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7 reasons to use packing cells

Are packing cells really worth it?

This is the question I asked myself as I saw so many people talking about them online and even buying them from my Travel Store. In fact, they were selling like bottled water in a desert and I wondered what the fuss was all about.

What are packing cells, or packing cubes?

Packing cells are different sized (usually) nylon zip bags with see-through mesh at the top for you to separate your clothes into, see at a glance, and keep everything nice and neat in your suitcase.

I hadn’t tried them, but for about a year I was reading the reviews from others who were proclaiming their benefits. To be honest, I just thought they were a nice-to-have for people with OCD!

And then I tried them myself on our three-week trip to Italy. Oh my. I got it. I’m a convert and here’s why.

Not like this!

Easy to find things

I take four or five different sizes and colours (I now have several sets!) and in one I pack underwear, another has my leggings/pants/shorts, another has tops/tunics and in another I might have dresses, a skirt or maybe a cardigan and a light jacket. It depends on where I’m going of course.

But that means at a glance I can see where my knickers are instead of rummaging through my suitcase and throwing socks and leggings aside and generally making a shambles until I come to pack up and leave the hotel.

Easy to pack a tidy suitcase

How I pack is I lay my clothes on the bed up to a few days before I leave (in the spare room!) so I can then see what I’ve got, what I need to add, what needs washing to join the holiday, and which items I am going to pair together.

Then when I have culled down (see my 6 tips for how to pack light here >>) I pop them into their appropriate cell. Then they simply fit into my suitcase like a jigsaw and being squishy I can add my hair straighteners or a multiboard (I take one universal adapter plug a multiboard to charge everything at once) and they are cushioned by the clothes.

You’ll be surprised how much you can fit in your packing cells!
You’ll be surprised how much you can fit in!

Easy to unpack in hotels

Another great thing about packing cells is how quick and easy it is to unpack in your hotel or cruise ship and not have to live out of your suitcase. Just pop them in the drawers and you can put your suitcase away.

7 reasons why packing cells (or packing cubes) are a traveling game-changer:

  • Pack your items neatly by type
  • Know where everything is at a glance (including kids clothes, your tops v bottoms, day wear v evening wear, gym gear etc)
  • You can itemise by outfit with the top, bottom and accessories all packed together if you’re that organised!
  • Unpack into your hotel or cruise cabin by simply placing the cells in the drawers
  • If you’re having a stopover, use one for those clothes that might be a different climate
  • Repack in under 5 minutes!
  • Use one for items that might need declaring to make it easy at Customs

Where to buy packing cells

I have different versions in the Travel Store for shipping New Zealand-wide. If they need washing just hand wash them.

If you just want to start out with one to give it a go, try these ones that are sold separately. They also make a great Secret Santa gift as they’re under $10!

Single cells to give them a go

Or this set of five that are cheap and cheerful and do the job nicely. These are good if you’re not a frequent traveller as they are not as robust as the top quality ones, however I have been using these ones for about six trips over the last year and they’re doing fine 😀

These come in 4 colours

But if you want the best, then you can’t go past these ones. Made of durable fabric and mesh with top quality zips, these come in sets of four and in four colours too.

Top quality sets of 4

Visit the if you’d like to see more. We can only ship NZ-wide at this stage, sorry!

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Friday 19th of March 2021

Appreciate your new blog very much. It's so informative. Well done. Chuckling away here Megan. I just love your writing style.,& sense of humour is essential. Seat Guru is an amazing app.. Guacamole recipes look very tasty. Thank you. All the very best in the new position. You'll be great !

Diane Logan

Wednesday 11th of September 2019

Megan , can you help out with a packing plan. We are going to Caribbean which includes a short cruise,then New Orleans, Cuba and then to New York Arrive Barbados mid March leave from New York mid April I like to use medium case usually manage around 16kgs plus carry on. So it looks like temperatures varying from 30c to 12c in New York. Eek Can you help


Wednesday 11th of September 2019

Hi Diane, I like to travel with a medium suitcase too and around 16kgs - room for shopping! I was in New Orleans this March and the temps were in the low to mid 20s. Very pleasant. New York will be chillier, but only a jacket and maybe a poncho and perhaps a couple of long sleeve tops you can wear under tunics or shirts you'll also wear in the Caribbean, would be my suggestions. One pair of closed shoes/walking shoes, 1 pair of jandals/sandals and 1 pair of cute flats for going out for dinners will help you keep your weight down.

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Hi, I'm Megan Singleton and I'm the word slinger of this travel blog as well as on radio in NZ every Sunday. Former Travel Editor at Yahoo NZ and current freelance writer for a few newspapers and mags from time to time, I set off on this travel writing journey 20 years ago and I've pretty much always got a suitcase half packed (or half un-packed!) I'd love you to join me on Facebook or Twitter and sign up for my newsletters if you want loads of travel tips, advice and deals!