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Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Joseph_Stutzman

If you are embarking on your first cruise, you might be wondering what to pack.

The first thing to realize is that you have to pack for the airplane trip first, unless you are fortunate enough to live within driving distance of the port. You will have to carry everything with you into the airport prior to checking baggage and you will also have to carry it around the cruise terminal.

Wheeled luggage or a foldable cart will make this much easier, especially if you are traveling with children. It doesn’t take long for a 50-lb bag to get heavy, and that is considered light packing. The best rule of thumb is to try to limit yourself to 1-piece of checked baggage, 1-carry on and 1-personal item. The airlines are much more stringent now on the carry on size and if you are trying to get by with both a purse and a tote bag or back pack, you may find that both are considered personal items and that you are only allowed one. The one exception is if you are traveling with a baby or toddler and have a diaper bag to tote along with you.

Laptops are also not considered a personal item or luggage and have ‘exception’ status.   If you find that you may exceed your luggage limitations, contact the airline personally. You will also find that the majority of airlines now charge for all pieces of checked luggage and that security regulations vary depending upon the security threat. Visiting the website or calling the airport should provide you with the correct information. This will also be true of the quantity of liquids and types of personal items that you are allowed to carry on, either in your bag or in a personal tote, purse or diaper bag. When in doubt, call! The last thing you need is to have something like baby bottles confiscated in security because you brought along ready-mixed formula in copious amounts.

Following is a list of the items that CANNOT be in your carry-on, purse, tote, waist pouch, backpack, laptop case or diaper bag prior to going through security or it will be confiscated:

  • Steel nail files
  • Nail clippers
  • Razor blades
  • Razors, other than the safety/disposable kind
  • X-acto knives and blades
  • Scissors
  • Pocket knives
  • Knitting needles
  • Sewing kits that contain needles, pins and scissors
  • Ice picks
  • Corkscrews
  • Multi-tools
  • Eyelash curlers
  • Any other sharp instrument that could be utilized as a weapon

You will also be limited on flammable items including perfumes and aerosols and the contents of any one container cannot exceed 16-fluid ounces and must be packed together in clear Ziploc type baggies.  Safety matches or a lighter may be carried on your person, but “strike-anywhere” matches, lighter fluid and lighters with flammable liquid reservoirs are forbidden.

Baseball bats, ski poles, golf clubs and hockey sticks must all be checked, but umbrellas, crutches and walking canes are permitted upon inspection.  It is always a good idea to check with the airlines if you have a question as security restrictions change frequently.

As far as what to bring to wear…cruises and ships vary, but your itinerary should have specifics. You should know in advance what the weather is going to be like at your destination at a particular time of year, but plan to include one or two off-season items of clothing as Mother Nature doesn’t always provide the expected.   Air conditioning on the cruise ship can also be quite chilly in enclosed areas, so maybe a lightweight sweater or jacket that can be worn over any outfit will be appropriate.

Keep in mind that most extended cruises have one or two formal nights and that there will be a dress code. Men will either have to wear a tux or suit, but may be able to get away with a sport coat and nice slacks, while a woman will have to be covered appropriately and wearing something dressy, though not necessarily long.  Check ahead of time on this as you don’t want to be stuck eating on the Lido Deck instead of at the Captain’s Table because you weren’t dressed appropriately. Also, port stops might include nice restaurants or clubs.  If you plan on dancing in the disco after the Captain’s formal dinner, you might want to cover up that sexy halter with a shrug or jacket that can be removed after you’ve left the more formal captain’s dinner. You also have the option of changing, but that involves going back to your cabin and wasting time when you could be living it up instead. J

Now, let’s get organized! You should do away with all old receipts, ATM transaction slips, bills, candy wrappers etc. that you just happen to have in your purse or wallet.  “Clean house” and only take with you what is necessary.

In a plastic Ziploc type bag or other folder or envelope of some kind that can keep everything together, you will have your Travel Pack:

  • Passport
  • Photo I.D.
  • Visa
  • Any other required Travel Documents
  • Immunization record, if required
  • Itinerary
  • Airline Tickets
  • Cruise Documents, already filled out
  • Baggage & Medical Insurance & Cancellation Information
  • Reservation Confirmations, including your hotels
  • Rental Car or other transportation information
  • Emergency Contact Numbers

Other essentials that can go in your purse or tote are prescription glasses, lip balm, gum or candy, tissues for tears or runny noses, band aids, sunglasses, luggage keys, eye drops, check book, pain or headache medication and a small package of wet-wipes for emergencies.

In your carry-on bag, you consider these items:

  • Any prescriptions or health-related items such as joint supports, dental appliances, contact lens solutions and vitamins.
  • A water bottle filled with water. Buying one especially for the trip enables you to fill it with juice or water as you’d like on your trip and makes it easily identifiable.
  • One change of clean clothes appropriate to what you will be wearing on your first evening aboard if you are not already wearing it (in case luggage gets lost)
  • Swimsuit and cover-up
  • Pajamas
  • Jewelry in a closeable bag; it is not recommended that you bring valuables.
  • Flip flops or beach sandals
  • Snack or drink items (remember the airline security procedures)
  • Notepad and pens or pencils
  • Pack of cards or other hand-held games
  • Address book with stamps
  • Business or Personal Cards with your contact information to hand out to new friends
  • Copies of everything that is in your Travel Kit above
  • Camera, film and batteries, including an underwater camera. It’s cheaper to buy before your trip than on board ship.
  • Toiletries (place them all in a bag or shaving kit and bring along a shower hook with which to hang it. Cabin bathrooms are extremely small.)
  • Pain Meds in original containers (i.e. Tylenol or Advil)
  • Motion Sickness meds also in original packaging (ginger snaps, ginger ale and peppermint tea or candles also work & sea sickness pills are available at the Purser’s desk onboard.
  • Sinus/Allergy Meds in original packaging
  • Cough Drops in original packaging
  • 7-day pill container(s) with your RXs and vitamins
  • Antacid like Tums or Rolaids in original packaging
  • Anti-diarrheal medication in original packaging
  • Waterless hand sanitizer
  • Facial cleanser
  • Hand and face lotion
  • Shampoo and conditioner
  • Deodorant
  • Toothbrush, toothpaste, dental floss, small mouthwash
  • Comb and brush
  • Sun screen (minimum SPF 15)
  • Sunburn relief like aloe
  • Non-aerosol insect repellent
  • Q-tips & cotton balls
  • Small baby powder
  • Hair fixatives
  • Depilatories or shaving equipment (safety or disposable only)
  • Manicure and Pedicure necessities (file, clippers, tweezers & scissors must be in checked baggage)
  • Styptic pencil
  • Aftershave
  • Sanitary pads or tampons if needed
  • Perfume
  • Make up
  • Reading materials such as books or magazines

Everything else can be in your checked luggage. Any valuables, like cameras and electronics should be carried on with you. You are not allowed to lock checked baggage unless you have it screened prior to checking it, so if you don’t want to risk its disappearing, then carry it on.

There’s a lot to remember, isn’t there? It’s probably best to make your own personal list and to check it off as you pack it. It also might help to annotate that packing list with where you packed specific items. For example you could make note that you packed your little black sweater in the garment bag (gb), maybe abbreviating bag names to save room, but relieving you of having to go through all the bags to find what you are looking for. You can carry the packing list in your purse, tote, diaper bag or laptop case…just remember where you put the list.

Bon Voyage!

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Filed under: Traveler Tips

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