Save space when you travel with these foldable, compact products

Lindsay Tigar, CNN Underscored
Wed March 6, 2019

Situation: Your wanderlust feeds your travel bug and you're forever tempted by those last-minute, inexpensive flight alerts. Issue: You have yet to figure out how to pack a simple carry-on.

It takes practice to become a minimalist (just ask Marie Kondo), and while certain packing strategies work, it really comes down to what you bring.

And of course, where you're going.

While some trips need only a T-shirt and jeans, other adventures require cumbersome gear that can send you far over the weight limit.

To your rescue are these super useful and compact travel products that offer plenty of multi-purpose solutions. From a stroller that's ideal for nomadic parents to a pair of flats to throw in your purse, consider this your guide to foldable travel must haves:

For sightseeing: Merrell Gridway Women's Shoe ($130; amazon.com)

Though Merrell is known for heavy hiking gear, these kicks weigh only a little over a pound and pack up tightly, thanks to a flexible toe. Made of the same recycled materials you're used to, you can easily pack these in your carry-on, giving you extra space for a second pair of shoes for when sightseeing turns into happy hour.

For parents: The Clutch Stroller by Delta Children ($149.99; amazon.com)

Remember those days when you could sunbathe for hours, reading, napping, drinking? Travel is different now that you're a parent (read: stressful) — but this foldable stroller makes jet-setting easy peasy. It folds smaller than a pillow and weighs only 11 pounds. Just be prepared for funny looks when you check in plane side, since baby gear doesn't count toward carry-on allowance for most airlines.

For yogis: Gaiam Packable Yoga Mat ($19.99; amazon.com)

When you need zen away from home, this less-than-a-pound yoga mat folds up into a tidy square that fits in a laptop sleeve. This way, you never have to worry about renting a mat or making space in your carry-on.

For the beach: Corkcicle Cooler Eola Bucket Backpack ($129.95; amazon.com)

This super lightweight backpack doesn't just fold up tightly, but it will 'wow' your friends when you head to your next beachy getaway. When you're touring downtown, it's your standard backpack. But when you're spending the day boozing by the shore? You can freeze it and it becomes a cooler that holds 12 cans or two wine bottles. Win, win!

For adventurers: Priority Bicycles Packable Helmet, The Stack ($79.99; amazon.com)

Your preferred method of exploring a new city? Not your two feet — but two wheels! For bicycle lovers to take to the streets of Copenhagen, Bogota or Kyoto, this packable helmet gives you more room in your backpack, since it folds down by 50 percent.

For snow: Lole Claudia Packable Jacket for Women ($189; lolelife.com)

If you're heading to a chillier destination and you want to keep warm, bringing an oversized puffer jacket isn't easy unless you wear it on the plane. However, this beauty from Lole solves the problem by folding up just right.

For business trips: FitFlop Women's Allegro Ballet Flat (starting at $99.90; amazon.com)

This pair of classic, sophisticated flats weigh only a pound and roll up tightly for your purse or laptop bag. For women who rock heels for their corporate meetings across the Atlantic, they're ideal for commuting — or much needed relief.

For hydration: Hydrapak Stash Flexible Bottle ($16.58; amazon.com)

No matter where you're going, how long you're staying or what you're doing, the first rule of staying healthy while traveling is keeping hydrated. This collapsible water bottle is tiny — but effective — in carrying the aqua you need.

Note: The prices above reflect the retailer's listed price at the time of publication.