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TOP 20 Travel Organization & Portability: The Ultimate Guide

Updated: Jan 23

A Guide To Upgrading Your Travel Organization and Functionality Game.

Whether you are enjoying a quick weekend getaway or traveling around the world, keeping your important items mobile, yet organized throughout the process may be a challenge.

Here are some top picks to staying organized with all of the functionality of home during your travels.


Never get lost in your luggage again.


luggage travel

Imagine yourself, on the greatest journey you have encountered thus far. You've successfully reached your destination and have your itinerary in hand, excited to start your adventure for the day. However, before you hop off to your first bucket-list item, you realize you had better wash up before heading out, but wait - where has your toothbrush gone? While sifting through all of the things that are not your bristle-bound stick, you start to panic. The next thing you know, all the items that you had carefully folded and tucked away into your suitcase less than 24 hours ago, are now strewn all over the room's floor. As you search for - and collect - each item that consists of your morning routine, your stress levels have escalated and suddenly you need a moment to collect yourself before you've even left the room.

Most of us have experienced some version of this at least once in our lives and know how quickly things can escalate. In order to maintain your inner peace and reduce stress during a time meant for relaxation/fun/positive experiences, acquiring the proper tools and light organization beforehand can have a positive benefit on your general well-being. Even the most epic journeys can come with frustration if you can't easy get to your daily living essentials.

Traveling with everything piled in to a single compartment suitcase may work in some scenarios - with a certain level of struggle present throughout the process. However, if you find yourself with a desire to guide your travels to be in alignment with minimal anxiety, paired with bringing a practical amount of helpful home conveniences, then please entertain these thoughts on the subject. Having a few of these remedies up your sleeve is sure to keep you -and your items- calmly collected. Regardless of if you are traveling solo, as a family or with a significant other, finding ways to keep things clean and organized may be an essential key to true relaxation and comfort during your stay.

Elevate your travel game and create a happily organized space with the suggestions below. Thoughtful Explorer is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to, which comes at no additional cost to the consumer. Each product featured has been carefully selected, tested and verified as a suitable recommendation.


Stay calm while traveling

Travel Organization and Portability 5 main categories:

Find your perfect match to fit your length of travel and style.

Smaller bags to put within the bigger bag.

Household and personal items made portable.

Traveling with tech for business and leisure.

A few items to keep your cool in times of stress.


Sweet Case of SUITCASE

Find a perfect match to fit your length of travel and style.

I will admit, I am partial to the SwissGear brand - and for good reason too. All of my SwissGear items haven't failed me yet, in the years I have had them. Some models are TSA friendly, they are all made with high quality materials: built to last, and all products I have experienced come with a generous amount of compartments to work with. This list is organized from smallest to largest in terms of size.

laptop backpack

This backpack was the first SwissGear item I had purchased, which was about 7 years ago (at the time of writing this) and it's still going strong. I use this regularly for both business and leisure. It is great for a weekend backpack if I am packing light and of course the extra compartment for a larger-sized laptop is a huge benefit. On top of that, there are many additional compartments to keep everything organized. It is a great find and for less than $100, I'd consider that a steal.

carry-on luggage

When flying, I usually prefer that my luggage is able to be used as carry-on whenever possible. This luggage is just the right size and the expandability allows you to fit more in while loading. Just like the backpack, it has great compartmentalization. We've taken this on a few trips and it has held up well. The wheels work in all directions, making for a smooth journey as you travel.

checked luggage

The largest of the SwissGear options and it delivers the same quality and functionality of its' smaller counterpart mentioned above. A perfect amount of room to accommodate for the goods of 2 people - or 1 person on an extended leave. We enjoy that there are handles on multiple sides of this, which helps when trying to get it in or out of places with ease. Compartments help to keep things in place and everything has held up pretty well so far.


MINI BAGS to the rescue!

Smaller bags to put within the bigger bag - more helpful than you may think.

You've got yourself established with the perfect suitcase for your journey, but to organize from within will change the game. Small bags to organize your goods don't have to be limited to traveling either- they are a great way to keep items in your home organized as well.

toiletry bag

We fully enjoy that this is clear, which is perfect collecting items in one place and knowing exactly what is inside without having to rummage around. Easy to clean, inside and out. I use one of these bags for morning routine items.

mesh zipper bag variety pack

You may wonder, are 42 zipper pouches of varying sizes too many, do I actually need that many? I asked myself this question before my purchase and once I got them in, it was clear - these are handy for unlimited uses and doesn't have to be specific to extended travel. The various sizes are perfect - I use the largest one for larger bottles, smaller ones for various odds and ends. I use them around the house to contain things. I use them in my purses so I can easily transfer from one purse to another. I'm sure you will find your own creative uses for them as well.

toiletry bag organizer

This bag, I take on all the trips. It's incredibly handy. I love that it can be hung up - which makes packing it and using it incredibly convenient where ever you are. I can always manage to find a place to hang it from. For the most part, all of the toiletries fit in here. I've got one compartment for toothbrushes, toothpaste, mouth wash. Another for q-tips, small cloths, etc. I keep perfume and lotion in other compartment. Hairbrush in another, etc. Within the compartments, there are nets and holders to keep everything in place. I'd have to say this is a top pick for me!

compression packing cubes

With these, I wasn't sure how much space this would save so I put it to the test. It deviates from my normal packing techniques, but allows me to organize by function, which seems to be a nice change. I had all of my tops in one bag, bottoms in another, undergarments in yet another, etc. There are 2 zippers to these, while you are packing the items, you have the zipper that controls the compression undone so you can easily add things. Once all was packed, I engaged the compression and indeed it slimmed things down greatly. Another bonus is that I'm not wondering as much where a specific top is since I've got them separated nicely. I use these every time I travel, I can definitely fit more in the general bag space by using them. Also, my husband does not currently use these - which is not terrible, I can simply take my stuff out without interrupting his arrangement. I could definitely see myself buying another set for him - in another color to quickly identify whose is whose.

small jewelry case

I have not limited myself to jewelry with this case. With three storage compartments, I use one compartment for hair ties and clips and then separate earrings from necklaces in other other two. Works out pretty great and I can easily toss this little thing into the suitcase with little to no hassle.


Importance of PORTABILITY

Household and personal items made portable.

One thing that is tough to achieve a balance of, is deciding whether or not to buy mini versions of all things you already own or purchase smaller containers of things to make your home items more portable. Here are some items that I do not regret purchasing and they have all helped me in my happy travels.

folding lighted makeup mirror

While it is possible this will not necessarily appeal to the masses, this is a mirror that I bring on all trips. It is thin and folds on itself in such a way to cover the mirror, which helps to prevent damage and smudges, making it very portable. I have visited lodgings that do not quite provide me with the right environment to get ready in the morning, whether it be lacking light or the right combination with table space and mirror. I enjoy that it has the ability to provide light and can be set on any surface. It gives me great peace of mind that I won't potentially have to sit on a hotel floor in front of their only full length mirror or have my items falling off of small bathroom countertops as I work in the only well-lit area, which is the bathroom. Highly recommend to the makeup wearing community.

manicure grooming travel set

Having a portable manicure set is definitely a must have. You never know when you will be in need. Whether you end up breaking a nail, need to do some maintenance, or simply require a sharp object to open something up - this set will have you covered. I have purchased a few of these sets to keep in the various locations of life - one for the office, one for home, and one for purse/traveling.

toothbrush case

I don't know about you but, throwing a toothbrush freely into a bag tends to give me the creeps. So I started searching around for something that will keep my bristles sacred, which is when I stumbled upon this little device. By putting the toothbrush head in a case, they are protected from the elements and there is also a little light that turns on once you close the lid which is said to sanitize the brush as well. Fits most toothbrushes and doesn't require frequent charging, especially if you only use for travel purposes. I have one for myself and one for my partner. They have worked well for a few years now.

travel size toiletries containers

I am quite partial to my shampoo, face wash and body wash. I don't always bring my own goods on vacation and will occasionally use what the hotel offers. That being said, there have been a few places where I would have forgone the offerings on tap, if I had the option. This pack is great because they are all small enough that they can be carried-on an airplane. Even if a flight isn't involved, I don't like to bring huge bottles of liquid for space reasons and also in the event something decides to leak or explode. At this point, it's either mini versions or don't bring of it at all. This is a great pack to cover all of your bases and still have product waiting for when you get back home.

vacuum wine bottle stopper

Alright, so this might not be necessary for all people but these come in handy and could prove to be useful by keeping one of these wine bottle stoppers in a purse, just in case. They are very small and easy to use, basically you are taking the air out of the bottle so that the wine stay fresh longer, after you have opened it in the event you can't finish it right away. This is great for when hanging with friends while you are out or at home. I will also start bringing this on trips because we tend to enjoy wine tastings while traveling and I can definitely see us enjoying a bottle at the hotel and not necessarily finishing it in the same moment we open it, which will take the pressure off of the need to finish the bottle once we start one.


Portable TECH Accessories

Traveling with tech - for business and leisure

Depending on the nature of the trip you are about to embark on, some of these items may be helpful to you. I love finding portable tech to keep me powered up and going. Here are some goodies that I like to bring depending on the occasion.

portable monitor touch screen

This technology is seriously great. This can plug into your phone, tablet, laptop or even a desktop for that matter providing you with a larger screen or additional screen to work with. As a wild example, let's say you and a few friends want to watch Netflix or YouTube but all you have is your phone and this screen with you - to huddle around a small phone screen to watch things is quite difficult but to be able to watch on a larger device is much more enjoyable. Honestly, I've hooked this up to my phone, just to relax on the couch and play games from the larger screen. On top of that, I legitimately use this in tandem with my laptop since this has all of the capability of a second monitor, whether you want to mirror or extend. At home, I have a proper second monitor hooked up to my laptop, but on the road, I will bring this portable screen with me to give me the same great ability and functionality that I have from home.

solar power bank

Compared to other portable chargers, this item is quite rugged. It is a little bulky, but I greatly enjoy having this on hand for times when I may need a back up charging ability. The solar powered aspect allows me to be at ease knowing that as long as I can find sunlight, I can get a charge to my phone if it comes down to an emergency situation. Emphasis on backup due to the size, but still something I like to have on hand.

portable charger

I like to bring this portable charger everywhere. It is small enough to fit in a pocket, yet still powerful enough to recharge your phone a few times. This is great to bring whether you will just be out for the day or if you are going on a more epic journey. Anker is one of my favorite brands since all that I have purchased from them seems to last longer compared to others.

usb power strip

Some places I've traveled to have had ample plug-ins for devices and there have been no issues. However, I have been to others that only provide a single outlet, which required a rotation in charging devices. I started bringing a small power strip with me just in case. This one in particular is great because it is compact design yet has plenty of outlets on multiple sides, which allows me to fit everything I need - and then some - without any issue.


CALM In Motion

A few items to keep your cool in times of stress.

While creating an organized space for yourself can definitely help create a positive energy during your travels, there are still influences that may put a damper on your experience. For this, we recommend the following:

rollerball essential oils set

Roll a little bit of the Relaxing & Calming on your wrists when you are feeling anxious. Roll a little bit of Energy Booster when you need a boost. This kit is great for a little nudge in the right direction with these essential oils.

biodegradable hand sanitizing wipes

A certain level of stress can come about when you happen to be standing next to someone coughing and blowing their nose. In these situations, best to be prepared by removing yourself from the situation (if you can help it) and sanitizing yourself the best you can. We appreciate that these are biodegradable, individually wrapped, and can help keep us safe from falling ill.

Having an itinerary handy can definitely help to not feel underprepared in a new location. Take the guesswork out of how to achieve a fulfilling, well-rounded trip. No pressure to partake in all of the recommendations. They are just hand-picked, potentially great experiences and mapped with efficient routes during your stay. We are researching our next trip regularly so be sure to check back for new ones being added.


Looking for a custom itinerary? Send us a message with your inquiry. Hope that you found this guide helpful and insightful. Reach out if you have any questions.

Happy Exploring!

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