General Tips

Remember – the goal of a casual trip or family vacation is to enjoy yourself, have fun, and relax. Being prepared helps, but you can’t be prepared for everything.

How I get ready for a trip

This portion of the website is about travel tips I have learned while on fun/leisure trips. Most of it is for cruises, since that is what I tend to do. These are not necessarily travel tips for business, though lots of the tips will cross over. This is not all that I have found as handy tips; just what I have put down. If you have been here before, you will find some changes. I have updated information and pictures. I have acquired new suitcases and clothes, and what I take has been changing. Now I am sure some people may think I don’t take what they would take, and they are right. But since this site is about me and what I take, I get to choose. Happy travels!

A Cruise

On a one week cruise many (not all) cruises will have two formal nights. If you want to dress up you need to take something suitable. Some ships have alternative dining – you may want to dress up for that depending on the restaurant. The Pinnacle on Holland America ships prefers you dress up a bit. The Royal Caribbean restaurants Chops Grille and Portofino also prefer a more dressier look. Jeans, especially old faded holey ones, are not considered appropriate attire, but dockers type of pants are fine. Since I prefer pants to dresses I would wear slacks, a nice sweater, a scarf/jewelry and shoes other than my sneakers. Disclousure – I have been known to wear nice, dark wash, dressy jeans with a nice top and shoes (not sneakers) to dinner in the specialty restaurants on board ships. I don’t tend to be a fancy dresser.

Once we have put a deposit down on a trip, I begin my research. I research where are we going, what is there to do there, climate, etc.

I start checking the weather at my destination a couple of weeks in advance of the actual trip. I would prefer to be prepared with my clothing. I will alter my tops to fit where I am going. If it is expected to be cold, I will take a heavier jacket, maybe polar fleece or warmer. If it is expected to rain I will take a light rain coat, something I can layer a sweater/polar fleece underneath. The rain coat doesn’t have to be a heavy coat, it can be a shell type of waterproof windbreaker. Coats can take a lot of room in a suitcase so I wear/carry mine on the plane, or chance it and do without.

Another thing to consider when you are packing is what kind of excursions you plan to take. And of course, where in the world you are. Have you ever been to an Italian church where your shoulders and knees must be covered? They will escort you out if you are not properly attired (that’s why the jacket is at least elbow length). Vatican tours require shoulders and knees are covered – that’s for men and women last time I was there.

If your excursions tend toward hitting the beach, don’t take the sneakers, sandals would be great, and take more swim suits. You might also take some sort of cover up. Not all cultures consider walking around in your swimsuit acceptable. Even shorts and a t-shirt, sundress, long tunic or even a pull on skirt may be enough to cover you and look presentable.

I pack the same way for a one week cruise as I do for being gone 3, 4 or 5 weeks. Basically I take one weeks worth of clothes. I make sure everything is washable. If I have to wash it in a sink, I could. The jeans might take a while to dry, but that’s why I have a spare pair of pants. And yes, if I only take one week of clothing and I’m gone longer then that I expect to do laundry somehow. I may wash stuff in the sink, use the on ship laundry services (for a fee) or find the ship laundromat.

In looking for ideas I came across a blog (one of many), The Vivienne Files. This blog has some great ideas for putting together clothes for trips. These wardrobes are mainly for women’s clothes but she has some great ideas. I’m thinking about changing up some of my packing after viewing her ideas. If she is not your style, check out my Pinterest for ideas, or search websites or blogs for other ideas.

This is a basic run down of how I get ready for a trip. This is what I do whether its a 3 day jaunt somewhere, or a longer trip.

What I take breaks down more specific information. If you head to Antarctica, the needs change some. And if you have to take an overseas or long haul flight you have a few additional things you might want to think about. You probably want to also think about the electronics you want to take with you. To get an idea of what goes into my carry on click here. Want to see what I took in my carry on for my June 2013 trip? Click here.

Remember – the goal of a casual trip or family vacation is to enjoy yourself, have fun, and relax. Being prepared helps, but you can’t be prepared for everything. Before you go on a trip, check the weather – what will it be like. Then prepare.