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As a travel writer, I can't go anywhere without this compact luggage organizer

It's a must-have for your next vacation.
Katie Jackson shows before and after packing with a smart luggage system
TODAY Illustration / Courtesy Katie Jackson
/ Source: TODAY

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As a travel writer, I basically live out of my luggage. Since I'm constantly on the road, having the right gear to help me get from point A to point B as quickly and easily as possible is vital. My current on-the-go essential is my beloved Cotopaxi carry-on bag, which I discovered thanks to a friend who covers travel for the New York Times. I've been meaning to return the favor by introducing him to some amazing luggage. The problem? He already has the best bags out there.

But traveling must-haves go way beyond totes and weekend bags. For example, how do you keep what's inside tidy? So, I decided on something else to send my friend's way: the Stow-N-Go Small Travel Luggage Organizer, a portable packing cube and space saver that has become a necessity for me while trekking across the country.

The good news is it's only $24. The best news is you don't need to be a travel writer to benefit from it.

Stow-N-Go Small Travel Luggage Organizer

You know those products that make you go, "Wow, why didn't I think of that?" Well, this is one of them. Simply put, the Stow-N-Go Small Travel Luggage Organizer is a collapsible storage cube with shelving. While I'm a big fan of packing cubes, what sets this organizer apart from similar products is its efficiency. Not only can it conveniently store your clothes, but it's also designed to fit in most luggage and features steel hooks for hanging in a closet.

It takes the pain out of packing

My Cotopaxi carry-on has handy internal storage. But the largest compartment, at least half of the bag, is overwhelming. It's where I tend to just throw everything in — meaning that when I arrive at my destination, it's all a mess. But with the Stow-N-Go, everything stays in place. And thanks to the buckles, it can compress down, so it's pretty compact.

Courtesy Katie Jackson

It has compartments for everything

The first time I used my Stow-N-Go was for a business-meets-pleasure trip at the Element Bozeman, dog-friendly hotel in Montana with an open pool and fitness center — now a novelty post-pandemic. So, in addition to the things I normally travel with, I was packing a swimsuit, workout gear and everything I needed for my dog. As you can imagine, there were a few items that I preferred to keep separate from each other. Knowing I had the Stow-N-Go in my corner to help was a huge relief.

Thanks to Stow-N-Go's shelves and pockets, everything was organized. I had designated spaces for shirts, bottoms and workout clothes, along with pockets for socks and lingerie. The organizer even features a zippered storage compartment, which ended up being the perfect place to stash my new Kengos. They're sustainable sneakers made of plants, so they have a distinct scent that I didn't want mixed in with my clothes. While the organizer isn't "smell-proof," it did a surprisingly good job protecting my luggage from unwanted odors. For those of you who don't have smelly shoes, this compartment is also helpful for storing wet bathing suits and dirty laundry.

Courtesy Katie Jackson

Just hang and go

What I love the most about my Stow-N-Go is that it hangs in the closet. Everything I need is in one place. Thanks to the three-tiered shelving system, I never have to spend time unpacking or, more importantly, touching dirty hotel drawers or closets. As soon as I undo the Stow-N-Go's buckles, it expands, leaving my neatly stacked clothing wrinkle-free and easy to access.

I've always considered the stress of packing to just be another rite of passage — a part of the travel experience. But now I'm not so sure. What's wrong with making my life a little easier so I can invest my precious time, space and energy elsewhere? What I know for sure is that none of those will be spent on repacking a week's worth of clothing.

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