Where to begin?

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As I sit on the rooftop terrace of my Paris hotel–I think looking at the picture you would have guessed it was Paris–I realized it has been two weeks since I left for my little adventure and needed to do some posting.

The problem, you see, is trying to decide what to post. Do I want this to become like every other travel website out there, waxing poetic about what I’m seeing? Writing about how romantic Paris is….the food, the wine, the baguettes. Or  about London and the pubs, beer and the Queen?

Nah.

This website has always been about finding ways to travel easier. Or lighter. Or better (with you defining what is “better.”)

I’m going to tell you about what I’ve encountered, the mistakes I made, and I’ve made a few, but then again, too few to mention….sorry, I went off on a Frank Sinatra tangent…and yes, a little bit about the places I visited.

Two weeks have passed and I have stories to tell.

Stay tuned.

New Packing Cubes

Over the past few months, there have been a slew of new packing cubes introduced–many in new sizes, shapes and materials. I have all of the ones mentioned in this post and will present them in alphabetical order to  show no favorites.

eBags

 

ebags ultralight

 

eBags has a new line of Ultralight Packing Cubes available individually or in sets. The sizes are slightly different than standard packing cubes. The large is 13 x 13 x 3.5 inches, the slim is 13 x 6.5 x 3.5 inches and the small is 6.5 x 6.5 x 3.5 inches. (Two smalls equal a slim, two slims equal a large.) They are made of Codura nylon, have a slight frame to help keep their shape, a mesh top to see what’s inside and come in Blue, Green, Orange and Gray. $12-70 depending on which ones you order. Some are currently on sale at Amazon.

 

Genius Pack

 

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Genius Pack has a set of three compression packing cubes that really do compress. The secret is the stretchable mesh top. When packed full, the stretch will push items down.  The set includes three sizes:  large at 13 x 8 x 3 inches, medium at 10 x 7 x 3 inches and small at 7.5 x 6.5 x 2. inches. You get a choice of black or red.  $38

 

Lewis N Clark

 

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Lewis and Clark has added three new sizes to their Electrolight Packing Cube line.  All are made of silnylon and have mesh tops.

The expandable tube cube is 13 x 4 x 3 inches, expandable to 5 inches, and weighs 2 oz. ($18.99). The expandble mini cube is 6 x 6 x 2 inches expandable to 5 inches and weighs 1 oz. (12.49).The micro cube doesn’t expand but measures 4.5 x 4.5 x 2 inches and weighs 0.5 oz. (8.99). The tube cube and micro cube will easily fit in the well formed by the retractable handles of most rolling bags. A good way to use that space and stay organized.

(While the good folks at Lewis & Clark sent these to us for review, I would not be doing my job if I didn’t tell you that REI has virtually these same items with a slight design change.)

 

Standard Luggage

 

standard luggage

 

 

Standard Luggage has come out with a set of packing cubes with a new twist. Available in sets of three, each cube measures 12.5 x 10 x 3 inches and weighs 4 oz. What’s unique is that they can be put together via a velcro strip on the back of each one and then hung up.  The zippers on each cube only open up on one side so items don’t fall out when hung up but this also hinders packing some items. $59

 

standard luggage bp

 

Standard Luggage has also come out with a Backpack Packing Cube. As a cube it measure 12.5 x 10 x 3 inches but expands to 15 x 10 x 3 inches in backpack mode. It even packs into itself for storage or when not using it as a packing cube. Good for those who truly want to minimize their load. 10 oz. $39

 

Tom Bihn

 

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Tom Bihn has come out with a new line of ultralightweight packing cubes made of a new material they call Aether. They are sized to fit their Aeronaut 45, Aeronaut 30 and Tristar bags but can be used in any bag. The material is water resistant and to save weight Tom Bihn has downsized to a size 3 YKK zipper. They are available in carbon, violet and wasabi. $21-24

 

Travelon

 

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Travelon has come out with a new expandable packing cube. It measures 14 x 11 x 4.5 inches and expands to 8 inches. Inside are two compartments one of which has a zip shut lid. On the outside, and hard to see in the photo above, are two slots for sandals or flip-flops. Available in Aqua, Gray, Black and Lime.  $25 (or slightly cheaper on Amazon.)

I like all of the cubes and wouldn’t hesitate using any of them. If one or more gets your interest, give them a try.

 

 

Some of the products mentioned in this post were supplied by the manufacturer. OBOW is an Amazon affiliate.

 

Spirit Airlines to Change Personal Item Size

Courtesy of Spirit Airlines

Courtesy of Spirit Airlines

Spirit Airlines, one of the first a la carte airlines to charge for just about everything, is changing the size of the allowable personal item carried on board.

Spirit charges for a full size carry-on but allows a personal item up to 16″ x 14″ x 12″ for free.

However, starting March 31, the dimensions of that item will change to 17″ x 13″ x 8″.

No official word to the change has come from Spirit but one of our observant readers found it in the airline’s Terms and Conditions.

I wonder if they plan to make an announcement or just surprise unsuspecting passengers with a carry-on fee?