Thursday, March 1, 2012

Guest Post: How to pack for a cruise

The winner of LYLIF's giveaway announced here. Recently, I received an email from a reader asking “what clothes should I pack for a cruise?". I've been to 4 cruises in the past but have always overpacked. I could use some tips on how to pack efficiently myself. I know the lovely J of J’s Everyday Fashion just came back from a cruise. I asked her to share some tips on how to pack with us.

I recently had the opportunity to take a cruise to the Bahamas with a good friend , and Sydney asked me to put together some packing tips for you guys! Packing is one of my least favorite activities (what do you mean, I can’t take my entire closet?!) and I learned some good lessons on this trip that I’m excited to pass along. Here are my tips, tricks and past mistakes in hopes of helping you become a better packer!

1. Pick your shoes first.
So… where to begin? With your shoes, of course! My #1 packing tip is to start with your shoes. These are by far the biggest and bulkiest items in your suitcase, so I always start there first. Often, I will pick either black or brown shoes and stick with that same color theme for the whole trip. Another tip: wear your bulkiest pair of shoes during your trip to travel to and from the boat to save room in your suitcase.

2. Check the weather.
The weather is always warm on a cruise, right? Wrong. I learned this the hard way on this trip. The Bahamas were having a bit of a cold streak the week we went (in February). It was 40 degrees in Florida when we left (hence my boots and sweater outfit) and the days on the islands were also a bit chilly. Leading up to your trip (no matter where you go), you’ll want to be checking the weather on a fairly regular basis and bring a warm sweater just in case!

3.  Pick your jackets next.
Speaking of jackets, your weather research should help you determine how heavy and how many jackets to bring, and I recommend picking them next since they are also one of the bulkiest items in your suitcase. Use the shoes and jackets you selected first as a guide, and then only pack the smaller items (tops, bottoms, dresses) that go with them.

4. Pack full outfits.
To ensure that I don’t pack a single item I won’t use, I like to try everything on and pack full outfits, rather than bits and pieces. This method might not work for everyone, but it has been a huge space saver for me. Don’t be lazy and just throw a bunch of stuff in a suitcase – try it on and come up with a few complete outfits.

{J's fabulous cruise outfits}

5. Reuse, reuse, reuse.
I try not to pack anything that I won’t wear twice, even on a short trip. Try to think of packing as a fun puzzle and challenge yourself to come up with a way to re-wear any given item more than once.

6. Determine your dress code.
A lot people ask me how they should dress for dinner on a cruise ship. The attire ranges widely at dinner, but I would recommend a sundress or a cute skirt, something along the lines of my first two outfits above. You should also find out how many “fancy” nights are taking place on your boat (for a 4-night cruise, there was one fancy night. On both 7-night cruises I’ve been on, there were two fancy nights.) Fancy night attire is a bit nicer (see my pink cupcake dress above). Some people will be in ball gowns, others in cocktail dresses, I personally try to find a happy medium somewhere in between!

7. Pack two outfits per day.
This is another cruise specific tip, because you will want two outfits per day! One that will usually be used as a swim cover-up during the day while you explore the island, and one that you will wear to dinner on the boat at night.

8. Evaluate.
At the end of packing, I recommend going through everything and doing three things: 1. Count how many outfits you have. Make sure you haven’t packed too many outfits, or not enough. 2. Imagine as many scenarios as possible and make sure you have head-to-toe look for every occasion. This was a major no-no for me on this trip. Our boat spent the night in the Bahamas and it never occurred to me we might go to a casual bar on the island. I wound up throwing together a pajama shirt and shorts to hit up Senor Frogs, but really wish I would’ve considered this occasion while I was packing! 3. Pick which outfits you will wear to travel to and from the boat.

I hope this helps your packing adventures in the future! For more practical style tips and daily outfit inspiration be sure to check out J’s Everyday Fashion.

I hope you enjoy this post. A huge thanks to J for her wonderful tips!


Unknown said...

This was so helpful! Although I don't think I will ever go on a cruise but still very helpful tips for any vacation :) She's got amazing style!

Kc said...

Love her outfits! :) I have to pack soon for a 4 day trip away, I'm going to bookmark this as a guideline :)


Content Director - Strong Female Leaders said...

First of all, your guest blogger is gorgeous. She certainly has style and smarts. I totally agree with packing shoes first. They take the most room.
Seattle Beauty and Fashion - Girlie Blog Seattle

AubreyOhDang! said...

i already follow J. she always has amazing tips.

AubreyOhDang! said...

i already follow J. she always has amazing tips.

Christie said...

What a great post!! I love the packing tips as it is very hard to travel all the time lugging around different pieces for each day.

Thanks for the tips!


Megan said...

Very helpful tips :) I know packing for a cruise takes a lot of thought!! Thanks for the tips, J! And thank you Sydney for having the guest post!! :)

Unknown said...

This was a very helpful post! I'm not planning on going on a cruise anytime soon, but these tips are helpful for even regular vacations and trips. Packing full outfits is probably one of the smartest things you could do - you don't have to pack as much and you don't need to think about what to wear once you get there :)

Tina said...

This is very helpful...I hate packing for trips and always do it the night before or sometimes the hour before I leave the house!

Soha said...

I am grateful to you as I have planned my honeymoon and will be going on cruise for 2 days in Sydney.
I want to plan my Sydney trip which will me memorable after many years also.
Please can you suggest me some good cruise names with details of them.
Thank you so much dear.

Anonymous said...

Sydney, can you please share with me the brand of the shoes you're wearing in the pic with the pink skirt??? I am in love with them and can't find anything like them anywhere!!!

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