A week before I took off on a four-week journey around America, we had a farewell dinner at the home of my partner’s parents. As we were leaving, his mother enthusiastically shoved a pile of zipped bags into our hands. Packing cubes, I learned they were called.
“Take these! It’ll change the way you travel!” she insisted.
We dutifully took them home. Then I not-so-dutifully chucked them on our bedroom floor, stared and prodded a little before deciding, ‘pfff! I don’t need these. I’m a seasoned traveller. I’ve been unpacking and repacking my suitcase on holidays for years.’
A few days passed, and I was beginning to pack. The packing cubes were still on the floor where I left them, when my partner’s sister came over and convinced us: we absolutely had to use them.
Peer pressure is real. I did as I was told.
And, now, I humbly take back all that scoffing and ‘pfff-ing’ I did. Because, oh my goodness gracious me, these drab-looking cubes changed everything.
First things first. Here's how you use them. It's très compliqué.
Step 1: Order your clothes into folded piles. I like to do four big ones: bottoms, dresses, basic tops, patterned tops. Then the smaller ones would be for undies, bathers, socks.
Step 2: Open up your bags and place each pile into one.
Step 3: Close the bags. Stack them neatly in your suitcase.
Easy-peasy. Now here's why you should 100 per cent get on board with this.
Firstly, your clothes are organised and more importantly, they will stay organised. If you're looking for that floral pink top three weeks into your trip, you don't need to dig up your entire suitcase just to find it. You know exactly where it will be. Oh, and because the creators know how silly and forgetful us humans can be, most bags have a clear or mesh side so you can see what's inside. Genius.
Secondly, you won't have to wear crinkle-laden clothing your entire trip. This method of packing seriously minimises wrinkles, mostly because you aren't having to flip through your piles of clothes so frequently, but also because your stuff is so tightly folded together, there's little room for movement. Welcome to your new crease-free tourist life.
Thirdly - and this is quite possibly the best bit - repacking becomes a total dream. If, like me, you can find yourself travelling between cities a lot, repacking every four nights becomes the most dreaded part of your trip. And the longer the holiday goes, the messier the repacking process becomes. By the end, your life is literally in tatters. Your dirty clothes are mixed with your clean undies and your odd socks are nesting inside your jeans and WHAT IS HAPPENING. Enter: packing cubes. Problem solved.
LISTEN: We need to talk about plane etiquette. Post continues after audio.
And the possibilities are endless. They allow you to buy more knick-knacks because they maximise space in your luggage. They can serve as pillows when the hotel ones suck. They can be a makeshift umbrella. Ok... too far. But you get the gist. I can't recommend these enough.
The only downside? My partner and I now fight over who gets to use more of the bags when we travel (me, obviously).
You can follow Sophie Aubrey on Twitter.
Thank you - just by clicking on this and other content on Mamamia, you are helping to fund education for some of the world’s most disadvantaged girls.
Together with our commercial clients and charity partner Room to Read, Mamamia's goal is to be funding 1,000 girls in school each and every day, by June 2020.
Learn more here about our ongoing mission to make the world a better place for women and girls.