Tried & Tested Packing Hacks: Which to love & which to ditch

  • 22 Jun, 2017
  • Franki Napolitano
  • No Comments

Which packing hacks are worth the hype and which should be ditched?

We’re a well travelled bunch in the APS team as you’d expect; Over the years we’ve all read the packing hacks blogs, all telling us the same hacks over and over again.

While these are great and sometimes useful, which ones are really worth trying? Our team have been busy putting some of them to the test as they pack for their own trips to bring you a list of the ones we think are worth trying and those that are maybe best left to the blogs that mean well.

Worth it – the packing hacks we loved!

These are the hacks we have collectively used as a team and those that we feel were the most helpful; they either made our packing process more efficient or allowed us to save some precious space in our bag!

Packing Cubes 

“You often hear about the mystical packing cubes when you read about packing hacks online. I didn’t quite realise how handy they really are though until recently when I picked up a cheap set to use on a holiday to Japan. We were moving on every few days, so I didn’t want to get stuck with a suitcase getting steadily messier and messier!

I used the cubes to keep my items organised – bulkier clothes in a larger cube, underwear in a smaller one, and so forth. It meant I always knew which cube to grab if I wanted something, and it also helped keep my clean clothes separate from the dirty. Instead of unpacking half the suitcase to find an item I needed, I could just move the cubes around to the find the right one, take what I needed from that and return it.

we love packing cubes! They are a great packing hack

They were an absolute lifesaver for a longer trip with lots of moving around, and I was definitely  able to pack more than I thought I would! You can get them really cheaply too, anywhere from £7 for a cheaper set to £20 plus for a more robust set. They have absolutely changed the way I pack from now on!” – Alice

Jewellery straws 

“I tend to be a light packer, especially for long weekend trips so I opt to take less clothing and more jewellery to accessorise with and change up my look. I have really found that threading necklaces and bracelets through straws helps to keep everything separate and avoids those dreaded tangles. You can also loop any rings onto them too to save them getting lost and pop them in a small toiletry bag to keep them safe; perfect!” – Franki 

popping your necklaces through a straw to keep them from tangling is a great packing hack!


Water Bottles

“If like me you like to stay hydrated (and are also a bit frugal!), taking an empty water bottle through security can prove invaluable, especially when a 500ml bottle will cost you almost £2 on a flight! Take a 2 litre bottle and fill up for free from a water fountain in the airport, given they provide safe drinking water; no-one wants a dodgy stomach on a plane…” – Franki 

take a large bottle and fill it up for free after security! Never pay £2 for 500ml of water again.


Rolling everything you need into one

“This one is especially handy if you’re only off for one or two days; roll everything you need per day into one; trousers on the outside, followed by your top, underwear, socks, and even your toothbrush (inside a small plastic bag). Space saving galore!” – Jorge

roll your essentials into one bundle to save space and keep bottle protected

Packing heavy items at the bottom of the case

“Making sure shoes and toiletries are at the bottom of the case near the wheels ensures they don’t weigh down my clothes; and reduces creases and wrinkles! It also decreases the risk of anything fragile getting broken or squashed out of shape.” – Dana

pack heavier items at the bottom of your  luggage to avoid further creasing your clothes.

Utilise space within shoes

“If you’re packing trainers or smart shoes, fill those babies up with other essentials! Not only do they make a great home to rolled up socks and underwear, but they are the perfect place to store anything breakable, such as perfume bottles, or chargers, travel adaptors and even pens.” – Franki fill your shoes with underwear, cosmetics; anything small enough! It'll help the shoes keep their shape


Expandable travel bag 

“I find travelling with an expandable travel bag a really handy way to save money on the number of bags I check into the hold, whilst also relieving the amount I need to carry.  This tactic relies on you travelling with 1 other bag being checked into the hold. Using these types of bags that can be altered in size, allows you to change your bag to a shape and size that passes as “hand luggage” across most major airlines.”

expandable travel bag

“By packing the rest of your luggage within the suitcase that you are checking into the hold, you are free to adjust your bag to a larger size once you have landed at your destination and spread the load between the two bags. This will halve the price you have to pay airlines to fly your luggage on holiday, and maximise the amount of shopping you can do the other end!”   – Luc

We loved this Reland packable version – folds up tiny and expands to a useful duffel bag size!

Multiple USB Adapter

“I was busy packing for a trip recently, and collected up all my USB chargers (phone, kindle, camera charger, you name it…) and their corresponding USB-UK power adapter. I took a look at it all and thought hang on, can’t I skip a step here? Instead of USB -> UK ->Travel adapter, surely I can find a USB-travel-adapter? Sure enough, of course these things exist.

I found one that matched the country I was going to with multiple USB slots, so worse case scenario I could charge all my devices at once. Much simpler than having to carry several adapters and all those bulky plugs! You will need to cater separately for any items you have that use a normal UK plug, but for those USB devices of which there are now hundreds, it saves so much space!” – Alice

Not worth it – more time-wasting than space-saving!

Avoid trying out these “hacks”!

Bobby pins in a tic tac case

In our research we came across a lot of blogs that suggested putting random items into different packaging to supposedly save space, for instance fill up empty prescription bottles with your 100ml liquids? That’ll just raise suspicion at security! Our favourite however was putting your bobby pins in an empty tic-tac case; surely these can either stay in the flat (and far less bulky) packet they came in, or put inside your cosmetic bag?

no need to put your hair clips in a tic tac box..!

Hairbands on a clip

Another funny one we came across was attaching hundreds (ok, maybe not hundreds) of hair bands to a clip and taking them like that. Our question was, who needs that many!? Pop a couple around your wrist or around product bottles, brush or comb handle instead. You really don’t need to invest in a carabiner clip  to transport your hair ties…

you really don't need a clip to keep your hairbands together.

Bulldog clips on your razor

They say you should pop one of these on to cover the blades to protect them and your hands when you come to fish it out…but why not buy a pack of disposables that come with a shield cap anyway?

simply cover the blade of your disposable razor with its blade guard; you don't need a bulldog clip!


Have you got any hacks that you’ve tried that have really changed your packing habits? Let us know in the comments below!

About Franki Napolitano

I love to Blog, Read and Sight-See, although you'll usually find me in the Gym!

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