For this post, we turn our attention to travel organisers and inserts, designed to fit inside of something else and to hold all of your travel gadgets, cables, hard drives, makeup and travel accessories – whether it’s in a suitcase, briefcase, handbag or the back of your car.
There’s a lot of information here, so you might want to scroll down to the section of interest.
Travel Organizers and Inserts for Travel Gadgets and Cables
First off, let’s look at travel organizers that are best suited to travel technology, as opposed to travel accessories.
The BUBM Universal Cable Organizer Electronics Accessories Case is a no-nonsense multi-compartment zip up bag with a single, double-sided divider. We have one in the office and find it very convenient. It’s made out of a soft nylon material, so it can be squeezed and scrunched up a little when you’re stuffing it into a bag. We like how there are always two zippers on each side, which just makes it easier to open or close from either end.
The inside is filled with bungee holders and mesh pockets to hold all kinds of travel gadgets and cabling. Unfortunately, they changed the internal colour to a kermit lime-green (ours is black), probably to increase visibility in low-light conditions or for fans of night-vision goggle hunting, we don’t know.
BUBM also make a bunch of roll-ups, similar to how you store jewellery, except that these can be used for electronic cables and stuff, instead.
I like the idea behind the roll-up, because it makes me feel more professional. For instance, when someone is having a technology crisis, because they’re missing the correct adapter/cable/dongle or whatever, I unroll and unfurl my crisis kit like a paramedic and can say, “Okay, what seems to be the problem?” They are usually very impressed by this, or else I am very sad.
Finally, for the more style-conscious who don’t like kermit green pouches, BUBM has a ‘premium’ version of a their product that has soothing colours on the inside.
The Cocoon Grid-It Cable Organizer is a handy insert that bungee straps whatever you want to a single divider that you can pop in your briefcase or bag. They come in many colours and sizes. The straps run in all directions with a variety of lengths, so you can pretty much accommodate anything that you want to attach. For example, it doesn’t need to be only for travel technology like cables and hard drives, you could also strap your toothpaste and beauty accessories to it.
We’ve used several of these over the years and think they’re pretty neat. Unfortunately, the bungee straps will lose their oomph over time, especially if you shove large objects into them and/or insert/remove things many times over. Still, getting a year or so of life out of them for the price is reasonable. Also, they are made out of a non-slip, rubberised material, which has a nice feel but doesn’t let it slide easily in/out of bags that grip to this surface. If put in the wrong bag, you’ll find yourself yanking it in and out of your bag.
Cocoon also make lots of different Grid-IT hard shell and soft shell cases that contain their inserts. This may be desirable to some people but we found that this can be rather limiting, especially when we consider the hard-shell one we have. It never seems to hold as much as we’d like, despite its bulk. Therefore, we’re recommending the plain and simple inserts, instead. Then, you get to use whatever travel bag you want.
The ButterFox Universal Electronics Accessories Travel Organizer / Carry Case is the poor man’s Tumi. I say this, because I bought a very similar item from Tumi for a hell of a lot more than $10! Anyhow, no sour grapes. The Tumi travel accessories case is well made and doesn’t have the carry strap (which I am not a fan of) but you may appreciate it. I did a quick check on the Tumi website and don’t see it anymore, so maybe it’s discontinued.
This is a zippered, mesh, see-through, mini man-bag measuring 10.2″ x 4.1″ x 2″ that can slip into a briefcase (or purse). It’s particularly good for bulky items that can bulge out the sides and that aren’t easily accommodated by bungee cable systems, such as the Cocoon Grid-It.
I have several of these and use them for those overseas adapters, not the all-in-one units, but rather when you have different power adapters for the sockets of different countries. You end up with all these plugs with funny shaped prongs going in all directions like someone’s dentistry from the turn of the century, and I find that a bag like this is the perfect way to carry them all around. I can see what’s in it and it can hold all these funny bits and pieces.
Once upon a time, I bought a bunch of translucent zippered pouches from muji that were sold in their beauty department and which were great for storing travel technology but they no longer seem to stock them. They still have some interesting see-through pouches and bags, mainly for make-up, so it’s worth checking them out. You might want to repurpose them for travel accessories. I just wish they still had those darn mesh, zippered bags! I love the sizes they came in and I can easily see the content inside them.
The closest thing I could find on Amazon are these Dot&Dot zippered pouches that come in various sizes…
If you like hard-shell travel cable organisezs, then here’s a good bog-standard one – the Caseling Universal Electronics/Accessories Hard Travel Carrying Case. It measures 9.5″ x 5.25″ x 2.85″, comes in black, zips shut and contains several flip dividers with pockets on both sides, including the inside of the case itself. It’s not expensive or fussy.
It’s probably a bit bulky to fit in a briefcase but not for a suitcase. You can put your most important travel electronics into it and keep them on a shelf, until you are about to take off. I often do this, because I find myself packing in a hurry, often last minute, and I like to pack with just a carry-on and no check-in, if possible (hence, why I pack so last-minute!)
Here’s what I do. I divide my travel gadgets, cables and travel electronics into different sets of travel organisers, based on their purpose and where I am going. For example, I start with a travel kit of stuff that I absolutely need, wherever I am going – that goes into one travel organizer all by itself. This will include universal cables, electronic banking keys, portable hard drives, and stuff that I use often. Then, I start other travel organizers according to country (I have US, Europe and Asia travel organizers that have all the power related travel accessories, such as special power adapters, power strips, phone SIMs, etc, that I’ll need when I’m over there). I might have another travel accessories bag that has flat pack sunglasses, sunscreen and stuff relating to a hot climate. The purpose of all this is that I no longer forget anything when I pack in a hurry, nor do I spend an hour contemplating all the travel electronics and travel gadgets that I’ll need on my trip. Yes, it means that I often have duplicate items, especially cables, because I’ll have multiple travel organizers that need to be good-to-go as they are, but it’s a small price to pay for the convenience of packing in no time (and not forgetting stuff on the road!)
If you want to see what I’m talking about, here’s a post on one of my critical kit bags that has all the things I really want with me wherever I go.
If you want a padded, shock-proof hard case for storing delicate items, such as portable hard drives or faberge eggs, this might do the trick:
And if you’re transporting mission-critical data on a bunch of hard drives, here’s a waterproof shockproof case that is highly over specified!
I know, that one was overkill. If you don’t have the budget, or simply want to transport a single hard drive, or something similarly sized and delicate, then check out Pelican Cases. We reviewed one of the suitcases we bought some time ago. It’s indestructible and still going strong.
Pelican makes all manners of waterproof and watertight cases for delicate equipment and electronics. Popular uses are for camera equipment, consumer electronics and guided missiles.
Travel Organizers and Inserts for Bags, Briefcases and Handbags
Now, we turn our attention to more multifunction travel organizer inserts that aren’t primarily for travel technology but for travel accessories. You can use them for both but these are targeting people that want to organise their everyday items.
The point of a travel organiser insert is that you can organise all of your most critical travel accessories in an easy-to find manner and simply stick it in whatever bag you wish to use that day. This makes it very easy to change bags (for the fashion-conscious) without having to tip everything out and start again.
Also, if you stick things in your bag which can be messy, such as makeup or a water bottle that didn’t have its cap screwed down tightly, an insert will protect your bag from leaks (depending upon the waterproofness and the size of the leak).
The Geartronic Travel Insert Organiser Compartment Bag (that’s a mouthful!) is aimed at women but it could really be used by anybody who wants to put a bag inside their bag to hold lots of useful and loose items. It is made out of a soft material (so beware of storing sharp objects). It’s build quality isn’t fantastic and its zippers can get a bit stuck if you don’t keep the fabric taught when you zip them, but it’s very well priced.
It has handles on the top, so it can be easily pulled out of a bag and then toted around on its own. There are snaps on the sides to make it expand or collapse, if necessary. It contains 13 compartments, two that are zippered. There are mesh pockets on one side, so you can easily tell at a glance what’s inside them. It’s dimensions are 6.5″ x 11.25″ (4.5″ deep when fully expanded) and it comes in several colours.
The All-Match Portable Multi-function Handbag Pouch Bag is a direct competitor to the Geartronic and only comes in a light grey colour. It has very similar dimensions (11.2″ x 6.7″ x 3.3″) and specs. I’m including it here, so you can compare pricing.
The Shany Cosmetics Clear Makeup Bag is just that – a see-through, soft plastic bag full of pouches and pockets to hold makeup or any other type of leaky container. It measures 18″ x 10″ x 11″.
This isn’t a small bag and it’s pricey but it’s well-constructed and primarily targeting professional make-up artists, or the Kardashians. Given that it’s see-through, this is a plus when going through security checks.
This would be a good travel gadget bag, too.
Knomo makes a bunch of different bags, purses and the like, but they also make some nice tablet and laptop carry cases that are somewhere in between an insert and a bag. Think of them as more like a clutch or a man-bag for your computing equipment.
The Knomo Knomad Mini will accommodate an 8″ tablet, plus assorted cables, credit cards and other stuff that you can shoehorn into its slim pockets. The Knomo Air is a little roomier to accommodate an iPad Air, plus accessories. Basically, you unsnap the top flap and they fold open to review your equipment and accessories inside them.
Travel Organizers for Car Trunk / Car Boots
These do what they say on the tin – hold a ton of stuff that you tote around in your car. They need to be more rugged, because this is likely to include car emergency equipment, first aid kits, groceries, pet supplies, sports kit and tools, plus whatever you want.
The Trunkzy Auto Trunk Organizer is an open-top, durable, polyester travel bag with reinforced sides and a waterproof bottom. it has two large internal spaces (with a divider between them), four pockets on the exterior of two sides, a bungee cord section on either end, and carry handles. You can further subdivide the interior with removable dividers.
It has rubberised feet to stop it sliding around in the trunk of your car. It is collapsible, so you can easily tote it into the grocery store, load up and carry it back to the car, which is useful given that nowadays you have to pay for your own grocery bags!
There are also buckles that allow you to collapse the bag longitudinally and snap it shut. You can do this to one side at a time in order to make the bag a bit smaller, yet still useable.
The AUVIVID Auto Trunk Cargo Organizer is similar to the Trunkzy, except it has a zippered lid and is waterproof. It’s dimensions are 19.3″ x 11.8″ x 11.4″. It is collapsible when not in use.
It has rigid walls and base, fold-down pockets on the outside, and 3 internal dividers that can be moved around. You can have any colour, so long as it’s black. 🙂
The Picnic at Ascot Folding Trunk Organizer with Cooler introduces a cooler. It comes in a snazzy, colourful design and opens into 3 sections and measures 23″ x 14″ x 12”. The cooler has a zippered top and is meant to hold fresh items for a reasonable period of time – such as on a grocery trip to and from home – but not to hold your keg of beer.
What’s particularly cool about this travel trunk organizer is that when it folds up, it looks like a stylish clutch-bag or purse. So, if you’re a fashionista, this is your bag!
The Lebogner Backseat Trunk Organizer takes a different approach from the others. It’s simply a long, water-resistant mesh bag (41.5″ x 12″) that hangs over the back of the rear seats, so that you can store loose items that are easily accessed from the trunk of the car.
It has five mesh pockets of various sizes that you can use to hold flip flops, magazines, bottles, cables and other gubbins.
The Rola Rigid Trunk Organizer doesn’t come with all the bells and whistles as the others but sometimes simplicity is a strength. First off, it is more rigid, so it’s more appropriate for certain items, yet it will fold flat for storage.
The model we feature here, the 59001, measures 38″ x 15″ x 7″. This is long, so you will need to measure the interior of your car, paying special attention to any wheel hubs that might stick up to ensure it fits your vehicle. The interior dividers can be moved (velcro) and customised. It is made of a non-slip material that works on carpeting but not slippery surfaces. It isn’t waterproofed. It can have a strong chemical odour when it first arrives but this disappears over time.
The Samsonite Gold Trunk Organizer is dedicated to golf enthusiasts and comes in three sizes to accommodate as much golf equipment as you may need (except clubs), including your clothes and shoes.
It has a zip top and is made from rip-proof, waterproofed polyester. There are a variety of pockets and containers on the inside and a handy mesh pocket on the front to store items that need to be aired out.
There are two shoe compartments and people have reported that they can be fiddly, as the bag is collapsible and can make getting them in and out a bit difficult but you can fix this by inserting plastic shoe holders to keep the bag stiff in this area.