What’s On Your “Must Pack” List?

January 23, 2014 | By | 28 Comments

Most of us have that one treasured item we just can’t live without — even when we’re headed away on holiday. We make sure our “can’t live without” item finds its way into the bag, even if something more essential has to be left behind.
We here at Cruise Critic have a theory, based on our collective years of experience. The theory is this: The compulsion to pack the “can’t live without” item crosses all boundaries of personality type, race, gender and creed.
Maybe you’re sentimental and chuck out the shoes in favor of your favorite childhood plush toy? Or you’re superstitious and won’t board a plane, train or boat without your trusty good luck charm?
Even the more practical travelers among us — we who make our lists and organize our hermetically sealed suitcases alphabetically, cross-referenced against a color-coded spreadsheet — are not immune. We remember the passport and the tickets. We have twice the number of socks and underwear we could ever need and clothing for any occasion and eventuality. And we have it, too. The “cant’ live without” item.
Associate Editor Ashley Kosciolek brings at least three garbage bags – “one for dirty laundry and a couple extras in case it rains (can use ‘em as ponchos or to keep wet/dirty clothes and shoes separate from everything else).” Destinations Editor Chris Gray Faust brings ziploc bags, for receipts, snacks and other small souvenirs.
And Features Editor Erica Silverstein doesn’t get on a plane without her husband’s lucky Christmas Moose, even when she’s traveling alone: “I’m not a great flyer so I need something to clutch when it gets bumpy. If Adam’s around, I clutch him. If he’s not, I have a soft, cuddly moose.”
Some of the wise and crafty cruisers on our forum swear by duct tape, which can be used for everything from lint removal to sandal repair.
But what we want to know is: What is it that you always pack when you when you go on a cruise? Tell us in the comments below.
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    28 Responses to “What’s On Your “Must Pack” List?”

    1. Pierce Durkin
      January 23rd, 2014 @ 3:07 pm

      WORKOUT CLOTHES!!! Need to stay a step ahead of those restaurants and buffets!

    2. Sandy Woolley
      January 23rd, 2014 @ 3:21 pm

      All my favorite items come from recommendations made by other Cruise Critic members over the years. First, my favorite is my GoWalk shoes. They are comfortable, non-slippery, and look nice. My second item is my e-bags. I have the three bag set. Each bag is light, mesh on top, and have a zipper. The small bag I use for underwear, the middle for blouses, and the third for pants. When I take the bag out of the suitcase, it goes right into the drawer just like that. I bought sets for both my traveling grown-up children for Christmas this year. My last item that I must have is two blow-up hangers. When I wash out blouses, I am able to hang them up and they dry over the bathtub. Oops, I almost forgot to mention my Westclox Glo-Clox, a travel clock that has never failed me. Excellent value for around $10 on Amazon. Hope that my recommendations are of help to someone.

    3. Chris Wilkes
      January 23rd, 2014 @ 5:14 pm

      I have a combo flashlight, alarm clock, thermometer that goes on every trip I take. The clock also has a light up feature when you press the alarm button.

    4. Paula Lucey
      January 23rd, 2014 @ 5:18 pm

      My old fashioned ice bag to help knees recovering from excursions. And a Gummy Bears. My secret treat, good in all weather, on planes, buses, trains and ships!

      I also bring zip lock bags, for who knows what. And I like the new self contained laundry “pods”. .

    5. Debbie
      January 23rd, 2014 @ 5:32 pm

      I have to always include a nightlight, alarm clock and a bottle of hand soap. I pack the nightlight because the cabin bathrooms are so dark and I don’t want to turn on the bathroom light when I do my business in the middle of the night. I pack the alarm clock not for the alarm (I’m on vacation after all), but for the clock. The cabins don’t have clocks. Finally, the bottle of hand soap, because I’m spoiled. I don’t like washing my hands with a bar. I also bring my own bar of soap for the shower….again, because I’m spoiled.

    6. Regina
      January 23rd, 2014 @ 5:57 pm

      I pack glow stick to hang in the bathroom. So. I don’t have to turn the light on in the middle of the night :) My tablet I’ve downloaded a flashlight on it, alarm clock is on it and books are already on it. This takes up very little space :)

    7. Jocelyn Shannon
      January 23rd, 2014 @ 5:58 pm

      Small ziplock bag containing 4 clothes pins, glue stick, small stapler, post it notes, small duct tape, small scotch tape dispenser, Burt’s bees lip balm, blunt tip scissors,small note pad with business cards, miniature mending kit with 3 or 4 color threads and sewing needle, lavender car scent hangar, small Jergen’s Ultra healing lotion, rubber door stop, rubber sink plug. Yes, it ALL fits and handles most emergencies plus communication with fellow travellers. Sail AWAY!!

    8. Beth Post
      January 23rd, 2014 @ 6:07 pm

      I bring extra clothes hangers. The wire ones you get from the dry cleaner.

    9. Mathy
      January 23rd, 2014 @ 6:37 pm

      3 things: 1) A traveled power strip with an USB port so that you have extra extension from the plug that is always across the room, extra plugs and a port. 2) An over the door shoe organizer that can hang in the closet or over the bathroom door. It is great for organizing shoes as well as things like scarves hats, large things of lotion etc. For kids it’s a great way to pack and stored toys while on the ship or diapers and supplies. 3) A magnetic flashlight that will stick to the door in case of an emergency power failure.

    10. Perry Smith
      January 23rd, 2014 @ 6:45 pm

      I like taking along my large insulated coffee mug. Works great for lemonade, iced tea and other drinks!

    11. lisa wiggs
      January 23rd, 2014 @ 6:46 pm

      We always pack a triple plug so we can charge our camera, kindle and phone on the desk. Also pack a battery powered fan for the bedside table.

    12. Barb
      January 23rd, 2014 @ 7:00 pm

      My must haves are a water bottle you can refill all the time, and a travel mug for my tea, those little coffee cups at breakfast are to small.

    13. Shayne
      January 23rd, 2014 @ 8:24 pm

      I take a mini hair straightener for “ironing” out any big creases from having my clothes in the suitcase. A mini clothes line to string up in the bathroom and a couple of magnet to how things on the walls like the daily newsletters or notes with dinner booking times.

    14. Geoff Carter
      January 23rd, 2014 @ 8:43 pm

      Must take pedometer and heartrate monitor, to keep that exercise regime going.86992982

    15. joan a cuervo
      January 23rd, 2014 @ 8:53 pm

      My good luck charm is John Mase
      field’s Selected Poems which includes”Sea Fever”, my favorite poem.I carry it on all trips.

    16. Paula
      January 23rd, 2014 @ 9:05 pm

      Magnets – to keep track of all those papers that come to your outside the door mailbox.

    17. Hilary Ross
      January 23rd, 2014 @ 9:34 pm

      I ALWAYS take along my suitcase weight scale, don’t want to spoil the holiday having to pay huge overweight charges.
      I also take a money calculator. to work out the exchanges before hand.

    18. Hilary Ross
      January 23rd, 2014 @ 9:35 pm


    19. Ellen Mitchell
      January 23rd, 2014 @ 10:33 pm

      A stuffed dog named “Muttsy,” and my ebags flat toiletry bag. “Muttsy” goes where I go, for the fearful flying thing, and just because. The flat bag is the best invention since sliced bread.

    20. Petrina
      January 23rd, 2014 @ 11:42 pm

      Bull clips, from a office supply store. I use them big n small for drying clothes on balcony chairs, keeping drapes closed, and to many other things to list. Also a small bungee cord. Keeping the doors open. Using it as a clothes line. Small LCD flashlight. Swiss Army knife with the scissor attachment. Small sewing kit. My travelers for beverages. My small travel notebook. I think that is it!

    21. Larry D Grey
      January 24th, 2014 @ 1:36 am

      I always pack a small fan along with my small flashlight.

    22. Lindsey Brandon
      January 24th, 2014 @ 1:36 am

      We always bring a flameless candle for coziness and for a low light to find the way to the bathroom if necessary in the middle of the night. We bring a clear hanging shoe bag for toiletries and anything else. Easy to grab things and keeps the bathroom counter clear. A mini steamer comes in handy, zip lock bag with first aid items (bandaids, Alka Seltzer, antibiotics, first aid cream, etc.). Also, we take a rolling tote. We fill it with bottled water and a bottle or two of wine – we cruise Celebrity so it’s allowed, and then we use it for extra items purchased and our night clothes, my makeup, etc. not packed in our checked bags upon finally leaving the ship.

      January 24th, 2014 @ 6:09 am

      A must have is hand sanitizer for all the airport eating public places we encounter.Purse packs tissues for times there may be no toilet paper.Over door shoe organizer for all the odd bathroom bits..

    24. Sandy Adams
      January 24th, 2014 @ 10:33 am

      I never cruise without Bonine! I don’t usually need it, but you never know when you will get rough seas. It doesn’t take long to work and does not make you sleepy. People on our cruises with even patches, bands, etc., were so sick and used our Bonine. They said they would never go again without it!

    25. Dennis Ariton
      January 25th, 2014 @ 3:08 am

      I never leave home without my Swiss Army Knife. On every travel it’s come in handy at least a few times. And from now on I will also bring an over the door shoe organizer. Thanks for the suggestion.

    26. Harriet Porter
      January 25th, 2014 @ 5:32 pm

      We travel with only Purell and Dial hand sanitizers as they have been proven to kill more germs than any of the others. That’s what Celebrity uses. We also take bars of Dial soap for the shower and sink. Clorox wipes and sprays are good for cleaning the telephone, remote control, door knobs/handles, etc. We don’t take anything for granted. I prefer the net laundry bags for dirty clothes so that the clothes can air rather than a closed plastic bag.

    27. Genevieve
      January 26th, 2014 @ 2:19 am

      My daughter has always taken her puppy dog on cruises with us, but as she is now 17 – the daughter, not the dog – I fear the puppy will no longer see the world as she has done in the past: http://lifeincamelot.wordpress.com/2012/03/11/34/

    28. Marcy
      January 29th, 2014 @ 1:31 pm

      I always pack a Hipknoties!

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