Looking at packing cubes but don’t know what to get? How many to get? What extras are needed? With so many options it can be rather daunting. Getting the right packing cubes for you is more than just a ‘one-size fits all’ solution. Where you’re going, how you travel and who you’re going with can all influence what you need.
It may seem obvious, but who you’re travelling with can make a big difference to what packing cubes you need. If you’re travelling alone you may like to mix up the colours to help you identify your contents easily – blue cubes for shirts & pants, red cubes for jumpers and jackets, green cubes for underwear, black cubes for accessories...
Travelling as a couple or a family changes the parameters a little. Sharing a suitcase is not only economical but useful if one of your cases gets lost along the way. Having a selection of each person’s clothes in each suitcase can save a lot of hassles if a case goes on a holiday of its own! The easiest way to share a suitcase using packing cubes is to pick one colour per person so that each family member knows whose clothes are inside at a glance. Having an emergency outfit packed in a cube or pouch in your hand luggage can also help – particularly if you have messy kids!
Being aware of your packing habits is also a good way to work out what you need. Do you tend to overpack? Are you a shopper who returns with double the contents you left with? Are you happy to throw a few things in a carry-on and wing it?
We’ve identified 4 main types of packer. Knowing which one you are can help you narrow down your needs:
The Carry-on Packer
The Last-Minute Packer
How many packing cubes do I need?
While this sounds like the easiest question to answer, it will depend on where you’re going, what you’re taking and what type of packer you are. However, if you tailor your packing cube needs to your next trip, say a week away with friends at the beach, you won’t necessarily be covered for the trip after that, for example, a family 3-week outdoor adventure in another country.
We design our packing cubes to be generous in size and extra deep. A 5-6 piece set should cover one person for most 1-2 week general holidays. Our sets and bundles are a good way to start, then you can look at adding on from there. If you’re looking at other brands, make sure you work out the size of each cube, as there is no standard size in the industry.
Where you’re going dictates what you pack. A week at the snow will require more clothes than a week at the beach. When you’re going to cold climates you could take double the suitcases or you could invest in some compression cubes. They help squeeze the air out of bulky items and zip up to keep it out. They’re easier to use and more durable than vacuum bags, so you don’t have to worry about bringing a hand pump or checking for holes in the seal. Best yet, they work on your beachwear as well, meaning you could go for a smaller suitcase or even carry-on only!
Modes of travel
Many people think that packing cubes only work for long-haul flights and large suitcases. They are, indeed, a game-changer when living out of a suitcase, but they’re also so much more! Packing your cubes with full outfits is a great way to manage travel in small spaces. When you’re living in your transport, such as a caravan, train or cruise ship cabin, it can be impractical to get your whole suitcase out each time you need an item of clothing. Label your cubes by day and then only grab the cubes you need, leaving everything else neatly packed away.
They also work wonders for backpacking, allowing you to organise your backpack by day, then repacking your dirty clothes into a to-be-washed cube, saving you time digging for clean clothes!
Not all fun & games
If you’re travelling for work, you’ll hopefully have time for some fun and relaxation, but the priority is on looking the part and making the right connections. It’s no use showing up in a wrinkled shirt and tie and undoing all your efforts in getting there.
It’s also worth checking that any technology, business cards and presentation material are kept together and ready to go. You don’t want to be wasting time searching for connection cables and USB drives or flattening bent promotional cards when you could be getting down to business.
It’s not just about clothes!
Finally, don’t forget that when travelling you pack more than just your clothes. You’ll be bringing shoes, toiletries, medication and entertainment with you.
Shoes are often filled with socks and tucked into the corners of your bag. This can lead to the transfer of the dirt, dust and residue of every yucky thing you’ve stepped in being transferred to everything that touches the soles of your shoes! Putting your shoes into shoe bags can help reduce the contact transfer.
A compact toiletry bag is essential for travel, and a hanging toiletry bag can be a lifesaver when you’re in a shared space (think campground toilet block), or a small space (perfect for bathrooms in train or cruise ship cabins, hotel rooms or caravans). Limiting your toiletries to what you really need but including a few first aid items is ideal.
If you take more than a couple of daily vitamins, it’s probably worth storing your medications together in an easy to reach place. This will save you time searching for time-specific medicines. Keeping any medications that are difficult to replace in your hand luggage is also a good idea in case your checked luggage goes missing.
If you’re old school and happy with just a novel and a puzzle book, there’s not too much to carry for entertainment (just don’t forget your bookmark & pen!), but these days most of us travel with a phone, a camera and an entertainment device of two (hello Kindle, GoPro, iPad and Bluetooth speaker…). They all need charging cables and some require fiddly little memory cards. A tech accessory organiser is the perfect way to keep all these things together and easy to find. A tangled cable can easily become a damaged cable, then it’s off to the shops when you want to be off to the beach!