When traveling, sometimes you need to improvise. Flights change, weather changes and you only have what you brought with you on hand. Luckily, travelers are a resourceful lot, figuring out ways to get the most out of any situation. Getting the most out of your backpack on the road is no exception. Here are 5 helpful backpack hacks for travel that will help you maximize what that handy travel companion can do.

1. Use external attachments to help you carry more

Most backpacks have external attachments you can clip a carabiner clip to, then add a water bottle, umbrella, or travel pillow to have in easy reach. Worst case you can use the top grab handle of a backpack for this purpose as well. If your backpack has external compression straps or attachment loops, you can even slide bigger items in them, like a yoga mat. Hello extra space inside.

2. Use your front, back or side pockets to stash your passport and phone

Side or front zip pockets are the perfect place to store your passport, wallet, phone and any other items you have in your pockets during airport transits. They’re easy to get to without opening up your entire bag, but when you go through airport security checks you don’t have to put them in full display on the tray. 

3. Slide some magazines into your laptop sleeve as well

A laptop sleeve often has a little extra room in it, especially if you’re carrying something sleek like a Macbook Air. That sleeve is the perfect place to slide a magazine (or two) into for mid-flight reading. The space is perfectly formatted for the size, keeps magazines crisp and easy to find, plus adds some padding for your laptop. Win/win/win.

4. Keep small items together in a sunglasses case.

Even if you have handy stash pockets inside your backpack, earbuds can get tangled, earrings can get lost and your keys can become hard to find. Make things simpler by storing those items in a sunglasses case. You can use your empty one if you have your sunnies on your face already, or grab a spare one from home specifically for the purpose. A little organization makes your trip all the smoother.

5. Use your backpack’s straps to attach it to your wheeled luggage

These days, a lot of backpacks have a handy luggage slip that attaches to the handle of your wheeled luggage. It makes for much easier carrying during transit and gives your back a rest. However, if you don’t have one on your bag, you can also crisscross your backpack shoulder straps around a luggage handle for the same effect. It’s not as elegant, but it does the job. It’s also worth the few minutes to make it secure, if it’s going to make the next hour more comfortable.

A lot of people also have security hacks for their backpacks, like using a safety pin or paperclip to secure zippers together. To avoid the hassle and maximize your protection, Pacsafe’s backpacks all have anti-theft features built in. To check out anti-theft backpacks especially good for travel, head here.

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