Guest blogger Anna Bilbrough Skamarakas lives in Bellmawr, NJ with an interesting collection of children, pets, and a husband. When she’s not packing and unpacking suitcases, she can be found blogging at www.beautygirlsmom.com or studying at Rutgers University, Camden, NJ.
When I called recently to book car service to take my family to the port for a cruise, the driver told me he couldn’t take my family of five, because his car wasn’t big enough for the way people over pack for cruises! That may be the case for most cruisers, but he hadn’t met my family!
Let’s start with formal night, because it causes many packing moms the most concern. Keep in mind that attire for the evening is generally optional, and if you don’t want to pack for a formal meal, you can usually dine at the buffet or pizza parlor. If you choose to participate in the formal festivities, pack pieces you can dress up, which makes them usable when it’s not formal night. Black slacks are my staple, and I know that I can do a sparkly blouse, bigger jewelry, and fancier shoes to fit in perfectly on formal night. The same black slacks can be paired with a sweater and flats on casual nights, meaning the double duty slacks cut your packing!
Pack enough socks and underwear for the whole length of your trip, but even with kids, you can pair things together to conserve cabin space. If you think you’ll need warmer weather clothes, consider how much time you’ll be in port compared to how much time you’ll be on the climate controlled ship. Instead of a different sweatshirt or sweater for every day, just pack two so you can layer them over another top. Hitting the pool or the beach for most of your trip? Pack an extra swimsuit, one cover, and two less daytime outfits.
The biggest lifesaver? A Ziploc bag of laundry detergent pellets. You can do a load of laundry on the ship for about a dollar if you have your own detergent. This saves you from having to pack an extra piece of luggage, which may cost you as much as $25 if you’re flying to your cruise port!
Layout everything you think you need, then pare it down to about half of what you think you need. It will shock your driver to see room left in his trunk!
Photo credit: Anna Skamarakas