Travel on a Budget: Space Savers & Organizational Lifesavers
When you’re traveling for more than a couple days, packing and dealing with life in general can get freaking crazy—and annoying. I hate when my stuff explodes everywhere in our rental/hotel/van, and Peter hates it even more. So, I’ve started to get (a little) better at keeping my mess in check—without spending a ton on fancy organizers or suitcases in the process. Let’s dive in!
I started with zipper cloth bags for my clothes, and that’s great… But the biggest help has been for trips where I’m gone more than a couple days, I also started bringing the cardboard foldable ones for things like fitness accessories. It makes #HotelLife so much easier! You can pick these up for only a couple bucks pretty much anywhere, and you’ll instantly feel less messy (and your partner/roommate will thank you).
Cardboard Dividers in Your Suitcase
Free and easy! I took thick corrugated cardboard (like you’d get when you order something online) and cut it to the right length/height for my suitcase to divide it into segments. By folding two pieces cardboard at 90 degree angles, you can make four compartments: perfect for athletic tops and bottoms, and everyday tops and bottoms. (I have zippered pockets in my suitcase where I put underpants, various accessories and shoes.)
Powders into Baggies
I have greens powder, collagen, and protein powder, and that’s just me, not Peter and I combined! It’s fine when they’re close to full but it’s so annoying when there’s only a scoop or two left and you’re still toting around the huge container. Now, I just toss it in baggies, using a Sharpie to note which is which—takes up way less space this way. Pro Tip: when you’re going to be tossing the bags around between food boxes and duffels, double bag to prevent spills.
Pill Organizers or Baggies for Supplements
Umm, holy crap, supplement bottles take up an insane amount of space! I used to only use pill organizers for short trips, but now, I’ve swapped all of my supplement bottles (more on that in a later post but my naturopath and I are working on a lot right now) for smaller plastic baggies—again, labeled immediately—and it’s cut down the space they take up by at least 75 percent, and it’s way cleaner looking.
A Laundry Satchel
I picked up a $5 pop-up hamper at 5Below and it’s been THE BEST. It’s nicer than cramming stuff into a bag, but it folds down and takes up less space than a bulky laundry bag. (This similar one is $7 on Amazon.) And if you’re flying with a bigger suitcase, this can fit in without adding any weight or taking up any space.
When you’re not worried about weight (like you are while flying), I’ve realized it’s silly to worry about space-saving on toiletries, and it costs a fortune to keep rebuying travel size items. Unless you’re going on a trip that’s a couple days long, bringing your normal-sized staples ends up saving you money in the long run, even if it feels crazy to take up that much space. I used to try super hard to use travel sized containers, and sure, they’re super cute, but the cost per ounce is insane, they waste a ton of plastic, and when you aren’t home to refill the containers that are made for travel, they just sit around and take up space while you buy new stuff. Argh!
We do a lot of laundry on the road and for a while, we spent a ton of money on laundromat soap, or buying liquid detergent at stores when we got somewhere, often leaving extra behind. Now, I bring powder detergent (natural, unscented) and it takes up less space and travels super well. And it’s a way better deal, cost-wise.
For long flights, I bring this in addition to my regular water bottle so I can double up the amount of water I have access to on the plane. I also use this for mixing a protein/greens powder drink during the flight so I can still have a normal water bottle, plus a meal in a bottle.
If you’re going for more than 7 days and you’re OK using generic brands, I would honestly recommend just buying your shampoo/soap/razors/toothpaste when you land. (Caveat: I always bring a small thing of toothpaste because you never know what you’ll find immediately.) This saves a ton of weight in your suitcase, and the travel-size toiletries are fine for short trips, but they run out really, really fast, especially if you’re active and need to wash your hair / take legit showers often.