By Travel & Packing Expert: Anne McAlpin

Did you know statistics show for a seven day trip most travelers pack and unpack an average of 8 times? Since your luggage is basically your home while traveling, keeping an organized bag will make your trip more enjoyable – and save valuable vacation time searching for items along the way.

When traveling, I like to use some of the same organizing principles as when at home – you know the saying:  ‘A place for everything and everything in its place’.  I find it’s easiest to do this by having an organizer for every category: tech, personal care, clothing, laundry, etc.

Here are five tips – and travel essentials – to help keep you organized on your next trip.


Travelon Packing Squares – Set of Three
AAA Member Price: $22.99

We are traveling with an increasing amount of electronics these days – at the very least a smart phone which requires a charging cable, mobile charger, ear buds and if traveling internationally, adapter plugs.  Keep everything organized your carryon bag with easy-to-spot colored zipped packing squares like this set from Travelon.

Personal Care Items

Travelon Hanging Toiletry Kit
AAA Member Price: $23.99

In addition to a quart size bag for all carryon liquids, it’s a good idea to organize personal care items together such as a hairbrush, comb, toothbrush, etc. and that’s where a toiletry kit comes in handy. And – since many older hotels and charming B&B’s have minimal counter space – a hanging toiletry kit hung in a bathroom is a great way to maximize space.

This lightweight water-resistant kit has a roomy compartment with 2 interior pockets and has a mesh zippered interior panel  – with a convenient top grab handle a hook that tucks away when not in use.


Baggallini Compression Packing Cubes – Set of three
AAA Member Price: $31.50

Prepare to love organizing your clothes with compression packing cubes.   I learned the hard way by once traveling with 15+ packing cubes and was overwhelmed searching for things because I didn’t have a system. Now I use a maximum 3-5 cubes and pack by category to locate items quickly:

  • Underwear, socks and bras
  • Shorts and t-shirts
  • Nightwear: including PJ’s, slippers
  • Swim wear: including swimsuit, cover up, sun hat and flip flops

Simply pack items, close the main zipper and ‘compress’ down with the second zipper along the outside edge.  Voila: extra space!  The clear panels on top help find essentials at-a-glance and ventilated mesh to keep things fresh.

This set of three Baggallini compression cubes are just the right size for shirts, sweaters, etc.  Upon arrival, just place them in the drawer and go.

Baggallini Long Compression Tube
AAA Member Price: $15.50

For super-efficient suitcase organization – try the long new cube – which fits on the bottom of luggage between the handles – maximizing packing space.  Perfect for organizing small items like socks, bras, and underwear.


Travelon Shoe Covers
AAA Member Price: $19.99

Shoe covers not only keep potentially dirty shoes separate from other items – they also make it easy to find shoes quickly – especially in large suitcases.

And –  individual shoe bags help maximize luggage space by packing shoes separately (place on the bottom of luggage along the handle – where a large pair of shoes wouldn’t fit packed together). Don’t forget to pack socks inside shoes.

These Travelon shoe covers fit 2 pairs of shoes in 4 individual shoe bags with drawstring closure.


Travelon Compression Bags
AAA Member Price: $10.99

My mantra for packing light: Pack for a week and do laundry. If your budget allows, send it out and have someone else do it, or do a little hand wash in the sink and allow items to drip dry overnight.

To keep dirty clothes separated from clean until you’re ready to wash – use plastic compression bags.  Simply zip clothes inside and roll to compress the air out the one-way-air valves.  And best of all? They seal in odors!

Get Organized Sale
Offer valid 6/26 - 7/14/2023, or while supplies last at AAA Oregon/Idaho Travel Stores only. Selection may vary by store. No adjustments on prior purchase.
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