Going on a cruise but don't want to pay for lots of luggage? Minimize your checked luggage with these packing tips:
- Buy or borrow a suitcase that is the maximum size the airline will allow and you can handle. Seriously, you may laugh but my husband and I share a suitcase frequently and skiping just one suitcase saves us at least $50 per trip. (You will want to make sure you don't go overweight. We carry a travel luggage scale.)
- Pack coordinating pieces in a single color scheme. Yes, I know you may have "outfits" that you love, but consider taking one or two of those and matching other tops to the pants and other pants to the tops. For a week cruise, could you live with alternating tops with one pair of pants? You likely don't live in long pants for a warm weather cruise, so for the few hours you spend in them for a dinner and show each night, could you minimize?
- Roll your clothes. I never used to do this, I folded every piece of clothing carefully to minimize wrinkles and, for most clothes, rolling doesn't change that! I started rolling almost everything a couple years ago and it saves me a TON of space. Here are more tips on how to pack casual and formal wear from Real Simple.
- Consider how you feel about formal night. Some cruise lines don't have formal night, others still require it. For many, you can minimize how formal you dress if you are concerned with packing space. (This is not to take away from cruisers who LOVE dressing up. You can just skip this tip.) Personally, I don't like to miss formal night dinner in the dining room so I've simplified my formal wear to a floor length formal skirt and 1-2 formal tops. My husband takes a white dress shirt and tie or jacket - not both. (Another option is to skip the dining room on formal night and eat in the buffet or a specialty restaurant - but I'd miss the lobster tail!)
- Maximize your carry-ons. We each travel with one rolling carry on that meets the airline requirements and one personal item - usually a backpack. With the shrinking size of laptops and tablets, we fit a lot more into our carry-ons than we used to.
- Do laundry. Yes, I know you are on vacation but, depending on the length of your cruise, laundry may be a necessary evil. Cruise lines have laundry services you can pay for and usually offer a "fill a bag" deal where you can cram as many socks, underwear, shirts, shorts, etc into a bag and they will come back washed and pressed for a set cost. Other cruise lines have laundromats on board and you can wash clothes yourselves. I don't love to do this on vacation but the dryers came in handy on one Alaska cruise when it rained all day and my outerwear was soaked right before we got to a glacier. 20 minutes in the dryer had my clothes dry and me on the balcony toasty warm.
- Get in a routine. Frequent cruisers know what they need and pack accordingly. Keep track of what you don't use on your next cruise and don't pack it for the following one. Did you only wear one of your dressy tops because the dinners were mostly casual? No need to pack next time!
Not every tip will work for everyone. However, if you are able to take advantage of just a few of the tips, it could save you some money and, maybe, a backache. Have questions about how many formal, smart casual and casual dinners are on your dream cruise? Give us a call.