When you’re packing for a trip, the space in your luggage is always at a premium. You want to fit everything you need without having to leave your travel essentials behind. But what do you do when your travel containers take up too much space?
Luckily, there are ways to get around this problem. In this article, we'll explore a few creative methods to save space in your bag and pack your travel containers along with the essentials.
1) Pack a collapsible water bottle.
Packing a collapsible water bottle is a great way to free up some space in your backpack or carry-on. They fold up, so they take up very little room.
They're also handy when you want a quick refill at the airport water station. Just fill up what you need, drink till the last drop, pack it down, and keep it moving.
2) Bring along a bag of snacks instead of packing a full-sized meal.
When you’re on the go, it can be tough to find time to eat a proper meal. Often, it’s easier just to snack on something. This is especially true when you’re traveling shorter distances (think: a domestic flight or train ride).
Our suggestion? Ditch the bento box and pack a trail mix, granola bars, and other compact snacks instead. This way, you can avoid feeling "hangry" when traveling from point A to point B.
3) Invest in reusable travel bottles for toiletries.
If you’re tired of packing bulky travel containers for your toiletries, consider using reusable travel bottles instead. Transfering your shampoo, conditioner, etc., from their original (larger) containers into 3 oz bottles can save you a ton of space.
When shopping for travel bottles for toiletries, consider reusable ones with a leak-proof design. Even better if they're made of silicone, as this material is pliable and can help prevent an explosion of product in your luggage.
4) Consider using packing cubes to organize your belongings.
Packing cubes are another great way to save space in your luggage. These small, fabric sacks allow you to organize your travel essentials into specific categories, so you can find what you need much easier.
Pack your tops in one packing cube, your bottoms in another, your underwear in the next, and so on. This will help you save time when you’re looking for something specific, and it will also keep your travel containers well-organized.
5) Stick to essentials when packing.
Bulky jewelry. Plush towels. Your entire hair salon at home. These are just a few examples of what NOT to pack, whether it's for a jaunt in the desert or a big trip overseas. (And yet, many of us still pack these things in our travel containers!)
When you’re trying to save space in your luggage, it’s best to stick to the essentials: phone charger, passport holder, sunglasses, medications, travel toiletries, etc. This means leaving behind your lint roller, curling iron, and other non-essentials, especially if you're traveling for a short period. Chances are, you won’t need them on your trip.
6) Invest in a backpack system designed to save you space.
The ideal vacation length to destress is eight days at minimum, according to research published in the Journal of Happiness Studies. If you're aiming for eight to ten days of travel time, then you might consider investing in a travel backpack system — it has specific compartments and organizational features that help you pack your belongings in a way that maximizes space.
For example, our system at Gravel is anchored by a carry-on travel backpack that features modular internal storage, a secure laptop pocket, sling belt compatibility, cinch straps, and more. This packing system for 7-10 days of adventure can be the difference between a painless packing experience and a total headache. Plus, it allows you to leave your rolling luggage behind, which won't hold up well on cobblestone streets or uneven terrain.
The Bottom Line
Packing wisely can help you avoid taking up too much space in your luggage, so you can easily accommodate your travel containers. This is especially useful for trips between seven to ten days. (If you're traveling for less time than that, then check out our packing list for short trips.)
Have a great trip!