Genius Space-Saving Travel Products You'll Love
Packing light is an art that can take years of travel to master. In the meantime, we’re left sitting on top of our carry-on to try to close it or lugging giant suitcases around cobblestone streets.
But as airlines have gotten less generous with their baggage policies, manufacturers have gotten more creative with their space-saving designs. We now have extremely useful products that allow us to pack light and avoid paying for checked bags.
Don’t waste your time buying products that turn out to be duds. These space-saving products will save you money and hassles.
Compression Packing Cubes to Pack More in Less Space
Packing cubes have been all the rage in the travel community for some years now. But while normal ones help you keep things tidy and organized, they won’t do much in terms of saving space.
These compression packing cubes have the dual function of helping you organize your suitcase while compressing your clothes. They’re a complete lifesaver when you want to pack many outfits but don’t have a lot of space.
As an added bonus, these ones come with original watercolor landscapes design.
Buy now: Landscape design compression packing cubes, $19.98
This Tiny Tool Lets You Straighten and Curl Your Hair
Bringing your hair tools on a trip can be a pain, especially if you like to curl and straighten your hair.
This handy mini dual hair tool works as both a flat and curling iron. You can adjust the temperature, and it also has a safety lock for extra protection.
Buy now: Furiden mini dual flat and curling iron, $19.99
A Waterproof Phone Pouch That Will Fit Most Phones
Your phone is already coming with you so you might as well use it as a camera and save space. Unless you’re a professional photographer or content creator, it should be more than enough to capture your adventures in high-quality.
A waterproof phone pouch makes using your phone whenever even easier, as you can take it on your underwater adventures without worrying about it getting ruined.
Pouches usually come with a loop that you can put around your neck to keep it safe during rafting or boating trips.
Buy now: Mpow 2-pack floatable waterproof phone case, $18.99
A Clip-On Fisheye, Wide Angle and Macro Lenses So You Can Leave Your DSLR at Home
Feeling like your phone is still not good enough for the kind of images you want? We still encourage you to leave all the heavy camera equipment at home and get this set of clip-on lenses.
The set includes a fisheye lens, a wide angle lens and a macro lens. The lenses pack small and light, so they’ll barely take space in your suitcase and can easily go in your day bag for whenever you need them.
Buy now: Criacr clippable phone camera lens, $14.99
Or a GoPro If You Really Need an Extra Camera
Ok, if you really don’t want to risk your precious phone while adventure traveling, go for a GoPro. The famously tiny cameras have been the darling of active travelers for decades now, and they’re just getting better.
The Hero9 is able to shoot in 4k, has frontal display, a detachable lens and is waterproof. You also can buy accessories to go pro (wink) like lighting or hands-free mounts that keep the camera safely attached to your body.
Buy now: GoPro Hero9 black, $349.98
This Small, Lightweight Tripod Can Clip on Anything
Tripods are necessary for solo travelers who don’t want to be constantly asking other people to take pictures of them in beautiful places. Or for any traveler who wants a higher-quality picture than a selfie.
That doesn’t mean you should be sacrificing too much space for them. This lightweight tripod is pretty tiny, yet it can stand on its own or twist around different surfaces. Tie it around light posts or rails for unusual angles.
Buy now: Acuvar flexible tripod, $6.49
A Microfiber Towel for the Beach, Gym or Gross Hostels
Look, microfiber towels have changed our life forever so all we have to say is: Get one.
These super handy towels dry quickly and pack very, very lightly. Even an extra-large one will pack down into a small square and won’t weigh anything. Use it for when you don’t trust the sketchy towels in your hostel (or when your accommodation doesn’t provide any) or for the beach (sand won’t stick to them as much). They also come in handy while hiking, camping or backpacking. They’re just an all-around great item to have.
As an added pro tip, drying your hair with a microfiber towel will help it be less frizzy and dry faster.
Buy now: Rainleaf microfiber towel, $10.99
A Packable Rain Jacket for When the Weather Is Unpredictable
For those destinations like Hawaii and Costa Rica that are a mix of beach bumming and volcano trekking, a packable rain jacket is a must.
These handy jackets will pack down into tiny rectangles and are lightweight, yet will keep you dry if it happens to rain. Many of these jackets are "water-resistant" rather than "waterproof," so they’re good against light rain but not effective when it really matters. This Columbia one packs into its own pocket and holds its own against storms.
They also work well in places where the temperature changes drastically, so you easily pack them away when you’re not using them.
Buy now: Columbia Inner Limits II jacket, $99
A Packable Puffer Jacket That’ll Keep You Warm Without Taking Up All the Space in Your Suitcase
Traveling in winter can be a pain. You pack a single jacket, and your suitcase is already full. The solution to this is to get yourself a trusty packable puffer jacket and avoid wearing a giant coat at the airport.
These jackets are also useful if your trip involves extreme temperature changes, or if your destination has the opposite temperature as your home base.
They’ll keep you warm when you’re facing fall and winter temperatures, but will still pack relatively small once you don’t need them.
Buy now: Amazon Essentials lightweight packable puffer coat, $52.30
A Trusty and Versatile Shawl That Has a Million Uses
Wherever you go, packing a shawl is always a good idea. You can use this miraculous clothing item in many, many ways.
The obvious one is as a shawl for summer travels when the night brings cooler air. You also can use this as a blanket on airplanes, buses or trains, as an oversized scarf in the fall and winter, as a headwrap, and as a way to cover shoulders or knees in temples and places of worship.
Given their versatility, shawls can replace several items in your suitcase and save you space. Better yet, don’t pack it. Wear it as a scarf at the airport and use it as a blanket on the plane.
Buy now: Achillea large pashmina, $12.98
A Sun Hat That's Cute and Foldable
Sun hats are a necessary item for beach vacations — unless you don’t mind sunburns and wrinkles. Hey, it’s a personal choice. But while certainly useful and fashionable, hats can be bulky and annoying to carry around.
In come foldable beach hats that don’t compromise your style. Yes, we promise we aren’t trying to let you go on vacation with a visor. We wouldn’t do that to you.
Buy now: Furtalk foldable beach straw hat, $23.99
A Day Backpack that Folds Down When You're Not Using It
You won’t always need a full day backpack while you travel. Unless you’re going on a hiking vacation where you’ll need a sturdy backpack with support, don’t waste precious suitcase space, and get a daypack that can fold down into a little cube.
The Outlander foldable backpack is studier than most other models, and can still pack down small. These backpacks also are really handy if you end up with way more souvenirs than you intended to and need an extra bag.
Buy now: Outlander light foldable backpack, $17.82
A Foldable Tote That’s Usable in So Many Ways
How useful is a foldable tote? Let us count the ways.
This Samsonite tote will save your life on a beach vacation, where you’ll want a beach bag that won’t take up half of your suitcase. It’s also useful if you ignored our advice on the foldable daypack and find yourself out of space at the end of a vacation.
If you love going to local markets to find interesting ingredients, this also works for that. Or it works in countries where you won’t get a plastic bag at the grocery store. Honestly, there are endless possibilities for very little space taken, so let your imagination run wild.
Buy now: Samsonite foldaway tote, $26
A Pocket Mat for the Beach and Picnics
Travelers love this pocket mat that fits in the palm of your hand when folded. Its uses are versatile. Take it to the beach, use it for picnics on the grass or use it as extra waterproof padding in your tent while camping.
What’s great about this pocket mat is that it won’t stay in the closet once you get home. You can still use it at a park near your home or even at music festivals.
Buy now: Bearz outdoor pocket blanket, $20.49
Refillable Toiletry Pouches for Avoiding Unnecessary Plastic Waste
TSA has made us all familiar with refillable toiletry bottles that can go in your carry-on. But though useful, small bottles still take up some space in your luggage. To help you avoid using terrible hotel shampoos, Kitsch has made these handy travel pouches.
The principle is exactly the same as the refillable bottles, but the pouches take up much less space and basically lie flat when empty. Using them also will help you travel green, since you can always replenish your toiletries and wash them afterward.
Buy now: Kitsch refillable travel pouches, $8
This Extremely Lightweight Travel Pillow Attaches to Your Suitcase
We’ve all suffered the pain of trying to fall asleep without any neck support on a plane or train. The problem is that most travel pillows are so bulky, you end up having to wear them the whole time because they won’t fit in your luggage.
This is why we like the Trtl travel pillow so much. It almost looks like a blanket and is lightweight, but offers neck support that makes it easier to fall asleep or rest basically anywhere. As an added plus, it attaches directly to your suitcase, so you don’t even have to worry about packing it.
If you want a more traditional pillow that will still fold down, we suggest this MLVOC one that has over 10,000 five-star reviews on Amazon.
Buy now: Trtl pillow, $29.99
A Packable Travel Blanket That’ll Keep You Warm on Freezing Airplanes
So you didn’t opt for the pashmina. We won’t hold it against you. Instead, we’ll help you out by helping you pick a trusty travel blanket that will keep you from freezing on the plane.
The Comfort Plus blanket folds into its own pocket. Once folded, it doubles as a neck pad or small travel pillow, so even if you’re not cold, this gadget comes quite in handy.
It’ll also be useful if you need an extra blanket and don’t want to call reception for one in the middle of the night. We’ve also used a travel blanket on road trips to solve the eternal how-cold-should-the-AC-be battle.
Buy now: 3-in-1 travel blanket, $24.95
An iPad Air for Everything Your Phone Can’t Do
Cellphones have come a long way from their bulky beginnings in the 1980s, but they still can’t do everything.
If you feel yourself tempted to take your laptop, consider investing in an iPad Air instead. Sure, it won’t replace a computer if you need it for a work trip, but it’ll be enough for most travelers.
Buy now: iPad Air 4th generation, $599.99
An Amazon Kindle for Bookworms
There are few greater pleasures in life than lying by the pool or beach with a good book in your hand. Or spending hours of a train trip reading while you’re not gawking at the scenery.
However, books can be bulky, and once you’ve finished them, you still have to carry them around. We love physical books, but avid readers who travel often definitely need a Kindle. You’ll have hundreds of books in a small, lightweight device.
The basic Amazon Kindle is good enough to do the job. If you want to get fancy, you also can get a waterproof one with adjustable light.
Buy now: Amazon Kindle, $89.99
A Collapsible Water Bottle for Ecowarriors Traveling Light
Que claims its collapsible water bottle is the original one. Its design is certainly ingenious, and much more stylish than most other water bottles that fold down.
If you want to avoid plastic water bottles that pollute the environment, but you also don’t want to carry a giant, heavy reusable bottle, this is the perfect solution.
Buy now: Que collapsible water bottle, $19.95
A Teeny Tiny Umbrella to Keep the Rain (and Sun) at Bay
There are small umbrellas and then there are umbrellas that are almost the size of your smartphone. For lightweight travel, you’ll want to get the latter.
This Gaoyaing mini umbrella is only 6.7 inches when closed and has good reviews. We also love that it has UV protection, so you can use it as a parasol when the sun is way too hot.
Buy now: Gaoyaing travel mini umbrella, $14.99
Compression Bags for When You Seriously Need to Make More Space in Your Bag
Anyone who has made an international move has probably relied on the magic of compression bags. They work by taking out the air that makes things larger, thus compressing them to a fraction of their size.
Honestly, we think everyone should have some of these even if they’re not traveling. They’ll do wonders for your winter clothes and bulky guest bed sheets that overflow the linen closet.
But back to travel. If you have to make a big move and need to fit a lot of your life into a suitcase or if you’re a serious overpacker that always needs more space, these compression bags will save you. We like The Chestnut set because, unlike other ones, you don’t need a vacuum to suction out the air.
Buy now: The Chestnut 8 vacuum-less storage bags, $14.37
An Electronics Organizer to Save Space and End Your Cable Mess
Cables may not seem like they take up much space, but when they’re thrown around randomly in a bag they can end up being a mess. And messes always take more space.
An electronics organizer won’t save you enough space to pack an extra pair of jeans, but it will save some space and also lots of headaches. You’ll know where everything is, and your cables will be much less likely to get damaged.
Buy now: Hynes Eagle universal electronics organizer, $11.99
Laundry Detergent Sheets for Doing Laundry on the Road
One of the absolute best ways to travel light is to plan on doing laundry on the road. For one, this allows you to pack less clothes. And secondly, it minimizes the amount of dirty laundry that you’re carrying around and that takes more space because it’s not neatly folded.
There are many clothing items you can wash by hand so you don’t even have to worry about finding a washing machine. You also don’t have to use hand soap to do your laundry. Stay sophisticated with these laundry detergent sheets that are basically the size of a floss pack.
Buy now: Travelon laundry soap sheets, $7.98
And a Handy Clothesline Hanger to Dry Them
If you want to wash some of your laundry on the road, but are worried about filling your bathroom with clothes that never seem to dry, use this handy portable clothesline.
You can hang it outdoors or indoors and also use it to dry your bathing suits during a beach vacation.
Buy now: Hawatour portable clothesline, $9.99