The Ultimate 20 Cruise Packing Hacks

Tips and Hacks for Traveling on a Cruise Line
How to make the most of your cruise.

The tickets are booked, the boat has docked, and you’re still not sure what you’re going to take. Packing for a cruise is a little bit different than a normal vacation because you can’t just run out to Target and grab the ten things you forgot to stow away. Make your cruise more fun, organized, and smooth sailing with these top 20 cruise packing hacks.

Apps and Electronics

1. Plug it in. Cruise cabins usually have limited outlets, and while you can usually snag a USB port from the back of the TV, packing a travel power strip adds more outlets so you’re not scrambling.

2. Surf the net. Many ships have their own Wi-Fi you can access via a loyalty rewards card. If no rewards are available, reserve your Wi-Fi package prior to shipping out for up to a 10% discount.

3. Map it out. Many cruise lines now have their own app that you can download prior to boarding. The app includes maps of each deck, helps you check your account balance, and even make dinner reservations! Check in the App Store, or on Google Play Store.

4. Do the Slide. Some cabins have energy-saving slots that require an inserted room key to turn on the lights. This often means your electronics won’t charge unless your key is in the slot. Be sure to bring an old gift card or anything that will fit inside the key slot to keep your power on when you need it.

5. Snap it. Snap a picture of your luggage in case it gets lost. It’s easier to tell a crewman what your bag looks like when you have a picture handy.

Clothes and Accessories

6. Dirty Shoes. With all of the walking, you’ll be doing at the port, it might be impossible to keep your shoes clean. Stash a shower cap in your bag for your dirty shoes.

7. Carded. If your day-to-day wallet is too thick, consolidate your wallet before the trip. That way you’re not risking anything happening to cards left behind in a cabin.

8. Check the weather. It might be unseasonably hot or cold, and not having the proper gear can leave you sweating or freezing. Be sure to pack shorts even if it calls for chilly weather, and a sweatshirt even if it’s 80 degrees. You never know what you’ll need!

9. Know the dress code. Ships often have daily dress codes, formal nights, and casual buffets. Check your cruise line’s dress codes to make sure you’ve packed for every occasion!

10. Stay wrinkle-free. If you dry clean, leave your clothes in dry cleaning bags when packing. Roll them up and tuck them into your bag. If you’re in a jam, pack a small spray bottle of wrinkle release spray to get out any stubborn wrinkles.

11. Cover up. When going on cruises that might visit religious attractions make sure that you’re properly covered. This means scarves for women, and hats for men. Bonus, the scarf can double as a blanket, a shoulder cover for sleeveless dresses in cold dining rooms, and a sarong for beach days or when lounging by the pool.


12. Hang it up. Head to the dollar store and scope up an over-the-door shoe organizer. Cut it to the size you need, packing your toiletries inside each pocket. Roll it up and stash it in your bag. All you have to do is unroll and hang, and you’re already organized.

13. Wrap em. It’s happened; shampoo leaks mid-flight, your contact solution is all over your clothes. Grab some plastic wrap, unscrew the top or pop open the cap, and create your own seal. Cut a roll in half and stow it in your luggage for a safe trip home if you need it!

14. Switch it up. Switching to smaller bottles will help you save space on those must-have items. Consider using flexible, squeezable tubes, like the GoToob, or even just grabbing smaller containers from the dollar store. Don’t forget to make a seal!

15. Tune them out. There’s not always a guarantee you’ll be in a quiet part of the ship—or that the family next door doesn’t have a screaming toddler. Grabbing a pair of earplugs can ensure that your cruise is quiet—when you want it to be.

Liquids of Luxury

16. Pack it up. Take advantage of the one bottle of wine most cruise ships let you carry on. Worried about that beautiful Willamette Pinot Noir breaking and spilling all over your seersucker? Pack the wine bottle in a WineHero, a specialty wine bottle protector, to keep your bubbly safe secure and your belongings safe. Check the limit per person. Some cruise lines even allow two bottles per person or stateroom.

17. Drink for cheap. Plan ahead by looking at all of the spots in port that offer happy hours, brewery tours with drinks included, and excursions like snorkeling with a twist. You can research all of your cruise ports here.

18. Snag a mug. Cruises are known for small coffee mugs that you can’t leave the dining room with. Consider bringing your own mug for coffee on the go, and the promise of a full cup, rather than a mini mug of coffee. Bonus: Pack valuables in your coffee mug if you need to check them.

19. Pack the soda. If your cruise line lets you bring soda and carbonated water on the ship, pack some to alleviate any motion sickness.

20. Add a dash of flavor. Trying to save money? Pack a flavor boost, like packets of drink mix, or a little squeeze bottle of water flavor. Ships usually give water for free, so adding a little flavor yourself keeps the cost down.

Whether you’re braving the high seas in a month or a year, these cruise packing hacks will make sure you have the best time out on the open water.

Written by Danielle Watson @DWatsonWriter