Packing for a road trip and a cruise

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Packing for a road trip and a cruise

The countdown to our coast to coast road trip plus cruise adventure is upon us. I've never been on a serious road trip like this (Oregon to Connecticut) and I've never been on a cruise. I do consider myself a pretty good packer in general, but was wondering if you have any special items for these particular adventures you think I should pack?? (The cruise is through the Caribbean.)


-- are y'all staying in hotels/motels or camping along the road trip portion?
-- do you have somewhere to safely leave your extra belongings that you may only need for the road trip portion and not the cruise portion?

@Shawna: We will mostly be staying with people as we go. We're still trying to decide if we want camp at Yellowstone on the way back...

Since we're driving out there, we'll be able to leave whatever in the car when we go on the cruise.

I've been on a Caribbean cruise and Loved It!

For the cruise want to pack for everything from beach wear to more
casual, but nice clothes for dinners and any events you might want to go to, not
only for the cruise part but also for while you're on the islands.

Comfortable walking shoes are a must....LOL!

The cruise ships have live shows and dancing if you like that. Most also have
casinos on them and plenty of food! There was so much great food, that I used the
stairs between decks instead of the elevators just to make sure I didn't gain 10 lbs. while
I was there....LOL!

The cruise staff will give you info on things you can do on the islands while docked there.
Some are free...others are scuba diving, dinner packages at the casino..that type
of thing. The cruise I was on also took us by a smaller boat to an island where they had the
most amazing...and Huge...barbecue I'd ever seen! The beaches there were gorgeous and
we were able to walk anywhere we wanted to go on that island since it belonged to the cruise

~Have a ton of fun on your trip~ smiley

I've never been on a cruise, but my in-laws have... I remember my FIL saying he had to wear a tux at times - they had a formal dining room & a ball room. So I'd check with cruise ship to see if you need formal wear or not...

I know on the cruise/island excursions... they are always cheaper if you figure out what you want to do and buy them online or over the phone before you leave home.

And Kathie and Lizanne are both right about clothes for a cruise, but the "Captain's Dinner" isn't on all cruises, so you may or may not need formal wear. I would definitely ask so you don't pack that unnecessarily but that you do have it if you can and want to attend one.

If you stop along the way and plan to do hikes don't forget a good pair of hiking boots and jeans(protection from the environment & any bugs/mosquitoes) ! Don't forget your swimsuits of course. smiley

Have extra credit card limit reserved for the cruise. As the girls are saying, there will be many things you´ll want to try that aren´t on the fee, and some of them are quite expensive. I haven´t gone on a cruise either, but my brother went on one (from "Royal Caribbean" - the same ship makes cruises on US and Caribe in other parts of the year) a month ago and he spent a lot on board. One of the things he did was to buy the cruse´s photographers´ pictures, even having his own camera. It was a "pack" where they could get all the pics they were in, a DVD with pictures and videos of the parties, and other happenings on the ship and "generic" videos about the ship and how it works, the towns where they went, etc. The photographer´s pictures were gorgeous, so it was definitely worthy, although sometimes they seemed a bit out of place in luxury enviroments wearing non-ironed casual clothes...
He also said something about the tux... They indeed had a place on the ship to rent those! He said that if he knew it previously he won´t have bothered to bring his own...

For the road trip, even asking (and following) the advices from you here, when I went mine last August, I took to many unecessary stuff. If you don´t think you´ll use something, but are thinking on bring "just because", don´t bring. You can buy what you need on the way. Indeed, in one of the first cities I slept at there was a end-of-the-winter sales fair, with booths of clothes. If I´ve knew it, I´d have left almost all my shirts and all the winter clothes at home. I bought a very pretty sweater and a coat that I really liked there (the sweater is the one on my current avatar) and some fantastic shirts. I loved them because they were different from things I used to see at the stores close to my house and they were very cheap - I used the sweater and the coat through the rest of the trip istead of the clothes I bought. Also, I went to the trip without proper pajamas - I realised I´d need some 2 days before starting the trip and the ones I could find here were ugly and expensive - and guess what? For the price I´d buy two ugly pajamas here, I bought 1 set of winter pajamas with matching slippers, and three summer pajamas there - and they are pretty smiley Needless to say that my fellow travelers (we were 4 people in 1 car) brought things they didn´t use and bought things along the way too, right? So, in the last days, it was hard to fit everyone and everything in the car at same time - we played a lot of tetris this way, lol.

What remembers me something else my brother said about the cruise: Bring an extra empty luggage with you, if you don´t want to buy one there - he actually bought two o.O

I hope you have great fun in your next adventure - and that you come back safe after that smiley

How exciting smiley When we go on road trips, we make sure we have a small cooler for stuff to drink and snacks, it really saves us money if we can stop at a market and buy stuff, plus better than just fast food all the time. You can put small things like yogurt, fruit, etc in the cooler. Get some munchies that don't need to be in the cooler too.

I have been on a Mexico cruise and Hawaiian cruise. The cruise company you go with should have something about if there is formal dining and formal wear required for some nights. You don't have a lot of room for luggage in your room. My hubby had a bag and I had a bag. The special day trip things at the destination can be pricey. In Hawaii we did a snorkel trip and a kayak trip to where the sea turtles were. On shore we did a lot of walking. I was glad we spent the money for the snorkel and kayak trip. So if you are choosey about which day trips you pay for, I think you will have fun and not go over budget.

Thanks for all the tips ladies!

Definitely Great tip from Lorien about the extra empty suitcase... I just put a soft fordable one inside my other suitcase when we travel for vacations. I always buy stuff at thrift stores or unique shops we don't have where I live too. smiley

And from Kat: Awesome tip we do too.... as far as the cooler for road trips... saves money and time getting off the interstate when the need hits you for a beverage or snack.

(Sorry this got so long!)

I'm the opposite. I like using pit stops to stretch my legs and get a fresh water/snack. We like to stop at grocery stores since they have better prices, vegetables, and fruit. Usually, there isn't one that far off the freeway.

For the cruise: I've been on 3. We went to the formal night on the first (Bahamas), skipped it on the second (alaska), and there wasn't one on the third (Ensenada). It was alright, but I wasn't heartbroken skipping it.

My must haves for the cruise:
- flip flops/sandals/easy-to-slip-on shoes for the boat. Great if you want to go to the hot tub, or just wander the ship after a long day. It's not nice to have to put your shoes back on.
- tennis shoes/running shoes: You will want no matter where you are exploring.
- Power bar. Sure, you don't plan on needing power, after all, it's vacation. But once I plugged in the camera battery box, and the video camera, the outlet was full, and the other outlet was hard to reach.
- Clock. So far, the only clock in my rooms has been the tv clock. We used our cell phones the first time (in airplane mode), and took a small battery clock for the other cruises (think 3" x 5").
- Book/Kindle: I love to read. There is down time on most cruises, usually at least a day at sea. My favorite memory is sitting on the deck, reading in the sun.
- Small bills: $1, and $5. Tipping on the cruise is usually included. Most islands have a flea market type experience, and, as you probably know, haggling is common in other countries.
- Air Freshener: The rooms are small, and you will collect laundry and sweaty clothes. Sorry, but it's true. Laundry is expensive to have done on the ship, so save it for when you return and stop at a laundromat.
- (One I assume you know) Extra memory cards. I switched my card out every night on the cruise. If anything happened to my camera I only lost one day of photos.
- Sweatshirt or sweater. I know, sounds weird. But if it's windy and you are on deck, it's cold. If the a/c is on too high, it's cold. We ended up buying a blanket on one cruise. We still use it sometimes, but I still wish I'd just taken a sweatshirt.
- canvas bag. They fold up small, and are awesome for carrying stuff to the beach, or on an excursion, or to the night entertainment.
- small purse/wallet. You don't need much of a purse on the ship, most things are handled on your cruise id card. But you will need real money on shore. A large bag can be obnoxious.

Road Trip:

My must haves for a road trip are always: Music, headphones, book, comfy clothes, sunglasses, camera, notebook and 2 pens. (I usually lose one.) When staying with other people, I like to take a power bar as well. I never know what the room/space will have available and I like to have outlets available. (2 cell phones, camera battery if needed, Kindles, all add up fast!)

I also like to use ebags packing bags on road trips. There's something so nice about only pulling out 1 small bag and a toiletry bag at each house. It's much easier than dragging a suitcase in and out for one day's clothes and pjs. It made the last roadtrip I went on (Utah to Massachusetts) so much better.

Oh, road trip: if you have a Smartphone, look for the "GasBuddy" app. It lets you see the price of gas at nearby stations. I've found that sometimes the difference between 10 miles can be as much as $.30+/gallon.

@Courtney: we realised the power of smaller bags on our road trip too: Not only they´re easier to pull out for the night, but they´re easier to fit on the car later when you have extra stuff too! Someone that was with me bought a big luggage and sometimes I felt almost like it was the luggage of the princess in Spaceballs movie, you know? Mines were smaller and easier to handle...

When I did NH to CA last month, I wasn't prepared for my feet swelling so just be aware that they will likely swell from all the sitting. Best advice I can give is to do quick stops often and walk around for a good 5-10 minutes. My feet swelled so badly that I was in an insane amount of pain, I couldn't even drive. They were still swollen when I got to Cali and then Vegas so walking around the strip was torturous. Definitely lots of water and healthy snacks. I also kept a backpack with a few changes of clothes/jammies and toiletries close by me which was a superb idea.

I agree with taking a few smaller bags than one giant one, so much easier to handle. Drink lots of water wherever you are, it's definitely better for you. For clothes, I like to take a bunch of mix and match knit separates, so you have more outfits, plus the knits can be rolled and fairly wrinkle-free. Plus they quickly dry hanging in the bath if you need to rinse something out. Steam from the shower would fix the rest. Add a sweater / shrug / jacket and you're good! Don't forget something to wear over your swim suits, you really have to respect the sunburn factor. Better to get a little at a time and keep it than fry and peel. You'll tan just sitting in the shade. A backpack for your camera and 'whatevers' is great for trips, I usually end up with more than what is mine, hubby hands them to me to carry.

I wasn't aware until someone told me on my first cruise was that you can order your breakfast to your room. So luxurious! Plus, if you want two dinners or an extra dessert, you can just ask. My spouse ate two molten chocolate cakes nearly every night! We posed for a lot of photos but only bought two that seemed special and not too stiff. Captains dinners are option, so is using the dining room. If you want something lighter you can just visit the food court space.

I take my own pillow (not from my bed in case it gets lost) on trips because hotels are kind of unpredictable as far as comfortable pillows. Put a colored case on it so it's easier to notice if you've left it on the bed.

Most of all, have fun!

Lots of great tips everyone! Thanks a lot!

Oh lucky you Marisa, a cruise! My favourite kind of holiday. We have taken 18 cruises all up, but haven't made it to the Caribbean yet. It is on our list though. Have a wonderful time.

Wow, Marisa that is pretty exciting. My first cruise was in 1970 on the President Lines with my family. Then in 1986, as an adult, we started our cruising. To me cruising is the ONLY way to has it all! We used to get interior cabins but have progressed through out 30 cruises to mini-suites on Princess LInes...once we discovered Princess that is the only line we cruise on. Have been to the Eastern and Western Caribbean my favorite being the Eastern....also to Hawaii (15 days from LA), Alaska (10-12 days from San Fran), Mexican Riviera, and Bermuda. Hope to go next year on the California Coast Cruise! I won't give tips on the luggage because we have been know to take about 10 bags, one only for our shoes. When we started I made three new outfits for the day and a cocktail or formal dress for dinner! Of course each had to have their own shoes but more than once Charles took more shoes than I.

My tips (and IO am sure I will miss some):
1. Make sure you read your documents from the cruise line...they give you a lot of tips and specifics for their line
2. Of course as most have said, make sure you take one really comfortable (favorite) casual walking pair of shoes - for each cruise we always chose one port to take a long walk (and we are not walkers!) It is amazing the wonderful sites/photos you will see/take along the way!
3. You don't need to get to the cruise terminal too early or you will just be waiting around with not much to do until they start boarding
4. If you didn't already, you might want to get cruise travel insurance since you are driving is not worth losing your money if something delays you and you miss the cruise
5. Definitely take layers of clothing....our first time to Alaska it was freezing and my overcoat was not good enough, had to buy one on the ship to see the glaciers (it is my favorite jacket), the next trip I was in the jacuzzi while we sailed through the pass to the just never know. Though I must say the Caribbean is usually pretty warm year long
6. After our first cruise, we invested in a full tuxedo and full dinner jacket ensemble for Charles for the formal nights. I will say that early on we saw a lot more tuxes, nowadays it is not as prevalent and a suit or sportcoat with nice slacks is sufficient. I always found the tuxes pretty expensive on the ship but that is part of the way that they make monies because they really don't make a lot on the cabin or food
7. Nowadays I believe that many cruise lines have internet but it can be pricey. With the Princess Captain's Circle (you become part of it after the first cruise on Princess) I have cruised enough that on Princess we get free internet for a certain number of has always been enough but then have been on more than 15 cruises with them so I earn more than people starting out
8. Don't forget your is pretty much a must in the Caribbean. I also take dramamine regularly because I don't want to find out if I am prone to seasickness...they have the non drowsy formula and it does the trick for me
9. I know you will take a camera so it is not necessary to buy the ship's photos but you might consider doing some sittings for a nice cannot beat the price. And you can wait till near the end of the cruise to decide which one(s) you might like....though they are harder to find after they have been taken down from the "wall." When we started it was $5 for an 8x10...our last cruise a couple of years ago I think it was up to either $19.95 or $29.95....still cheaper than doing it locally
10. Most ships do have a library if you don't want to take a lot of books.
11. There usually is food 24/7 so you won't go hungry smiley
12. The shows aren't bad, though we don't usually go because Charles is just not into that
13. I think most ships have soda/juice cards you can buy and if you like that it isn't a bad price....if you are going to use it. Princess has Coke products (I think most do) but I only drink Pepsi, so I take my own...there is a small fridge in the room. I usually get the soda card to get my fruit punches and it pays off.
14. If you have stacking or thin bags it would be good, many times they are stored in the cabin under the bed....if they are too big you will probably have to store them in a corner
15. Tipping....I know Princess now has it where they collect $10-12 a day per person for the tips of the people who "serve" you (waiters, room stewards, assistants, maitre'd, head waiter, etc.) At first we did not take advantage and paid whom we wanted what we wanted to tip. It is a great plan and actually saves us money (we tip pretty high). You can always give whomever you feel does something special for you more in an envelope...they get to keep it (although one told us they had to report it?) Occasionally, if we really like a bar person and they are good to us we will tip him/her. We pretty much always give our room steward, waiter and assistant waiter extra!
16. If there is something you really want, food or otherwise, don't be afraid to ask if it is possible to get. One night the people at our table ordered calimari and they brought a great big platter full....they set it up with the head waiter...and it was delicious! I think they gave a bit of a tip to thank him for other cost
17. Sometimes they have specialty dining...usually there is a cost. We are lucky as our travel agent usually gives us coupons for the cover charges for the Italian and Steak Specialty Restaurants....this is where I am cheap, I would not buy them but I sure do like it when she gives them to us because the food is spectacular!
18. Courtney is absolutely right, a power bar/surge protector is a necessity and we many times take two!
19. Excursions, when we started I made sure that we went on one excursion in each port we visited (we've been to them all now so we don't necessarily do that unless something sounds really interesting!) was our way to learn about where we were visiting. As some have suggested, booking apart from the ship's excursion (online) booking is usually less expensive. We have done that but make sure it is at a time early enough so you don't miss the ship's departure - they WILL leave without you! Now I usually book on the through the line as they will wait if the excursion is delayed for some reason.
20. You might want to make sure with your medical insurance as to what you do if you have a medical "emergency" or sickness that needs a doctor before you go....there is a doctor on the ship so you can be taken care of but you should know what to make sure to do to be reimbursed by your insurance.

Right now I cannot think of anything else especially important/helpful but I am sure I am missing things. Most of all.....JUST HAVE FUN. We still look back on our first cruise, it is always the best! I think all first cruises are! We are very different cruisers now...early on we did everything and were on the run all day and night getting about 4-6 hours of sleep a night! Now I must admit...the cruising is what we go for and we are pretty much secluded in our mini-suite with balcony except for a short bit and dining! There is nothing better than sitting in the cabin (we have a sitting area in our cabin) and having the drapes drawn with the door open and just enjoying the sounds of the waves! We many times leave the sliding door open all night long! Again...the only way to vacation in our lives!

I don't have much to say about road tripping except that when we once took a trip with my brother to Colorado, he brought a cooler with cold cuts, bread and condiments, along with chips and it was a great way to take a break and have some lunch! I loved it!

I am done with my novel now.....Enjoy!

Thanks for all the tips Janet! Much appreciated!