Packing cubes… Are they only for the obsessive-compulsive traveler? Absolutely not! In fact, now that airlines are—for lack of a better word—obsessed with charging fees, using these little zippered compartments is a stroke of genius for organizing and fitting in all your clothes and accouterments without ending up with a tangled mess.
And if you’re traveling as a family, placing each person’s sweet nothings in their own color-coded bags can make them worth their weight in gold. They’re also great for separating clean clothes from dirty or separating your clothes by outfits.
Let’s get down to basics: packing cubes are a bit of a misnomer. These “cubes” are usually more rectangular fabric containers with zippers for easy access and, more often than not, a mesh top so you can see what’s in them without having to unzip. They come in an assortment of sizes from slim and long to bigger, flat pocket-type folders for your different needs. They allow you to fill in all the nooks and crannies of your suitcase in an organized manner so you maximize your space. And when you think of how often the TSA opens suitcases to check contents (more often than you think) it can be a very good thing to have your stuff neatly tucked away in your packing cubes.
To make the most of your packing cubes, sort your clothes and pack similar items together. For example, use the larger ones for pants, long-sleeved shirts, jackets, and shorts, then pick a smaller one each for t-shirts, undergarments, socks, etc.
The trick to fitting it all in is simple: roll. The neater your roll, the fewer wrinkles you’ll have. A good space-saving alternative for things that really wrinkle is the Eagle Creek Pack-It Folder. This nifty little gizmo also comes in several sizes depending on your clothing needs and works by helping you neatly fold the shirts and jackets using a special system that helps you take along probably way more clothing than you’re going to need, all in a tight, neat folder. Tip: fill the packing cubes to capacity—the less room the clothes have to run around in, the fewer wrinkles they’ll get!
Packing cubes are particularly useful when staying in several places for short periods of time, or when your hotel/cruise cabin is tight on space. You can literally keep your clothes in their little cubes until you need them and find what you want without disturbing the rest of your stuff.
A couple of other travel organizers that will help with your packing are shoe bags—to protect our clothing from dirty soles (and can also store chargers, cables, and more)—and compression bags, which, as their name implies can help you squish your stuff into a tighter space by eliminating air pockets (I always take along an empty one in case of… shopping!)
Do you cube?
We love Top Flight Family – click below for a hands-on demo of packing with cubes.