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Packing For a Cruise

No matter what size your family is, the living quarters on a cruise ship require efficiency and organization. It is likely you will be spending most of your time outside of your stateroom, but Ė when you are there Ė comfort is essential.

Space and storage is minimal. Packing light may help, but youíll still want to optimize the space. Bringing a few extra items from home will help maximize your storage options.

Shoe holders that hang over the back of the door come in handy while on a cruise. They fold flat and are easy to pack in the bottom of your suitcase. Once youíre on the ship, you throw it over the back of the bathroom door and there is adequate space for all of your familyís toiletries.

Hangers are also helpful to maximize your use of the space. Most cruise ships provide a handful of hangers, but itís never enough. Packing additional hangers will allow you to hang most of your clothes in the closet, freeing the drawers for other items.

What you pack in can also make a difference. Remember Ė you are going to have to store those suitcases somewhere. Nesting suitcases will take up less space in the stateroom. Put one inside the other and slide them under the bed.

Most cruise ships provide a laundry line and additional hooks for hanging your things, but you can never have too many. Bring along some suction cup or magnetic hooks to use for your wet swimsuit, your toiletry bag, a memo pad, or your lanyards.

Before you leave, consider how youíre family will stay connected while on the ship. Cell phones often have limited coverage at best and make it difficult to stay in touch with older children who want to roam the ship on their own. Some families bring walkie-talkies, and others prefer a magnetic pad left on the back of the stateroom door. Another option is to schedule periodic meeting times at a designated spot.

On any vacation, most of us end up leaving with more than we came with. Itís easy to sneak some extra duffle bags into your suitcase. Many duffle bags, backpacks, and shopping bags fold flat for easy packing.

Many of us have a difficult time packing lightly, but here are some helpful tips to make it easier. Consider using the toiletries and appliances (like the hairdryer) that many cruise ships provide for you. Pack mix and match outfits, and limit the number of shoes you pack. If you require variety in your fashion, change it up with accessories. Donít forget a small alarm clock, your sunscreen, daily medications and/or a small first aid kit, a reusable water bottle, and a power strip.

Does it sound like Iím telling you to lessen the amount of clothes you pack in order to make room for the handy gadgets and space-saving devices? If you pack wisely, youíll be able to have it all.

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