Ultimate Cruise Packing List: 5 Travel Bag Must-Haves

Ultimate Cruise Packing List: 5 Travel Bag Must-Haves

One of the coolest aspects of cruising? Going to tons of destinations but only unpacking once! Make sure you know exactly what to put in your bag before you take to the high seas.

One of the key benefits of taking a cruise is getting to explore multiple locations while only having to wrestle with one piece of luggage or travel bag. While the packing process may be a little tricky (exactly how many bathing suits should you take on that five-day Caribbean jaunt?) at least you won’t have to unpack and repack with each new location you visit. Just empty your luggage and settle in to your new floating hotel room.

Whether you’re heading out on your first-ever cruise or simply looking to perfect your packing process, this list of must-take items will make ensure that your next open seas adventure feels like smooth sailing.

1. A Packable Daypack

Stash an Eagle Creek Packable, an ultra-lightweight, convertible bag, in your suitcase so you have something to take along for shore excursions. These bags unfold from a palm-size to a full-sized bag in less time than it takes for a line to form at the breakfast buffet! Additionally, you can use it to tote home your excess souvenirs once you disembark.

2. An On-The-Go Charging Station

Most travelers don’t need to be reminded to bring their cameras and Kindles. Cruise cabins, however, often have limited electrical outlets, so stash a small power strip to make sure everyone can charge their electronics. Also, in light of the exorbitant rates for Internet onboard, consider leaving the laptop at home, and check emails using a more portable iPhone or iPad whenever you’re onshore where there may be wifi.

3. Cash-Saving Beverage Boosters

While packing alcohol is a classic cruising no-no, most cruise lines allow you to bring your own water and soda onboard. To lower your beverage bill while still remaining hydrated, pack reusable water bottles to refill at water fountains. For a little punch, pack flavor packets to amp up your thirst quenching.

4. Guidebooks and Research

As previously mentioned, internet rates are too high to justify Googling “What To Do in Barbados” once onboard, and surprisingly, the employees at the excursion desks on most cruise lines are banned from giving out information beyond the company’s own excursions. Pack a guidebook, or do research ahead of time, and bring the pertinent printed materials along with you.

5. DIY Laundry Supplies

Some—but not all—ships offer free or cheap Laundromats. Others charge several dollars to just launder a t-shirt or a single pair of boxer shorts. To save your cash for poolside daiquiris, pack a small bottle of Febreze, a travel-size detergent, and a laundry line for quick and cheap dirty clothes turnaround in the privacy of your own cabin bathroom.

What do you pack when you embark on a cruise? Did we forget any of your essentials? Fill us in via the comments below!

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Alexandra Baackes is a traveling writer, designer, and underwater videographer. She is currently in her third year of living as a full-time nomad -- follow along at alexinwanderland.com!