Travel Organisation Tips: How to Stay Neat and Tidy

When you travel you are supposed to be excitedly exploring new places or taking time out to relax.  But if you keep coming back to your accommodation that looks like a bomb has gone off, then how can you possibly focus on enjoying the experience?  Essentially you can’t.  What you need is a neat and tidy accommodation (it doesn’t have to be a showroom) just something that allows you free movement and being able to locate your items when needed.

To achieve this, it is a matter of following a few simple travel organisation tips and ideas.

In this Article You Will Learn How to Stay Organised When You Travel

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neat hotel room with table and TV
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Travel Organisation Ideas

Luggage Organisation

No matter what type of trip you take you need luggage in some form, whether that be a duffle bag for camping, a storage box for caravanning, or a suitcase for hotel stays.  Basically, you need to put all your personal items into something to get them from your home to your travel destination.

Keeping those personal items organised is key to finding each piece as you need it, especially if you don’t have anywhere to unpack once you arrive at your destination like when you’re camping or backpacking.  This is when travel packing cubes* really come into their own.  Either use each cube to pack a day’s clothing or divide each cube up into clothing type.  You will also need a laundry bag for dirty washing, a toiletry bag and shoe bags.  When packing your bags try to pack like things next to each other.

Top Trip Tip: Use a different coloured set of packing cubes for each person to make it even easier to locate your items

If you are planning to unpack your suitcase when you arrive then stack clothing according to how you want it stored in draws, making it easier to pick up the stack of clothes and pop them into the draw rather than re-folding rolled clothes.

To help you organise what to pack in your luggage use the

Camping Organisation Hacks

Once you have arrived at your camp site, start by putting up your tent.  Then create zones within your campsite.  One each for sleeping, eating and cooking.

Sleeping Zone Organisation

In your sleeping zone pump and layout air mattresses, then lay out your sleeping bag neatly with a pillow.  Every morning just as you would do at home make your bed by shaking out your sleeping bag or folding it up neatly to one end of the mattress.  In your sleeping zone, you may also have your personal clothing luggage whether that be a suitcase, duffle bag or plastic storage box.  Ensure you have read the tips above on luggage organisation as those tips really come into their own when you are living out of a “suitcase.”  However, if you are a family you may prefer to use a larger container for laundry.  This could be a plastic washing basket – you can even get collapsible washing baskets*, a collapsible clothes hamper* or just a standing rubbish bag.

Cooking Zone Organisation

Next, up get your cooking zone organised.  I really like folding camp kitchens* for keeping organised and tidy.  There is a spot to place your camp stove, a small zip-up cupboard for pantry staples and/or crockery and place your cool box next to the kitchen.  Go one step further and use plastic storage containers that fit inside this zip cupboard to make it easy to access everything in there.  Finally, after every meal wash up.  You can just use a regular bucket or purchase a collapsible dish tub* that you can fill with water to wash up or pop all your dirty dishes into it to carry over to the camp kitchen at your holiday park.

Eating Zone Organisation

Once you have cooked your meal you will want the third zone for eating.  Set up your preferred table and chairs.  After every meal clean up and the wipe the table over.  This eating zone is also your relaxation and games zone. The trick to staying tidy is to put everything back away after you have finished using it.

Additional items

Lastly, for camping, you will need somewhere to hang out towels and possible swimming clothes.  You can run a rope between tent poles* or take a small cheap clothes horse (that you can buy from the supermarket) which will keep things neatly to one side of your campsite.


Top Trip Tip: If you have taken bikes or sports equipment ensure they are chained up and secure, making use of nearby trees or poles

Tips to Keep Your Vacation Cottage, Cabin, Chalet or Holiday Apartment Tidy

When taking road trips we often stay at a holiday park but use a self-catering cottage, cabin or chalet.  So, whilst we don’t need to set up the tent, but we have still brought our person luggage and food.

One arrival, begin by unloading the car and depositing items into the corresponding rooms.  Like the cooler box into the kitchen, suitcase into the bedroom and keys and travel documents on a sideboard table.

Kitchen Organised

First up, get the kitchen organised.  Unload everything out of the cooler box into the fridge.  I use a large plastic crate to fill with dry pantry staples like coffee, tea, olive oil, crackers, potatoes, onions, cling wrap, alfoil etc.  If there is room in one of the kitchen cupboards I put the crate in here.  However often the cupboards are full or small and so just push it into the corner of the kitchen bench.  Keeping the kitchen neat and tidy during your stay is as simple as washing up after every meal.

Holiday cottage organisation with dishes washed and food in crate
Wondering what food to pack for your vacation rental check out the

Bedroom Organised

Then unpack your suitcase, we travel with one large bag between the three of us.  Put clothing into a chest of draws or on shelves if provided, however, I have noticed many holiday apartments only offer hanging space so I have recently purchased a set of collapsible hanging storage shelves*.  Then take any toiletry bags to the bathroom.

grey hanging storage shelves in wardrobe

Bathroom Organised

In the bathroom if there is room try to put all toiletry bags away.  Get a cup from the kitchen for toothbrushes and toothpaste.  Place a collapsible laundry hamper out for all dirty clothes, this can then be picked up, collapsed back into the suitcase at the end of the trip and then taken straight to the laundry when you get home.  The only other thing is the lack of hanging space for bath towels in vacation cottages.  Generally, rental chalets don’t include a daily housekeeping service and it is very rare to be given additional clothes horse racks.  To keep your towels dry dedicate the few bathroom rails to the young kids and utilise the balcony or outdoor area for the reminder of the family.

Kids Organised

Finally, as we are a family our son takes toys and activities to keep himself amused.  Advise the kids which tables eg. A coffee table is their designated play zone.  This helps to prevent losing any pieces to the games and ensure that the toys are confined to one area.

Top Trip Tip: Put the empty cooler box and luggage out of site in a closet or at least the corner of a room that is well out of the way

How to Keep Your Hotel Room Organised

We have done a lot of trips to South East Asia in the past staying in hotels.  Each of these holidays has involved our entire little family staying in the same 30sqm/322sqft room for about a week. And whilst we have not taken a full smorgasbord of food, we have packed snacks along with our person belongings into our shared luggage.

This is how we keep our hotel room tidy. On arriving at the hotel room begin by placing keycards/keys, travel documents and in a safe place, we usually use the desk or cabinet that the TV is on.  Then unpack the suitcase. 

Unpack Luggage

Put clothes in the wardrobe and shelves, snacks at the mini-bar (your new mini kitchen) and toiletry items into the bathroom.  Also, put a collapsible laundry hamper or large plastic rubbish bag in the bathroom for dirty washing unless you are doing hand washing as you go; in which case string out your pegless clothesline* on the balcony if possible or across the shower.  The pegless clothesline is also really handy for drying swimming clothes.

Hotel room with TV, desk and large mini bar

COMING SOON: How to do Washing When You Travel, follow us on Facebook to learn when it is published

Create a Kids Zone

If you’ve got kids then they’ve no doubt brought along some toys or activities.  Just like I mentioned above allocate a designated place for games and activities like the coffee table or desk (but don’t use the same space you’ve used for travel documents).

Don’t Lose Anything

When you wake in the morning and get dressed place your pyjamas on the bedside table, not under the pillow as you may do at home.  This will ensure that your PJ’s don’t get caught up in the bed linen when housekeeping change the sheets.

Lastly, provide all your belongings with a place to live during your stay and tidy up before you leave the room each day.  This not only helps housekeeping but creates a feeling of calm in your hotel room rather than a jumble of clutter.

Top Trip Tip: Having everything in its designated place helps keep everything neat in your hotel room.

Travel Organisation Tips

No matter what type of trip you have planned whether it be backpacking, camping, caravanning, staying in a holiday cottage or in a hotel room the process for staying organised as you travel is essential the same.

Travel organisation is achieved simply by:

  1. Use a packing list so you don’t take more than you need
  2. Pack your luggage and gear with all like things together
  3. Unpack as soon as you arrive
  4. Create designated areas for items
  5. Clean up and tidy things away when you have finished each activity

Following these simple steps will help you to stay neat and organised when you travel.  Tips 4 trips provides lots of free PDF packing lists to help you organise your trip.

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You may also like our travel planning series to help plan your next trip

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Hi, I'm a Perth born and raised travel tips blogger/writer with over 20 years of experience in airlines, hospitality and tourism. Whilst in my younger years I backpacked throughout Europe, these days I enjoy luxury family holidays to South East Asia or road-tripping about Western Australia with my partner and our son.
I love sharing the travel lessons I have learned to help you plan for your dream trip with my travel tips for trips.
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