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Save yourself extra trouble and pack smarter with these 5 items in your suitcase

December 3, 2021, 7:00 PM UTC

For anyone who watched HBO’s Scenes From a Marriage this fall, there might be a scene (or several) that stood out and really disturbed you.

For me, it was the scene when Jessica Chastain’s character Mira pulls out her luggage from the top shelf of the closet and starts packing—for an international flight that same night—and just starts throwing everything haphazardly in the suitcase. My second-hand anxiety shot through the roof. I nearly lost my mind. Not only do I have to pack at least 48 hours in advance, but I couldn’t help scream at the TV, “No! You’re doing it wrong! Where are the packing cubes?!”

Now, obviously that was an extreme (and fictional) situation, but I’ve seen these same people in line ahead of me at the TSA line when they have to pull their suitcases out for extra security check…and then everything falls out, and it just adds so much unnecessary time to their (and everyone else’s) journey to the gate. And the holiday season is already going to be exceptionally busy this year with fewer flights and more people trying to reconnect after missing gatherings last year.

So in the spirit of the holidays, we’re here to help. On top of the dozens of Smarter Shopping gift guides we’ve published to date since November 1, here is a short and sweet one that could save you a lot of grief while traveling not just this winter but at any point in the future. It might sound counterintuitive that you need more items to better pack your suitcase, but trust us, when in practice, these items will not fail you.

Paravel Packing Cube Quad

If you leave them unattended, clothes are secretly the messiest things in your luggage. When you pop the bag open, they will go everywhere. Keep everything nice and tidy (and you can fit a lot more) with packing cubes. Paravel has among the best (especially best looking) packing cubes on the market, and you can even monogram them. SRP: $65

Béis On The Go Essential Case

This is hands-down the best toiletry bag for packing adequately-sized toiletries in one compartment and makeup in another. You have those nice clear windows on both sides for immediate visibility, durable materials, and no leakage between compartments. (Bonus: the brand also just launched a new pet carrier, which is TSA-approved and can be worn three different ways: crossbody, over the shoulder, and as a backpack.) SRP: $48

Away Jewelry Box

Whether it’s cheap or expensive, you want to keep your jewelry and accessories protected. The Away leather jewelry box is simple but sleek, and even comes with a soft microsuede insert for wrapping watches or bracelets. SRP: $85

SeatDreamzzz Wall Pillow

If you’re going on a long flight, chances are you’re going to want to bring your own neck pillow. But they’re cumbersome to carry, and forget about packing one of the cushion-type models. With an L-shaped design, the inflatable SeatDreamzzz is a perfect compromise—it fits easily in your suitcase and can be inflated quickly (and rather quietly, mercifully) when you want to catch some extra sleep on a red-eye flight. SRP: $40

Cuyana Tech Carryall

This sophisticated leather sleeve is perfect for keeping your laptop covered whether in a briefcase, tote bag, or carry-on suitcase. It also doubles as a folio for all those printouts you need to carry to the airport these days, whether it be paper copies of COVID tests, attestations, or whatever other forms might be required. SRP: Starts at $185

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