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Nobody wants to think about the day you have to get off the ship. After all, it’s a whole lot more depressing than the day you board! But given that all good things come to an end — including your cruise — it’s probably worth taking a few minutes to check out these ways in which you can make packing as stress-free as possible.
1. Utilize packing cubes.
Not long ago, I probably had the same reaction to these words as many of you are having now. But my friends at CruiseTipsTV introduced me to these a while ago and I haven’t looked back since! These stackable, square compartments allow you to separate, organize, and — maybe most important of all — control what you’re packing. At the beginning of the trip, they allow you to maximize your space. And as long as you didn’t go crazy shopping for souvenirs, they’ll help you fit everything back into your luggage at the end of the week! You can see the types of packing cubes here.
2. Bring a collapsible duffle bag.
If at the end of the week you wind up with more than you can fit into your luggage, this will handle the overflow. You can easily carry it off the ship with you and, if flying home, avoid the ridiculous fees charged for additional luggage by treating it like a carry-on bag… assuming you’re not flying an airline that charges for those, too!
3. Use rubber bands.
Shove these in your bag before you leave… and be grateful you did when it’s time to head home. After seeing a T-shirt and hat rubber-banded together in a gift shop, I realized just how handy this trick could be when packing. Roll up your t-shirts, rubber band them and they’ll fit into all kinds of otherwise unusable spaces in your suitcase!
4. Take clean laundry home.
Whether it means taking an hour or two to do it yourself or paying a few bucks to have the cruise line do it for you, it’s worth it in the long run. Because honestly, who wants to get home and find that you have nothing to wear? Keep your eyes peeled for special promotions offered during the week. Oh, and that collapsible duffle bag we talked about earlier? You can use that to put the clean clothes in so they don’t have to share space in your suitcase with the ones you didn’t have laundered!
5. Leave a few things behind.
Sure, this isn’t ideal, but it’s not quite as crazy as it sounds. If I’m going on a long cruise, I’ll head to a thrift store or maybe pack a few shirts that are fine for the beach but have seen better days. At the end of the week, rather than try and bring it all home, I leave the cheap or worn-out shirts behind. As an added bonus, many lines donate left-behind items to charitable organizations; often in the ports they visit.
Do you have any tips or advice for making the dreaded last-day packing easier?