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I’ve always considered myself an expert packer because I can pack a week’s worth of clothes in my carry-on. In fact, prior to having kids, my wife and I would literally do round-the-world trips that lasted a month or more with carry-on only. The key is to mix and match and to find a place to do laundry every week (don’t have the hotel do it for you unless it’s part of a package deal otherwise it’s a rip-off).

But when the kids came along, it changed everything. At least while they’re too young to carry a real carry-on we’re forced to check a bag. Typically, we just check one or two large suitcases to save money, space and my back.

One thing that my wife has taught me is to start using packing cubes. They are the key to staying organized when you travel. It took a couple trips to make me a believer but after our trip to Hawaii — I’m more than a believer.

I still remember Mrs. Grant, my first college advisor at what was then Marymount College Palos Verdes. She instilled in me that the key to success is being organized. She was right and if you want to have a successful trip,  then consider investing in some packing cubes. They start at around $10 but I suggest investing in something sturdy that will stand up to the test of time. You want to have them for life, if possible. We’ve been using ours now for about 7 years and they’re still going strong.

Packing cubes, like the ones pictured above, usually come as a set of four in four different sizes: large, medium, small, and smallest, while some might come with two large and two medium. Some business travelers use the smallest cube as a toiletry bag & storage for cables or device accessories, while many parents use the larger cubes to keep their kids’ clothes organized (including separating clean from dirty). My wife likes to use them for all kinds of things: One cube might have all her hair products (flat iron, hair dryer and dryer brush – she RAVES about this one), while another one is for diapers, wipes and the kids lotions and body washes. It’s such a great way to stay organized that we’ll never travel without them.

They can really come in handy especially when flying an airline that you don’t have elite status on or flying first class. Once we were flying Hawaiian Airlines and after the agent weighed our bags at check-in and said that one of our bags was over the 50 pound limit by a few pounds. Natalie, quickly opened up the suitcase, grabbed one of the packing cubes and put it in the other bag which wasn’t heavy. It wasn’t embarrassing and most of all, saved us some serious cash. Check out a range of packing cubes here and you can thank me later!

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9 Comments On "Why Packing Cubes Are a Travel Essential"
  1. Joann|

    I’m not picky about the brand, but I wouldn’t even attempt to pack a suitcase without my packing cube collection!

  2. Carol|

    It’s nice not to rummage through & mess up one’s suitcase looking for an article. Remember how you carefully packed? Well by the 2nd day everything is disorganized & disheveled without the CUBES!! In fact since I don’t want to disrupt any anything I often put the articles back into their respective cubes after I’m finished with them so any packing there is to do at the end of my trip is negligible!!!

  3. Renee|

    I’ve been using the Pro Packing Cubes for about three years now. The owner of the company has e-mailed me with BOGO coupons to use and I have purchased more to give as gifts to friends and family. What I like about the packing cubes is that I never have to unpack them. I just placed them in the drawers at the hotel or cruise ship and my clean clothing never have to touch the inside of the drawers. I also have their toiletry cube. It holds enough for two adults and room for more.

  4. TDHill|

    I also like using packing cubes of different colors which you can delegate by person, or by the stored product type, or… any way you want to organize

  5. Sandra|

    I found some packing cubes from Tripped on Amazon which can compress the cubes to save even more space. I don’t travel anywhere without them.

  6. Ted Eckman|

    I use something for shirts, underwear, and socks. They are great. These cubes look even better and will work perfectly for pants and loose items. Thanks for the tip, Johnny!

  7. Joe L|

    How do people pack men’s dress shirts? They type you might wear with a tie. I get the hung, not folded from the cleaners. How do these fit in a packing cube?

    1. Johnny Jet|

      Good question. I haven’t needed a dress shirt in two years. My wife rolls mine but then you have to iron which I hate and not very good at.

  8. Susanpc|

    Joe might consider a cotton/polyester dress shirt. Nordstrom, house branded, is my husband’s favorite and very affordable. Nordstrom carries tall, slim cut, and extra large sizes, and often has sale prices online. You might also consider a cotton blend with a small overall check like gingham. That type of print can hide both wrinkles and stains.

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