If you’re anything like me, you hate to check baggage, so you’re always looking for ways to fit everything you need into a lightweight carry-on bag. I’ve come a long way since the first business trip I took, lugging around a large hardsided piece of luggage with no wheels for a two-day stay. I’ve learned that it’s not just the weight of the luggage that determines how frazzled you are when you reach your destination, it’s also what you decide to pack and how you decide to pack it.
As far as I’m concerned, the invention of packing cubes is right up there with spinning wheels. They make everything better. Some people think they’re a waste of time, but I think they’re just using them wrong.
Picture This. . .
You’re going away for a week or 10 days, and you don’t have a carry-on that fits the size requirements for the airline you’re flying. So, you go out and get a cheap softsided bag. You figure, I don’t fly this airline very often, but I’m getting dropped off and picked up right by the gates, and it’s a small bag, so how heavy could it be?
That’s mistake number one. The bag isn’t that heavy until TSA decides to close the security lines right next to the gate you’re going to. Then, you have to carry that stupid bag the entire length of the concourse, go through security, then carry it the entire length of the concourse again to get back to your gate. By this point, you’re sure the bag has gained at least 20 pounds, and you’re wishing you had wheels!
Ready for mistake number two? It’s a trip you’re making on short notice to help a sick friend. You won’t need anything but jeans and T shirts and you figure that you’ll be lucky to remember everything you need, so decide not to worry about packing cubes. By the time you get home, you remember why packing cubes are such a great invention.
You haven’t been able to find a thing the whole trip. You were going to take things out of the bag and put them in drawers in the hotel, but you needed your extra pair of shoes on the first day. Since you’d done the right thing and packed them at the bottom of your bag, getting them out has completely rearranged everything you had so neatly organized when you left.
Your clothes are getting wrinkled from being tossed around so much, you can’t find your underwear and you’ve totally lost track of which shirts are clean and which are dirty. You finally grab a plastic laundry bag from the hotel closet and you get all the dirty clothes in it. At least, you think they’re all the dirty ones.
And, that’s why I use packing cubes.