Want to know one item I always travel with? Packing cubes! They are a game changer when it comes to packing for travel, and I cannot imagine going on a trip without them. Trust me, your family needs packing cubes to travel…here’s why:
What are Packing Cubes?
Packing cubes are zippered containers that help people organize their luggage or backpack when traveling. They come in a variety of sizes and have multiple uses. Travel packing cubes can be sold as a set of 4-5 with various sizes or a single size.
How to Use Packing Cubes
1. Organization of Items
Packing cubes are very handy to help you and your family organize your clothes, gear and travel accessories. They are essentially drawers inside your luggage, and allow you to quickly take a cube, unzip it and find your item (no need to dig under piles of folded clothes anymore). Another benefit is that everything stays in one place and does not shift when the luggage gets rolled or thrown in a car or plane.
Ideas on how to pack with packing cubes
- By Item Type
This is usually how I pack. I used it for the first time when we went on our family road trip through Atlanta, Helen, and Greenville, and am happy to report that I will not be traveling again without my packing cubes. I used one medium packing cube for shirts, another for shorts/pants, and a small one for shoes.
For those of you with small children, you can use them not only for clothes but for baby/toddler supplies. An idea could be using one packing cube for diapers, wipes and cream, another for small toys and books, and maybe a little one for snacks. In reality, the possibilities are endless!
- By Outfit
When we travel for one-night stays, like our last trip to Bonita Springs, we packed this way. I brought two medium packing cubes and a small packing cube. Since our plan was simply to hang out by the pool and relax at the hotel, we did not need much. We put our 4 bathing suits and day outfits in one, our pajamas and day 2 outfits in the next, and our sandals in the small packing cube. Using packing cubes for outfits can come in pretty handy on short trips.
- By Day
I have never done this, but I have read about families that pack with packing cubes by day when on a road trip. This means that you pack everyone’s clothes in one packing cube for Day 1, then another cube is packed with all your clothes for Day 2, etc… The purpose of this would be when you arrive at the hotel, you would only take out the 1 or 2 packing cubes you need for the night (not the entire family’s luggage).
It makes sense when you stop and think about it. You essentially pack what your family needs for the night and the following morning in one or two packing cubes. Then, you just take that packing cube up to your room (not the luggage). It would minimize all the rolling or carrying of everyone’s luggage each night. However, this packing method would only work if you are staying somewhere for a night or two. It seems a bit impractical for a longer hotel stay.
- By Family Member (color)
This method could work if you buy packing cubes of different colors. That way you assign a color to a specific family member and they pack their items in the assigned color. The idea is that you would all pack your cubes in one large suitcase. When you arrive at the hotel, each person has their “drawer” of items that are easily identifiable and neatly organized. Now that we have various packing cube sets, this option works for us.
Packing cubes can also be used to separate clean and dirty clothes or even to keep your dirty shoes away from clean clothes. You can also put miscellaneous travel items like charges, hair iron, brushes or even snacks in the small packing cubes or the slim packing cubes. I usually bring a plastic garbage bag to put our family’s dirty clothes when we are on a road trip. When flying, I often use a large packing cube as the dirty clothes holder and then wash it later if necessary.
2. Saves Space
Your family needs packing cubes because it saves space in your luggage! As a matter of fact, I believe it doubles it… I have used the same carry-on suitcase for the last 5 years. Since buying my 2 sets of packing cubes, I am positive that I have been able to fit more items into the same amount of space. The trick is – roll your clothes.
How to roll your clothes for packing cubes
Here’s what I do… I lay out all of the clothes I am going to pack on my bed and sort them into tops/bottoms. Then I roll them neatly (trying to smooth out any wrinkles). By rolling my clothes, it saves space and allows me to fit more items into the packing cube. Once it seems pretty full, I zip it up and see if there is any unused space. If there is, I open a corner of the cube and stuff in another rolled up item or a pair of socks/underwear (maximizing even more space).
3. Easy and Worth
Packing cubes are just another way to help organize your family’s travels. Some people may feel that it is unnecessary to spend money on an organizational tool. To me, they are an easy and inexpensive way to organize your family’s travel gear. Are packing cubes worth it? Absolutely! For about $20 you get 4-5 cubes.
We have not been using them for very long, but now that I have discovered how magical they can be, I am never leaving home without them! If you would like some advice on which packing cubes I recommend, take a look at my post – Best Packing Cubes to Buy. Check out these tips on how to create great packing lists to help you organize your travel.
Where to Buy Packing Cubes?
I strongly recommend Amazon. They have a huge resource of sizes, colors and price ranges. The best packing cubes are a matter of personal preference and Amazon is a great place to do some research and get a packing cube set or browse to see what you like. They have cheap packing cubes, compression packing cubes, ultralight packing cubes, and even waterproof packing cubes all at different price points.
Use your packing cubes with my favorite carryon spinner luggage. The best travel packing cubes for carryon luggage are usually a set of various sizes. Try not to overpack… here are some tips on how to pack light and packing your suitcase like a pro. Click on the picture below to check out this great carry on luggage.
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