A few days before your trip you begin packing. You start by making piles of neatly folded t-shirts, shorts, undergarments etc. then begin adding them to your suitcase or backpack. You add accessories, toiletries and a few other bits and pieces.
Everything looks perfect, well organsied and you promise yourself it will stay that way throughout your entire trip.
You always start with good intentions.
A few days later you’ve been in your hotel for 2 nights and already your bag looks like a laundry hamper on washing day. Those neat little piles disappeared shortly after you arrived and the last thing you want to do during your precious holiday time is fold clothes and re-organise things. You think to yourself that their has to be an easier way to pack neatly!
The Packing Cube: Our Must-Have Packing Accessory
It’s our must-have packing accessory and since discovering them two year ago we honestly couldn’t travel without them again.
While there are hundreds of packing cube brands on the market, not all are made equal. Personally we’ve tried a few and have had varying levels of success with most of them not surviving a whole trip with seams tearing and zippers breaking.
So what should you look for in a packing cube?
First of all you want them to be lightweight. It’s no good having heavy fabric cubes that just add unnecessary extra weight to your bag, especially if you travel with carry-on luggage only.
Secondly they should be made of durable fabric that is tear resistant and have a sturdy zip that can with-stand lots of opening and closing. You want the cubes to last you a lot longer than just one trip.
Thirdly you want part of the fabric to be mesh so it is breathable. If you plan to wear some of your garments more than once you don’t want them stinking up other things they are packed with. This is also great for visibility, allowing you to see what’s in each cube quickly.
And finally you want there to be a good range of sizes available so you can have a cube that is well suited to each type of item you’re trying to pack. Small cubes are great for socks and underwear, medium for t-shirts and the larger cubes for bulky items like trousers and jumpers. And while you’re looking at sizes make sure they are reasonably high. We’ve found some cubes in the past that are pancake thin and fit next to nothing. You want at least 8cm to make it work.
There has only been one brand that has met all of the above criteria for us and it’s the brand we want you to know about (and win).
Zoomlite Smart Packing Cubes
These guys have really hit the nail on the head with their packing cubes. I admit we were skeptical at first when buying them because so many other brands had made similar promises about durability and had not even come close to living up to these promises.
But we can tell you for certain that after using the Zoomlite Smart Packing Cubes to live out of over the last two months, they 100% meet all the criteria I mentioned above.
✔ Lightweight – The large cube weighs just over 100g so having a few in your suitcase or backpack will barely even make a dent in your airline weight limit.
✔ Durable – They are made of a lightweight tear-resistant ripstop nylon and the double zip is not only sturdy, but also helps with compressing the items in the cube.
✔ Breathable – There’s a two-third mesh panel on the front flap of each cube allowing the contents to breath and letting you quickly see what’s inside.
✔ Range of Sizes – They come in four sizes; XS – 8 x 22 x 15 cms, S – 8 x 27 x 19 cms, M – 12 x 36 x 25 cms, L – 12 x 43 x 33 cms; and there available in either a pack of four or individually. This allows you to mix and match to suit your needs.
Plus there are extra features that make these so much better than their competitors.
We love the range of colours with five currently (I hear there are more colours coming soon) available to choose from; black, blue, lime, red and rust. We’ve found in the past that other brands tend to have just one or two colours available.
The other great thing we love about the Zoomlite cubes is that each one has a handle. This makes it easy to take the cubes in and out of your bag and move them around the room if need be.
And most importantly they are competitively priced. Full price the set of four cubes is $AU76.80 and individually they start from $AU14.95 for the XS cube. The fact that they do what they say by helping you pack smart and pack more makes them worth every cent. And from our experience using them, we know they are going to last us a lot longer than just one trip.
How We Use the Cubes
Packing cubes have many uses, there not just for clothes. You can use them for basically anything that will fit like electronics, shoes, toiletries or just bits and pieces.
Saying that, we are currently just using them for clothes but when we set out on the road in a few weeks we’ll be using them for other things too.
In the XS cube we’ve packed our socks and underwear because they are small and can be rolled tightly together. The S cube we are using for things like singlets, pajamas and leggings. In the M cube we’ve got dresses, tops and t-shirts. And that leaves trousers and jackets in the L cube.
So we can fit in as much as possible we’ve neatly rolled each item as rolling helps to maximise space.
Win a Zoomlite Smart Packing Cube 4 Piece Set
We love these packing cubes so much and we want you to love them too!
To celebrate and say thank you for two successful years of The Trusted Traveller, we are giving you the chance to win a 4 piece set of Zoomlite Smart Packing Cubes valued at $AU76.80. All you have to do is subscribe to our newsletter and leave a comment below answering the following question:
What’s your number one packing tip?
It’s that simple! And if you’re an existing newsletter subscriber you can still enter by just answering the question in the comments below and you’ll be in the draw too.
The competition will be open for one week only and the lucky winner will be announced on 18th February 2016 in a blog post all about our top packing tips. We’ll also be featuring you and some of your most creative packing tips from the answers you give below in this post.
If you don’t happen to be the lucky winner and want to purchase yourself some of these smart packing cubes, you can view the full range of Zoomlite products, not just packing cubes but other lightweight travel items too, on their website. And they ship worldwide too!
Disclaimer: We purchased these Zoomlite Packing Cubes with our own money and have not been compensated by Zoomlite for promoting their product other than them providing this packing cube set for giveaway purposes.
Enter to Win NOW!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Terms & Conditions
- Competition opens 12:00am Australian ESDT Monday 8th February 2016 and closes 12:00am Australian ESDT Monday 15th February 2016.
- Each person who signs up to our newsletter and comments below answering the nominated question will receive one entry into the draw only. Multiple entries are not possible.
- Entry is free and open to all residents of the world. Family members of The Trusted Traveller will not be eligible for entry.
- The winner will be drawn after 12:00am Australian ESDT Monday 15th February 2016 at random using Rafflecopter and announced in a packing tips blog post on Thursday 18th February 2016. An email will also be sent to the winner with details on how to claim their prize.
- Any questions relating to this give-away can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Over to you!
What’s your number one packing tip?
Let me know using the comments section below or join me on social media to start a conversation.
Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed this post.
102 thoughts on “Our Must-Have Packing Accessory (plus you can win one too!)”
Start early. Pack early and you can take out what you don’t need, ensuring you don’t overpack. And it gives you time to figure out your layers and outfit combinations.
Excellent tip Matt! As someone who is very organised I totally agree this helps.
I love packing cubes. I have a regular size set and a slim set. They are my non-negotiable. Thanks for the opportunity to win. My husband needs a set. 🙂
Awesome! Good luck!!!!
#1 packing tip: bring versatile pieces – stuff that can doesn’t need ironing, matches with other things, can be dressed up and down, etc.
Fingers crossed on winning these! I travel a ton but I can’t believe I haven’t used packing cubes before!
Excellent tip Sally. I’m a big fan of simplicity when dressing for travel. Takes a decision away from you that will get you out the door quicker each day of your trip too. Good luck!
We love packing cubes too and use them all the time when travelling. We use the small cube for cords, chargers, batteries, etc. I use one for medications, makeup, toiletries and others for underwear, tshirts, jumpers, etc. I use pink cubes and hubby uses blue so when we share a case we can quickly identify our own things.
That’s a great idea having two different colours. We have a blue and a black set so we know who’s is who.
Have never used these for packing, but they look and sound great! I always roll our clothes to pack neater and fit more when packing.
Rolling is absolutely key!
I try to keep clothing simple and co-ordinated so I can mix it up and heavy bulky items like shoes and jackets go with everything. I try to wear the heaviest items when I fly and I need a sun hat so I stuff that full with swimmers, scarves or tshirts to hold the shape and fit it in the top of the case, it’s too much hassle to wear as I invariably end up carrying it and walking off without it.
Love the sun hat idea!
My packing tip is to separate the clean clothes from the dirty ones as you wear them. It means you can keep track and plan your outfits when you travel!
My packing tip is use your packed shoes to store your charger cords in then they wont get lost!!
Love this and never thought of it myself. Will be using this for sure!
use zip loc bags for anything that can leak
My tip — For toiletries, look for bottles smaller than the 3-ounce airline-approved size. I really don’t need 3 ounces of shampoo / lotion / makeup for a 2-week trip. And contact lens cases work well for holding moisturizer or vaseline to rub on sore feet. Every little bit of space saving helps! I love packing cubes and would welcome winning a set!
I love little bottles! It’s so much easier to manage and takes up so much less space. Good luck!
I travel with my husband..we don’t have his and hers suitcases but mix our clothes through both..then if one suitcase gets lost or delayed both of us still have something to wear. These cubes would stop him rummaging around ?
This is an excellent idea. I am always paranoid that it will be my suitcase that doesn’t come out the other end.
Definitely need to bring clothing items that are versatile, especially when you’re travelling for an extended period of time.
So true and if you end up bringing more, realistically you only end up wearing the same things over and over I find.
Wear what you know you’ll wear!!! If you second guess, leave it.
My tip would be to pack several times! I end up taking less if I pack, empty my suitcase and repack a couple of times! It also helps to see what you’ve got a few times so you don’t forget anything!
Great idea! I like to lay everything out on the bed to assess it and make cuts from there.
Pack a few less items than you think you’ll need and then buy things along the way – especially at markets. Then when you return home and wear the items you bought during your travels, it reminds you of all the wonderful places you’ve been!
That’s a lovely idea. These days everything you need can be found all over the world.
As a mum of four, my packing tip is: Pack everything you THINK you will need. Take away half. Take away half again. Remove three more items … and you will still probably have too much! Packing conservatively never broke anyone’s back at the luggage carousel 😉
Very true! I don’t envy you at all having to pack for 4 🙂
Some great tips above. I always mix our clothes between my husbands bag and my own when we travel. Often on the way home we put all the dirty washing in one bag and clean stuff in the other.
As a woman with above average size chest, I am very careful when packing for Asia as some items of clothing can be hard to get in my size. I tend to pack things like swimmers and bras in my carry on so if my bags are lost I can get by with men’s clothing and my essentials.
Great tips Paula! I love the idea of putting bras and swimmers in your carry-on.
We always start packing early too and then it’s less likely you’ll end up forgetting something. We also take less than we think we need because it always turns out that no matter what we take too much!
Sounds like you are as organised as I am Debbie.
I always carry a change of clothes in my carry on bag, just in case luggage is lost or delayed.
Would love a set of these packing cubes! They’re perfect – especially for a long trip.
Thanks Diane. Great tip. Good luck!
I always do laundry 3 days before any trips and then pack as I’m putting clothes away. After I’ve thrown in all the clothes I think I need, I take it all out and put it in outfit piles and see what I can mix’n’match and reduce. Even after all that, though, I always make sure I’ve got at least one extra shirt, two extra socks and two extra undergarments just in case.
Excellent tips Erin! Extra underwear will never go astray.
Check the weather at your destination and pack accordingly!
Yes! Very good advice.
Split up your bank cards, cash, travellers’ cheques and credit cards as much as possible in different pockets, your bags and wallet when packing. In case you do get robbed, at least you won’t be strapped for cash (unless you have all your bags AND your wallet stolen of course!).
Very important tip John and something we have been doing since we began travelling.
My packing tip for efficiency: I leave my bags constantly packed with travel-sized toiletries, cords/battery chargers/other tech stuff, laundry bag, etc. so I just need to pack clothes and accessories for each trip (which always ends up taking longer than I feel it should).
Great tip for frequent travellers!
Ziploc bags of all different sizes. Place different sized liquid/liquid like items in there. If the item breaks, the contents won’t spill onto your other items in the suitcase. Ahh. Let’s just say I had experience with the contents of a can of mousse that got over everything. =)
Make a list and practice packing to be sure it will all fit.
My tip is to use a hanging toiletries bag. Not all accommodation places have vanities in the bathroom, and having a hook on the bag is great. Hang it on the shower screen, back of the door, etc . This makes it easier to get to plus you dont know whats been on that bathroom floor… Ive just started using packing cubes and they do make life easier.
We just bought these hanging bags and love them already.
Lay out everything you think you need then put half back in the closet! Pack only what’s left. You never need as much as you think you do!
Very true and excellent advice!
My tip is to roll your clothes! And I mean, everything! Leaves so much more room in the suitcase for more items, especially on long trips. Organization is key also. Makes it easier to find things so you’re not messing up all the clothes you just rolled 🙂
Yes! So much more space when you roll.
This will be our first travel where we are limited so my first tip has been to follow someone’s advice who has done it before. It has been so informative to read your info, my daughter and I take notes from your site all the time! Will need to get us some of these…better yet…win some 🙂
Oh thanks so much Nancy. I am so glad this website has been able to help you. Good luck!
This may be a little longer as a tip than you wish but summed up, “you don’t need that”. I am nearly 80 and do not like lugging suitcases around. I grew up traveling and did so later in the military and as a businessman living in Japan. I travel LIGHT even if gone for a month. No check in luggage, no back packs. I read so I have a Nook, don’t take books which are heavy. Clothes can be washed. I admit to also being a neatness freak so I have a Packing List and when I travel things either stay in the one light, carry on, or if in a hotel, put in drawers, etc. If I plan on golf I send everything, clubs, clothes in the bag with shoes, etc. directly to the golf course (in Japan this is available country-wide and is inexpensive). And thanks for your site! Cheers, Chuck
Thanks for all those excellent tips Chuck. It is great to get tips from such an experienced traveller.
My tip is dry bags – little one for passport, one for dirty underwater and one for dirty clothing. Keeps any smell in and stops everything else getting smelly plus can sit on them to get all the air out so clothing takes less space. Also useful for keeping essentials dry in case of surprise rain showers! I would love to win a set of the packing cells to complement my dry bag system!
What a great idea. I must get myself some!
Have a master packing template for long and short trips and customise accordingly, so that no matter how last-minute your packing is, you wouldn’t be in much trouble.
Have spare bags (but not plastic bags) especially when staying in hostels, so that you can take your things to the bathroom without waking your dorm mates up and separate any wet items. Also a budget way to separate stuff – but I would love to have proper packing cubes 🙂
A packing list is a must for us!
Those packing cubes look cool
They are awesome!
The above suggestions are all great! Its taken me years of trial and error to learn them (and to know when to use them). Sharing these bits and pieces will benefit some discerning new travelers and they’re great reminders of tried and true techniques for success.
MY TIP IS SHOE RELATED. Coordinate your outfits so you can Bring Less Shoes. They take up a lot of space and tend to be heavy. Do start packing early so you can re-work your outfits if necessary to minimize how many pairs of shoes you pack. And ALWAYS avoid a top heavy ungainly suitcase by packing heavier items like shoes (denim, equipment, rum LOL) where the foot of your suitcase will be when upright. Remember shoes go at the foot.:-)
I’m looking forward to winning these cubes to try out on my upcoming trip this May.
Excellent tip about the shoes and packing the heavy items at the end of the case. I always forget that a realise when I get to my destination that everything has been squashed.
A recent cycling trip to Vietnam and Cambodia had me worried. Cycling, swimming at the end of the day, some sightseeing and dinner. Lots of clothing options required and a very packed itinerary.
I used my rolling ziplock bags to pack a type of clothes so when getting to my room after a long day of cycling I could shower, wash my (sweaty) gear, hang up, close bathroom door (clothes tend to dry quicker that way) grab my dinner clothes from my ziplock and quickly dress. A complete outfit from bras and undies to a sundress all together. It meant my bag did not get completely dismantled each night and made for a quick pack again in the morning at 6am.
Love the cubes as they look nice and soft – as the plastic in a damp climate was sometimes a challenge (damp clothing).
What an excellent idea Lucy. That cycling trip would have been amazing!
My number one packing tip is to pack as light as you can. I try to do carry-on only. You don’t really need more than a week’s worth of clothes, and if you’re gone for longer than a week you can always do laundry on the road (something I actually like to do).
Yes absolutely agree!
My packing tip has already been stated, but it’s important so I’ll say it again: Rolling is essential! I also try to pack in one color palette whenever possible. I’ve been curious to try packing cubes, thanks for the review!
Thanks Anna. Good idea about the colour palette.
If I’m on a trip that requires me to check a bag, I always pack an extra outfit (read: undwear, socks, etc.) and toiletries, just in case my checked bag is delayed or gets lost.
Very good idea. You never know what might happen.
My number one packing tip is so simple: PACK LESS. I always travel with only carryon baggage. I stay at Airbnb and other vacation rental properties in order to do laundry every 3-5 days. That way I can travel long term with a small bag. So liberating.
As much as I hate doing laundry I totally agree Charles.
Lay out your gear … then remove all that’s been added for “just in case” . They are rarely used.
One thing I have learned to do is to pack what you think you’ll use. Then look over it again and take out some things. Then look over it again and take out more! haha I always over pack so this is my rule to live by. I also find it super useful to put some different sized plastic bags in your suitcase. They can be used for wet items, liquids that might spill, or to keep phones and money from getting wet if you’re doing some activities around water!
Excellent tips Ashleigh. I’m sure we could all do with packing less.
Pack multifunctional pieces!
I always pack a clothes hanger in my bag (some hotels have ones that are not removable). Then, its easy to hang a creased garment up in the bathroom after a steamy shower/ bath to unwrinkle!!
I LOVE packing cubes! Haven’t had a chance to get my hands on any yet, but here’s hope! My number 1 packing tip: Always pack re-hydration tablets when going anywhere in Asia, South America, Africa or anywhere hot, even if you think others will have them. They will get used, and will help you feel MUCH better, faster, if you get sick. Also, wear pressure stockings on long haul flights. Not only do they decrease the likelihood of DVT (deep vein thrombosis), but they also decrease swelling in the feet and ankles, and they can assist your body to overcome jetlag faster.
Excellent tips Siobhan!
Take things that can have multiple uses. My favorite is a sarong ……. It’s a blanket on the plane, it’s a rug to sit on in Central Park New York, it’s a beach towel on Copocabana Beach in Rio, it’s a shawl to cover your shoulders in the temples of Thailand. It will protect you from the sun, wind and rain and when you run out of clothes you can wear it!
Yes! I discovered this idea before my first trip to Europe and it came in so handy.
Roll your clothes, don’t fold them.
The best way to save space.
I pack an empty, cheap, crummy gym bag. After I work out, and rinse/let my clothes dry, I don’t want them intermingling with my clean clothes on the way home! I use the gym bag to keep them separate!
Great idea Bryce.
Roll up dirty washing inside out, undies & socks inside tshirt is how i do it, and cover shoes with disposable (freebies from hotels) shower caps.
Love the shower cap idea!
I try to only carryon. However, when checking luggage is necessary, I ensure at least one outfit, swimsuit, & toiletries are packed in my carryon. This way, if my checked luggage is lost, I have one day of essentials covered. Also, this means I can hit the beach or pool as soon as I reach my destination, while the airline deals with finding my luggage.
Good idea. Having swimmers etc in your carry-on too is great after getting off a long flight early in the morning. You can use the hotel pool before you actually check in.
Only pack what you need. Don’t over pack.
Excellent point Matt. Something we should all do.
Hi i always pack my cabin luggage in my large suitcase that way i have room on the way home for souvenirs also roll roll roll and at presentbi dont have the bags so i roll socks and undies into shoes to save space ?
Great idea Tammy!