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Packing Tips!!

by Cruise Journalist, Barry Vaudrin
Cruise like a pro, not the usual tourist, by using the following packing tips.

Whether you’re a seasoned cruiser or you’re going on your first cruise, there are some unique things to pack so that you have the best possible cruise experience, and you’re prepared for nearly anything during your vacation. The last thing you want to do is be unprepared for your vacation.

1. Avoid packing all your luggage the night before.
Try not to scramble late into the night before your departure trying to pack. Plan ahead a few days and make a general list of things you may want to bring, including: clothing, camera gear, batteries, extra memory cards for your camera, hats, medications, bathing suits, etc. Wash your clothes and start to pack perhaps two nights prior to your departure, because if you wait till the last minute, the night before, you may not get the sleep you need for the rigors of traveling the next day.

2. Get plenty of sleep the night before your departure.
If you wait to pack the night before your departure, you may find yourself packing late into the night as you try not to forget to pack certain items. It’s not uncommon to board early morning flights to get to your cruise port, and the hustle and bustle of travel can truly wear you out, particularly if you didn’t get enough sleep the night before. When you board the ship for the first time, it’s a very exciting moment, you may have somewhat of an adrenaline rush, but your body can only take so much before you collapse out of sheer exhaustion.

3. Consider buying Space Bags
You’ve probably seen them advertised on television. These Space Bags are truly a handy way to pack your luggage efficiently. Basically you put your shirts, pants, underwear, socks in their separate Space Bag, and roll out the air, which ultimately allows you to pack more items in your luggage with extra room to spare. Also, if your luggage, by some crazy accident, gets dropped in water, your clothes won’t get wet.

4. Don’t pack too much stuff
Travelers often pack way too much stuff into their luggage and overestimate how much clothes and stuff you’ll need on your cruise. Additionally, you’re going to want to leave some space in your luggage, prior to your cruise, because it never fails that dirty clothes, bathing suites, souvenirs, will cause your luggage to be over-stuffed on your return home.

5. Consider using Luggless.com or luggagefree.com
A great new trend is to offer travelers a break from lugging their heavy luggage to and from the airport and spending time in baggage-claim. These companies will pick up your luggage at your home or office several days prior to your cruise departure. These companies will deliver your luggage directly to your ship or hotel, so you don’t have to battle dragging your heavy luggage around. It’s a great service, where you hand-over your luggage to a courier and the next time you see your luggage is in front of your stateroom on the ship. Check them out and you’ll see that the pricing is reasonable and it will give you a peace of mind knowing that the airline won’t lose your luggage.

6. Purchase luggage with four wheels
More and more travelers are discovering luggage with four wheels. It is such a convenient, and great way to move your luggage around when you have four wheels on the bottom of your luggage. You may also want to consider luggage with hardened sides to protect the contents in your luggage. An excellent brand to consider is Victorinox; they make excellent luggage pieces.

7. Mark your luggage so you can easily identify your bags
Today, it is surprising how many people have similar or identical luggage and it can be confusing sometimes in baggage-claim trying to identify your luggage. The simplest way to mark your luggage is to tie a colorful cloth to the handle, so you can quickly identify which bag is yours at the pier or in baggage-claim.

8. Pack heavier items at the bottom of your luggage
While you are packing, place heavier items on the bottom when the bag is upright. Place certain items inside the shoes you pack in your luggage so you are efficiently using every possible space in your luggage.

9. Place electronic items or cords inside zip-lock bags
Zip-lock bags are a great way to organize, protect, and store certain loose items, cords, and electronics. You may also want to bring a couple large zip-lock bags to put some of your dirty / smelly clothes, and wet swim suits. This way you will protect the rest of your luggage contents from smelly or wet items.

10. A few unique items to pack
A highlighter marker would be very helpful to mark up your daily program that is delivered every day to your stateroom. With this marker, you can highlight the activities you want to go to. An extension cord and possibly a power-strip to plug in and charge all your electronic items, can be very useful. Most cruise ship staterooms have only a couple electric outlets. Earplugs might be helpful too if you are a light sleeper. The movement of the ship can sometimes generate sounds you may not be use to, like drawers or doors bumping due to the movement of the ship. Your neighbors or people in the corridors might make more noise than you prefer, so it’s good to be prepared just in-case.
With these packing tips you’ll be cruising like a professional!
Barry Vaudrin is the Host of Cruising Authority, a talk show using multimedia venues like audio podcasts, videos, photography, blogs and written articles. Check out one of Barry’s favorite cruise experiences aboard the world-famous Queen Mary 2 during a trans-Atlantic crossing.