Packing - Thoughts / Additional Items

by Female Abroad

Packing for any trip can be intimidating. Now imagine being stuck on a boat for days at end; how will you be prepared? After comparing what I found I needed with what people I know have needed for their cruises, I've gathered a list of the items I could not only logically see being helpful but the items that multiple people have recommended. I hope that they end up helping you as much as they do me.

One thing to note is that we do get a small kickback if you purchase anything off of the links provided below which helps us keep this website & podcast going. Also, as & feature different products and shipping times, I will provide links to products that I have used in both countries.



- Think about how long the cruise is, and then pack half. There are ways to wash your clothes on the ship or, if you want to save money, do it yourself in the sink. This will save you lots of space.

- You are also on a cruise, no one will notice if you wear the same thing twice.

- Make sure to pack two swimsuits though, one to wear and one to dry.

- You can even pack clothes that you can throw away after you wear them (old socks, underwear, etc.) so you have more room for your souvenirs.


- If you don't want to pack for formal nights, you can always order in room service or go to one of the paid restaurants. Some cruises will allow you to also arrange to rent a suit or tux on these nights (arrange before the cruise).

- You can also pack a light sweater and/or sport coat for this (even in tropical climates), as these will help dress up your appearance and you can use them if you get chilly in the evening air-conditioned spaces.

Medical Items


Paper cuts, banged knees, bruises, splinters, and more can happen. Also good if you are going on excursions as they will have a first aid kit on them but if your shoe is rubbing or a bandaid you have on falls off afterwards you will be SOL.

This is the one that we pack with us, its enough to help with basic cuts and blisters:

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Pain killer, cold medicine, anti-histamine, gravol, pepto, sea-sickness - you never know what you will need but if you don't pack it, you'll pay through the nose for it on board


Really important if you are going to the Caribbean (Zika) or other locations that might be moist and attract insects. You must make sure that you are using deet free bug spray if you are going to be wearing sunscreen. The reason for this is because sunscreen causes deet to absorb up to 30% more than without sunscreen and the deet causes the sunscreen to work 40% less. Put on your sunscreen first, let it absorb, then spray yourself with a deet free bug spray. I really like the OFF! gentle as I have sensitive skin and also find it works better on burnt skin. In the US they have a similar item with Picarin but that compound is known to by an eye irritant so I go with the Alba.

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Thousands of people on a floating hotel doing the same activities as well as eating in the same placed; need more be said? You will usually find hand sanitizing stations around the ship but no so much off the ship. I always have a pack of these Clorox ones on me:

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If you thighs (or other parts of your body) rub together then you will want to use some Body Glide. Put it on areas that will chafe or may chafe due to a build up of sweat. I’ve tried a variety of products and this stuff is magical. You cannot put it on broken skin so you will want to put it on before the you chafe or as soon as you notice it.

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Drinking Onboard


Check before deciding to pack some as some cruises will not allow any, others will allow pop, others will allow wine if consumed in the dining room and for a small fee. If you can bring your own then it will save money on board.


The cups provided on the ship are small so if you want to take a drink to go or even to enjoy in another part of the ship, bring your own travel mug so you don't have to keep going back for refills every five minutes. My favorite are the Yeti 30oz travel mugs that fit into cupholders. They will keep your cold drinks cold and your hot drinks hot plus they are dishwasher safe which is unheard of for travel mugs as it usually busts the seals.

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Laundry Items


A lot of people recommend these for long cruises or cruises with lots of people in one room. They fold down small so they are easy to pack and you can just throw things into it as you go. You can get these at the dollar store and it is one of the first items to be left behind if I don't have space in the suitcase at the end of the trip. If you cannot find them, Amazon has them:

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Cheaper than on board and you can do wash in the room. Some cruise lines offer laundry specials at the end of the week so you might not need it. At some dollar stores you can find small liquid packs of laundry detergent that will be small enough to fit into your carryon. I'm allergic to Tide so I prefer not to play around with if I will or won't react to what I use and always get these:

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Helps with stain emergencies or accidental messes that cannot wait until you get home to deal with.

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So you don't need to iron; another option is to hang your clothes on a hanger in the bathroom. Turn the shower onto hot and let the steam work out the wrinkles for you. If you have a formal night or you just want to look good then you can always pack one of these Wrinkle Releases that is sized to go in your carryon.

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Hang wet items whether you are doing laundry in the room or you just need to hang up some wet swim suits, these are small items and come in handy. If I can, I'll go with the lines that have the clips built in because then you do not have to worry about trying to figure out where they are.

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If Headed to a Sunny Destination


Use these to stake out your pool side lounger while on the ship, hang up wet clothes while in the cabin or on the patio if you have one, and even on the beach if it is a big windy. Super handy, relatively cheap and super cute.

You can go simple: Amazon Canada Amazon USA

Or you could go funky: Amazon Canada Amazon USA


pack lots if you are going during the summer, a tropical location, or will be outside lots (you'll burn just as bad on cloudy days due to the reflection from the water). If you are headed to a location with a reef (ex. Australia, the Caribbean) then you will want a reef safe sunscreen, some islands are demanding it actually and won't let you go in the water if you do not have it. If you are headed somewhere humid then I also like to make sure that it is water & sweat proof. Banana Boat has yet to steer me wrong in humid locations.

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A hat is a must if you are headed out into the sun especially close to the equator where the sun is stronger. Everyone has their own preference for hats so I won't make any recommendations.


I love palazzo pants when travelling to a hot location and if I can get them in linen or 100% cotton then they are perfect. Make sure that you get a pair that you can dress up or wear casual so you have lots of dressing options.


For men, a lot of Caribbean restaurants and places in the evening expect you not to be in shorts and it will be too uncomfortable for jeans but you can get full length cotton pants that are easy to dress up or down. We got my husband his from The Bay and he has worn them to all the Caribbean & cruise's we have been on as well as at home in the summer time, they are a great investment.


If you are heading out on an excursion to a warm destination then you are going to want to bring water with you and water that you know you can drink. This is where a collapsible water bottle comes in handy. It is also great to have when going through airports as you can usually find a filtered water refill station near the bathrooms. This is my favorite style as it folds up super small and doesn't have the weird taste that the bag type ones have.

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Other Nice to Haves


Most staterooms only have one or two plugs but just think about how many items there are to charge from cell phones to cameras, hand held video games to portable fans - it adds up! Previously I would have recommended a 2 prong, surge protector free cord or bank but pretty much all of them include surge protection and cruise ships will not allow you to use them so instead, grab a multi USB, 2 prong wall charger as these do not have surge protection and are super easy to pack. I like these ones:

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Highlight activities on the daily activity sheet that interest you for quick reference.


Make notes as to where you will be if you are staying up late or going our early. Also good for reminders or requests for things while housekeeping is in the room


Kept wet things separate, storage, put phone/camera to keep dry, fill with buffet goodies, etc


Depending on your itinerary there might be a lot to see from the ship. Some cruise lines will even include them in your stateroom depending on the category type you pick.


The walls are made of steel so use these as extra storage (hang hats), hang up things to dry, prepare a bag to grab & go for the morning but hang it in an easy to grab spot, and more. I really like using these ones:

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Get your key card hole punched (usually at the casino or gift shop) so you can attach it to this and wear it around your neck or you could get a lanyard with a card holder. Either way you will need to be able to give the staff the card so they can swipe it as so you can use it to open your room. I like these ones because they are on an extending cord so you can just pull it down to your door.

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You never know when you'll lose it or it will get wet. There is a good chance that they will sell these onboard if you do get caught but it will be a crazy price.


If you are going to a rainy place, pack everything into a plastic garbage bag and then place it into your luggage. Suit case zippers are not water proof and they can be sitting outside for a while before staff members have a chance to load them onto the ship. You can then use this garbage bag for dirty clothes or packing wet things at the end of the trip.


An anti-theft day bag that can fit a water bottle is super important especially if you are going on an excursion as you won’t have as much access to water as you think and you will want to keep your hands free. This is a great one as it fits snug to your body but still breathes.

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Showing Gratuity


Take a wad of US$ 1 bills for tipping


Having your entire wallet with you is not needed so before you head out on your trip, grab this slim wallet that will hold the necessities and as a bonus, it is slim enough to fit into most pockets making travelling with a money belt easy. Another thing to think about is grabbing small bills to tip with, preferably in US Dollars. Even if your resort or cruise has gratuities included there are lots of people who will help you along the trip that are not covered by gratuity packages like bell services, excursions, drivers, and housekeeping. Even for people that are included in the gratuity packages feel free to give them an extra tip because a couple of bucks can make service surprisingly faster for you, maybe even get additional perks, or at least better service.

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A wonderful way to get some good service is to leave thank you cards with a tip. The cards will end up with managers who will use them when it comes time to promotions / reviews. You should leave some cash in them as cash is king and some staff members don't make a lot of money. I like these ones because they are bright, colourful, and hard to miss plus there is an assortment so people will think you put time and effort into picking them a card.

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A watch that you can set to ship time is extremely important. Before you head off on your island adventure, make sure to note the time on the large red clock to the left of the ship’s exit. This is the ship time which does not always align with cell phones. Make sure you know what the return and departure times are (I like to take a picture of the day’s ship itinerary so there is no forgetting!) then set the watch to match the time that this clock shows. I have had clients miss ships because they went off of their cell phone clock. If you miss the ship, it is up to you to get to the next port to meet the ship. This two watches are great because they are digital so there is no mistaking the time, can be set to 24-hour clock (most ships are use 24 hour clocks), water resistant to 200m, ability to set 4 alarms, and are shock resistant as well.

For Him: Amazon Canada Amazon USA

For Her: Amazon Canada Amazon USA

Photocopy of your Passport, Credit Cards, and ID

Just incase yours is stolen, this will make it easier to replace also take a photo of your luggage in case the airline or cruise line misplace it

If you forget something (bathing suit, dress shirt, Advil, etc) don't worry as the ship will have lots of (expensive) stores that will sell these items or if you can wait, pick it up in Port. Is there anything else you would add to this list? Anything you would remove? Drop us a line and let us know!