Packing Light for a Cruise: Tips for Efficient Travel

Roughly 62% of people admit to struggling with packing for their trip and often end up with overspilling suitcases. 

We've all been there: ditching that one item of clothing, only to discover that it's the one thing you want to wear on vacation. Although it's frustrating, there are tricks to bringing a variety of outfits without overpacking. If not, you won't feel confident in the evening or when you're meeting new people on the cruise. 

Feeling overwhelmed? Don't worry, we've got the answers you're searching for. Read on to discover our top cruise packing tips to take on board.  

Create a Packing List

First, compile a cruise packing checklist as a jump board. It's important to consider where you're cruising so that you're not lugging around bulky activewear when you're exploring Hawaiian islands. On the flip side, you don't want to go on any Alaska cruises if you've only packed beachwear because you'll be uncomfortable.  

Factor in the main activities you'll be enjoying on your cruise vacation, how many days, and whether you can mix and match items. To help, divide the cruise packing checklist into "essentials" and a "want" pile to see how much extra room you'll have. 

Invest in a Hard-Shell Suitcase

One of the top cruise packing hacks is to invest in a hard-shell suitcase. Travelers make the mistake of choosing soft bags, but these bulge when you overpack, so you don't know when you've hit the limit. Aside from better protection, hard-shell bags help you organize items and stop you from overpacking. 

It's also a must-have for family cruises. If you can, treat everyone to a hard-shell bag, as it'll slash packing time and teach your little ones how to pack properly.  

Pack a Carry-on Bag  

Travelers should also bring a carry-on bag on their next cruise vacation. The beauty of a large purse or backpack is it gives you flexibility. You can throw in your devices, toiletries, and anything else that's too bulky for your main luggage.

But, regardless of whether you're going on a family cruise or an adult-only one, check that this is acceptable because rules vary depending on the company. 

Choose Functional Outfits 

Save valuable space by packing functional cruise wear outfits. Find neutral items that work in multiple 'fits, such as white t-shirts or a pair of your favorite jeans. A good rule of thumb is to only bring clothes that you can mix and match. 

Sort Out Your Day and Evening Wear 

Another top tip is dividing your day and evening cruise wear, so you know how much to take. Because you'll be on daily excursions, pack casual clothes you'll be comfortable in, making sure that it's suitable for the weather. Then, when you dress up in the evening, especially when you're on an adult-only travel cruise, you can add an accessory to look more formal. 

Don't Forget to Layer 

Out of all the cruise packing hacks, this is our favorite.

Layering is essential if you're going on Alaska cruises or want to hang out on the deck in the evening. For instance, bring a base layer top along with a soft knit, such as a cardigan or sweatshirt. To protect yourself from the elements, add a lightweight jacket for good measure.  

Pack the Right Footwear 

In our cruise packing tips, we haven't yet mentioned footwear.

Be mindful of your choice of shoes and whether they work in multiple settings. While cruise packing, give yourself a limit and ideally pack a fashionable and functional pair at the minimum. But even if you're going on Alaska cruises, for instance, it doesn't mean you can't rock a pair of brogues or heels in the evening when you're on board small cruise ships.  

Get Travel Size Products 

Our cruise packing list wouldn't be complete without this hack. One of our favorite cruise packing tips is decanting your must-have products into smaller bottles that you can squeeze into your bag. A bonus is that you can reuse them on your next vacation.  

Only Bring the Necessary Documents 

When cruise packing, don't forget your travel documents. Make sure you include boarding passes, passports, and the trip's itinerary. Regardless of whether you're boarding large or small cruise ships, this is crucial to avoid any issues. 

Choose Accessories Wisely

You can transform an entire outfit by experimenting with accessories. The key is to pack versatile items that work with an array of clothes, whether it's for a casual or formal occasion. Luckily, accessories needn't take up much space, so you have the freedom to play around and wear bolder jewelry in the evening.  

Share the Load

How you pack can dramatically affect what you can and can't bring.

One top tip is to roll your clothes tightly before bundling them together. Not only does it maximize packing space, but it will reduce wrinkles in your threads so you look your best. If you're still worried about creases, invest in wrinkle-releasing spray, which is a lifesaver if you can't access an iron. 

If you're embarking on an adult-only trip, share the load with your partner. Divide both bags so they hold bulky clothes and fill gaps with smaller items.

You can also streamline baggage by sharing essentials, such as electronic chargers and toiletries. In contrast, you can prepare for family cruises by seeing if there's extra space between your household. Don't worry- even small cruise ships offer cleaning services on board.  

Once you're home, take inventory of what you did and didn't use. This will help prepare you for your next fantastic cruise!

Our Top Cruise Packing Trips

From Alaska cruises to family cruises, these cruise packing tips should help you and your loved ones prepare for your next voyage. 

Make sure that you're organized by creating a packing list and factoring in the activities you'll be enjoying on the trip. Travelers should also pack versatile clothes and accessories to maximize space and ensure that they're feeling confident on their cruise.

Sounds like it's cruise time! Book your UnCruise Adventure for a relaxing and memorable trip.