10 Packing Tips From Real Cruisers

June 15, 2012 | By | 25 Comments

During packing week, we all learned a thing or two about what not to pack, paid homage to the wonder of duct tape and picked up a few new packing tips. Now it’s your turn to share your best advice, from strategies to avoid overpacking to the most important items to stow in your suitcase. We read through the message boards and our Facebook fan page to compile this top 10 list of reader wisdom.

This one’s for all the overpackers: “Lay out all of the clothing you think you will need. Take away half of the clothing and three quarters of the shoes. Then pack.” (elbodans)
It takes two: “We pack half of our things in each other’s suitcase so if one suitcase gets lost at least we still have some clothes etc. instead of none at all.” (Anthony B. on Facebook)
Keep your valuables close: “Never pack anything in your checked luggage that might tempt someone to steal it…I know it doesn’t happen often, but I’d rather be safe than sorry…so no cameras, electronic games, jewelry etc. in checked luggage.” (Travelingclerk)
Make your own storage space: “I use the removable 3M hooks on the back of the bathroom door or wherever else I need one. They don’t damage the walls/doors and you simply remove them when you are done.” (wocheez)
Be strategic about your carry-on: “I always make sure I have at least 3-4 days worth of clothes in my CARRY-ON bag, just in case my luggage doesn’t make it.” (printingchick)
Mix and match: “Limit the amount of shoes. Coordinate your outfits to go with these shoes. Mix and match your clothes. Everything must go with at least two other items. Decide what is important to take and coordinate around that.” (SadieN)
Don’t fully unpack: “My packing tip is to keep your toiletry kit packed all the time. After our first couple trips, I realized that not only was the toiletry kit more time consuming than the clothing, but I was always forgetting one item. So … I collected all our items as duplicates and they stay in the case all the time. I merely need to refill bottles when we’re getting ready to go.” (Happy ks)
Bag some baggies: “[Take] plenty of plastic ziplock bags in assorted sizes. [They have] lots of uses….I label one A.M and one P.M for things I use at those times of day/night so don’t have to re-sort. I mark one a “shore bag” that has what’s needed when going on excursion. Easy to grab and throw in the carry bag I take.” (Suitcasefull)
Two tips for one price: “Roll your clothes versus folding! You can get much more into a suitcase. If going to a warm weather climate, bring two swimsuits so you’ll always have a dry suit to put on. Nothing worse than trying to get into a wet suit!” (YoungDubFan)
Wise words to pack by: “The only things you REALLY need are a credit card and a passport. All other things can be done without or purchased. So don’t stress!” (elbodans)
Got more packing tips? Share them below.
For everything you ever wanting to know about packing — and then some — visit our Ultimate Guide to Packing for a Cruise.
Last chance! You have until Monday to win one of four fantastic prizes in our packing contest sponsored by eBags. Prizes include packing cubes, day packs and a 24-inch spinner suitcase.
Get your very own Lido Deck subscription.
    Please share this post!


    25 Responses to “10 Packing Tips From Real Cruisers”

    1. bookbug
      June 15th, 2012 @ 11:19 am

      Traveling with young kids can be stressful. Make mornings easier by putting together day outfits for each day and placing them in gallon size ziploc bags. Socks, undies, shorts and top can easily fit. Squeeze out as much air as possible and zip! Makes packing easy, saves room and kids can just grab a bag and dress themselves.

    2. Deanna
      June 18th, 2012 @ 10:19 am

      I like to put my shoes in gallon zip lock containers. I feel like it keeps my shoes from getting scuffed and keeps my clothes clean. I also wear my heaviest shoes while traveling to save weight in my suitcase.

    3. Puablo
      June 24th, 2012 @ 7:47 pm

      All good ideas, though I don’t want to see the size of the carry on that someone put 4 days of clothes in. I just went on a 12 day cruise (17 days counting pre and post stays) and in an effort to not overpack and exceed 50 lbs., I managed to stay leaner than I normally do on a 1 week trip. Less shoes, minimal ‘nice’ clothes, and cargo pants that we could wash in the sink and air dry. But always, always 2 sets of swimwear. And rolling clothes really does work!

    4. Susan
      June 24th, 2012 @ 8:15 pm

      Buy “cruise clothes” that don’t crease and are multipurpose (e.g. maxi dress that doubles as a sundress and formal dress. I always carry stain remover pads and a small pharmacy! I got some great tips on here, thanks everyone.

    5. Linda
      June 24th, 2012 @ 8:24 pm

      We did a back to back on the Magic last fall (12 days European and 16 days transatlantic). We each packed one carry-on and that was it! No checked bags. Planning what to pack took the longest. We had to repeat outfits and relied upon having laundry done for us (platinum) but it worked out great!

    6. Louise
      June 24th, 2012 @ 9:44 pm

      After losing a suitcase we always put outfits together. Blouses with matching pants or skirts, and shirts with matching trousers. Also we pack half of stuff in one suitcase, so we both have clothes if one gets lost. Nothing like being in Bejing with just bottoms.

    7. Jacqueline Latour
      June 24th, 2012 @ 11:27 pm

      When I pack my suitcase everything goes in plastic bags (extra large for T-shirts, shirts, bermuda, fold everything nice and put in the plastics bags (ex: 1 t-shirt and 1 bermuda or capri pants) easier to pack in the suitcase and your kit is in one bag each, buy
      dresses plastic bags from the dollar store for the evening dresses, same for the tuxedo,
      the clothes stays wrinkles free and you have a very nice suitcase

    8. Melissa Rickert
      June 25th, 2012 @ 4:44 pm

      I always pack a stain stick in my checked luggage so that I can treat clothing with spills and stains as I take it off. The Spray and Wash stain stick is good for about 2 weeks before you have to wash it. That way, when I get home there are no forgotten stains or searching for stains to treat before washing.

    9. Paige
      July 15th, 2012 @ 2:28 pm

      I take an over the door shoe organizer to stuff shoes, umbrellas, toiletries and all other small things that lay around and clutter the cabin. It kept the room much more tidy and I chose one with clear plastic so I could quickly find what I was looking for.

    10. sheri welles
      August 8th, 2012 @ 11:28 am

      I always take foil to wrap bottles with liquid. Buy blownup bag at Southwest for $10.00 pack a bottle of wine. Have done this on over 15 trips. never a broken bottle.

    11. Wendy
      August 8th, 2012 @ 11:55 am

      I always carry a very small container of vicks vapo rub when we travel. It has been a God send when dealing with sitting on planes/buses beside someone who has bad body odor – or someone with a sickly perfume or even when toilets on airplane were nasty. A bit under your nose creates a much nicer smelling environment!

    12. Hannah from Maxwell Scott Luggage
      September 6th, 2012 @ 10:53 am

      Make a list! I always make a list of essentials when heading abroad, cruise or not. It helps me narrow stuff down and ensures I remember the really essential bits. Roll your clothes – It helps save space :) Thanks for the advice.

    13. Abbie
      September 22nd, 2012 @ 3:31 pm

      I use the large plastic hooks that stick on with a suction cup; perfect for hanging hats, camera, even light clothing items. I love the idea of a clear over-the-door shoe bag! Also take a travel clothes line (in case there isn’t one in the shower); rinse out personals while in the shower and hang to dry overnight. And, we recently discovered small plastic zip-lock bags for medicines (at the pharmacy) – just mark with date to be taken. Don’t forget a night-light.

    14. Joan
      March 26th, 2013 @ 1:46 pm

      When traveling (particularly on airplanes) I like to use an antibiotic cream like Neosporin, around the outside of nose.

      Also, to be prepared in the event of any emergency, I would advise to tuck away at least an EXTRA week’s worth of prescription medications plus a couple of small flashlights. It never hurts to be prepared even hopefully you may never need them.

    15. Frank
      April 3rd, 2013 @ 12:28 pm

      Don’t forget you may need power converters (especially for pre- or post-cruise stays. We always bring a power bar so we can easily charge our electronics (cameras, ereaders, phones, tablets, etc.).

    16. laura
      April 24th, 2013 @ 8:24 pm

      I bring along small magnets to attach to metal in room:i.e. doors. Great for hanging decorations on door and keeping things in pouches for easy access.

    17. connie
      September 30th, 2013 @ 8:18 pm

      don’t pack soap for hand laundry, use the shampoo in your room

    18. Lady Marion
      November 6th, 2013 @ 7:24 pm

      I swear by Go Tubes.

    19. Amy
      May 6th, 2014 @ 4:02 pm

      My daughters always packed their outfits for camps (day’s worth of clothes including underwear, etc.)in ziplock bags then compressed the air out. Saves tons of space and your outfit is all ready for you. Roll the clothes or just fold, depending on how much you need to fit in. I imagine a space bag would do well for dresses, suit jackets, etc. I’m planning on trying this method for our first cruise. Wish us luck!

    20. Linda
      June 18th, 2014 @ 9:58 pm

      I saturate cotton balls/pad with fingernail polish (manicure)or baby oil (used for eyemakeup remover). I don’t have to worry about any spillage and it is ready to use.

    21. Glynis
      September 18th, 2014 @ 5:52 pm

      Everything you plan to put in the safe should be in a Ziploc bag. Self-contained, NOTHING will get left behind. Ziplocs are also great for an emergency ice pack, plus you can put small amounts of gels and creams in them, avoiding weight and travel size issues. They are also perfect for putting a wet bathing suit in when packing for the trip home.

    22. Nancy
      November 4th, 2014 @ 11:58 am

      Ziploc bags for EVERYTHING! BEST THING EVER! Love the “safe” suggestion.

    23. Christa
      March 27th, 2015 @ 1:41 pm

      Any tips for quilters going on a quilting cruise?

    24. judie dantico
      May 18th, 2015 @ 12:39 pm

      Arriving by air in Barcelona at 7am.

      Where can we safely stow luggage so we can tour the city before boarding our cruise ship in the afternoon?

    25. Ken
      May 20th, 2015 @ 5:54 pm

      Depends on what kind of a tour you want to take. If you are going to take a bus tour you may be able to store the luggage where you board the bus, assuming this is the ‘home’ of the tour – we did this one time in Barcelona.
      If you want to take one of the ‘hop-on-hop-off’ buses, I would suggest going to the train station, the main one, you can probably store the luggage at the station (I would check on this), you can catch the buses at the station.
      and then take a taxi to the ship.

      Hope this helps. Ken

    Leave a Reply

  • Please follow & like us


  • About the Lido Deck

    The Lido Deck is written by Cruise Critic's editorial staff, reporting from ships and ports around the world. The daily blog covers cruise news, reviews, advice, and hot topics from the Cruise Critic message boards. Please note: When commenting, Cruise Critic's community guidelines apply.

  • Facebook

  • Recent Posts

  • Categories