The holidays are around the corner, which means in no time we will be scattering to some remote coastal town in South Africa or, if you are lucky, getting on a plain to a foreign country. So to help you prepare I have teamed up with Neutrogena to put together my top 10 travel hacks that will make your trip as comfy as possible.

PLUS WIN a hamper worth R1180, including the entire Neutrogena Hydro Boost range AND a Country Road tog bag! Scroll down for details.

1. Stock up on cleansing wipes and micellar water

Waterless cleansers are incredibly convenient, especially when you are travelling. Neutrogena recently launched their new Hydro Boost range, which includes Facial Wipes and Micellar Water. This skincare system has been built on hyaluronic acid, a brilliant ingredient that draws moisture towards it and keeps it against your skin for consistent hydration.

The range is great for summer, with lightweight moisturisers and cleansers that don’t strip your skin. Grab these at premium mass retailers like Clicks, Dis-Chem and Foschini. The Facial Wipes and Micellar Water go for a bargain R99,95 each.

2. Save space by rolling your clothes instead of folding them

This saves a ton of space and I have also found my clothes come out less wrinkled on the other side compared to when I fold them. Pack smaller items into all the little corners and nooks, and push underwear into your shoes.

3. Make sure your bag is balanced and weighted towards the bottom

Pack your shoes heel-to-toe to save space and then pack them along with any other heavy items towards the bottom end of your bag. This will help to balance your bag so that it doesn’t topple over.

4. Pack cloth shopping bags for dirty clothes

Cloth grocery bags are convenient for separating dirty items like underwear and shoes from the rest of your clean clothes in your suitcase.

5. Pack zip lock bags for wet items

Zip lock bags are a travelling essential. They are particularly handy to keep wet items separate. Use them to store wash cloths, loofas or swim suits when you go from one destination to the next, and then hang the items out to dry as soon as you reach your next stop.

6. Push the air out of your bottles

If you are flying, remember to push the air out of your bottles. Air expands at a higher altitude, which is why bottles often explode in your bag. To prevent this from happening, push all the air out and then clip the cap shut. To be extra cautious, you should also keep any liquids in zip lock bags.

7. Prevent jewellery chains from tangling

This is a really neat trick I learnt from Emmy over at Rouge Beauty. To prevent jewellery chains from tangling, run one end into a drinking straw and then fasten the clip together again.

8. Keep your bobby pins together

When I’m travelling I prefer to have my hair up in a bun and out of my face, so bobby pins are an essential. Keep them organised in small glass bottles or empty mint containers.

9. Keep cold water at hand

If you are going on a road trip, use this hack to have cold water for the road. Fill a water bottle halfway and pop it on its side in the freezer. When you are ready to leave, fill the bottle up with normal water. That way you instantly have ice cold water to drink.

10. Pack a small bag with all your essentials

I carry face wipes, my contact lense water and my glasses, eyedrops,  hand cream, a book, my cellphone, earphones, tissues, roll-on, a hairband, bobby pins, chewing gum, my passport (when travelling internationally) and a pen.

I hope you found a couple of tips you can use on your next trip! Happy holidays!


One lucky 9Lives reader will win a hamper worth R1180, including the entire Neutrogena Hydro Boost range AND a Country Road tog bag! To enter, share your top travel hack. Pop it in the comments section below or send me a mail: . Competition closes 13 December

*This post has been sponsored by Neutrogena


I am a lifestyle blogger from Cape Town trying to find the best ways to spend my time, take care of my body and express myself. I am slightly obsessed with fragrances, sneakers, Jamie Oliver and Masterchef Australia. Oh, and I probably drink way too much wine.


  1. My top travel tip is to never forget sunblock hahaha but think that has a lot to do with the fact that I am faired skinned!!!!

    • Another tip is to always take hand sanatiser as it always comes in handy

      • Malherbe Liezel Reply

        I never travel without it! Thanks for the tip 🙂

  2. I always pack in a beautiful scarf, it’s the perfect daytime accessory and it can be worn at night too. A scarf is light and barely takes up any space in your suitcase.

    I use my Garner miscellar water (when I’m travelling) as a cleanser and a makeup remover. This also saves me space and make the luggage lighter, every bit helps ?☺

  3. Juanita Daniels Reply

    Always put your shampoo, conditioner, body lotion, etc. in a plastic bag (or individual baggies if you want to be super careful), in case the lids accidentally open and it leaks.

  4. Ooh that water bottle one is fab! My fave travel hack is packing a lightweight folded tog bag – I bought one from IKEA ages ago that folds down flat to an envelope size but opens up to a tog bag size- because I always buy things on holiday and can never fit them in my suitcase!

  5. I always take a little sling bag for the destination. This way I can fill up a big handbag but when on the move, only take the essentials with me in the sling bag! Very convenient.

  6. Dry shampoo is a must as well as travel sized toiletries . I pack my Shoes in a showercap as well

  7. Tonya Emmerich Reply

    I have a toiletry bag filled with all the must haves that just stay as they are in my cupboard. This way I don’t need to pack and unpack a toiletry bag every time I travel. I usually have ‘travel sizes’ in there so that I can use it even if I only have a carry on with me on flights. Perfect for a frequent flyer, someone who usually forgets something or who hates packing!

  8. Place a piece of cling wrap over the top of toiletries/makeup/shampoo bottles the screw on the lid. It prevents that sticky creamy mess when you open your toiletry bag.
    Decide on your colour schemes for clothing upfront in order to take only 2 pairs of shoes instead of more. Roll up a few varied scarves that takes minimal space and change your look by draping different scarves every day. If it’s big enough it can also be used to wrap around your shoulders for a night out.

    • Malherbe Liezel Reply

      Oooh that’s clever. And I love the idea to pack various scarves. They take minimal space and they can transform an outfit. Thanks for sharing, good luck 🙂

  9. Yasmin Schrueder Reply

    My top travel tip is to buy multi functional items like Face wipes that cleanse and moisturize…And pack clothes like reversible jackets/ shorts to take up less space! No compromising just pure cleverness 🙂

    • Malherbe Liezel Reply

      That’s a clever idea Yasmin! Wipes are such a great travel product. Thanks for entering!

  10. Suné de Bruyn Reply

    When packing for a trip where I’ll be living out of my bag for a few days, I always seperate my undies & socks from my clothes (in a side pocket) for easy access & to keep me from digging through bundles of clothes to find them. And For travelling I always put my shampoo, conditioner & bodywash in mini bottles so I don’t need to carry around those big 400ml bottles.

    • Malherbe Liezel Reply

      Great tips! I also seperate my undies in a side pocket or one of those mesh laundry bags. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  11. Justine Kroes Reply

    Such great tips…the water bottle one is a fave going to try that asap! I always tie a few hairbands around my hairbrush so I don’t loose them (hairbands and bobby pins always seem to join the missing sock somewhere). Oh and travelling with a baby – I’ve learnt wipes wipes wipes…you can never have enough and keep them in every bag!

    • Malherbe Liezel Reply

      I love the idea of tying hairbands around your brush, completely forgot about that and it is such a goodie. You can also tuck your bobby pins into your hairbands and keep everything together. Thanks for the tips, good luck!

  12. Roxanne Chutthergoon Reply

    Wear your heaviest boots and jackets on the plane or on route to your destination – this will save you space and also make your luggage lighter.

    • Malherbe Liezel Reply

      Clever idea, thanks for sharing! Good luck 🙂

  13. Roxanne Chutthergoon Reply

    Use pill or tablet containers to store and carry your jewelry so that it does not get lost in your luggage.

  14. abigail Moodley Reply

    Love the jewelry trick, problem solved for jewelry drawer LOL, thank you.
    My hack is simple, don’t forget your powerbank nothing worst then a flat phone ?

    Don’t bother with those fancy, expensive travel towels. Instead, get a sarong. It’s cheap and multi-use: use it as a wrap, lay it out for picnics or sunbathing, or dry off with it. They’re super light and dry quickly, even in humid places

    • Malherbe Liezel Reply

      Thanks for the tip Abigail, I love it. The sarong is such a great idea. Good luck!

  15. Lynnith Andreou Reply

    Hi there! My top travel hack is tie a bright red ribbon on your bag for easy identifying on the luggage carousel. x

    • Malherbe Liezel Reply

      great tip, especially if you have a black suitcase. Thanks for sharing!

  16. Maureen Pennels Reply

    My top tip is planning. When traveling to a new place, a person is tempted to just pack a bag and go and just wing the adventure. You can get more out of the journey if you put in a little extra effort, even if that effort only equates to not forgetting your toothbrush. There are three things I recommend planning: The contents of your bag, what you’d like to do at your destination, and spending of money.

    The contents of your bag: It may seem tedious to compile a checklist of what you need on your journey, but I do recommend doing it. I’ve personally forgotten things far too often while packing (That awkward moment when you’ve forgotten both N.B. brushes: your toothbrush and hairbrush…). Also, the checklist becomes handy when you pack up to leave, to make sure you don’t forget anything. I have to admit, I’ve left a fair few shower loufas at hotels while traveling. Even if you don’t have a list on paper, a mental list helps as well.

    What you’d like to do at your destination: Especially if you’re going to a foreign place, have a to-do list of spots you’d like to see. Find out as much as you can about the place beforehand, by searching google and reading a travel blog. That way you can prioritize what attractions you’d like to hit before you leave. Then in the end you can leave the place knowing that you’ve made the most of the trip.

    Spending of money: This hugely helps when visiting a foreign place, where you may have limited currency which you have organized at an exchange bureau prior to the trip. Put a designated amount of money for each day in separate envelopes, to limit your spending over the duration of the trip. This will prevent overspending and running out of money. It’s very easy to run up your credit card while on holiday, but that just leaves you with a massive debt to pay off, which is never a pleasant thing (Your relaxing holiday will end up causing you stress, and being counter productive).

    I’m with you on #2, “Save space by rolling your clothes instead of folding them”. I do this religiously when I travel and always end up with neat clothes on the other side, instead of crumbled up, wrinkly clothes.

    Thanks for the helpful tips. Will keep them in mind for the next time I travel. 🙂

    Take care, and have a lovely festive season. x

    • Malherbe Liezel Reply

      Thanks so much for all the brilliant tips Maureen! I think they are all brilliant. I especially like the idea of dividing your money up and deciding beforehand how much you want to spend where. It will really help to relieve stress. Thanks for the entry, good luck!

  17. Janine van Huyssteen Reply

    My husband and I are heading to the Cayman Islands to live there for 18 mo nths, so these tips are soooo relevant for me. I need to pack carefully and efficiently. My tip would be to take a sarong which can be worn in multiple ways. Wrap it around the waist as a skirt, use it as a scarf, wrap a funky dress around you or use it as a picnic throw. This would definitely help me as i need to pack light. I can also use the sarong on my travel expeditions from Cayman Islands…fingers crossed for the prize 🙂

    • Malherbe Liezel Reply

      So exciting Janine! This sounds like an incredible adventure! I love the idea to use a sarong as in many different ways, it is a brilliant travelling companion. Thanks for entering!

  18. Linkie Bessinger Reply

    Thanks for the great tips Liezel. Its definitely making me more and more excited for the holiday approaching.

    My travel hack is taking it back to basics and that is to always remember to pack in some snacks/”padkos” when hitting the highways.
    There is nothing as bad as stopping at shops, overcrowded with holiday-makers, paying more than you should for a sandwich and a bottle of water. So take your grandmothers recipes and stock up on some meatballs, ham and cheese sandwiches, maybe some cooked egg?? And take a stop at some of the lovely picnic spots on the way to your destination. This way, you save money and get the chance to enjoy the scenery of the world around you.

    Then of course what is a road-trip without a good soundtrack?! A mp3 CD or a USB loaded with all the good feel-good holiday tunes from way back when to the summer tunes of ’16. 😀
    Fingers crossed.

    • Malherbe Liezel Reply

      I love this Linkie! I think padkos is a must when you roadtrip. It’s healthier, fun to make and much cheaper than the stuff you buy at pitstops. And the no roadtrip is complete without a soundtrack! Any favourite tunes? Thanks for entering!

  19. jade abbott Reply

    Closed shoes and flip flops and especially extra pairs of undies 🙂

  20. Naidene Cooper Reply

    I always try and pack minimally (not always possible), versatile items that you can mix and match, and layer as well. I also picked up a tip from Pinterest to roll my clothes when packing. It saves space and there is less creasing. Works like a bomb!

    • Malherbe Liezel Reply

      Definitely! I think it’s always clever to work out your outfits and pack as little as possible. Thanks for sharing!

  21. Top (air) travel tip. Use a moisturizing face mask on the airplane (preferably one that is clear and doesn’t need to be washed off). Best way to avoid dry airplane skin and feel refreshed when you arrive at your destination!

    • Malherbe Liezel Reply

      This is such a brilliant idea, I am definitely keeping it in mind next time I fly overnight! Thanks for sharing!

  22. You shared a tonne of great hacks right there in one shot! Some stuff I always remember include for the plane ride are: Spare hair elastics, clean socks, lip balm, human-sized toothpaste and dental floss. My packing tip is to freshly launder absolutely everything with extra fabric softener to make the contents of your bag smell super fresh.

    • Malherbe Liezel Reply

      Oh yes, definitely spare hair bands and socks! And lip balm is a must everywhere I go. Thanks for sharing!

  23. Mari Gericke Reply

    My Top Travel Hack is to pack products I can use for multiple purpose. I am all for light packing.
    My favorite one is Oh-Lief’s Natural Insect Repellent, I use it to keep away insects (as we love being outside and camping), aftersun moisturiser and a general face and body balm after a long day in the salty ocean.

    • Malherbe Liezel Reply

      Great advice Mari! Thanks for sharing. I am definitely going to give that insect repellent a go.

  24. Janet W Perry Reply

    Such clever tips! Love the one about the jewellery chains in straws. My top travel hack is to always travel with a sarong. Depending on where I am travelling to, it’s the most amazing thing to have. It can be a makeshift bag, a shelter from sun, warmth around your shoulders, a skirt, a screen to be held up if you need the loo in the middle of the bush, or a quick change on the beach, a makeshift pillow, there are so many uses. Lastly, my favourite use is it provides something clean to sit on when you go to parks, beaches or waiting in long queues, travelling on crowded busses or trains. As you can hear, most of my travels with a trusty sarong have been in the bush or third world countries and it’s been like a comfort blanket!

    • Malherbe Liezel Reply

      Such a clever tip Janet! I am definitely keeping it in mind for my next trip. Thanks for entering!

  25. Jackie Katzen Reply

    My Top Travel Hack – always carry a roll of toilet paper 😉

    • Malherbe Liezel Reply

      Definitely! There is always one in the cubby of my car 😉

  26. I always pack in a hydrating mask into my carry on bag as the dry airplane air is a nightmare for my skin. Also, always take your medication in your carry on luggage in case your baggage gets lost as medication (especially prescription) is hard to replace in a foreign country!

    • Malherbe Liezel Reply

      That’s a brilliant idea, I am definitely trying the hydrating mask hack. And good idea to keep your medication in your hand luggage! Nothing worse than trying to explain your prescriptions to a foreign pharmacy!

  27. Laura Martin Reply

    My top travel hack would be to invest in a good traveling purse/organizer (and read up on what documents you need in order to get through customs!) – one that has space for all your essential documents such as your passport, identity documents and tickets as well as whatever else you might need. I got mine from typo and it saved me oodles of time when going through customs as everything was easily accessible. It also helped me get some smiles out of the security as it made their job easier as well!

    • Malherbe Liezel Reply

      Brilliant advice! Thanks so much for entering!

  28. Nicola Meyer Reply

    Choose clothes that don’t crease or barely crease so you don’t have to worry about getting an iron. Pack less skirts/pants and more tops.

    • Malherbe Liezel Reply

      Good tips! I think you need about three tops for each bottom piece 🙂 Thanks for entering!

  29. Coral Le Roux Reply

    I have 2 tips. 1. Always carry small change for tipping. In a lot of countries it’s customary to tip for anything and everything. 2. Take a small back pack with you for the day trips. You’ll want your hands free to explore!

    • Malherbe Liezel Reply

      I agree! I always pack a small backpack, which works brilliantly as hand luggage and for your day trips. Much more convenient than a hand bag. thanks for sharing!

  30. Thermal underwear! Nobody likes to look like a oompa loompa in a fabulous city ?

    • Malherbe Liezel Reply

      Clever! I am definitely keeping this in mind on my next trip to the snowy realms!

  31. My top travel hack is 1. Baby wipes – these bad boys should be your best friend 2. Always research the place you are going to. Just don’t do “tourist” stuff. Find out where the outlet malls are etc. 🙂

    • Malherbe Liezel Reply

      Yes to baby wipes! They always come in handy. And I totally agree about doing your research. Reading travel blogs and websites is a must!

  32. Sarah-jane Reply

    When we travel we are always sure to have enough cold drinks or water as you never know what can happen we also always have wipes.having children you can never have enough wipes. We also pack sarmies or something to eat, its so much cheaper and at least you know that your lunch is fresh and made with clean hands.

    • Malherbe Liezel Reply

      Yes, yes and yes! I think packing roadtrip food is essential. Pit-stop restaurants are super pricey and mostly unhealthy. Plus I love the idea of old-school snacks like sarmies, boiled eggs and chicken wings. Thanks for sharing!

  33. michelle steenkamp Reply

    Thanks for the tips liezel the rolling your cloths tip always a win! My travel hack would probably be bubble wrap. My perfume, liquids anything breakable I bubble wrap and all my goodies have made it safe and sound to its destination.

    • Malherbe Liezel Reply

      That’s a great idea! I would maybe wrap the breakables in scarves – that way I can take more wearable items along 🙂 Thanks for the suggestion!

  34. Carolyn Augustus Reply

    Keep the dirty soles of your shoes away from your clothes by sticking
    them inside a shower cap. Stuff socks and products that won’t burst inside your shoes if you’re low on packing space. To prevent liquid products from bursting (and ruining everything else) inside your bag, cut a small square of plastic wrap, unscrew the product’s lid, set the plastic wrap on top, and screw the lid back on. That way if the lid pops open, no product can spill out. Slip breakables into socks. Pack at least 3 tops for every bottom.

    • Malherbe Liezel Reply

      So many brilliant tips, especially the idea to wrap your shoes in a shower cap. Thanks for the ideas!

  35. Cathy Badenhorst Reply

    I always pack 5 of those scented bin liner bags into my suitcase – these are great either during or on your last day of your trip to pack those smelly sneakers/shoes or even dirty laundry that you did not get time to wash.

    • Malherbe Liezel Reply

      That is such a clever idea! I am definitely keeping it in mind for my next trip. Thanks for sharing!

  36. Daniela Cardoso Reply

    mini zip lock bags are so useful for packing perfume, foundation, toner/moisturiser/cleanser, nail polish, shampoo/conditioner and medicine bottles in case of any accidental spillage or breakage

    • Malherbe Liezel Reply

      I totally agree Daniela! Zip lock bags are one of my ultimate travelling musts. Thanks for entering!

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