Welcome to the second installment of the Travel Series! These posts are here to help you travel more efficiently, ethically and economically. Part one was all about flying, you can read all about that here, this week is all about packing: To fold or to cube? That is the question.
A contentious topic I know, and yes, we’re going there. The biggest reason I think we’re best to write about packing is because Moo and I follow very different packing methods. On the road, they’d been working out great for us individually and we didn’t change our way of packing for the entire year-abroad. So, how do we negotiate packing?
First up, I’ll be honest, I’m a cuber. I adore cubes. I find them neat, tidy, easy to follow and I remember where everything lives. I’m particular about everything having its place and I don’t stray too far from my own guidelines on where everything should go. I did a packing video on Instagram – you can check it out to see how it all fits in so perfectly, just like Tetris!
The benefits of using cubes (in my opinion) are endless! They make the most of the space you have, they keep you organised, they’re not just for clothes, I also use them for shoes or to separate toiletries. Lastly, they keep your clothes from looking crumpled and yet, everything is more compressed.
Tips: if you prefer cubes
- Buy them in different sizes and colours. It’s easier to locate certain items if you can differentiate the different cubes. If you have to buy a three-pack, opt for one with a mesh lid so you can see what’s inside (great for rookies).
- Keep one genre of clothing in each cube. I like to put all underwear in one, all sports clothes in another etc. That way I can find everything in its place.
- In contrast, if you’re going away for a short trip, consider packing a whole outfit within each cube. That’s probably a little TOO organised for me, but might be perfect if you’re on a business trip.
Moo on the other hand enjoys a fold (his pieces are stacked horizontally and side by side rather than on top of each other vertically). He likes that he can see everything all at once and doesn’t have to go digging around to get what he needs. He has far more pockets than me (we don’t have the same backpack, this is what he uses by Timbuk2). So, he’s able to keep the main compartment for his clothes and stores other things like electronics, shoes or toiletries in their own separate pockets.
Look, there’s no judgement from me, folding is most people’s default and I get it.
The biggest benefit of folding or rolling is that it’s the fastest method. You can definitely fit more in your bag with rolling, so long as you squeeze and shove your things to fill in all the gaps!
Tips: if you prefer the fold or roll
- Get a bag that opens up like a suitcase so you have full visibility of everything. I avoid top loading bags at all costs, unless hiking.
- Opt to travel with fabrics that don’t crease (avoid linen specifically, unless you expect to iron while you’re on holiday, ewww!)
- Keep all garment types together (all pants together, all tops together…etc) to make it easier to find things.
I suppose you expected me to mention the benefits of carry-on travel – and why shouldn’t you? We just love it!
If you’re thinking that minimalist travel is still a little out of your comfort zone, give it a try on smaller trips like weekends or week-long trips before building up to year-long stints like us! If you’re curious, I have a bunch of posts already about minimalist travel here, here and here should you want to give it a go. I also tried Project 333 before our trip to help me prepare. It seriously changed the way I shop, how I feel about hanging onto old clothing and how little I need.
One more thing! [needed a moment to brag] During our year abroad, we didn’t need to check our bags in once. Sheesh, it felt good.
The benefits of carry-on luggage are enormous. Air tickets are less expensive, check-in is seamless as we can arrive just an hour before boarding and arrivals are much faster without having to wait at the luggage carousel. It’s also a huge win for the environment, by flying with less weight, you’re utilising less fuel and therefore less Co2 are emitted during the flight. I could wax lyrical about carry-on luggage for hours (in fact, I once did: here.)
So, why not give it a try!? Let me know if it worked for you and join the minimalist travel movement!
Tell me though…Are you a folder or a cuber?
Part three is coming up next, all about banking and how we deal with money while abroad.
Until then xo
PS: Feature image is via Unsplash