travel advice & savings
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Packing cubes
busybee111's profile picture
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I am very interested in using packing cubes to keep my things organized. I’m considering taking a carry on size suitcase (backpack or roll on, haven’t decided yet) for my trip and wanted to try packing cubes. For those who use the cubes, where do you store your dirty laundry? This sounds like a silly question, but I am picturing myself taking one item out each day but I wouldn’t put it back in as I would keep it separate from my clean clothes. Do i need to leave extra space for dirty laundry? Thanks!!

I am leaving from Toronto with $2000 for 18 days
Paris, Nice, Venice, Florence, Rome
Requesting help with Transport, Hostels, Itinerary
oldlady's profile picture
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I don’t use packing cubes, but if you use the search feature you’ll find some discussion about them in old posts. There are a lot of folks who swear by them. You might also peruse some old posts on the backpack vs. wheels issue. Most of us prefer a backpack, but either will work as long as you don’t rely on wheels to tote more stuff than you can reasonably carry (not roll) for several blocks and up a couple of flights of stairs — since your budget doesn’t appear to cover taxis or hotels with reliable elevators.

I take a couple of those thin plastic laundry bags you get in hotels for dirty clothes — or a kitchen trash bag or regular plastic shopping bags (which you’ll probably get while you’re there) will work too. The 2 gallon and 2 1/2 gallon zip-lock and zipper bags will work for underwear, socks and maybe tees, but not for jeans and such. Your dirty clothes aren’t going to take up any more room in your suitcase than your clean clothes did in the first place, although you will need to fold them to fit in the same space.

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I love packing cubes, and have used them on my last 6-7 trips. I have the three sizes… small, medium, and large. I usually just throw my dirty clothes in a disposable shopping bag at first. Then as you use the clothes out of the cubes I consolidate the items and put the bag and dirty clothes in the smaller cubes. I do laundry when it’s convenient, or when I’ve only got a day or two left of clean clothes. In my eyes I think I was a lot more organized with the packing cubes, and it’s convinced more that one of my friends to get some of there own.

I am leaving from Los Angeles, CA, USA with $3000 for 21 days
Frankfurt, Munich, Prague, Bruges, Rotterdam, Amsterdam, London
I am traveling for 20 days
London, Paris, Bruges, Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Prague, Munich
I am leaving from LAX and traveling for 20 days
Madrid, Jerez de la Frontera, Cádiz, Gibraltar, Granada, Barcelona, Paris
I am leaving from Los Angeles, CA with $2800 for 23 days
Nottingham, Birmingham, Munich, Stuttgart, Bruges, Dublin, Copenhagen, Tallinn, London

“If you are living for tomorrow, you will always be a day behind” – Bill Hicks

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IMO, Packing cubes take up valuable space and add weight. The best thing on the market is Space Bags sold in every luggage department. (You don’t need a vacuum) If you get rid of all the wasted air space and compress your clothes, you will have plenty of room to use a smaller bag. Look for the ones that are like a large zip-loc bag with a clip to help close them. Fill the bag, use the clip to close the bag and you roll it up to force out all the air. Saves half the space and you can use one of the bags for dirty clothes. I use the small bag for socks and underwear and the medium & large bags for shirts. I roll my shorts and jeans and use rubber bands to keep them from unrolling and stack them like firewood at the bottom of my suitcase. I also use shopping bags for other items and for shoes when I switch to sandals in warmer countries. I have run tours to Europe and Australia for over 15 years. I used a backpack for the first 10 years and it was great to have my hands free. Since I have really scaled down on what I bring, I have switched to a rolling suitcase (Samsonite) which I bought at TJ Maxx (also seen at Ross & Marshalls in the USA) for only $39.99 I use the small size (21” tall by 18” wide and 10” deep) Rolls down the aisle easily and fits great in overhead racks on trains above my head so I can keep an eye on it. It is all personal preference, but I see many on this board question what is the best pack to buy and best shoes, etc. I am a firm believer that buy a quality suitcase on wheels for dirt cheap, buy a pair of comfortable all terrain trainer shoes/sneakers and spend the $200.00 – $300.00 you would of spent on brand name backpacks ad fancy walking shoes on your fun and food in Europe. Keep in mind that you will only use that expensive suitcase to travel to and from train/subway to your hostel and return, (maximum 15 minutes on your back) and 99% of the time it will be sitting in the corner of your hostel room or in the luggage racks of the train. If you can’t carry your bag up a few flights of stairs, you have packed too much stuff. I also bring an assortment of freezer ziploc bags to for trip receipts, business cards, brochures, maps, etc also for journal and one for pens and another for liquid soap and shampoo to prevent messy spills. I always suggest that you type up a clothing list and practice packing many times to delete 1/2 the items you thought you could not live without. Take a 2 hour break with friends one day and do laundry, organize clutter and trade off with that friend to visit the internet cafe while the other watches the laundry.