Using packing cubes is one of the most popular travel tips that you’ll hear from travel experts. Lightweight, reasonably-priced, and easy to pack, packing cubes are a good idea for any traveler. I resisted purchasing them for a long time but now can’t go on a vacation without them.
Whether you already own a set or are considering making a purchase, here’s everything you need to know, including how to use packing cubes. If you are already a convert, let us know in the comments! Once you try them, you’ll definitely consider them an essential travel product.
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Why and How To Use Packing Cubes
What Are Packing Cubes?
Packing cubes are fabric bags that can be packed up with your clothes and tossed into your suitcase or carry on bag. They typically have some mesh so that you can see through them, and are available in a variety of sizes and colors. Packing cubes are reusable and can be washed between trips.
Once you pack them up, they can be easily added to your suitcase. In addition, you can usually take them right from your suitcase to the dresser drawers in your hotel room. That way, your clothing will never directly touch the hotel drawers.
Why Should You Use Packing Cubes?
This incredibly popular piece of travel gear is essential for a variety of reasons – whether you are checking a bag or just carrying on your luggage. They can also be used for road trips – for all of the same reasons listed below.
- Packing cubes operate like a compression bag – everything gets pushed together more compactly, so you’ll have more room for your belongings.
- Cubes can be purchased in multiple colors. That makes it easier to easily separate clothing for different members of your family.
- Cubes can also be used to separate out outfits for different portions of your vacation. For instance, when we traveled on our Adventures by Disney trip to England and France, we stayed in three different hotels. I only pulled out the packing cubes I needed for each stay, making it much easier to pack and unpack.
- If they are packing correctly, packing cubes can keep your clothes looking wrinkle-free so you won’t have to worry about ironing on your vacation.
- Packing cubes can be taken right from your suitcase and put directly in the dresser drawers in your hotel room.
- They can also be used for dirty clothes so that you can separate clean from dirty in your suitcase.
How to Use Packing Cubes
Before purchasing, decide how you want to use your packing cubes. If you want to create outfits, you’ll probably want to purchase several in the same size. In addition, you may want to get different colors for each member of your family so that everything will stay organized.
Once you are ready to pack, get your packing list ready and start pulling out the clothes you need. If you have several different sizes of bags, you’ll want to put larger items like pants, dresses, and skirts in the largest size. Socks and underwear usually fit perfectly in the smaller cubes.
For multi-hotel trips, put together outfits of tops, bottoms, and underwear and put those in each cube. For our Paris trip, I was able to get two full outfits in each of the largest packing bags.
It’s best to roll your clothing tightly before placing it in the bag. That way, the cubes will act as compression cubes and you’ll be able to get more into your suitcase. If you are checking bags, you may want to place one cube with an outfit in your checked luggage.
For bigger trips, I find that I need about 4-5 packing cubes of different sizes. If we have more than one checked bag, I evenly distribute them cubes from each family member among the bags. That way, if one bag is lost, everyone will at least have some clothing.
Once I’m at my destination, I’ll typically unpack and hang my dresses and pants. Shorts, shirts, bathing suits, and underwear stay in the cube and are placed in one or two drawers.
As items get dirty, I’ll place them in a laundry bag. If there are laundry facilities at my destination, I always try to make sure I’m going home with all clean clothes. Otherwise, I’ll put the dirty items back in packing cubes for the trip home – keep anything clean in a separate cube.
Where to Buy Packing Cubes?
You can find packing cubes at any store that sells travel gear. Look for companies that have several sizes in one package, with the option to purchase more. You’ll also want to find some that have different colors – at least enough colors for every family member to have their own.
Read reviews before purchasing to ensure that the bags are durable and will hold up for multiple trips. In general, you want something that is lightweight but will last a while.
One of the most reasonably-priced sets that I’ve seen is from Amazon. This Amazon Basics set includes four bags (in different sizes) and comes in six different colors. There’s also another set that is similar but with additional color options.
Some sets will include a laundry bag and others include shoe bags. These are nice extras but are definitely not essential.