Simple TikTok Hacks That Will Change The Way You Pack Forever

There's little in life that's as fun and rewarding as traveling someplace new, embarking on an adventure you'll remember for a lifetime. But for all those unique experiences waiting just past the arrival gate, you'll need to do some serious outfit planning and then somehow fit everything into your bags — not to mention jump through all of those airline travel guidelines.

‌If you've ever had to shell out at the airport because your bag was over the baggage check weight limit or unpacked only to find your shampoo bottle has leaked all over your clothing, you know that packing crises are one of the travelers' biggest pain points. Not to mention how challenging it can be to maximize space and fit all essentials into bags.

But the good news is that the hive mind of TikTok has a solution for most of them. To make your next vacation smoother, we've combed the app to uncover TikTok users' most useful packing tips. Grab your passport as we look into the best simple TikTok hacks, such as packing light, that will change how you fill a suitcase forever.

Avoid overpacking by planning your outfits

One of the most challenging aspects of packing is outfit planning. You've got to plan for everything you could possibly need on your trip. Depending on where you're headed, this can mean casual attire, beachwear, and evening wear, just to start. Factor in planning for wild weather, and you can quickly overstuff your suitcase or, heaven forbid, dip into your daiquiri fund to check an extra bag.

Many TikTokers insist that outfit planning is essential to avoiding these undesirable outcomes. Rather than throwing all of your favorite outfits into your luggage and hoping for the best, pack purposefully. Start by reviewing your itinerary, and make a list of everything you will need before shopping in your closet, as @rileejsmith suggests. Try working with a simple color palette, says @originalkimlivek, to allow for easy mixing and matching, and don't be afraid to re-wear items.

Once you've put together an outfit you like, @alopriscilla and @saskikneer suggest "Polly Pocketing" yourself — that is, photographing yourself in a full-length mirror while wearing each outfit and clipping all of your fits into a file to consult while you're on the road. Several TikTokers also suggest wearing your day one travel outfit on the way back. No one on the airplane will be any the wiser, and you'll be left with just a little more room for cute vacation clothing.

Pack more clothing in compression bags

Most seasoned travelers will tell you that rolling up your clothing is much more efficient than cramming it into your luggage. Even better, some folks will roll their luggage up and squeeze the items into individual packing cubes. But if you want to level up your packing game, the only way to go is compression bags, and it's a hack TikTok is positively blowing up over.

You may have encountered compression packing when ordering bedding items, a mattress, or a plush toy from some Amazon vendors. An innovation that proves we're living in the future and that the future is bright, compression bags are a type of packing bag that allows users to squeeze, roll, or vacuum out any extra air from the package. This functionally flattens your clothing into a tight little bundle that will enable you to maximize your packing space. These handy bags are available at discount stores like Dollar Tree, making them an affordable solution for budget-conscious travelers.

Although vacuuming your compression bags is the best way to pull out every ounce of air, TikToker @sideofsequins emphasizes that you can squeeze out most of the air by simply rolling them. Just be sure to weigh your luggage before you go since packing more clothing could cause you to go over the weight limit accidentally, and the last thing you need is an unexpected charge at the airport.

Pack your shoes like a pro

As you're lovingly packing your sneakers, just imagine all the fun you'll have trekking around an unfamiliar city, hiking through the wilderness, or traipsing along the beach. Now imagine packing those well-adventured soles into your suitcase along with your clothing, only to arrive home and find a souvenir you picked at a gift shop streaked alongside your favorite top or jeans. Not a pleasant thought, is it?

Never fear, fellow travelers — as usual, TikTok has the solution. To keep your clothes free of foot-borne grime, wrap your shoes up before packing them away. TikTok users across the platform recommend picking up a case of plastic shower caps, which just so happen to be exactly the right size for wrapping up shoes, as demonstrated by @hellokristen in her list of packing hacks. As @easyrecipesandtips points out, some discount stores like Dollar Tree expressly sell shower cap-inspired shoe covers for this purpose. While you're wrapping up those Nikes, @sumaribarnes suggests stepping up your packing game by storing your socks inside of them, leaving even more space available inside of your luggage for other things.,

Banish wrinkles with dry cleaner plastic

If you've spent much time traveling, chances are good you've already accepted wrinkled clothing as a built-in traveler's toll. While rolling clothing up and then cramming them in a compression bag will save you a ton of space, it also leads to severely wrinkled clothing. Unless you're all right about looking like a shar pei puppy, your vacation adventures can't start until you've broken a sweat over a hot hotel ironing board. Sure, you can invest in a hanging luggage bag, but they hold very few clothes and take up too much space.

Thankfully, in the age of TikTok hacks, it turns out there's a better way. TikTokers like @sherrigoggin say the key is lining clothing with plastic before packing them away. Sherri suggests using dry cleaner plastic bags since it's the right size for your garments. Simply pull it off the hanger in its bag, roll it up, and you're good to go. Any lightweight plastic bag will do if you're short on dry cleaner bags. You could try using kitchen-sized trash bags or plastic kitchen wrap in a pinch. Lay your clothing flat on your plastic and roll the item up tightly.

Label your fits with a Sharpie

You've got your outfits picked out and packed away neatly so that everything fits in your luggage with room to spare. But once your outfits are rolled up and sealed away in plastic, it can be tough to tell what's what without unpacking everything. That might be fine if you're staying put and are comfortable unpacking your belongings into the hotel room dresser drawers. But if you'd rather leave your items in your bags or you're going to be on the road or changing locations along the way, finding the right outfit when you need it can be something of a chore.

To save yourself the trouble, keep a Sharpie handy while packing. As @courtney.shields explains, once you've chosen your outfits and wrapped them up in plastic, you can write details about the item, what it goes with, and when you plan to wear it right on the outside of the package. If you're packing your outfits inside compression bags, you can take things a step further by pinning a note detailing each bag's contents on the outside for that extra level of vacation organization.

Place rings and jewelry in a pill organizer

While traveling without jewelry would probably be easier, leaving sentimental items at home can be hard. And let's face it — sometimes you need a little bling. But traveling with any of our precious baubles carries an innate risk, so it's crucial to have a good travel storage plan in place.

Packing necklaces together in a jewelry pouch can leave you with a tangled mess upon arrival. Users like @organizedandsimplified4u suggest using the straw hack. To execute this hack, thread one side of your necklace through a standard drinking straw before latching it closed. This will keep the chain straight while traveling, preventing the necklace from becoming twisted, kinked, or tangled. If you're bringing a shorter chain, you may need to cut the straw before threading.

For rings and earrings, you can use a pill organizer to keep track of your treasures and prevent them from becoming scratched inside of a jewelry pouch. These can be picked up cheaply at many discount stores.

Use Dollar Tree Hot Wheels storage to keep pill bottles together

If you require daily medications, you need to be able to find them while you're traveling or as soon as you've arrived at your destination. The last thing you need is to end up far away from home, unable to find your medications when needed. Simply tossing all your pill bottles into your carry-on bag means you're likely to dig through them when required. Not only is it frustrating, but it could even turn out to be dangerous. And if you're traveling by air, you must bring the entire pill bottle for every prescription — no matter how inconvenient.

To keep your pill bottles together in one easy-to-find location, some TikTokers suggest purchasing a small Hot Wheels storage container like the one you can pick up at Dollar Tree. Thanks to their handy compartment size, these little containers are perfect for storing everything from sewing notions to small office supplies. And as @easyrecipesandtips notes, these organizers are the right size for small medication bottles.

Track your luggage with an AirTag

Thanks to a few morally challenged people, portable tracking devices have gotten something of a bad rap. But when traveling by air, these tiny trackers can be ever so helpful when keeping track of your belongings should your bags find their way into the purgatory of lost airport luggage

If you're new to the concept, AirTags are small trackers about the size of a large button that connects to Apple users' devices via Bluetooth, making it easy to locate whatever they've been attached to — finding keychains, wallets, and pets are among the tags' most popular uses. And in an era where airlines are becoming increasingly notorious for lost or misplaced luggage, many TikTokers praise AirTags as a winning solution to the age-old problem. 

As @juliannastrid demonstrates, AirTags (or their Android counterparts) are small enough to slip inside your luggage easily. Over the past year or so, several news stories have emerged praising AirTag for luggage saves, with @nakitarees2 taking to TikTok to document how she and her husband found their lost luggage had been donated to charity after losing their bags on their honeymoon.

Keep luggage smelling fresh with fabric softener

Generally speaking, most of us aren't unpacking a bag full of clean laundry when we arrive home after a long trip. While it would be lovely to find nothing but fresh, fluffy laundry to put away when you finally make it home, the reality is usually a chore for another day. While we all love to travel, most suitcases can pick up something of an unfortunate odor after they've made it through a few trips. In some cases, that smell can permeate your clean clothing while you're en route to a new destination. And the last thing you need is to smell like a funky suitcase on your first big night in Amsterdam or Milan.

To keep your luggage free from travel stank, TikTokers like @nearfartraveler suggest heading to the laundry room. Stash a handful of scented dryer sheets in your luggage, and you'll be greeted by that fresh-from-the-laundromat fragrance when you unzip your suitcase. As an added bonus, they also double as an emergency intervention for static electricity. Or try filling small organza party favor bags with a powdered fabric softener like Down. For an added kick, you can repurpose them as a drawer freshener after your trip.

Tuck your palettes into your clothing

TikTok is loaded with "pack with me" makeup bag packing videos, with users emphasizing their travel-sized cosmetics and sharing their go-to vacation faves. One of makeup lovers' most significant challenges when traveling is working around the TSA's restrictive liquid regulations, with TikTokers like @anayotothe suggesting it's best to stick to powders and creams whenever possible. However, powdered makeup products come with their own set of problems. 

If your go-to makeup includes a few high-end eyeshadow palettes, you already know how risky it is to travel with them. Travel can be hectic, and our carry-on bags often get jostled just as much as any checked baggage would. A shattered makeup palette can spell disaster, leaving you stranded without your favorite shadows on vacation.

But few makeup bags are large enough to accommodate some of those spendy, bigger eyeshadow palettes some of us just can't live without. TikTokers like @mena2glossy suggest using your tightly-packed clothing as packing material by simply sliding your palettes in between your outfits to protect your cosmetics while traveling. To protect your shadows from getting all over your clothing and creating a whole new set of problems, wrap them up in plastic before sliding them between your garments.

Pack an extension cord

These days, we're using more electronics even when we travel. Whether you need to log into your remote job, update your blog, or just check in on social media, traveling anywhere means packing a set of cords, cables, and chargers for various phones, laptops, tablets, and other devices. After a long day of traversing terminals and tarmacs, there's a good chance you'll be rolling into town at almost no charge. But not all hotel rooms are great about offering convenient outlets, which is why it's never a bad idea to pack an extension cord or extension phone cable in your carry-on bag.

Seasoned traveler @lorafied insists on bringing an extension cord every time she travels, emphasizing that a small extension cord can be a lifesaver if the hotel outlets are in an inconvenient spot. The TSA allows passengers to bring extension cords in their carry-on bags or store them inside their checked luggage but emphasizes that all cords should be carefully wrapped up for the trip.

Pack a multi-shelf hanging closet organizer

If you have the luxury of prioritizing organization over space, take a page from @lorafied and pack your belongings into a hanging shelf organizer. Pick up a standard hanging closet organizer and hang it up in your closet. Next, sort all of your travel attire and create the outfits you plan to wear each day, folding each into a neat pile. Tuck each outfit away into its shelf on your hanging rack in the order you intend to wear them. After you're finished, carefully take your organizer down, collapsing it as flat as possible before wrapping things up.

Once you've arrived at your destination, simply unpack your closet organizer and hang it up in your hotel room closet. There's no need to worry about figuring out what goes together because you're already set for every day of your trip. The only thing left to do is have fun and look fantastic while doing it!