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What to Pack in Your Carry-On

by Donna Heiderstadt | April 15, 2016

Picture this: You packed your suitcase full of every must-have — and now you’re standing at reception, without your luggage, stuck wearing your traveling clothes until you can shop at the first port of call. Ask any cruiser and they’ll tell you that one of the saddest sights on embarkation day is the exasperated travelers whose luggage hasn't arrived yet. But if you pack these items in your carry-on, you can make a bad situation much, much better.

Cruise Documents
You won’t be able to board the ship without them, so don't risk them being lost in your luggage somewhere.

Always pack indispensable medications in your hand luggage.

Essential Toiletries
These include a toothbrush, toothpaste, disposable razor, comb, brush, deodorant, moisturizer, sunblock, and contact lens solution if you need it. Buy travel-size bottles for the liquids and seal them in a quart-size clear bag.

Nothing cures the lost-luggage blues like sipping a mojito in the hot tub at sail away — and clean underthings are sure to brighten your mood post-shower. (Your favorite pajamas can be comforting, too, although many cabins have robes that will do in a pinch.)

Pieces That Do Double Duty
Pack a simple dress that can be worn during the day and dressed up at night. Men should throw in a pair of pants and a collared shirt, a combo that works almost anywhere.

Microfiber Pants, Shorts, and T-shirts
These are lost-luggage saviors — rinse them out at bedtime and they’ll be dry by sunrise. They can also double as workout wear.

If you wore sneakers on the plane, pack a pair of chic but comfortable sandals (for her) and slip-on loafers (for him). And pack those sneakers if you wore shoes or sandals.

Make room for some “extras” that can seem like necessities when absent: a large scarf for her, a lightweight jacket for him, and a hat as protection from the elements.

Gadgets and Chargers
Don’t forget your camera, tablet, or laptop — including the chargers (for your phone, too), so you can use them for multiple days.

Donna Heiderstadt

Donna Heiderstadt is a New York-based contributor to ShermansCruise who has also written for Coastal Living and Islands.

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