Last minute getaway? Here are some pro packing tips for stress free packing.
I've never met a suitcase I didn't like. You give me a Friday night, a bag of chips, and a 3-1-1 kit that needs reorganizing and I'm one happy girl. I've been known to pack days (okay, weeks) in advance. What can I say? I LOVE packing!
But packing in advance isn't always possible or practical. If you're a spontaneous traveler, if you have an unpredictable schedule, or if you love the thrill of a deal like a last minute cruise, you might find yourself up until midnight, frantically digging through your laundry pile, driving yourself batty with all the 'what if's'. Stress no more! Here are my best tips to make your cruise packing easy, light, comprehensive, and worry free.
1.)Remember the rule of threes
I think the ideal suitcase is one third clothing, one third "other" (like cameras, shoes, toiletries, books, etc) and one third empty. YES! Empty! Let me explain.
You might first think that 90% of your suitcase should be filled with clothing but experience has taught me that even fashion forward travelers wear and re-wear just a few favorite things again and again. An easy way to keep your luggage limit in check is to make sure your clothing doesn't take over the entire bag.
A suitcase is never just about the clothing. These days we travel with computers, tablets, e-readers, cameras and lenses, and tons of accessories such as shoes and toiletries. The weight and spread of these items can really add up - don't give them more than one third of your space.
So with such a long list of "others", why bother to keep so much spare space? You have to make sure there's enough room for when you trade in your sneakers for flip flops and switch out your sweater for a tank top. And even if you're not a shopper, you should probably keep room for souvenirs from shore excursions. Small items can really add up and extra space means extra flexibility.
2.)Dress for reality (not fantasy!)
I'm about to burst a few travel bubbles. Dining on a cruise ship rarely involves a tuxedo or ball gown! While some of us might retain a soft spot for the glamorous gowns of yesteryear, most are breathing a sigh of relief that casual attire now rules the day. I think a good clothing break down is 50% everyday wear, 25% dressy attire, and 25% for sports and swimming.
It's fun to get dressed up for a few special occasions while on board but the odds are good that casual wear will rule the day - lounging by the pool. reading on the deck. walking and exploring during shore excursions. And don't forget your fitness gear! It will be swim suits for most but avid walkers and runners should take heart. My good friend Karla is a passionate runner and she says she always gets her best runs in doing laps of the ship, enjoying the warm breezes and snow-free conditions.
3.)Trust in laundry
There are laundromats EVERYWHERE these days - yes, even on cruise ships! And before you recoil at the thought of doing a chore when you travel, hear me out. One of my favourite ways to enjoy travel downtime is to curl up with a book and a latte while the washing machine quietly hums behind me. No way this is a chore!
4.)Raid the lost and found
Don't stay up late fretting that you're going to forget something. Just because you're on the water doesn't mean you're without resources. Ask yourself what are the 5 most important things you need. Passport, phone & charger, wallet, medication, hair straightener? Chances are, if you have your Big 5, anything else you need can be purchased on site - or raided from the lost and found. Seriously! And most toiletries are available at no or low cost from the staff
5.)Kill the "what ifs"
When you're packing for a cruise at the last minute and you're feeling the effects of stress and fatigue, it's easy to go a bit batty asking yourself "what if". But instead of asking that, try a few more specific questions. Ask yourself what bugs you more: Being hot or being cold? Forget the what-ifs and pack accordingly. Worried about attire? What's the smallest, easiest thing you own that you can bring along to dress things up? It might be dramatic earrings and red lipstick. Or it might be a gorgeous silk tie. Focus on solutions, not theoretical worries and you'll be just fine.
Last minute trip? Make packing a pleasure
I know my passion for packing is a bit of an anomaly. But I really do believe that every part of the travel experience should be a pleasure - yes, even the packing! Some of the best trips can arise from a last minute deal or opportunity and there's no reason why last minute packing should be a pain instead of a pleasure!
I want to hear from you! Do you love packing or procrastinate? Where is your favourite last minute destination?
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