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I fit 12 days' worth of stuff in my carry-on thanks to these compression packing cubes

There's an old travel-prep adage: Bring half the clothes and twice the money. But what if you could pack all the duds you wanted and spend less than the price of lunch on the Via Venezia to do it? If you are a notorious over-packer, you’ve probably tried everything from rolling your clothes and stuffing your shoes to sitting on your suitcase till you've squashed it enough to force it closed. Real talk: Maybe it’s time to invest in compression packing cubes. This set from Lean Travel has been a lifesaver for me many times, including on a recent trip to Europe.

These handy cubes have a hidden compression zipper that streamlines them from four inches down to one.
$33 at Amazon

As someone who hates checking a suitcase, I only travel with a carry-on, no matter how long the trip is, and these cubes help me globe-trot with my home in my hand. For my latest trip, I was able to pack enough stuff for 12 days in Italy and England — and I still had room for my souvenir-shopping booty.

What I love most about LeanTravel's packing cubes is how lightweight they are. They are made from a durable polyester material and add virtually no extra heft to my bag. Each cube has an extra zipper on the bottom, so once I’m done squeezing in all my clothes I can pull that closed and the cubes will be one-fourth of their size. The zippers are incredibly strong and have never snagged or come off the tracks, no matter how much stuff I have crammed inside.

packing cube set
Planning a visit to the Tate, the Louvre or the Prado? Grab a set of these and Picasso won't be the only Cubist in the house. (Photo: Amazon)

Even better, each cube has a mesh panel on the top, so I can easily see what’s inside and don’t have to open each one to find the item I’m looking for. This three-pack comes with two large cubes and one medium-sized one. I was easily able to fit the majority of my clothes for the trip in one large cube and all my smaller items like undergarments, swimsuits, pajamas, etc. in the medium.

I put one on each side of my carry-on suitcase and still had plenty of room for shoes, accessories and souvenirs. Since I had an extra cube, I gave it to my travel companion — Mom! — and she was amazed at how much she was able to fit inside. FYI: There's also a six-piece set, if you're planning a longer getaway and/or packing for multiple people. Need more shopping flexibility? You can buy any one size individually.

And I’m not the only one who loves them. LeanTravel cubes have racked up nearly 3,000 five-star rating from shoppers who call them everything from “a must-have for traveling” to “a total game changer.” Be sure to grab a set for yourself before your next trip!

BUT OF COURSE they're also available in black!
$33 at Amazon

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The reviews quoted above reflect the most recent versions at the time of publication.