Depending on where you're traveling to, the packing list varies wildly. Sometimes it's hard to know exactly what you'll need in a place you've never been. While some might tell you fun extras and give quirky DIY packing tips, really all you need is the basics (and probably room in your luggage to bring home all those souvenirs). Let's get cracking and discover what exactly you'll need on the following trips:
Of course the packing list for a cruise to Alaska will be different than for a cruise to the Caribbean which is why the first tip for this trip is: Know your destination! Just be smart about what you'll want to wear when you get where you're going. The cruise is going to be heated and cooled, accordingly, so don't worry about being over/under dressed on board. However, most cruises have dress codes, namely the family-friendly cruises while on deck and also for the formal or semi-formal soirees that go on during longer cruises. Check with your cruise line and/or travel agent to confirm what you're supposed to wear. If you forget, the ship usually will have a shop or rental store on board for your use.
Other things you'll need:
- An alarm clock (or use your smart phone), as most cruises don't provide one.
- A light jacket or sweater. Even the Caribbean can get cold at times and the cruise will be air conditioned.
- Keep your passport and ID on you. Don't put it in your checked luggage in case it gets lost. It's also a good idea to keep a digital copy of it on your phone as a backup.
- A power strip. Cruises are notorious for skimping on electrical plugs.
- If you think you'll need it within six hours of boarding the ship, put it in the carry on. It takes about that long for your checked luggage to make it back to you so put your medications, swimsuit, toiletries, and a change of clothes along with your IDs in the carry on.
- Sea sickness meds (i.e. Dramamine)
- Swimsuit (obviously)
A Trip to Alaska
How beautiful would it be to see the glaciers in the Last Frontier? To climb ancient mountains and glide across still, glassy waters as caribou and moose forage along the shore? Alaska is absolutely breathtaking and draws in nearly two million tourists every year with its stunning, untouched scenery and wildlife. If you're one of the lucky ones visiting, it's best to know where exactly in Alaska you're going, and what time of year. Summer in the southeast has been uncommonly warm of late so bringing some warmer clothes is a must while summer in the north isn't so forgiving.
You'll also need to think about your activities. If you're planning on doing any hiking, be mindful of your wardrobe. There are tons of recreation outfitters in the larger cities like Anchorage who deal with this all the time so if you forget, or get the hankering, stop in one of their shops and get all your gear in one go. If you're going on a cruise, see the above category.
Other things you'll need:
- Sun protection (sunscreen, glasses, and hat)
- Layered clothes (long underwear, fleece, leggings, etc.)
- Comfortable hiking shoes with traction. Break them in before you come so you don't get blisters. Insulated hiking shoes are also a good idea since it gets so cold.
- Extra thick socks. If you're going during the warm season, regular socks should be fine but if you're hiking at all, wool socks are best.
- Gloves and a hat
- Quick drying pants
- Rain gear (they recommend you don't bring a rain poncho as those are hard to hike in and they tear easily)
- A parka or heavy winter coat if you're in the cold or hiking
- Small first aid kit, in case of emergencies
- Backpack for hiking
- Reusable water bottle
- Swimsuit (you never know, your hotel might have a sauna)
A Trip to Hawaii
The ultimate vacation destination and possibly the number one spot on anyone's bucket list, Hawaii is a dream. Sloping cliffs leading from vast volcanic mountainsides into cerulean waters filled with tropical fish; fascinating cities replete with historical and cultural attractions; and more sunshine and warm days than you can imagine. Hawaii is everything you thought it would be and more. So what do you pack for a trip like that? Our first tip is to pack lightly. You might be sorely tempted to pile in all of your best clothes but really, you'll probably be lounging on the beach, touring the city for hours on end, or else exploring the wilderness. Your best clothes can wait, it's your breathable cotton that you'll be wanting when you're hiking in the heat.
Other things you'll need:
- T-shirts, tank tops, shorts and/or skirts
- Light jacket or sweater, especially if you're going up in the mountains but the nights can get chilly too.
- Thermal underwear and gloves for high elevation travel
- Sun protection. You're going to be in the sun without any sleeves; listen to your mother and protect your skin.
- Swimsuit(s). Some people recommend that you bring two swimsuits so you can have one dry and one wet but it's up to you.
- Moisture wicking clothes for hiking and hiking shoes
- Beach bag or backpack
- Waterproof jacket for rainy days
- "Resort wear" dress code clothes for restaurants. This is just like nice jeans, khakis, summer dresses or skirts. They pretty much just don't want you showing up in your swimsuit. Although not all restaurants have dress codes like these so it's recommended to check first.