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12 Handy Things To Pack For a Cruise

Blog / 12 Handy Things To Pack For a Cruise

Everyone knows the essentials, but here are some not-so-obvious items you'll want to take on your cruise. Packing for a cruise can be a daunting task, and once you've crammed everything into a suitcase you may be left thinking: what else do I need?

Our experts have planned over 100,000 vacations, so we've listened to our clients and learned a few tricks and tips over the years about helpful items you should definitely bring along to ensure your cruise getaway goes even smoother.

Enjoy our handy cruise packing hacks below; a dozen items you'd probably never think to bring on your next voyage but will be happy you did!


With a lot of devices to charge and a limited number of outlets in most cabins, small power strips with USB ports are essential for charging electronics—computers, phones, cameras, tablets, walkie talkies, hair dryers, curling irons and more. Make sure it's small enough to pack and while most cruise lines allow them now, ask your advisor prior to packing one just in case.


Did you know that most walls on cruise ships are made of metal? Probably not—but, we do! Use magnets to help display and organize the daily newsletters, cruise documents, notes and more. Have a shore excursion confirmation you don't want to lose or a dining reservation you want to remember? Use a magnet to stick it to the wall nearest the door so you can grab it on your way out.


Since most cruise ships are built overseas, they are usually equipped with both 110 US-style plug outlets and European-style 220 volt electrical systems. Having an international all-in-one adapter means you can take advantage of these additional outlets. And if you're staying in a foreign hotel pre or post-cruise, these universal adapters are affordable and an absolute must.


Most people would never think to bring glow sticks on a cruise ship, but these handy, inexpensive items can be used for more than just late-night discos or kids' parties. Cruise cabins are notorious for inconsistent lighting, either way too bright or way too dark, with no in-between. Glow sticks offer the perfect solution for adding subtle ambient light without ever waking anyone in your cabin.


Cruise ships are a "cashless society". Other than casinos, money is rarely used on-ship, so the only thing you'll need is your room key and maybe your cell phone. Consider a cheap, adhesive cell phone wallet so you can leave your cash, credit cards and bulky wallet in your stateroom's safe. Cell phone wallets are a simple, streamlined solution for no-worry wandering while on-board.


These small, everyday items may seem like an odd thing to take on a cruise, but trust us, binder clips can make a world of difference on board and have a variety of uses. Use them to hold cabin curtains together so the sun can't creep in, for securing your towel to your lounge chair on a windy deck, or for hanging up wet bathing suits on a balcony or in the shower. The uses are endless.


You'll probably be doing some shopping on your vacation—gifts, souvenirs, local artwork, clothing and more—so avoid those unnecessary airline luggage fees on your return trip by weighing your bags yourself. Today's travel scales are surprisingly small and amazingly accurate and could save you hundreds of dollars in extra fees—money you should be spending on fun!


One of the best parts about cruising is the variety of activities and adventures available onboard. But with so much going on, it can be a bit frustrating to stay in contact with your party. Sticky notes are an awesome way to exchange messages. Leave little notes in the cabin so others know where you are, as instructions for stateroom stewards or on cabin doors of new friends you make on the voyage.


Plastic bags are one of the handiest things you can bring on your cruise. Use them to keep lotion or shampoo from leaking into luggage. They're perfect for "waterproofing" so your essentials stay dry by the pool or at the beach. Larger bags can even be used to pack wet swimsuits and dirty shoes or to seperate laundry and liquids for your trip back home.


Cruise ships take fire prevention very seriously, so candles and open flames aren't allowed in any cabins. But perhaps you want to create a more romantic atmosphere, or enjoy a "candle-lit" room-service dinner on your balcony, or just want some soft "mood lighting" in your luxurious suite. LED tea lights offer a safe, simple and subtle lighting solution for every stateroom.


Some cruise ships are like floating cities, which often makes finding people onboard challenging. Walkie-talkies are a novel way to keep in contact with your entire party on-board without racking up expensive charges on your mobile phone. It's an easy and convenient tool for everyone to stay connected, both onboard and onshore. Find a unique frequency and let the fun begin!


Most people prefer to disconnect on vacation, but cellphones are still prevalent on cruises. Whether used as a camera or to stay connected, as an e-reader or for emails, for Facebook updates or for music, our phones rarely leave our side . . . and almost always lose their power. Get a lightweight travel phone charger so you can focus on life at sea instead of the life of your battery.

Speak to a CruiseInsider expert at 1 (877) 734-6858 for more travel tips.

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