6 Ways to Use Packing Cubes for Families
A versatile packing aid that promotes ultra-organization amid the chaos of preparing for a trip away, the humble packing cube is a must-have item for traveling families. Read on to discover the best packing cubes for families—and how to use them on your next trip.
When you compartmentalize your family’s vacation packing into a number of packing cubes, shoe sacs, and garment folders you’ll never need to turn the entire contents of your child’s luggage out to find a lost item while standing at the check-in desk ever again.
We asked six top family travel bloggers to share the best packing cubes for families, and how parents can use packing organizers—everything from zippered and compression packing cubes to packing sacs—to keep travel streamlined.
1. Assign Each Family Member a Color
“We travel with our two kids and I couldn’t imagine packing for all four of us without using the packing cubes. Each member of the family gets their own color, which makes it easy for the kids to know exactly where to get their clothes in the morning.” – Celine
“We found that having different color packing cubes for each of us was a brilliant way to know easily whose clothes were where—quickly and easily. Now, my oldest son knows his color and grabs his clothes and dresses himself. I call that a travel parenting win!” – SJ
Packing tip: Buy a range of sizes and styles of packing cube in the same color/print depending on the items each member of your family will need to pack. That way you can maintain a single color for each member of your family no matter what you need to pack.
2. Keep Track of Each Person’s Essentials
Erin from explorewitherin.com uses packing cubes to keep essentials close at hand when traveling with her family.
“The day I found packing cubes it changed the way my children and I traveled. I went from disorganised and dishevelled travel mum, to organized superwoman. I have found the best use for packing cubes for our family is to organize our carry on. Each person receives a color coded packing cube with a spare change of underwear, a toothbrush, pyjamas, and a spare change of clothes. My family of three fit in one carry on. This carry on has been useful on the plane where in the case of lost luggage we’ve had essentials to last us a coupe of days. On long road trips with numerous one-night stops, instead of pulling several cases of luggage out, I can pull out one bag packed with essentials for the overnight hotel stay.”
3. Incentivize Your Kids to Help Pack
Frankie from As The Bird Flies Blog uses appropriately-sized packing cubes as a children’s packing aid.
"We use packing cubes to get our four-year-old son excited and organized for travel. Since his toddler years we have given him two very small ones (normally the underwear size ones!)—one to fill with clothes and one to fill with toys—and we treat it as a game or activity giving him some responsibility for what he brings on vacation or when we travel. He also uses them if he goes for a sleepover at a friend's house—packing them is a fun game for him."
Packing tip: A clean/dirty cube is ideal for separating laundry while you’re away.
4. Pack Lighter with Limited Gear
Martha, who blogs at www.learningescapes.net, says packing cubes help families travel lighter by imposing clear limits on each person’s clothing limit.
“Packing cubes are my secret weapon to travel light as a family. We have two children and we use six packing cubes per trip, in total: two for each adult and one per child. We are able to pack one week worth of clothing in just six cubes. And the best part is that they fit perfectly in our luggage: A child backpack takes one cube and our travel backpacks take two, leaving enough space for additional items such as shoes or laundry bags.”
Packing tip: Compression cubes can help you maximize your capacity.
5. Streamline Caring for Kids While Traveling
Katie from greenactivefamily.com uses packing cubes for newborn organization.
“When our daughter was very young, we used packing cubes to organize her bottles, pacifiers and sterilizing bags (in one cube), her blankets and burp cloths (in another cube), and her pajamas and swaddle sacks (in a third cube). Now that she's toddler age, we use the same cubes, but in a totally different way. Now, we need to keep her toys, books, and bed-bath stuff organized, so we can quickly find things when we get to a new location. We also bring her toys in a packing cube in our carry on, so we can quickly find them and distract her if she's being fussy on the plane.”
Packing tip: Buy a cube that slots into your bag with ease; this slim cube is ideal for carry-on bags and daypacks.
6. Keep Kids Looking Sharp in Photos
Marcie in Mommyland (marcieinmommyland.com) uses packing cubes for carrying a clean set of clothes.
“We love doing professional family photos when we travel, but my kids have a hard time keeping clothes clean before the photo shoot. So, I always pack our "nice" clothes in packing cubes that I keep in our trunk. That way, we can get out and explore (and eat lots of drippy ice cream cones) without worrying about ruining our clothes. Then, we all get changed minutes before the photo shoot. Because I fold our clothes using the KonMari method, they even stay wrinkle free in the packing cubes!”
Looking for more ways to use packing cubes both when you travel and at home? I spoke to 15 top travel bloggers and asked them how they use packing cubes to maximize their travel packing potential. Read their responses here .
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By Charli Moore on June 16, 2020
Charli Moore is an adventure enthusiast who has been location independent since 2011. A freelance writer she blogs about her adventurous travels at Wanderlusters, and has a penchant for adrenaline highs and crunchy peanut butter. Follow her on Instagram to feed your wanderlust.