If you’re a first time cruiser, you might wonder whether half the travel gear, gadgets, and knick knacks out there are truly helpful to the traveler or just a way for someone to make a few dollars. Here are a few of the essentials I include in my suitcase when I take to the high seas.
- Motion sickness prevention. It is said that, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Never was that so true as in this case. I prefer to take Bonine, because it’s once per day, chewable and pleasant tasting, and it doesn’t make me sleepy. Maybe your favorite is Dramamine, peppermint oil, or the acupressure bracelet. Whatever you use, make sure to get a running start with it before you board the ship. I have become complacent on a cruise in the past and forgone the motion tablets. When I did, I paid the price. Once I start feeling a little sick, it’s difficult to get back to normal. But starting early and keeping up with the doses means I don’t have to get sick at all.
- Waterproof pouch for my phone, etc. This is handy for being next to the pool, going to a beach, hiking near waterfalls, or any other activity where it’s smart to provide your phone with a little extra protection from water.
- Lanyard for my room key. I’ll admit that I used to think these were incredibly dorky. Spend a day or two at sea in pocketless capri pants, walking all over the place with your key card in your hand, and you’ll feel the way I do now – can’t live without them. On my last cruise, I was warned not to keep my key card next to my phone, or else the card would become demagnetized. After doing it twice accidentally and not being able to get into my room, I learned my lesson. The lanyard will keep your hands free as your key card dangles safely around your neck (far from your phone).
- Luggage tag covers. These are really handy if you board the ship on a rainy day. The luggage tags provided to you by the cruise lines these days are electronic, so you have to print them out and attach them to your suitcase. No matter how many times you fold them over and how strong they are, the letters will be smeared if they get wet. Putting your paper tags inside these plastic covers will ensure that your bags are still waiting for you in the correct spot when disembark on the last day.
5. Natural sunscreen and bug spray. These go without saying, really, and they are not specific to cruising. I prefer natural products, particularly an insect repellent that uses lemon and eucalyptus instead of deet.
6. Lightweight, foldable, drawstring knapsack. If nothing else, having one of these hiding inside your suitcase is a good idea for carrying souvenirs home. I find that they are great for exploring and doing activities on shore, leaving your hands free. Instead of lugging my purse around, I can put a lightweight backpack on my back with just the essentials from my handbag, a notebook and pen, my phone (in the waterproof pouch, of course), and a water bottle. There’s a little extra room for small purchases along the way, as well.
This not a comprehensive list of everything that I take, but it’s a few of the must-haves that I think are helpful.