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How many containers do you carry your stuff in?

Obviously, a quart bag for the liquids. But for non-liquid items, do you just throw it all in one bag, or have different bags and how do you decide what goes in each.

Posted by
47 posts

I have a small pouch for cables and a converter. I have another pouch for first aid items. I have a toiletry kit for items that don't need to go into the clear quart sized bag for liquids. Another very small pouch for a few cosmetics. The different bags keep me organized. Good question!

Posted by
1294 posts

I have a small, medium, and large packing cube. In general, my pants go in the large, my tops in the medium, and my undies and socks in the small. Then, I have a cosmetics bag and my liquids bag. My extra shoes go in some sort of bag to keep them from touching the clothes. Then I'll have some other stuff in ziplocs (e.g. a ziploc for cables), and I carry a few extra ziplocs in case they need them. I bring an empty pillowcase for dirty laundry.

Posted by
870 posts

We normally check bags so whats in my carry-on includes these zippered bags:
- prescription medications including eye drops and nasal spray - the later two items go into my quart bag when going thru foreign airport screenings since they don't necessarily have the same rules as TSA on liquid meds
- charging cables, adapters, small backup battery, ear buds
- a small bag that I use after security screening to put things I want handy during the flight - hand lotion, eye drops, lip gloss, small otc pill box, tissues
- my smallest packing cube with a change of clothes

Posted by
2988 posts

I am a container person. In my carryon wheelie I have:
-2 long packing cubes for clothes…14”x5”x4”.
-1 first aid pouch
-1 bedside bag
-1 toiletry bag
-1 cinch sack (RS) for bras. The other unders and scarves go in the zipped section inside the bag. I never have to remove any container, but the toiletry bag and bedside bag.
Not in a container: One pair of jeans will be rolled. Flip flops are wrapped.

If I am actually carrying the bag on, I will also have a small square packing cube that has a change of clothes. If being forced to gate check my bag, I pull this from a front pocket before letting the airline take it. If checking the bag outright, this bag is in my PI.

In my 12x16x4 PI I have:
-1 small electronic accessories pouch
-1 plastic envelope with back up paperwork, pen, and journal
-contact lens case with my prescription meds
-tiny crossbody with financials and passport.
The rest is loose: snacks, iPad, cell, eye glasses, camera.

Posted by
3926 posts

I've got a thing about being organized and wanting to know exactly where everything is. A bit OCD that way.

My travel crossbody purse has 3 interior compartments and 4 exterior pockets that are all zippered.

In my carry on I've got a packing cube with change of clothes, zip case for meds and first aid items, quart bag for liquids, zip case for cables, chargers, battery packs, and ear buds, plastic folder for paperwork, small pouch for jewelery, and a zip lock that I transfer anything I want to use while on the plane after security.

My checked bag holds a toiletry bag, a makeup bag, a packing cube for underwear, another for t shirts, one more for shorts/capris, and if its a resort vacation, one with swimsuits and coverups. Plus shoe bags for each pair of shoes. I'm probably forgetting something.

Posted by
7554 posts

Travel cubes. Clothes and toiletries.
Zip case for ipad and cables.

Posted by
457 posts

I believe in compartmentalizing. I tend to check, so I have stuff for my carry-on and my checked bag. I make my own packing cubes so I know they fit in my bag. Underwear, socks, swimsuit and pareau go in one. Shirts in another. A larger, flatish one that eventually doubles as my laundry bag is for bottoms and a sweater. I have a waterproof toiletries bag. I also carry a small, insulated bag with stemless wineglasses, a little cutting board, knife, small plates, corkscrew/bottle opener and bottle stopper. We like to picnic on trains and sometimes carry perishables between locations. In an outer suitcase pocket, I have a rainshell/jacket, spare shirt, later-in-the-trip documents and my jammies. Easy to grab in a storm or when I want to crawl into bed. I aim for less than 20 pounds.

In my backpack/carrier bag that's small enough for a personal item, I have my small camera bag, a neon-colored folding pouch with chargers, cables and adapters, a jewelry bag and a makeup bag. In the side water bottle holders, I have my toothbrush holder on one side and my case with sunglasses and reading glasses on the other. An extra shirt and underwear are in a baggie on the bottom of the bag in case we get stuck. There's a padded compartment for my iPad and a front pocket for documents and slender pillbox. Loosely gathered in the main compartment are my pashmina, headphones case, plane slippers and eye mask. After I board, I grab those and my ipad for reading, the rest can be zipped up and put in the upper bin. I haven't decided if I'll take an actual purse-y/bag or not. In the past, I rarely used my phone in Europe. Now, I have to rethink how that works as we are traveling more digitally than ever before. Oh, and don't forget a readily accessible pen. There's always some document to fill out right before landing when you are barely coherent.

Posted by
1744 posts

Specific to toiletries I have two containers- a quart size of clear, heavier-duty vinyl for lotions and potions, and a similar-sized textile pouch for all the dry goods like the toothbrush, floss, comb, q-tips, nail clippers, a small box-a-day pill organizer and a small ziploc with pills for beyond one week, etc.

Then a tech pouch with chargers, adapters, battery bank, etc.

An 'in-fight' pouch that is an irregular combination of things: earbuds, a charger, lip balm, pen, gum, etc. This carries in my day bag as well, not just in for the flight.

Then packing cubes for almost everything. And shoe bags, too.

Posted by
24035 posts

I take long trips and take small quantities of lots of items folks on shorter trips would probably choose to do without. Aside from clothing, this is how I organize my stuff:

  • Large ZIP Lock bag for prescription drugs, OTC drugs, vitamins/supplements and Band-Aids. This is huge, starting out at over 6 lb. for a 4-1/2 month trip. This bag goes in my keep-with-me tote on days I'm shifting hotels.

  • Small, lightweight zippered pouch for office supplies/mending kit--extra ballpoint pins in 3 colors for marking up paper maps, paper clips, binder clips, etc. I create my own sewing kit in a 35mm film container so I have the right colors of thread and extra buttons. Extra bank card and credit card usually live in this pouch but get relocated to an inner pocket of my purse on hotel-change days.

  • Small, lightweight zippered pouch for electrical/tech gear--little USB drives with movies to watch, ear buds, extra charging cable, adapter plugs, etc. My small power bank would go here if I weren't usually carrying it around with me.

  • Small, lightweight zippered pouch for extra toiletries I'll need when those in my cosmetic bag run out. I prefer to take just the right amount of each item rather than having to buy and carry around an unnecessarily-large container of something when I need to buy more.

  • Large ZIP Lock bag with a variety of food-storage bags, serrated knife, plastic spork and small salt/pepper shaker.

  • Suitably-sized, repurposed, lightweight, clear plastic bags with travel notes, maps, printed reservations, etc., for each country or major area being visited.

  • ZIP Lock bag with non-country-specific documents I might need--copy of passport, coded list of passwords, copies of drug prescriptions, last 4 digits of all bank cards and contact telephone numbers, etc. Copies of impending reservations get moved from the country-specific bag to this one on travel days. This bag goes in my keep-with-me tote on days I'm shifting hotels.

I use separate pockets of my purse to segregate pills (small quantities of nearly everything), lotions/creams and passport/credit card/cash above 20 euros or so.

I find it easier to fit multiple small zippered pouches into my suitcase rather than one much larger one, especially at the beginning of the trip when so much space is taken up by the drug bag. YMMV; I think for many people, using just one or two containers would be better.

Posted by
2765 posts

One suitcase and one totebag as my personal item

In the totebag I have a nesting doll situation. My purse is inside the tote, and inside the purse is a baggie of random stuff I might need, but rarely do. Advil, extra contact lens, hair elastic, tums, that kind of thing. Also in the purse is a ziplock of a paper explaining a medical condition, and a passport copy. And then there’s a bag containing my passport and vaccine card. So that’s 5 bags - tote, purse, random stuff, papers, passport bag

In my suitcase is a toiletries bag, a makeup bag, a bag with other grooming items like a razor, comb, shower cap, and a couple medicines. Then whatever assortment of packing cubes I choose for that trip. It varies from no cubes to a bunch depending on how many different types of things I want to keep separate.

Sometimes there’s also a ziplock of papers like printouts of tickets if the particular trip needs that. I like everything digital but some places require paper tickets so I bring them.
Finally, there’s a bag of bags LOL. I bring a selection of various size ziplocks which come in handy for all sorts of reasons.

Posted by
459 posts

Travel longer 3.5 months this year and with a partner.

Once I'm off the flight I repack the liquids in my toiletries bag.

Bag of prescription drugs - mainly his - cross pack so that they aren't all in one bag.

Small first aid kit with everything else including a sewing kit, scissors, tweezers etc. This is small plastic zip bag I probably got with my contact lenses

Shoes in their separate plastic bags.

I used to carry paperwork similar to acraven above - but I now carry a Surface pro (computer) and phone- all the docs are on these - they are always in separate bags and fully backed up to the cloud. The documentation is available offline so I don't do paper anymore.

Bag of electronics including cables, hard drive, head phones, SIM cards, USBs and similar

Bag of underwear

Bag of laundry

I've toyed with the idea of packing cubes - but with 5 tops and 3 bottoms I really don't see the point - useful if you overpack I guess

Posted by
5719 posts

Hi Lulu, I have the liquids quart bag and after going through TSA, I place it inside my LLBean toiletry kit, so everything is in one place.

Other containers I use:
A small red mesh zipper envelope for electrical adapters & cords. The next size up green one holds my iPad. The next size up holds my itinerary reservations/tickets, etc. I bring a Ziploc quart bag of packaged healthy snacks for the plane & train rides, etc. And I do bring a few empty Ziploc bags of various size for storing leftover picnic food or other uses.

Packing cubes:
A RS large packing cube for four outfits. (I sink wash clothes.) The medium packing cube for underwear & a nightgown. An Eagle Creek shoe bag for my evening shoes, and a plastic bag for dirty clothes.

Posted by
5719 posts

“ …also carry a small, insulated bag with stemless wineglasses, a little cutting board, knife, small plates, corkscrew/bottle opener and bottle stopper. We like to picnic on trains and sometimes carry perishables between locations.” I vote CT as having the best essentials!

Posted by
553 posts

I am not very methodical about it, and it varies a bit:

Overall, I have 3 bags:

  • Underseat bag (sometimes a tote, sometimes a backpack) contains:

    • Laptop
    • Camera + lenses (my weakness), generally in a camera bag or a padded camera cube.
    • Comfort items for plane -- small items (lip balm and moisturizer and toothbrush) are usually in a ziplock bag; neck pillow, scarf and such are usually loose in the tote/backpack)
  • Overhead bag (usually some kind of ultralight nylon bag that I can stuff into my main suitcase once I am off the plane);

    • Light, padded Osprey pouch for cables, chargers, and adapters
    • Ziplock bag for liquids
    • Eagle Creek Toiletry Bag (liquids will fit inside, but the liquid bag usually just winds up loose in the overhead bag)
    • Eagle Creek ultralight packing cube for a pair or two of underwear, 1 shirt, 1 silk nightshirt -- just in case things go awry with luggage or connections

*.Main Suitcase: Osprey rolling bag or Osprey Porter 46 (yes, I usually check it)
- 2 medium packing cubes for clothes
- 1 small Eagle Creek ultralight for socks and underwear
- 1 small packing cube for miscellaneous stuff -- laundry supplies, spare ziplock bags, pocket knife, nylon washcloth ...
- plastic grocery bag for dirty laundry
- sometimes 1 small Eagle Creek ultralight for a scarf or two
- sometimes a hard plastic pencil box or two if I need to pack anything that might leak. Don't always do that.
- Spare shoes are usually loose in the suitcase

Posted by
1619 posts

I have a slight obsession with small zippered bags. The idea of throwing everything into one bag gives me anxiety. I guess I divide my items up based on how/when I’ll use them.

In my day bag, I have a small clear bag that is my emergency bag: bandaids, pre-cut moleskin, Tylenol, eye drops, hair tie, floss, chapstick, tweezers, shout wipes.

In my suitcase, I keep all my dry toiletry items together in a small packing cube. I use snack size (or smaller) bags for q tips, vitamins, etc. This bag and my liquids bag are left in the bathroom and have everything I need to get ready.

On the plane, have a little bag that holds everything I’ll need on the flight: earbuds, charger, chapstick, pen, eye mask, hard candies, Tylenol, a couple disposable toothbrush sticks, a few antibacterial wipes. I keep this at the top of my personal item, so once I get settled I don’t have to rummage through bags for what I need.

I also bring a large zippered clear pouch that has printouts of critical travel info: car rental and lodging confirmation numbers, itinerary, etc. Yes, I always have this stuff on my phone as well. But things happen. That zippered pouch is where I keep maps, brochures, post cards, receipts etc that we collect along the way.

If we’re staying in apartments, I pack a bag of “household” things: sharp knife (goes in the checked bag!), some spices, a few sizes of ziplock bags, dryer sheets, a few laundry detergent pods. I even packed small ice cube trays once, and didn’t regret it as the apartment didn’t provide them (I like a little ice in my soda!)

Posted by
8619 posts

I have a slight obsession with small zippered bags.

Travel4fun, me too !!

Now here is another confession: I choose (or make) carefully because the fabric / pattern is part of the pleasure of the trip for me. I.e. when I am sitting on the train and have my "onboard" pouch (same for train and plane) and charger pouch out, they make me smile because I love the fabrics.

Same in my room with my (usually two) toiletries bags. One is a serviceable mostly clear old Nuxe sample bag; the second is a small Orla Kiely green-flower-patterned waxed cotton box bag.

The pop of color that each of these pieces adds really adds to my travel fun.

This may be the nerdiest post anyone has ever made on the Forum !!! Hahahaha

Posted by
1294 posts

@travel4fun, I keep all my printouts in sheet protectors (the kind that can go into binders). I'll have a separate sheet protector for each country, if applicable.

Posted by
2423 posts

I stopped using one large toiletry bag a few years ago, as it seemed to never quite fit in my case.
Now I split my toiletries and cosmetics into two or three quite small mesh bags, and they just get fitted in around my clothes in my case.
Works much better than one big one.
I collect small bottles all year till my trip and only take enough for the trip in each.
Last trip I practised beforehand, and I filled tiny bottles with shampoo, hair gel, face cream, etc; and kept track of how long it lasted , a few weeks before I went away.
I was amazed that after using these tiny containers at home, I still had product to spare.