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A Packing Guide

I am often asked as to whether or not I have ever created a packing guide or tools. The answer to that is yes, I have and today, while working on a port stop blog detailing Villefranche, I received a few e-mails about this same subject. Consequently, I have decided to insert some helpful packing information and I will finish my post about Villefranche in the not too distant future.

Cruise Ship Clothing advice:


The best advice I can give you is to find out what the dress code is for the cruise line on which you are booked. Some cruise lines are more casual while others are more formal.

Bring outfits that coordinate with each other. For example, a black pair of dress slacks can be matched with a number of different coloured tops for a dressier look that can be worn several times without appearing to be repetitive.

A strappy pair of sandals can look dressy and yet match casual or dressier clothing. You don't need a large number of shoes or purses. Some women do not bring any evening or clutch purse while others might bring one. I usually bring one that will go with everything I plan on wearing. It will hold my phone, tip money, a comb, my ship's pass and tissue. It will always be fairly small and light

Men can also bring one pair of black pants that can be paired with different tops (I say black as that is usually considered dressier but it can be any solid colour). If you want to dress up, bring one suit and match it with different coloured shirts and ties for a totally different look at each wearing. On certain cruise ships, the dressier option is the tux and it too can be changed up with different coloured bow ties and cummerbunds. You do not have to bring numerous suits and formal wear.


Dress according to the temperature, weather conditions and planned activities. Cruises take place all over the world throughout the year. You will dress differently for an Alaskan cruise than you will for a Caribbean sailing. Dress comfortably and suitably for your planned daytime activity. If you are remaining on the ship and decide to relax by the pool, you will dress differently than if you are in the Mediterranean and going on a shore excursion that requires you to cover your shoulders and knees. Research appropriate dress for your location and country visited.

General Suggestions

Many banks have a limit on how much money you can withdraw on your bank card in a week. Check to find out what your cash withdrawal limit is, and if you deem it necessary, see if you can increase it. If possible, couples should take two bank cards, and each person carry one so if one is lost, you still have a card. The same for credit cards. Don't bring all your credit cards, you won't need them.

Bank card (ensure you are able to use the bank card in the country to which you are traveling). Contact your credit card issuers and tell them you are going on a trip and your destination. That way if they see spending in another country, they will not freeze your account. Some credit card companies say they don't need

this type of notice but others do. In January 2023, I was told by my Visa issuer that they did not need to be told that I was leaving the country but a few days after being told that, I arrived in Bagotâ, Colombia, and immediately had credit card issues. All my attempted charges were declined until I could get in touch with the issuing bank and convince them that I really was in Colombia and needing to use my card.

Leave a copy of your passport, itinerary and all credit and bank cards at home. If you lose your cards or passport, it is easier to replace them. Keep a copy of these documents with you in a sealed envelope in your suitcase or carry-on baggage. I also carry photos of them on my phone so it is easier to access for records. NEVER keep the pin number together with your cards.

If you are traveling to an area with an elevated risk or threat level, Register as a Canadian Abroad with the Global Affairs Canada. You can visit their website and complete the process online at:

If you have pets, leave the contact information for their veterinarian with your pet sitter.

A layer of bubble wrap at the bottom of your suitcase does not weigh very much and is very useful for protecting breakable souvenirs for the return trip

A small, collapsible back pack or carrying sac is useful to hold water, sun visors etc. while touring around on a

shore excursion.

A hanging toiletry bag saves on space in hotel rooms/cruise ship bathrooms and most have a hanging hook on the back of a bathroom door to allow you to hang the bag.

On overseas flights some airlines (Air Canada for example) provide head phones. Others do not. On domestic and trans-border flights, headphones must be purchased. If you have your own headphones, bring them.

Buy a bottle of water once you pass through security at the airport as it is dry in the aircraft cabin. It can take one to two hours on long haul flights to get water or a drink.

If going on a cruise, binoculars come in very handy to see things from the ship. (Note: I always bring binoculars but I have heard from several readers that they believe that they are too heavy and bulky to bring. Your choice).

Generally an airline will allow you to board the interior of an aircraft with one personal item (such as a purse), and one carry-on bag. Both have size restrictions. Your large suitcase/bag will be checked.

In your purse or on your person

Money - keep your money close to you at all times.

Credit Cards (leave a copy of your cards at home or with a contact person you can easily reach. You should also carry a list of the credit card numbers in your checked bag in a sealed envelope – don’t copy the cards, just record the numbers in case you have to have the cards replaced).

- Cellular phone (if you take your cellular phone, buy a plan for the countries you are going to or be

prepared to buy a SIM card for use in the other country). Don't forget your charging cables for

electronic devices.

- Medical insurance card or trip medical policy (leave a copy at home as well)

- Identification such as driver’s license

- Any membership cards (hotel and airline reward points etc.)

- Passport sounds so routine you have to wonder who would forget theirs but I hear lots of stories about

passports or identification being left at home.

- Keys to your suitcases or suitcase locks (I prefer combination locks)

- Tissue (you can buy small purse size packets at the dollar store or drug store. Many places overseas

do not have toilet paper or charge for toilet paper

- Small container of hand sanitizer (not necessary, I just recommend it)

- Mask (optional but they take up little room and may be requested in some locations)

Carry-On Baggage

· Any prescription medicine (if possible, leave in original bottle or package)

(Important: Know why you take the medication in case you need to replace it and the brand names

are different in different countries.)

· Any medical notes you may have (diabetic, metal pins in body, pacemaker etc.)

· Other non prescription medications (such as vitamins, antacids, sea sickness or pain relief pills etc.)

· Inoculations record (if required for the country you are visiting)

· Itinerary

· Glasses and/or sun glasses/umbrella

· Book(s)/i-pad/i-reader/Kindle

· At least two (2) days change of clothing*

· Night wear such as pajamas/shorts etc.*

· If you play cards, you may want to pack a deck of cards

· Brush/comb

· Toiletries/Makeup (remember, under 3oz for liquids so buy travel sizes or small containers)**

· Pen & note book, travel journal etc. if you plan on keeping hard copy notes

· Jewelry (never pack valuable jewelry in checked baggage)

· Camera and/or video recording device

· Travel pillow if you have a preferred one for use

· Hat or sun visor if going to a sunny destination (get a roll- up hat - they are great)

- Lip balm as long distance flights can be dry

· Maps (if required immediately upon arrival at your destination airport and you won’t have access

to internet)

* If your checked baggage is delayed you will want to ensure that you have something to wear at night and at least two days worth of clothing. It usually takes one to two days for your lost checked baggage to catch up. If you have a dressy event to go to shortly after your arrival at your destination, ensure that you have the necessary clothing and accessories in your carry-on baggage.

**Toiletries can be placed in both carry-on and checked baggage.

Note: Some air lines have now banned foot hammocks and any device that prevents the seat in front of you from reclining. Check with your airline if you plan on using one of these devices.

Checked Baggage

Please note, you will have to decide what you should bring for clothing. Check the average temperatures of the place you are going and pack accordingly. Most people make the mistake of packing too much OR packing items that are not necessary – such as items that do not go well with other pieces of clothing.


· Many budget hotels in Europe and Asia do not provide face cloths. Bring a facecloth that you

can dispose of at the end of your trip. Bring a baggie to put the wet face cloth in if you are going

to be changing hotels.

· Tooth brush, tooth paste, floss

· Mouthwash

· Deodorant

· Soap (if you have sensitive skin or use a specific brand)

· Shampoo & conditioner if you use a specific kind. Pretty much all hotels and ships supply soap,

shampoo and conditioner.

· Hair products (gel, hair spray, mouse etc. if you use these items) I forgot hair spray and spent over $40 on

a ship for a bottle of hairspray.

· Small mirror

· Contact lens supplies if applicable

· Feminine Hygiene products if applicable

· Small first aid kit or at a minimum, a few band aids

· Insect Repellent

· Sun screen

· Moisturizer

· Make up remover

· Razer, shaving cream

· Nail Care supplies

· Tweezers

· Cotton balls and/or Q-tips

· Ear plugs and/or sleeping mask if you use these items

Clothing – Men and Women

This is not a recommendation to bring all these types of clothing, just a general list.

· Under wear Women make sure the undergarments are suitable for your intended

wear (strapless/low back/fleshtone or matching colours etc.

· Socks and/or pantyhose For those with circulation problems diabetic socks or

wear compression socks for those prone to swelling legs on long plane/car trips.

· Sleepwear – pj’s, shorts, t-shirts, robe etc.

Some people have allergies to the soap used in commercial laundry facilities so they bring their own pillowcase.

· Foot wear (shoes, sandals, slippers, running shoes etc.) To eliminate the need for multiple

pairs of shoes, try to bring a pair of casual shoes and one pair that will go with most of your

dressier outfits. Running shoes or comfortable walking shoes for the day to day activities.

Always make sure the shoes you bring are comfortable and not brand new. Blisters on a

vacation are no fun.


· Jeans

· Khaki pants

· Capri type pants etc.

· Shorts

· Swimsuit

· Swimsuit cover-up

· Flip flops and/or wave shoes

Casual Tops

· T-shirts

· Tank Tops

· Polos

· Short sleeved shirts or blouses

· Sweaters


· Dress Pants or slacks

· Skirt (one solid coloured skirt can be paired with multiple tops)

· Dress if you like to wear dresses to dressier events

Dressier Tops

· Long Sleeve dress shirts

· Blazers

· Dressy Blouses

· Vests

· Evening shawls (it can be cool in the evenings on a ship when the ship is moving)

· Suit(s)


Other Items

- Cufflinks if required for dress shirts

· Studs if required for tuxedos

· Jewelry to match the outfits

· Small evening purse

- Camisole

· Slip if required

· Ties and matching puffs

General Suggestions

· Power converters for Europe and North America (cruise ships use both types)

· Chargers for items such as cell phone, cameras, i-pads, kindles etc.

· Binoculars (as mentioned this is up to you and some cruise lines supply them)

· Gloves and hat if required

· Belts and/or suspenders if required

· Raincoat

· Jacket or coat

If you take a small spray bottle of fabric softener mixed with water, it will act as an anti wrinkle spray.


Let me know if you want information on HOW to pack.


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