5 Items to Keep Your Backpack Organized When You Travel

Keep your backpack organized when you travel.

Growing up, I was really, really messy. If you had walked into my teenage bedroom you would have come across: a mountain of clothes piled atop my desk chair (that included everything I had and hadn’t worn to school that week), books and binders scattered around my bed (because I couldn’t work at the desk since the chair was covered in clothes), and an extensive collection of mugs and empty plates (because aside from being a messy teenager I was also a big snacker).

Needless to say, this disorganization kind of filtered its way into my packing once I started travelling in my late teens and early twenties. I could never understand why I always found myself with a labyrinth of a suitcase by Day 2 of a trip and it used to drive me crazy. Where was my shampoo and that clean pair of underwear when I needed it?

Oh how times have changed!

Over the past few years of travel and living out of a suitcase, I’ve had to learn a thing or two about organization out of necessity. Not only have I learned to pack only what I’ll wear and keep things light, but I’ve also learned to keep my backpack organized so that I’m never rummaging when I need something. Today we’re going to look at 5 items that can help YOU keep your luggage tidy too.

How to keep your backpack organized when you travel: Tips to keep your luggage tidy on the road!


Packing Cubes

Packing cubes are the best because they prevent your luggage from becoming an absolute mess by Day 2. Packing cubes allow you to compartmentalize your clothes so that you know where everything is: 1 cube for pants and shorts, 1 cube for t-shirts and tank tops, 1 cube for cardigans and sweaters, 1 cube for socks and undies, and voila, you’re set! I’d also recommend packing cubes that have mesh at least on one side so that you can easily see what’s inside of them.

Hanging Toiletry Kit 

I’m all about hanging toiletry kits because they seriously make life so much easier – especially if you’re staying in a hostel where you can’t really scatter all your stuff around, or if you end up in bathroom with limited counter space and no shelves. Not only do hanging toiletry kits allow you to keep everything you need for the bathroom in one single place, but you can also compartmentalize things so that they are easier to find: one section for your toothpaste, toothbrush, and dental floss; a section for travel sized bottles of shampoo, conditioner, and body wash; and so on.

Electronics Organizer

This one probably isn’t necessary for the average traveller, but if you travel with a lot of electronics, cables, batteries, hard drives, and chargers like Sam and I do, it can be a really nifty way of keeping things organized. These organizers come in different sizes and they can be easily packed into your checked luggage. This way you’re not sifting through your luggage whenever you need that laptop charger or spare camera battery.

Laundry Bag

Because you don’t want your dirty laundry mixing in with your clean clothes (cross contamination, ewww!) But seriously, I’m sure we’ve all found ourselves shoving dirty laundry into plastic bags or external luggage pockets more than once before. A travel laundry bag means you can keep all your dirties in once place until you find a laundromat in your next destination.

Packable Shelves

So this is a fairly new travel product that I haven’t yet had a chance to use myself, however, I’ve been seeing it featured in press releases that land in my inbox. The idea is that you pack your clothes into this 3-tier stackable shelf, so that when you arrive at your destination, your clothes are wrinkle-free and you can hang up the shelf in the closet. It’s something that I think would work for short weekend trips or business trips where you are packing carry-on, but it’s not something I can see myself using for long-term travel (I tend to be away for months at a time and my clothes would not fit on 3 shelves).

So there you have it, 5 items that can help keep your luggage organized next time you travel. If you know of any other tips, tricks, or useful items, please feel free to share those in the comments section below.

What are your tips for keeping your backpack organized?

Osprey Sojourn: The Best Backpack for Travel


  • I have all of these in varying forms apart from the shelves and the hanging toiletries bag. I cannot believe I haven’t invested in a hanging toiletries bag until now – it looks so practical!

    Out of all of those, though, I cannot live without my packing cubes. They were the best investment (other than my backpack) that I made when I hit the road!

  • Kassie says:

    Packing cubes were my saving grace on my last backpacking trip! I should totally look into a laundry bag though. I ended up putting dirty laundry in a pillowcase some hostel owner let me have 😝

  • Zascha says:

    I’ve just started my trip around the world and it only took me about one hour after I had arrived at my first destination (Italy), to realize that I had brought too much stuff with me that I will probably never ever need.
    I’m going crazy every time I try to find something. However, my packing cubes, laundry bag and my hanging toiletry kit does help a lot! 🙂

  • Great list- I need to invest in some packing cubes. They look like they might solve my ‘where is that t-shirt’ problem I always have!! My main organisation item is super large snap lock bags, which are great for protecting important elements, keeping things separate and dry (ie. electronics cables, toiletries or documents).
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  • Angela Seager says:

    Great read, it took me a while to realise that I needed some form of organisation and so what works for me is the use of plastic bags.
    So for instance I use an H&M plastic bag for my teeshirts which I neatly fold and place into. Another plastic bag for underwear & bras, another for socks. All my electronic gear, adaptors, rechargers, cables, tablet, go into another plastic bag. All my dirty laundry go into a brightly coloured plastic bag, and I use one very light plastic hanger for all my shirts, blouses, and evening tops. And lastly, I use re-sealable food bags for my toiletries…You actually get these free at the airport when you place 100 ml bottles of liquids into them. I’m all for recycling!

  • Dan at Budget Jetsetter says:

    The packing cubes you mentioned are a great idea. However they’re already unavailable on Amazon!

  • Samir Balwani says:

    I love packing cubes, it changes how I pack and made it so easy to be organized. Thanks for the list!

  • Art Phaneuf says:

    I am a photographer who travels a lot in Asia where it is hot and humid or more hot and more humid. Plastic zip bags of various sizes are an essential part of my travel equipment. They keep my computer and camera gear dry and visible so I can quickly find something. I try to use fan rooms but sometimes I surrender and use the air conditioning. The zip bags prevent condensation from forming on the delicate electronics inside my equipment. And, finally, they save my precious Bolivar cigars from getting too wet or dry; they make perfect little humidors!

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