Smooth Sailing Tips from Discoveries Travel
~ Bring your own travel alarm clock; most staterooms do not have them.
~ Keep track of your boarding pass, on board charge/key card, as well as a picture ID to take ashore by slipping them into a bi-fold business card style carrying case. Cases with a “suede” finish are less likely to fall out of your pocket.
~ Pack toiletries, clothing, and other items in clear zipper top bags for faster security examination of your carry-on at the airport and pier. This method makes it easier to repack if your bag is emptied and searched.
~ Pack a pad of Post-It notes to leave messages for your cabin steward, family, and shipboard friends.
~ This idea is for anyone who lives in a colder climate and is traveling in winter to a warm weather cruise. When you put your summer wardrobe away for the winter, set aside the casual outfits, sandals, swimwear, and sleepwear you want to wear on your cruise and store them in the suitcase you plan to use. You’ll be at least half packed and won’t be hunting down an outfit or a pair of shoes later. You will also free up some drawer and/or closet space at the same time. Hang your evening clothes in a separate area of your closet and pack them when you’re ready to leave for your trip.
~ Check prices before leaving home to insure you don’t overpay for electronics and jewelry at “duty-free” shops.
~ For minor emergencies, pack a first aid “kit” with antiseptic cream & bandages in your carry-on.
~ Pre-address stick on labels for postcards to the folks back home & you won’t have to carry along a bulky address book.
~ Make two copies of your passport, driver’s license, and credit cards before leaving home. Leave one set of copies in a safe place on your ship. If the ship’s purser holds your passport (which is often the case, to expedite clearing the ship in foreign ports), carry the passport copy ashore with you. Leave another copy with Ticket To Travel’s Passport Bank. We then can fax a copy to any Embassy for faster replacement.
~ Binoculars are as useful indoors as they are outside. Typically you might think they are only for bringing far off wildlife and sights within view, but take them into museums, cathedrals, and other buildings to examine the details of artwork, sculptures, and architectural elements.
~ Print cards with your name, address, phone number, & email address to share with new friends. Stiff, business card-style paper can be purchased at nearly any office supply store & having your cards handy sure beats hunting for pens & scribbling on scraps of paper to swap addresses.
~ Even if you don’t think you’ll need them, bring along extra camera batteries and change them before you think the old ones are “dead.”
~ Leave any paperback novels you’ve finished for the crew library. You’ll have more room in your suitcase and crewmembers will have fresh reading material.
~ Don’t forget to pack and USE your sunscreen. Why take the chance of a nasty sunburn ruining a great cruise vacation? Protect your skin from injury and aging. Excessive sun exposure contributes to wrinkles.
~ Check the balance of your on board account before the end of your cruise. Straighten out any discrepancies immediately and avoid a long line at the Purser’s Desk that last morning after your final bill arrives.
~ Don’t you look wonderful in your formal attire? Have a family or formal portrait taken to preserve the memory. There’s no obligation to purchase any photos you don’t care for.
~ Set aside gratuity money and keep it in your room safe. Many cruisers compute the “recommended” amounts in advance and get cash in the proper denominations before leaving home. If your ship automatically charges gratuities to your onboard account, you may adjust the amounts according to the level of service you receive.
~ Make spa and salon appointments as soon as you can so you won’t be disappointed– prime appointment times fill up fast!
~ Set aside a few moments every day to pack up your used clothing and spend the last afternoon of your cruise doing fun things while your fellow passengers are packing to go home.
~ Most ships’ cabins have only one or two electrical outlets located near the desk/vanity table (not counting the shaver-only outlet in the bathroom). A short extension cord allows you to use more than one electrical appliance at once and gives you a bit more flexibility to move around, particularly if you’re using a laptop computer.
~ Don’t miss the morning sun in your inside cabin. Before you retire for the night, leave the television tuned to the channel with the “view from the bridge” and you’ll awaken with a “window” on the outside world. Remember to turn the sound off.
~Take along an insulated mug with a lid. Fill it at the beverage station in the buffet area—your drinks will stay hot or cold and you won’t have to worry about spills. Most bartenders will fill it with ice and water or a soft drink. With a straw, your ice won’t melt instantly while lounging at the pool. Better still, mugs are great souvenirs—buy one that sports your ship’s name from the gift shop.
~Pack a small flashlight to find your way around in the dark or in an emergency.
~ Personal 2-way radios are a great way to keep track of cruise companions, but set the volume low so you don’t disturb your fellow passengers.
~ A nylon tote bag that folds compactly into its own pocket can be used as a beach bag during your cruise and as an extra carry-on for your return home with fragile souvenirs.
~ Take along a hanging shoe organizer for the closet. It extends your storage space for small items and keeps your shoes off the floor.
~ Germicidal hand cleaner is a must have for adventure excursions where water might be at a premium.
~ A mesh laundry bag that allows damp clothing to dry out is ideal for gathering soiled garments during a cruise.
~ Pack anything that can leak in zipper top plastic storage bags.
~ A nightlight is handy, especially for passengers in inside cabins
~’Stage’ your outfits for each evening on the cruise. (Get the shoes out for each outfit, too.) Then, cover each outfit with a plastic dry cleaning bag. Just fold each outfit over and place in your suitcase, hanger and all. They WILL NOT WRINKLE. Unpacking is a breeze… just open your suitcase and start hanging things in the closet.
~ Shoe organizers are great for stashing shoes, small evening purses, rolled up belts, and anything small. (Photo — illustrates the shoe organizer at work.) These can be found at many Target and discount stores. By the way, emptied they fold like an accordion and don’t take up much room in a suitcase.
~The ship’s bathrooms are small. Hang an over-the-door pocket-style shoe organizer on the bathroom door. Slip your bathroom necessities in the pockets and they’re handy and out of the way. Your cabin steward will LOVE you.
~ After ironing items going in luggage, I fold them up with tissue. Like when items are ‘new’ from the store. This cuts down on wrinkles, and also because your ‘stacks’ are neater, allows you to put more in one suitcase. Also, as you’re unpacking, keeps things much neater, and kind of gives you an extra lift when wearing that article. Also place several layers of tissue in the luggage, as the stacks get about 6″ or so. As you wear the articles, the tissue sure comes in handy when repacking, for all the extra goodies that you will ‘acquire’ throughout the holiday/cruise.”
~ Unless you have tight airline connections, if you pack and check multiple suitcases they should all stay together and arrive with you at your destination. However, should one of them be delayed, you and your travel companion can be certain to each have clothing to wear if you “mix” up your garments. Pack “his AND hers” clothing articles in each suitcase.
~ Pack small. Undergarments and knits take only a third of the suitcase space they normally occupy when they’re compressed. Simply fill the largest size zipper top kitchen storage bags with these articles and force all the air out before zipping them shut. Not only do you save room in your suitcases but your clothing will stay dry.
~ If you have soft-sided luggage and it gets caught in a downpour, either while being loaded on your airplane or ship, the contents could get soaked. You might also spray your luggage with Scotch Guard for additional waterproofing both inside and out. An added bonus of using zipper top bags is efficient unpacking–just leave everything in the bags and stack them in drawers and on shelves. Fast, neat, and space saving!
~ Use ALL the tags provided by the cruise line when tagging our suitcases. At a minimum, put TWO identification tags on each suitcase (in addition to our “permanent” luggage tags). Those tags, with cotton or elastic string, can easily become detached so before putting them on the suitcases.
~ Always put your itinerary outside, as well as inside our luggage. To do this, type up the itinerary, reduce it, and tuck it into the luggage tag, behind your identification.
Kitty Peterson wishes you a Bon Voyage!