makeup but I’ve slowly whittled things down to just the bare necessities.) I can throw this small makeup bag into my purse or into my carry-on bag with ease. I don’t like keeping my other toiletry items with my makeup because if I’m doing the carry-on thing I’ll generally have liquids that need to be scanned at security. Thus, all of my regular toiletries get their own special Ziploc bag while my makeup can stay in the Vera Bradley case tucked away in my purse.
Special Occasion Packing Helpers
I don’t use my toiletry bag all that often, and generally reserve it for trips that necessitate checking a bag larger than my carry-on. In a weird way this kind of bums me out because I love my Ame & Lulu Toiletries Bag ($58*)! This bag opens flat to reveal two huge zippered clear vinyl pockets, which means if something opens up and spills in transit the only items that will be affected are those items sharing the same pocket. Additionally, each of these pockets contains an additional zippered pocket, which means this toiletry bag has four different zippered pockets! I’ve taken this bag to Europe and to Australia/New Zealand and it has held up great. It holds everything I need, plus some (including full-size products), and it cleans up easily (because of course I’ve had spills!).
Wet Bathing Suit Bag
I don’t need my Ame & Lulu Wet Bathing Suit Bag ($36*) every time I go on a trip, but it sure came in handy on our recent trip to St. Lutia! Obviously we wanted to stay in the pool as long as we possibly could, which meant that our suits were still wet when it was time to catch our flight. A wet suit isn’t a concern with a bathing suit bag. The bags are coated with vinyl on the inside so the bag itself won’t get wet and leak onto the other clothes in your suitcase. Just throw your wet suit into the bag and you’re good to go, with no worries about the rest of your clothes getting wet or gross. My husband and I each have one of these bags. I could probably get two of my bathing suits into one bag, but it’s a little small for a bathing suit plus swim trunks.
That’s it, all of the packing helpers that help me pack more efficiently, whether I’m going on a short trip or a long one. When not in use I store all of these bags inside another suitcase so I always know where they are at a moments notice.
*I have not lost my frugal loving mind and did not pay full price for these bags! I frequently see Ame & Lulu products pop up at One Kings Lane and Joss & Main, so of course I utilized these sites to get my bags for less!
Do you use any of these products? What packing helpers do you use anytime you travel?