How can you tell when you’re close to an IKEA store? All of the hybrid cars have little couches strapped on top.
I actually saw two hybrids carrying sofas and one Smart car with a furniture box wedged between the driver and passenger on my recent IKEA adventure. But I wasn’t headed there to shop for furniture. Since I’m always on the lookout for travel hacks, my mission was to find nifty things to simplify my packing for an upcoming trip to Italy for Yahoo Travel.
The first thing I found was an octo-looking hanger with clips on each arm, called Pressa. It’s perfect for hanging swimsuits or hand-washables in compact spaces.
Pressa is a great spot for your wet delicates to hang out. (Photo: IKEA)
I absolutely fell in love with the Upptäcka briefcases. They have pockets for paperwork, supplies, and electronic devices, plus ample space for a laptop. Even the back strap that loops over your wheeled luggage handle has a zippered pocket.
The Upptäcka briefcase might make for a handy “personal item” to take with you on planes. (Photo: IKEA)
Just walking through IKEA makes you crave organization. It wasn’t long before I began fantasizing about dividers or pockets to keep everything neat and tidy in my suitcase. I found both.
Lightweight folding boxes for organizing your drawers at home can also be arranged inside your suitcase to separate small clothing items, shoes, and slippery scarves that tend to slide around during transit.
Related: 11 Things You Never Need to Pack
The Pressa assorted zippered mesh bags also work to make packing and unpacking a breeze.
Consider this a handy packing aid. (Photo: IKEA)
I wasn’t actually shopping for luggage but was thrilled to see the variety of options that incorporate IKEA’s innovative design features to make them lightweight and sturdy.
Also in the luggage department, you can find brightly colored Upptäcka toiletry and accessory bags, plus everyone’s favorite 3.4-ounce bottles, all at affordable prices.
These bright Upptäcka accessory bags are stylish and functional. (Photo: IKEA)
I’m a fanatic about taking a first-aid kit along when I travel. I crossed plastic bandages off my list with a cheap assortment found near the luggage display.
Yahoo Editor Brittany Jones-Cooper’s packing tips could help you get the most amount of stuff in your new IKEA carry-ons.
Backpacks are the ideal carry-on option. IKEA has more than one size and style, all with padding and multiple pockets. My favorite was the Upptäcka two-piece model that can be downsized with a quick zip when you don’t have as much to carry.
This Upptäcka backpack has zippers galore. (Photo: IKEA)
Don’t you hate the tiny plastic bags that hotels provide for your dirty laundry? I spotted lightweight, collapsible bags in displays scattered throughout the store. The material is paper but stiff enough to stand up as a portable hamper. These appear to be a limited-offering item, but the Dimpa recycling bins might work just as well.
Dimpa hampers to go! (Photo: IKEA)
With all the craziness about hotel cleanliness, taking your own bed-in-a-bag doesn’t seem like a bad idea. The bedding department had a selection of colors and sizes that included a pillow, all rolled up neatly in a matching bag.
The coolest things I found were Isiga ice-cube bags (of course the pun is intended). You fill a bag with water, which flows into little compartments, and quickly turn it upside down to seal. After you freeze the bag, you break apart the cubes and voilà! Ice cubes!
Isiga bags are like little magic ice-cube makers. (Photo: IKEA)
I’m not sure when I might need those ice bags, but just knowing that IKEA is loaded with travel hacks made me feel better prepared to face any challenge. The next time you venture into an IKEA store, skip the sofas and get your travel-gear fix — most of it won’t even have to be strapped to the top of your car.
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