9 Cruise Essentials You Didn’t Know You Needed

I have decided that I want to become a professional vacationer.

Is that something that I can just decide? Just like that?

I don’t know, but either way, I’m already working on my next travel plans.

I’ve been on a handful of cruises in my life and each time I learn about things that make the trip more efficient.

Towel Clips

If you’ve ever tried sunning on the top deck of a cruise ship while it is cruising through the ocean, you understand how windy it can get. Towel clips help keep your towels and cover ups secure to your loungers.

Waterproof Phone Case

Previously, I bought waterproof pouches to protect my phone/money/etc. while on the beach or excursions. However, I recently bought a GhostTek waterproof case and it is so much better! I was able to get some very clear photos and videos underwater.

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Conditioner

Salty hair, don’t care. Right? Except, if you don’t have a good conditioner, chances are that you won’t be able to brush through your locks after a shower. With my long, bleached hair, if I don’t have an amazing conditioner, the only hairstyle I’ll be sporting is a rat’s nest…I mean, a messy bun. This time I brought this John Frieda conditioner, which actually worked so well that I didn’t even have to dry my hair to ward off the frizz. It just left my hair as smooth as a glassy sea.

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Wristband Card Holder

There are actually a few different options for this – it really depends on personal preference. The point is to have something to protect your ship card/ID/money/credit cards while out and about. I have a wristband that holds everything, so when I go snorkeling, all my important cards are with me. Some people prefer a lanyard or something similar.

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Snorkel Masks

This was the first time we brought our own snorkel masks and it was well worth it! Instead of doing excursions through the ship, we just took a taxi to a beach and snorkeled on our own.

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USB Charging Station

Ship staterooms usually only have 1 outlet. Let’s just say, it’s likely that the average person has more than 1 thing that needs to charge at the same time. If you have a wall charger that has multiple usb slots, you can charge everything faster.

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ZenGest EO

This is gross, but there’s such thing as cruise poop. I don’t know if it’s something to do with the water on board or something, but many people struggle with digestive issues on cruises. ZenGest (doTERRA’s digestive blend) helps keep your gut in tact and your close quarters from smelling foul.

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Earplugs

Cruises can be noisy. There have been many times where our sleep has been disturbed by waves crashing, engines running, tipsy guests in the hall and toilets flushing. Brian swears by earplugs and always keeps extras in his luggage.

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Water Backpack

This was also the first time we utilized a hydration backpack. It’s great because the pack doubles as a backpack, so you are carrying your water and anything else on your back. Also, it is insulated so the water stays cold and refreshing. There’s no need to lug around a heavy water bottle.

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Have you utilized any of these items on your cruise/vacation? I’d love to hear your thoughts on these.

Stress Free Travel

I LOVE traveling.

Ok, I don’t LOVE the travel part of it, but I do love being on vacation. I mean, who doesn’t, right?

When I was a kid, I would get so excited to go anywhere, that my trip started weeks (or sometimes months) before the day we were scheduled to leave.

Shout out to all my planners out there!

When my kids were little, I would make sure that I had every detail of every little thing worked out for the sitter (usually my parents!). Then, as they got older, I didn’t do any different! As a matter of fact, I’ve probably become more and more meticulous with organizing their lives before I leave. I have checklists and lists and notes and files and everything else you can possibly imagine.

Yes, probably a little over the top, but I want to make sure that life doesn’t skip a beat for them (or the sitter) just because the hubs and I are gallivanting across the universe (or lazing on a beach somewhere tropical).

Tropical

Let’s get into how to make travel easy peasy.

Lemon. Squeazy.

Well, Looky Here…
A typical vacation for us is when I find a deal online, quickly check coinciding flights, book the vacation and then usually leave within 5 days of booking.

How?

I’m ALWAYS looking.

I mean, usually the day I get back from vacation, I’m already hitting up my fav travel booking sites. You know, just to see what’s out there.

Regardless, I have tried and true favourites that I lean towards.

  • Favourite Cruise Lines
  • Favourite All Inclusive Resorts
  • Favourite Airlines
  • Favourite Deal Finders

I watch for sales and deals, freebies and incentives. This not only gets me great deals but it keeps me excited about our next travel adventure.

Plan on Planning
I have basic travel planners, spreadsheets and lists ready to go at any given time.

Sounds a bit crazy, but if you have a base plan, it will take the unnecessary stress away from the travel process.

Some of my lists include

  • Packing List
  • To Do For Vacation
  • To Do Before Vacation
  • Schedules (for kids and pups)
  • Schedules (for vacation)

Be Flexible
Last minute vacations usually get you the best deals. However, it’s difficult to plan last-minute vacations if you are not flexible.

If you can, try to be flexible with things such as

  • Vacation time with your employer
  • Where you are willing to vacation
  • When you are willing to vacation

Be Prepared
There is seriously nothing like being prepared for something. I usually keep a pre-packed travel bag that has everything but clothes so I’m ready on the fly.

You never know when the most amazing deal is going to strike and if you’re prepared, you could be vacationing sooner than later.

Rock Glen

I’ll leave you with one of my favourite travel stories.

The hubs wanted to go away on vacation.

I didn’t.

To appease him, I looked and looked for a deal, but was not finding anything that fit in our budget.

Grateful, I finally told my hubs that it wasn’t going to work out and asked if he could maybe switch his vacation time so I could find something at a more convenient time (not so close to Christmas).

Before he did, I thought I’d give it one last go. I found a 7 day cruise from Houston for only a few hundred dollars. I laughed and told him that I would go if we found cheap flights (under $100).

I did.

Ugh! I found $50 flights from Detroit to Houston and on top of it, the cruise line offered an on board credit of a few hundred dollars.

In the end, the trip only cost us peanuts and it was one of the greatest times we had.

Do you find travel planning stressful or do you thrive in the wake of lists and schedules? Comment below!

10 Days In A Carry On

My heart never cried to tour Israel. I liked the thought of it, but the overnight flight acted as a strong deterrent. I always figured I would have to wait for life on the other side to see Israel.

Then one day my father in law announced at church that there were still some seats open for the trip he was organizing. My heart leaped and I desperately wanted to be there. Still bugged about the long haul flight, I put it out there in my heart that if it was something I should do, it would have to happen without me asking about it.

The next morning at work, my father in law walked in my office and said something about how I should come on the trip.

Next thing I knew, we were sending our applications off. After a few minor obstacles, we were booked on the trip.

I was so excited that I started packing right away – literally 2 months before the trip!

sheri packing

My main goal was to pack in a carry on only. I like a challenge, but mostly I detest the hassle of dredging along with suitcases that could run me over if I lose control of it while walking downhill.

Although I worked and reworked my carry on over and over, I couldn’t quite get it under the 8 kg weight limit. By the night before our trip, I had it down to 8.6 kg.

However!

Due to an ice storm and our schedule being moved up by a day, the extra time I needed to shave off that last .6 of a kilo eluded me.

My daughter told me just to take her new Captain America suitcase and check it.

I did.

All that to say, this post is all about what I packed for my trip to Israel (in February).

Sleep/Awake Bag

Here is where I put everything that I will need to sleep on the plane and then wake up refreshed. Things I include are:

  • Sleep mask
  • Comfy socks
  • Compression socks
  • Sleep supplements & medications
  • Earplugs
  • Eye drops
  • Hand cream
  • Lip balm
  • Powder Face wash or cleansing wipes
  • Toothbrush & toothpaste
  • Makeup Bag

Makeup Bag

I usually save all my samples from Sephora and use them in my makeup bag. Some things I need more than a sample, so I will bring the original bottle (if it’s under 100 ml).

Liquids

I first put together all of my other bags and then whatever is a liquid, gel or aerosol, I take and put in my Ziploc bag.

Purse/Personal Bag

This is the bag that goes under the seat in front of me on the plane.

  • Sleep/Awake Bag
  • Headphones
  • Documents
  • Gum/mints/snacks
  • Water bottle
  • Phone/iPad
  • Journal
  • Pens
  • Sunglasses

Documents

I like to keep all of our important documents together.

  • Passports/ID
  • Tickets
  • Travel Documents

Carry On

Here is the clothing I packed for a 10 day vacation.

  • 4 pairs of pants (1 pr of jeans/1 casual pants/2 leggings)
  • 5 shirts
  • 3 tank tops
  • Unmentionables 😉
  • 2 pairs of pajamas
  • 1 bathing suit
  • 6 pairs of socks
  • 2 sweaters (1 thick hoodie/1 cardigan)
  • Winter Jacket
  • 4 pairs of shoes (Converse/Vibram 5 Fingers/Vibram Moccasins/Flip Flops)
  • Razor
  • Hair Accessories
  • Tide Travel Packs

All of this fit into my carry on, with the exception of my .6 kg overweight. I used everything I brought and never felt like I forgot anything.

Do you have other travel essentials that you bring on your travels? Comment below.

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