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I recently shared my Top Five tips on what to pack for a voyage with Oceania Cruises. We received a lot of good feedback, so following are my Top Five tips on how to pack. I hope you find them useful, and please do share your own tips here as well.

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1. Make a packing list well in advance and focus on items
you may need to shop for.

If you like to shop online or in catalogs, you need to
allow shipping time for that perfect pair of linen pants to arrive. I once
decided to do a little shopping the week before a cruise and fell in love with
a swimsuit that was on back order for a month. Another time I began to pack the
day before departure and found all of my black nylons had runs. Yes, I could
run out and buy a pair of nylons, but I usually order my favorite brand online
and have it shipped. And when you’re on vacation, you only want to wear your
favorites. So assess your needs (and especially your wants!) and do your
shopping early.

 

2. There is no need to pack lightly.

Before the baggage handlers start a riot, I will qualify
this tip. Do be reasonable. In fact, that is exactly the guideline that Oceania
Cruises provides in their baggage policy: “You may bring a reasonable amount of
luggage onboard.” And you should certainly research the guidelines of your
airline, especially considering the baggage fees that most airlines are now
charging. Having said that, this is not the vacation in which you need to fit
everything into a small suitcase so you can traverse a continent with ease. One
of the advantages of traveling with Oceania Cruises is that you can see the
world without having to unpack and repack at every destination, always checking
into and out of hotels, toting suitcases here and there. The ship is your home
away from home for the duration of your cruise, so you can settle in as soon as
you board. So throw in that extra outfit knowing you’ll only have to unpack it
once.

3. Both women and men can avoid wrinkles.

Sorry, no anti-aging secrets here, just more packing
tips. When packing clothes fresh from the dry cleaners, I remove the hangers,
but leave the clothes in the plastic bags. I save extra bags for clothes I’ve
ironed myself and put two or three garments in each bag. The layers of plastic
help prevent wrinkles and also seem to create more space in the suitcase. (I
realize this goes against the laws of physics, but try it and see.)

My husband takes a different approach to wrinkles. He
pulls everything out of the closet or the dryer fully wrinkled and tosses it
into a pile in his suitcase. When he boards the ship, he sends it all to the
ship’s laundry to be pressed. The rates are comparable to our local cleaners,
and his wardrobe is wrinkle-free and ready to wear in no time. This method is
especially effective for those who aren’t as fond of the packing process as I
am, and prefer to throw everything into a suitcase eight hours before
departure.

4. Pack one round of essentials in your carry-on.

No one wants to lug a huge carry-on around, but you can
fit a few essentials into a small carry-on just in case, dare I say it, your
luggage is delayed. This is a rare occurrence, so this tip is
mostly for peace of mind, but peace of mind is a valuable commodity when traveling. In my carry-on I always pack a change of
clothes (including underclothes), a swimsuit, travel-sized hair and facial
products in TSA-approved containers and all of my medications. The medications are especially important, including prescriptions, pain relievers and motion sickness medication if you need it. If my
luggage is delayed, I can still explore a port, lounge by the pool, shower and change, and await the arrival of my luggage in comfort without even having a bad hair
day. Worst-case scenario, I’m forced to take advantage of the onboard boutique or do some shopping ashore (perhaps we’re in Paris that day!) to replenish my
wardrobe courtesy of the airlines.

5. Be sure to check the most recent Transportation
Security Administration guidelines.

If you’ve traveled much in the last few years, you know
that the rules often change regarding what you can and can’t put into a
carry-on or checked bag. For ease of travel, check the latest guidelines and
pack accordingly. If you’re a frequent traveler, you can even request that TSA email you when the list of permitted and prohibited items is updated. If you check the list, you’ll find that your brass knuckles and your meat cleaver should be packed in your checked luggage, but for the record, Oceania Cruises would prefer that you leave these items at home.

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