Sure, you know you have to pack clothing, comfortable shoes, and toiletries, no matter where you cruise. But if you stash these unusual items in your suitcase now, they’ll be ready and waiting to help make your life easier on your next sailing, and for sailings to come:
1. Small Power Strip
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Many staterooms only have two outlets: one in the bathroom and one in the main room. With a small power strip, you’ll be able to charge everything at once — including your phone, tablet, camera, and laptop — overnight, so they’ll be ready to go in the morning. If you’re cruising internationally, remember to check what plugs your hotel uses for your pre-cruise stay: Most foreign properties require an adapter, and you’ll want to pack that as well.
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If you tend to wake in the middle of the night, or before your spouse or children — or whomever else you’re sharing a cabin with — in the morning, a night-light can help you make your way around the room. It can also comfort small children should they wake up in the middle of the night and feel disoriented about not being home.
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Small and easy to store in an inside pocket of your suitcase, these can be used in a variety of creative ways to hang wet bathing suits or other items to dry on your veranda, skirts or pants on shirt hangers in the closet, or additional towels on the in-shower clothesline, since there’s limited hanging space in the bathroom.
4. Plastic Bags
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These are critical on Caribbean and Mediterranean cruises, where you expect to have some beach time — or in Alaska, where you might encounter a rainy day or two. Pack sealable plastic bags in different sizes, as well as a garbage bag or two. You can pack wet swimsuits or clothing, or dirty shoes, in them on the last day, and use a larger bag for dirty laundry or to pack liquids for your flight home.
5. Over-the-door shoe holder
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Storage is limited in the smallest staterooms — a collapsible hanging shoe holder will take up almost no room in your suitcase, but the pockets can store anything from actual shoes to hair dryers, hairbrushes, toiletries, clothes, books, or toys (for those traveling with kids).
6. Highlighters, sticky notes, and pens
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With the large variety of daily activities aboard the larger cruise ships, it’s hard to remember all your choices. When your daily planner arrives in your cabin each night, you can highlight the activities you’re interested in to ensure you don’t miss out on them, and add notes about what you want to do while you’re in port. You can also leave notes on the mirror for cabin mates, or on the cabin doors of new friends you make throughout the sailing.
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Whether you’re traveling with children or not, having some disinfectant wipes in your suitcase will help you clean your hands — or any surface — on a shore excursion or even when you’re at the pool. You can buy small pouches at your local drugstore, or take a little, sealable plastic bag and fill it up before each trip.