We have lots of clients getting ready to travel this month and the number one question seems to be "what do I pack for a cruise?" Packing for a cruise does differ a bit from all inclusive travel, but cruising has evolved through the years and so has baggage limitations.

Do You Love It?

Spend an afternoon and try your clothes on. Look at each piece with a discerning eye and ask yourself "Do I Love it?"

Yes, we're asking you to "Marie Kondo" your travel wardrobe. Travelling sparks so much joy so why not take advantage of this and clear a few things out while you are in the spirit. On our last trip while packing I noticed a few of my favourite t-shirts with moth holes. They definitely give me less joy now than they used to, so it was time to thank them and say goodbye.

Ocean or River Cruise?

Spending time on the Danube in May requires a very different wardrobe than the same month in the Caribbean. Check the average temperature for the ports you will be stopping in. If you have a smart phone you can add your destinations to your weather app and this can help you plan as you get closer to departure.

Always pack a couple of wraps or scarves. You may want a sheer, lightweight one for the ocean cruise to keep your shoulders warm in the air conditioned dining room or to shade a little from the sun. Acrylic, cotton and rayon wraps are an excellent solution for the cooler weather in the mornings and evenings on the rivers. Wraps are available in many places and have a price range of $15-$100 which is a small price for comfort and beauty. Layers help keep you comfortable on a morning stroll on deck and in an air conditioned bus or restaurant.

Pack light

Make sure you choose items that do double duty. Pack tops that can be accessorized to be both casual and a bit more dressy when dinner time rolls around. Pants and skirts can often be worn multiple times and create different looks.

Pack strategically and remember you can always wash things. We've been know to do a bit of laundry on longer trips because some river cruise boats have convenient facilities. Check to see what is offered on your ship.

Shoes can be the most challenging when it comes to deciding what to pack Walking shoes are a must because river or ocean you will have lots of opportunities to explore your ports of call. Three styles of shoes, with differing heights will help your feet. Two casual and maybe a sandal that can double for day and evening.

It can be a good idea to change your shoes a couple of times during the day to help ease tired feet. Remember though, it is a good kind of tired because you are seeing new things and living your best life while putting a bit of mileage onto your Fitbit.

The majority of cruise ships have hair dryers so you don't need to worry. Also do not pack an clothing iron because these are not permitted many cruise lines. Beach towels are usually provided and they add too much bulk when packing.

A Few Must Haves

These must haves are things that we find make life a bit easier. You don't need packing cubes but once you have travelled with them you will wonder how you lived without!

  • Packing cubes
  • A dirty laundry bag
  • Motion sickness wrist bands
  • Tiny fold up rain poncho and/or umbrella
  • power bar with USB plugs if you have multiple devices. The newest ships are providing numerous plugs and USBs so ask your agent about what is available.
  • A travel first aid kit
  • Moist antibacterial travel wipes. Wipe door handles, light switches, yourself etc.
  • Zip lock bags. These are great for packing a snack or two whether coming back from shore or going out for the day.
  • A stainless steel insulated water bottle. Airports now have water bottle filling stations but remember to empty it before going through security. If you fill your bottle before getting off the ship on port days, it will keep cold for hours.
  • Waterproof bags, a bag for your phone or other electronics and a bag to take to the beach that will keep your clothes dry
  • Compact shopping bag, this is one of those fold up bags that can go in your purse or backpack and can be used for shopping or wet bathing suits
  • A hat, this is great for sun or just bad hair days
  • Your medications. Travel with any prescriptions in their prescription bottle with your name on it.

Some Resources

Plan A Vacation Pinterest Page

Celebrity Cruises: Cruise Planning and Packing Tips 101

Forbes: 7 Packing Tips To Make Your European River Cruise Hassle Free

Cruise Critic - This is a fantastic place to find tips on cruising, learn about your ship and discover things to do in each of your ports. If you like people, you can also add yourself to the CC Role Call for your sailing and get invited to a meet up on board during your cruise.

Travel Tips

As always, I like to end with something I have learned the hard way. Travel with a handheld luggage scale and weigh both your carry on and your checked bag before heading to the airport. Airlines are serious about their size and weight restrictions. We were once seen unpacking and repacking in the Cancun airport, trying to fix what we could have figured out before we left our resort!

Photos and story by: Kimberley Gunning, Plan A Vacation

For travel inquiries: travelwithus@planavacation.ca or 1-877-894-7526 ext 107 www.planavacation.ca