What type of packer are you? Do you cruise for a week with a mere duffel bag, or do you need a few Sherpas to carry all your bags, trunks, hat boxes and assorted other luggage? You may be known in your family for always leaving one important thing behind or the person who brings wool sweaters to the Caribbean and formalwear on an expedition cruise … just in case.
There’s no right or wrong way to pack, but after racking up many weeks at sea, Cruise Critic’s editors and members can offer some great advice about what to bring onboard and how best to squeeze it into a suitcase without incurring excess baggage fees — not to mention the wrath of the person who has to help lug it.
If you’d like to become a packing genius, or at least feel more confident in your skills here are tips you should do:
1. Plan ahead
First things first, make a packing list! Packing for yourself and your family will be overwhelming if you don’t know exactly what you need. Start by mapping out the days you’ll be gone and figure out different activities that will happen along the way.
2. Roll, roll, roll!
Ask any travel guru for advice, and most will say roll your clothes! Rolling military style saves space and makes it easy to pack clothes neatly.
3. Less is more
When packing for your kids, less is more. There will be a lot of excitement and action on your trip, so don’t worry about bringing tons of toys and books. They take up a lot of space and more than likely, won’t be used. Try packing what you think you need and then cut it in half.
4. Bag it up
Make zip top bags a new vacay essential. Use them for any liquids, hair care products, toothpaste, or dirty clothes. It keeps everything clean, separated, and easy to pack back up.You could even pack individual outfits for your kids in each bag and hand them out throughout the trip.
5. Safety first
If you are traveling with kids, always bring a mini first aid kit. Pack it with a few items like, Band-Aids of assorted shapes and sizes, a small bottle of hand sanitizer, small tube of bug bite sting reliever, several antiseptic wipes, small tube of antibiotic ointment, several individual packets of Advil and Children’s Tylenol, and a few stickers or temporary tattoos for a treat after treatment. You’ll thank yourself later when you’re not wandering around an unfamiliar town looking for Band-Aids with a screaming child.
6. Easy access
Keep a small batch of essential items always within reach. It could be your toothbrush, pacifier for your child, or small snacks. This way, you won’t have to spend time and energy unpacking all your stuff looking for one key item.
7. Know the rules
Before travelling, especially on an airline, brush up on some general rules about baggage sizes, TSA flying rules, and airline baggage fees. Besides being able to better plan your budget, you will feel more in control with less surprises thrown at you.