I’m Sheri with CruiseTipsTV. We talk a LOT about packing around here…and it probably seems like we are major overpackers, but that’s not really the case. We do like to travel with quite a bit of gear, but we follow some tried and true rules to “keep it light” so we can make room for the stuff that we know will make our vacation more comfortable.
So, how do we pack light?
Number 1. I like to Start with a Light suitcase - we've found great bargains on lightweight brands and discount stores like Ross, marshalls and tjmaxx. Although you'll want to make sure to look for suitcases with high quality zippers and a tough exterior.
Number 2. Another way to keep it light is to separate clothes by day. We do this using packing cubes but large ziploc bags work too. Why do this, you ask?? Because packing day by day prevents you from packing too much. But selecting a specific outfit for each day or occasion you avoid packing stacks and stacks of the same type of clothing item without a plan. It's also easy to scale back at the last minute to reduce your total packing weight.
Number 3. If your ship has a self serve laundromat Pack a small supply of laundry detergent and plan to do a Load or two laundry on the ship- sure, you can buy it onboard, but detergent takes up very little space. (Hold up tide pod). This is something we do more now that we have a child, but if the idea of doing laundry on your vacation makes you woozy, skip it! Remember… Not every cruise line offers onboard laundry, so be sure to do your research!
Number 4. Alright....drum roll please....This may be the best tip we can offer folks...minimize the number of shoes you pack- they're heavy and shoes are a space killer!!!. If possible, wear your most bulky pair of shoes on embarkation day instead of packing them...and DON'T pack uncomfortable shoes, even for formal night..Most cruise ships are huge and you'll be walking a LOT so choose carefully and ladies. . . leave those blister inducing stilettos at HOME. I like to pack a pair of high quality, but worn-in flip flops or sandals, 1 pair of athletic shoes that double as walking and workout shoes and 1 dressy pair for formal nights....take a deep breath ladies, you can do this!
Number 5. Research your cabin's amenities and toiletries in advance. Chances are you can leave your hairdryer, soap, and shampoo at home. On most cruises, you can replenish your supplies at grocery or drug stores in port IF you run out. We often pack a minimal amount of bulky items like our favorite shampoo, sunscreen and drinking water and buy what we need in port if necessary a few days in to the cruise.
Number 6. Leave your hangers at home and pack your formal wear flat, in clear plastic to avoid wrinkles.Your dry cleaning bags are perfect for this.
Number 7. Ladies- you might consider minimizing how much makeup and beauty products you pack. I like to pack my liquid foundation and daily moisturizer in a contact lens case, and leave the bottles at home.
Number 8. Lastly, packing is more successful if you have a plan. So, start a packing list on your smartphone or computer a few weeks before you cruise, and as you think of more must-pack items, add them on! Keeping a list allows you to do a last minute purge as well.
That's it for this episode! Please leave YOUR light packing tips in the comments below.