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I know WHAT to pack but curious on HOW you pack

Are you a "roller"? Do you use packing cubes? Packing compression cubes? If you check a bag do you also put some clothes in your carry-on?

Posted by
1179 posts

Bundle slipped into a single medium specter packing cube. I may use a small compression cube as the core for the bundle if I’m taking swimwear or extra socks.

Edit to add: I use a small Sea to Summit hanging toiletry bag. I also use an extra small specter cube for my electronics. Makeup goes in a small 4x5 in pouch.

Many times I travel with a 16 liter personal item so no worries about bag checks.

Posted by
10120 posts

Packing cubes. One for undies, one for tops, one for pants and a sweater. I like the ones from Eagle Creek that are super lightweight. I also use a Rick Steves hanging toiletry bag. Works great when there is little or no counter space in the bathroom. I do not like compression cubes as they may save space but then I would pack too heavy.

Posted by
489 posts

I know many like to stuff shoes with stuff, but I find taking one or two very light shoes and placing them toe to heal, pushing them together (shoes must be forgiving) and putting in bag, then taking 2 large rubber bans to really compress them, allows me to easily take 2 extra pairs of shoes in my bag.
I also use packing cubes for convenience, roll cloths or fold very flat then into a cube. When you are traveling and only staying 1-3 nights in a hotel I find the cubes work best.
I;m on my second RS toiletry bag, even though the first was used a lot and the seams were not good. I like the way it stores items and packs in my roller.

Posted by
11292 posts

"If you check a bag do you also put some clothes in your carry-on? "

You are foolish if you don't. While the odds of a bag being delayed or lost are very low, if it happens to you, you'll want at least 1-2 days of clothes (particularly clean underwear) while waiting for you bag to turn up.

Posted by
3465 posts

Love packing cubes- have had good luck with RS cubes. (I pack light). I place the RS Toiletry bag on top of the cubes. I do roll my clothes. It's conducive to warm weather months! My current light weight carry-on is a Hedgren tote with a trolley sleeve. I use a quart size zip lock bag compressed to pack light weight pj's, lingerie,etc. It packs flat in top outside zipper of my luggage. I may add an extra shirt and pair of pants to carry-on.

Posted by
3351 posts

I always check my main bag and pack a change if clothes (in a large zip lock) in my carry-on. For my main bag I roll and store items like underwear, socks, and t shirts in packing cubes and use those as the core for larger clothing, which I bundle.

Until the final pack for the trip home. Then everything gets crammed in any old way, since it's all going into the laundry on arrival, lol.

Posted by
432 posts

Rolling, packing cubes, ziplock bags, and extra underwear, top and some toiletries in my carry-on. Works everytime.

Posted by
1015 posts

CJean I did laugh out loud!!! "Until the final pack for the trip home. Then everything gets crammed in any old way, since it's all going into the laundry on arrival, lol."

Posted by
3465 posts

@ Harold- yes, good idea to have extra clothing in carry-on! A tour member on our Southern Italy/Sicily tour never recovered her luggage. She had a couple extra shirts in her carry-on. We went shopping in Sorrento and she bought pants, top, & sweater, sandals, lingerie. Believe it or not she was able to mix and match for close to 3 weeks! Hand washing, overnight drying. She NEVER complained! Long story short the airlines recovered her luggage a month after her return.

Posted by
842 posts

Definitely carry on a change of clothing essentials and specialty toiletries. Not so much for the lost bag problem but for the missed connection. On two return trips we made our connection but not our bags. Because checked bags cannot fly without their associated humans, we weren't allowed to fly. But neither did we get our checked bags. They were stored for us while we were sent to a hotel.

Posted by
9918 posts

I used to use the Eagle Creek compression packing cubes but the last 2 years I've changed to Travel Fashion Girl's Compass Rose Compression cubes. I like how they sit upright in my 21" suitcase instead of being stacked on each other. If I am just somewhere overnight I don't have to take them out of the suitcase, I can just unzip and get to a clean shirt and unders.

https://tinyurl.com/y5zvo45q

I use one for shirts (folded Marie Kondo style to fit the cube exactly), one for unders/bra/night wear/socks, one for cardies/LS shirts/scarves. I flat pack my pants. I pack my extra pair of shoes by the wheels slipped into plastic sleeves. I have 3 clear plastic bags for toiletries - one for 3-1-1, one for dry toiletries and one small ziplock that I use for my purse 3-1-1. I try to have everything in cubes or bags. I don't like loose stuff in case I get pulled to have my case screened, I want to be able to "recombobulate" quickly and without losing anything.

I don't pack extra clothes. The last few trips I've been able to stay 6-8 nights in my arrival city before embarking on a tour, so my hope is if my checked 21" goes astray it will catch up to me in that time frame. I do carry spare unders.

(PS No connection to Travel Fashion Girl....just love these packing cubes. They are a bit heavier than the Eagle Creek but I'm not in to competitive light packing.)

Posted by
1179 posts

but I'm not in to competitive light packing.)

It’s not about competition. Most of us are into light packing due to weight limits imposed by airlines. Many have a 7kg hand luggage limit and some as low as 5 kg.

This isn’t about competition so much as making sure your bag makes it on to the plane. Bonus: It’s also more comfortable.

Posted by
1631 posts

Roll it, pack it in a packing cube dedicated to that particular item (socks, tops, etc), and stuff it in the suitcase. I admit it, I do bring lots of underwear bc I don't want to be washing it out every night in a sink. My 30 day trips do require some washing out but not that often. The compression cubes always seem to loose compression so I'm not a big fan. I do bring ziplocs for the dirty clothes and other ziplocs for picnic foods. Enjoy!

Posted by
456 posts

I roll my clothes and put them in packing cubes. If I decide to check my bag, I always keep a spare shirt and a change of underwear in my tote, just in case.

Posted by
808 posts

I fold pants in half (around a pool noodle as mentioned in another post) and use Amazon Basics cubes and other zippered bags I've sewn for specific needs like meds, laundry essentials, etc. I only roll things like knits or I use the Marie Kondo fold. I pack shoes in thin cotton draw string bags i made out of excess fabrics and show laces. Scarves go in a zip lock to keep them clean.

What I like about the Amazon cubes is the price, quality and the variety of sizes, size combinations and colors available. They even have the long skinny one like the Compass Rose style. It is a nice size for undies, socks, etc.

And yes, on international trips i pack 1-2 days clothing in my carryon. So far so good.

Fyi, tons of YouTube videos of people showing how they pack. Useful distraction when you're in the "i can't wait for the trip to start" mode.

Posted by
1852 posts

We have the RS Ravenna. I fold the tops and put them in the zippered side. Bottoms folded, underwear and socks in a packing cube, toiletries in a ziploc bag in the main compartment plus hairdryer, flatiron and a pair of shoes. We check our bags but bring one small Delsey underseater with an extra change of clothes and essential items (meds, doc’s, phone, IPad, etc.) on board the plane. We also split up our clothes between the two bags. Half of mine and half of his in both cases.

Posted by
459 posts

Oh, Donna, yes, carry on some clothes. Once your checked bag's gone on its own trip, however briefly ( & you have no way of knowing how long it'll be, right?), you Will Do This Every Next Time. In umpteen yrs' travel, it's happened to us just twice, but for five days in Spain & a week in Morocco, both in winter. Be prepared.

Otherwise - still traditional with ziplock baggies, & rolling. Teensy plastic spray bottle to treat wrinkles when I want to.

Posted by
173 posts

I use Eagle Creek packing cubes with a compression zipper and an Eagle Creek packing folder. I pack flat or bundle pack, no rolling. When I fly, everything is in some type of container or pouch. When my bag gets chosen to inspect, security folks do not touch my clothes.

Posted by
382 posts

Packing cubes, rolling the items and carry-on bag work beautifully every time!

Posted by
2 posts

I roll my clothing into packing cubes. I don’t ever see myself not checking luggage but I split my clothes (both pants and tops) between my carry on and my checked bag in case anything does happen. I do take all my intimates in carry on as I have less than no desire to try bra shopping in a foreign country with different sizes!

On the way home, I put all my clothes in checked luggage and my souvenirs in my carry on since I tend to buy more fragile items and food items to take with me.

I do wear my most comfortable walking shoes on the plane just in case, rather than heaviest since I am always low on bag weight.

Posted by
1015 posts

Thanks everyone for your replies so far.

Three areas around packing I enjoy the conversations....
1) never check bags or check bags are fine
2) pack light or just pack ( I think I do view the whole must pack light as a "mini" competition hidden in the never check bags group)
3) cubes or not cubes
I love reading what everyone has to say as I think we can all gleam a new idea or two

We are getting ready to embark on a sailing trip in Croatia (followed by 4 days in the France tasting champagnes). My real concern is packing efficiently into a roll-aboard since we will have limited space on the catamaran for luggage. We will check our bags (we have US size roll aboards) - since I don't like dealing with luggage on our long layovers and we (hubby and I) will also have a carry on backpack (about 15L) so one or two changes of clothes as we have learned our lesson along the travel-path.

Hubby is a cube user. I have not been but this time I did by a couple Eagle Creek compression cubes. I do bring my own pillow and have always used the compression bag for that. People laugh at me but I always sleep well. As one of RS Travel consultant says in her lectures (she also packs her pillow) everyone should give themselves permission to pack that one "luxury" item.

Can't wait to read more comments. Thanks and happy trail! Donna

Posted by
459 posts

Also use big ziplocks in my carry-on tote to organize stuff. The "brain" one has tix, wallet, journal, camera, book, ear buds. "Body" bag has hand sanitizer, nibbles, socks, scarf, inflatable pillow. The terrific Tom Bihn drawstring pouch gets hung from the seatback/armrest/ whatever, with the stuff for sleeping (hope springs) & waking up in the dark - ear plugs, chapstick, eye mask, contact lens case & solution, glasses, mini toothbrush & paste, whatever pills, small water, tiny flashlight, kleenex. Tom becomes the bedside-table holder throughout the trip, keeps me sane. (All this stuff!!)

Posted by
1179 posts

I think I do view the whole must pack light as a "mini" competition hidden in the never check bags group

I bet you’ve never had to make a 7 kg limit when packing for a 5-1/2 week long mountaineering - jungle trek - snorkel cruise trip. That’s a challenge even when you do pack light! Some of us are always looking for ways to go lighter.

Posted by
9918 posts

Donna, are you ever over in the Pullman/Moscow area on the 3rd Saturday of the month? We have an area meet up of people who like to "talk travel" and would love to have you join us! We can even do packing demos, hahahaha!

Posted by
2927 posts

I pack similarly to Pam. I, too, have the long thin packing cubes, but mine are 15" rather than 21". At first I saw no merit in these. However, with some experimentation I have found they are my favorite. I have a 16" carryon. These packing cubes fit in the areas around the tunnels for the handles perfectly. I use two. One has shirts and underwear. The other has one pair of light NYDJ jeans, yoga pants and pj's. They rest in the outside grooves of the suitcase. My bags small toiletry kit, meds, and electronics fit in the middle. I fit SO much in this bag. Hold harmless, I have used this domestically all.the.time now. I'm thinking I might even try this bag for Europe, but with a personal item. Presently, I use this as my only suitcase. Oh, and I roll the shirts and unders in one long one, I fold lengthwise my slacks and PJ's. Socks fill in where ever. Bras in a zipped interior compartment of the bag. If I get stopped by TSA and my stuff is dumped out. It's an easy repack as there is nothing loose by itself.

Posted by
1364 posts

If checking bags, who puts an outfit or two in their travel partners checked bag? We recently did this for the first time; happily for nothing. All the prepping for the possibility of lost luggage made me feel like it was sure to happen -- I was putting it out to the universe.

Posted by
5697 posts

Not cross-packing, but I always travel with extra underwear, socks and t-shirt in my carryon. That should buy me enough time for a lost bag to resurface -- or to go shopping (or at least laundry.) And there's not the extra stress of deciding which items to cross-pack.
What I do pack is rolled and cubed.

Posted by
2788 posts

Rolled tops in cubes. Pants flat. I always pack a few items of clothing in my smaller bag. I bring a few zip-lock vacuum storage bags in case I need to squash in more stuff on the return.

In my carry-on, I use loads of little zipper bags, each the right size for toiletries, chargers and cables, meds, etc. And all different patterns. Having used the same ones for so many trips, I know which little bag has what in it without unzipping.

Posted by
15051 posts

Well, I have an 8 kg weight limit for my carry-on for any European destination, and nothing bigger than a handbag or computer case in addition, so I can't "cheat" and put a lot of small heavy stuff in a day bag. I always take a checked bag, since for nearly all my trips are off-season so I anticipate cold, rain and sunshine meaning more and bulkier clothing. My trips are usually around 3 weeks and I don't want to be without my creature comforts - it's bad enough I have to keep unpacking every few days :-)

A couple years ago, I had to replace my suitcase. Anything in my budget that was lightweight was either 22" or 25" so I went with the larger one. I do have a 23", but it weighs exactly as much as the 25". The extra space is great - I don't struggle to pack and repack, I have room for purchases, and if necessary, it's easy to live out of the suitcase when I've got a short stay or not enough cupboard space.

I use improvised packing cubes to organize small things. All my socks and undies go in one. Electronics go in another (adapters, cords, chargers), etc.

I have had luggage delayed more than a couple times. I now put everything I need for the first 48 hours in my carry on plus anything I can't easily do without or replace on arrival.

Posted by
949 posts

“If checking bags, who puts an outfit or two in their travel partners checked bag? We recently did this for the first time; happily for nothing. All the prepping for the possibility of lost luggage made me feel like it was sure to happen -- I was putting it out to the universe.”

Not a bad idea but the only two ways to protect yourself from lost luggage are, 1) pack for carry-on only (of, more conventionally, a carry-on 28-40 liters plus a 15-30 liter backpack/day bag), and 2) have your emergency or backup clothing/meds/toiletries in your personal item backpack/day bag.

I haven’t checked a bag on an outbound flight for decades. Return flights? Different story sometimes.

Posted by
1179 posts

I always take a checked bag, since for nearly all my trips are off-season so I anticipate cold, rain and sunshine meaning more and bulkier clothing.

You don’t need to check a bag for this. I’ve done carry on travel to the Midwest plains in winter. Think -20 F (-29 C). It also could be raining in the 50s F (10 C). The Midwest is like that, including tornados and floods on Christmas.

The key is good long underwear, a puff jacket, an excellent waterproof raincoat, and waterproof shoes.

I don’t check bags, especially after United lost my bags something like 8 Christmases in a row.

Posted by
1015 posts

I don’t check bags, especially after United lost my bags something like 8 Christmases in a row.

Geez unlucky! I guess I would stop checking bags too. In 20 years of "serious" travel we've had three bags delayed - knock on wood.

Posted by
1179 posts

Geez unlucky! I guess I would stop checking bags too.

That was the thing that drove me over to onebag.com. From there I started researching techniques for female oriented packing. I was so done. Especially the year the bag showed up 30 minutes before Christmas Eve services.

Posted by
3 posts

Ziplock bags for us. Gallon size work for underwear, bathing suits, etc. Two gallon size for shorts and shorts. Squash the air out to compress. Shoes filled with small items placed around the perimeter of the carryon.

Posted by
3253 posts

Someone on a previous forum had a great(for humor) idea-identify your luggage as your "emotional support luggage" so you can carry it with you at all times.

Posted by
9918 posts

Oh my word Cala!!! I just burst out laughing!

You could get the cute little luggage for kids that has animals on it so it would make it more realistic.

Oh gosh....still laughing!!!

Posted by
93 posts

Used compression bags only one time. The temptation is to pack too much because it fits in the bag and then when you open the compression bags at your hotel, the clothes all expand and it felt like a mess. Then you had to compress it all before you moved on to the next place. Never again.

I use packing cubes - one large for slacks and sweaters and two small, one for undies and Sox and the other for tops. I have the Rick Steve’s set. I also have a couple really small packing cube-like containers that I use for electronics and that miscellaneous stuff like sewing kit, etc.

Posted by
154 posts

Compression or packing cubes. One for socks and underwear, one for tops, one for pants and/or sweater. I also pack a small compression cube for my backpack with a change of shirt, socks and undershorts. Small Dopp kit and separate clear 3-1-1 bag for liquids.

I tend to tightly roll T-shirts and fold polo and long sleeved shirts.

I agree with the previous post about the temptation to overpack with compression cubes. My rule of thumb is that if it's difficult to use the compression zipper, you've probably overpacked it.

Posted by
9918 posts

To me there is a difference in "compression bags" and compression cubes.

Compression bags - This is what I call a compression bag.

https://store.ricksteves.com/shop/p/compression-bags

I agree they are awkward. I tried using them a couple of times for either a fleece jacket or rain jacket and they were just too big around the edge and a pain. They ~would~ be a mess if you tried to pack your clothing in it as you have to undo everything to get it out.

Compression cubes - This is what I call a compression cube.

https://www.eaglecreek.com/shop/pack-it-specter%E2%84%A2/pack-it-specter-compression-cube-set-s-m-ec041186?variationId=306#hero=0

And DARN IT! Cute new print from Eagle Creek! I have used these successfully and liked them. I have changed to a different brand that fits differently in the suitcase. She calls them compression cubes but to my mind they are not compression like this. And yes, if you really have to work to get the compression zipper shut on the EC cubes, you've probably tried to jam too much in!

Posted by
5697 posts

The compression bags that Pam references say to me "overpriced Ziplocs" -- I buy the 2-1/2 gallon Ziplocs at the grocery store to use for compressing my down jacket to a thin dense package that gets laid over the packing cubes right before the suitcase is zipped closed. Over the travel time the air does get back in, but the suitcase keeps the package compressed. To repack, I just sit on the bag again. Bag fits fine in my (checked) Travelpro 22" roller bag.