Packing for any kind of travel really Cruise, van, hosteling, hosteling, camping

Taking a cruise can be nerve racking, especially for the first time, or with a different cruise line. If you've booked your excursions in advance, you will have some idea of any extras you might need, so check each one out for special requirements.

Here's a few things that I have found helpful to have along, and how and why I've used them

1. Suitcase locks - for when you abandon your suitcase on the gangway and it is picked up by strangers and left in the hallway outside your cabin door until you arrive. It's recommended by some cruise lines, bit don't use them on your suitcase when you fly, unless they are TSA certified ones.
Our first cruiseline didn't mention locks, so I ended up running out to the dollar store, which didn't carry locks, and buying big paper clips and plastized labels! I used the paper clips to keep the zippers together and then wrapped the labels around as "tamper proof " just to slow someone down if they thought about mucking around with our suitcases. I had a tough time getting into the suitcases once they were in our room!

2. Passport holder/room cardholder - so many times while you are on deck or when going through security if you put these items in any kind of a carrier that doesn't tuck nicely inside your shirt you end up struggling to find your key card or passport. It's so convenient to have it around your neck, especially if it holds a pen; you're ready to go anywhere anytime and your hands are free no digging no searching

3. Water bottle - you know who drank out of it last, you can fill it anywhere clean drinking water is available so you have some when drinking water is questionable. Take it through airport security empty, but accessible. Most airports have designated reusable bottle filling stations. Get one that seals well and floats. Staying hydrated while travelling is key to staying healthy. Dehydration makes you more susceptible to colds, constipation and dry itchy skin and eyes. It is also great for washing your hands when you stop to use the facilities and there is no sink...

4. Nail polish- obviously for your nails. A torn nail along the skin line can hold a few days to grow out a bit if you put a few coats of nail polish on it. Also, runs in stockings can be slowed or stopped. Cracks in windshield can be slowed, holes in air mattress covered. It can hold glasses together temporarily or hold in a loose screw til it can be repaired properly. It's sort of a glue...

5. Clear tape it really is good for many things. At one point the cruise company didn't send out labels and said, print your own at home, or pick them up when you arrive. I figured, might as well just grab them when we arrive, as you don't add the cruise labels until you get on the ship, or the airline will remove them. Well, we arrived on a bus, and the "arrive " area was 3 floors up, and we were part of a group that came on a bus. We were leaving our suitcases there on the bottom level. I had made 2 copies of this email they'd sent, so I folded those up, whipped out my clear packing tape, and attached the suitcase labels in no time. Later, we used that same tape to wrap up packages we were putting in our suitcase to ensure our treasures got home safely. It's good to wrap around your hand and remove lint and hair too. It can also hold a door or drawer shut that keeps sliding open. You can also fix a hem quickly if you need to

6. Duct tape like the things clear tape can do, also, you can use it to hide your passport and other precious items you don't want to carry around with you- when their is no room safe, or it doesn't work. I've seen people duct tape their suitcase when the zipper fails mid trip, I've seen it used as a lint roller, to hold curtains closed so the light won't shine right in your eyes in the morning; to hold clothes on a hanger, to repair a flip flop

7. Ziplock bag-large and medium. I used them inside my toiletries bag to prevent spills, to place special items in before duct taping them away, so I can remove and return items, without having to take everything apart. I've used them to wash small clothes. Place item, shampoo/soap and small amount of water in bag, zip bag shut tight. shake well. Rinse, hang in shower to dry. Of course, you can always use the sink if you have one( as you should on a cruise ship!) unless they don't give you a plug so you have to pay to have your laundry done.which is always quite costly.

8. Multi sink plug. - I have a large flat one so it fits any drain. You can turn any sink or shower into a mini wash tub, or baby bath. Ya, over-kill but I love it. You can get a sink ful of water just the right temperature-for shaving, or whatever your heart desires

9. Lip balm seriously am I the only one who almost looses their lips packing and travelling? Go for a beeswax type. Naturally keeps your lips tolerable but not slimy

10. A good silicon based lotion as travelling dries your sink out so very much

11. Fun sunglasses that really work for you. And a case. And use the case. Nothing like scouring the world for a great pair of sunglasses and then getting a scratch in them.

12. A microfibre cloth. I've used it as a towel when a pressure drop caused my water to go everywhere mid flight. Use it to clean your glasses, as a wash cloth, or a towel if you're stuck. A seat I needed to sit on was soaking- out came the micro fibre cloth. I've even used it as a "blanket " when the air conditioner I had no control of was freezing my knee, but the rest of me was fine.

13. The amazing German cloth that holds so much water. I've used it as a towel, to cover a window, as a change pad, folded it up as a small pillow,and of course, to pick up a lot of water. You could use it as an arm sling for a child, a basket to carry things, a hat!

14. Almonds or something for fibre while travelling. See water bottle

15. A multi knife. Do not put this in your pocket or carry on, you will lose it! It must be in your checked baggage. Sisscors, screwdriver, knife, you name it. Make sure you pick one that has tools you know how to use.

16. Band aids and polysporin with antiseptic wipes. There is always mysterious scrapes, bites and blisters. Add benedryl tube too, for allergic reactions and an antihistamine

17. A lighter and a candle. In your carry on, with your person. No, I don't smoke. But if there's a delay and a fellow traveller is tense and can smoke, and "needs" a smoke, there is nothing worse than having them trying to find a lighter. Pure misery for anyone around. Also, you can light the candle to keep warm in a small place if something goes wrong. You can also start a fire if there's a safe place to do so.

18. Space or Aluminium blanket. Keeps warm, can be used as a signal, is a good conversation starter, doesn't take up much space, can help keep things dry, brightens up a space by reflecting back available light, can block light

19. Money belt. Keep things inside a ziplock bag and place in Money belt for security. Works best if clothes aren't too tight. There is an cross body underarm version too. Not sure how well that works.

20. Medications, list of medications and copy of prescriptions in safe second location. Stuff just happens sometimes.

21. Passport and 2 certified copies- passport in carrier around your neck,

An open mind. There are great experiences out there to be had. Just go!

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