Planning & Packing Tips
CruiseDiva.com & Friends
of all, 'stage' your outfits for evening—if the shower rod is
convenient, hang them there. If not, get one of those things you
hang over the closet door and hang up the outfits you'll be wearing
to dinner each night. (Get the shoes out for each outfit, too.)
Then—AND THIS IS IMPORTANT—cover each outfit with a plastic dry
cleaning bag. Then fold each outfit over and place in your suitcase,
hanger and all. They WILL NOT WRINKLE. Unpacking is a breeze... just
open your suitcase and start hanging things in the closet.
A caveat... unfortunately, there
are some garments that defy the "dry cleaning bag
packing" method. Clothing that is slightly creased or wrinkled
can often be freshened up by steaming. Just hang those items in the
bathroom while taking a hot, steamy shower and often the wrinkles
will fall out. If all else fails, many ships have ironing stations
in their self-service passenger launderettes or, for maximum
convenience, send the offending garments to the ship's laundry for
This next idea is
so great I wish I had thought of it. I'm notorious for the
vast number of shoes I pack. As we were preparing for a cruise,
another veteran cruiser suggested, "Hey, Linda, let's go get
those shoe organizers that hang in the closet, the kind with
shelves, not pockets." We got them and they were great for
stashing shoes, small evening purses, rolled up belts, and anything
above photo illustrates the shoe organizer at work.)
I'm happy to report these can be found at many Target stores. I've
seen a slightly wider version, labeled a Sweater Organizer at
Wal-Mart recently. By the way, emptied they fold like an accordion
and take up little room in a suitcase.
friend offers a solution for a neatly organized bathroom. We all
know those ship's bathrooms are small. Becca Love's tip is to hang
an over-the-door pocket-style shoe organizer on the bathroom door.
Slip your bathroom necessities in the pockets and they're handy and
out of the way. Your cabin steward will LOVE you.
Drew suggests, "After
ironing items going in my luggage, I fold them up with tissue. Kind
of like when items are 'new' from the store. This cuts down on
wrinkles, and also because your 'stacks' are neater, allows you to
put more in one suitcase. Also, as you're unpacking, keeps things
much neater, and kind of gives you an extra lift when wearing that
article. I'll also place several layers of tissue in the luggage, as
the stacks get about 6" or so. As you wear the articles, the
tissue sure comes in handy when repacking, for all the extra goodies
that we seem to 'acquire' throughout the holiday/cruise."
"His" AND "Hers"
Unless you have tight airline connections, if you pack and check
multiple suitcases they should all stay together and arrive with you
at your destination. However, should one of them be delayed, you and
your travel companion can be certain to each have clothing to wear
if you "mix" up your garments. Pack "his AND
hers" clothing articles in each suitcase.
Here's an idea my husband Mel came up with when preparing for a
bicycle tour of Holland. Pack small.
Undergarments and knits take only a third of the suitcase
space they normally occupy when they’re compressed.
Simply place those articles in bags designed for compact
storage, such as those made by Pack-Mate, or appropriately sized
zipper top kitchen storage bags and force all the air out before
zipping them shut. Not only
do you save room in your suitcases but your clothing will stay dry.
Dry? What's with that? Well, if you
have soft-sided luggage and it gets caught in a downpour, either
while being loaded on your airplane or ship, the contents could get
soaked. You might also spray your luggage with Scotch Guard for
additional waterproofing both inside and out. An added bonus of
using zipper top bags is efficient unpacking—just leave everything
in the bags and stack them in drawers and on shelves. Fast, neat,
and space saving!
boxers are those on the conveyor belt?
all seen it happen. It's really embarrassing to realize your luggage
has come unzipped (for one reason or another) and those are your
delicate unmentionables on the airport conveyor belt.
You want to
"lock" your zip-up luggage, but hate those tiny locks with
even tinier keys? This idea is courtesy of a Delta ticket agent as
related by Mel. Head on over to the local home improvement store and
buy CABLE TIES. Ask a helpful hardware guy if you're unsure of where
to find them. They're usually in the electrical supply area—you
know... they're those plastic things that have a pointy end that
slips into a hole on the other end. Sort of like a flexible needle.
Once they're attached, you'll need scissors or a nail clipper to
remove them. Take extras for the trip home. Another benefit, they
keep sticky-fingered airline baggage handlers (and others) from
riffling through your things.
updated airport security procedures, you're advised not to lock
your luggage. However, we use cable ties anyway. If your
luggage requires hand-screening, you'll recognize that it's been
opened even before you find a note inside the suitcase indicating that
the contents were examined. If you use a combination or keyed lock,
it will be cut off and discarded. TSA-approved locks are available,
but they can be costly and often go missing.
Tape ~ Tape ~ TapeHave
DUCK Tape, Will Travel
highlights a new cruising travel necessity... it's NOT your father's
duct tape and it no longer belongs in the garage.
tape... is it really a necessity? Judging by the number of people
who ask to borrow it—YES! For added security, there's nothing like
duct tape. Wrapped around suitcases, it keeps them relatively secure
in worst case scenarios, such as zipper blow out or broken hinges
and clasps. Tape also discourages random pilferage by baggage
handlers. Why would anyone bother with your taped bag when others
are not even locked? Plus, it gives your suitcases a bit of frequent
traveler panache—"shabby chic," if you will. As the
photo illustrates, for an emergency repair, there's nothing as handy
as duct tape.
Again, with today's
updated airport security screening, the duct tape might be
cut to enable hand examination of suitcase contents. Just as
effective are brightly-colored luggage straps with quick release
buckles such as those available from
Tag Your Bags
This may seem excessive,
but I use ALL the tags provided by the cruise line when tagging our
suitcases. At a minimum, I want TWO identification tags on each
suitcase (in addition to our "permanent" luggage tags).
Those tags, with cotton or elastic string, can easily become
detached so before putting them on the suitcases, I reinforce them
with tape. I also remove the string, replacing it with long cable
ties. I put one on each handle of dual-handle suitcases and two on
the handle of suitcases that only have one handle. Compulsive?
Maybe. But we've never had a lost or delayed suitcase because of a
Where, oh where
is your luggage?
Kathleen Kaye shares the
following, "We always put our itinerary outside, as well as
inside our luggage. To do this, I type up the itinerary, reduce it,
and tuck it into the luggage tag, behind our identification. We
always make sure our address and itinerary are taped to the inside
as well. I have heard that many times lost luggage is forever lost
because of no identification on the bag. Tags do come off."
Absolutely correct, Kathleen! If an
airline is unable to trace the owner, or if luggage hasn't been
claimed after at least three months, it ends up at the Unclaimed
Baggage Center in Scottsboro, Alabama—a veritable Land of
Lost Luggage. Only two hours from Birmingham and two and a half
hours from Atlanta, the Unclaimed Baggage Center is a treasure
hunter's dream destination. Over 500,000 people a year make the trek
to shop amid over a million lost items, including watches, jewelry,
electronics, and designer clothing.
Take heart, though. Over 98% of
misdirected luggage eventually catches up to its owners. Keep those
odds in your favor by following Kathleen's advise.
How is your suitcase like a Model-T Ford? You can have any color you
want, as long as it's black. My late friend Ed Shuster found a
marking product and a clever solution for readily spotting his bags
in airport carousels and crowded cruise ship terminals. Mister Ed advised... "With
soft-sided black cloth luggage taking over the world, it's getting
harder and harder to find your own on the floor of the warehouse. In
addition to the required identification tags, we've used unique
colorful tags, straps, tapes, and some others. Recently I came up
with what I think is a permanent solution."
"Wal-Mart (and probably other distinguished merchants) carries opaque paint markers, in
different colors, for under $3. We used white on the black luggage and
hand lettered an identifying name in about 3-inch letters on the
face of the luggage that includes the handle. One marker did three
applications on each of three pieces. Easy to do, high contrast, and
permanent (well, as permanent as we are). For security reasons, we
didn't put our name on it, I used my Yahoo name—Cap10Cruz. About
the only drawback I see is it will make it harder to sell the old
suitcases at a yard sale, but when we're done with them, it's
dumpster time anyhow."
Instead of paint, I've used my
handy duct tape to identify our luggage by attaching long strips on
the front, back, and all four sides of each suitcase. Our bags are
easily spotted on carousels full of similar looking black suitcases.
Of course you want more. I continuously add more hints and tips to
the archive of HOT
Tips for cruisers. You can also read Packing
It In, which originally appeared in the December 1999 issue
of Cruise Travel Magazine. Be sure to check Cruise
Articles for more information, including George
Hall's 2-part Hints
for New Cruisers.
If you still have a question, just
ask! I'm here if you need me. Write to me with your
questions, to offer suggestions, or add
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