Being married to a pilot, air travel is a common occurrence in our household! Lately, I have found myself on an airplane about every three weeks. My daughter and I are beginning to look at colleges (gasp!) and anytime we have a moment in our schedule, we are hopping on a flight to cross one off the list. And for whatever reason, we find ourselves on the regional jet airplanes. You know the ones that offer NO overhead space so you end being forced to gate check your roller bag. And then you deplane and wait wait wait for it to come up to the jet bridge!
So in an effort to avoid this, I stated using a weekend bag for packing clothes. One that I can easily store under my seat on a flight. And I have been using travel packing cubes to help organize and compress my packing so that it is a comfortable fit all around!
I do not why it took me so long to start using packing cubes. Beyond helping you save space with your carry on luggage, they really are a great travel accessory to use anytime you are packing clothes. It is a system that allows you to divide and organize your items into neatly arranged sections. It encourages you to pack more efficiently preventing unwanted clutter and unnecessary items when traveling. And it compresses and minimizes the likelihood of wrinkles in your clothes.
With holiday travel on the horizon, I want to share packing tips on how to best utilize these travel accessories! Once you use set of packing cubes for the first time, I swear you will wonder how you ever have managed to travel without them!
How to Use Travel Packing Cubes
Choosing the Right Packing Cubes
There are so many different options when it comes to choosing packing cubes. They come in a variety of sizes, styles and offer different features! When choosing a set of packing cubes, consider a few things. First, material. Most cubes are made with canvas or nylon making them durable and lightweight. Some are made of plastic, which helps if your luggage runs a risk of getting wet but will not necessarily allow your clothes to breathe that well. Others have a mesh top for breathability and visibility, but mesh also runs the risk of more easily ripping over time. Size is another consideration. Most sets are sold in packages of three offering a small cube, medium cube and large cube. They are designed to fit into standard carry-on luggage. If you are packing a larger bag, then consider doubling up on a set or purchasing a larger set.
Here is a breakdown of what is out there:
- Mesh Option: Eagle Creek Pack-it Specter System:
- Best-Selling Option (and on sale for $20!): BAGAIL Packing Cube Set
- Water Resistant Option: pack all Ultralight Packing Cubes
- Durable Option: The North Face Flyweight Cubes
- Luxe Option: Tumi Packing Cubes
- Fun Pattern Option: Calpak Packing Cubes
- Stylish Option: Paravel Packing Cubes
- Long Term Travel Option: Betllemory 8 Piece Packing Cube Set
Use a combination of different sized packing cubes that will allow for easier item identification. For extended travel and packing, different color packing cubes are another way to organize your packing more efficiently. Also consider compression bags for dirty laundry. Dedicate your clean clothes to packing cubes and your dirty clothes with this Eagle Creek Pack-It Compression set. That way your used items are vacuum sealed away which not only additionally saves on space but also takes care of odor!
Dedicate Each Cube to a Theme
Categorize and separate items for more strategic planning. Use large cubes for bulkier items and outer layers like sweaters, shoes, denim and lightweight jackets. Medium size cubes are great for your basics such as tees and button downs. Small cubes perfectly fit pajamas, socks and underwear. You can also break it down by additional themes such as day outfits and night outfits, tops and bottoms or by outfits you plan on wearing each day you are away. Once you unpack on your arrival, it is extremely satisfying knowing where everything is!
Roll Your Clothes
Some people prefer folding but the common consensus is that rolling your clothes before putting them in a packing cube is best. The thinking behind this is that it saves space and reduces wrinkles. Beyond that, when you roll your clothes before putting them into your packing cubes, you are able to see everything you have in there because nothing is hidden among the layers! Plus once you unpack, you can simply move the set of packing cubes directly into your hotel room’s drawers, unzip them and you are all set with everything directly in front of you!
I personally use a combination of rolling and folding! If you do prefer folding, consider packing folders for clothes compression as a way to organize your suitcase when traveling! These are perhaps better suited for business travelers.
Photos by Jules Kennedy
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