The Top 3 Reasons You Need A Personal Stylist for Your Destination Wedding Or Honeymoon

The Top 3 Reasons You Need A Personal Stylist for Your Destination Wedding Or Honeymoon

So you and your fiance are planning your dream destination wedding in the most perfect place on earth.  You know you’ll need to hire an officiant, a photographer and videographer, someone to make the invitations, the flowers and of course your wedding dress.  You’ve hired a dedicated Destination Wedding Planner to help you navigate the details for you and your guest’s travel needs, from the flights and resort to the ceremony and reception and everything in between.  Now it’s time to think about YOU.  That is, you are going to be photographed approximately 8 million times before, during and after your wedding and it’s important to make sure that each photo looks perfect!  I know you have found or will find the perfect wedding dress, but what are you going to be wearing both before and after?  What are you going to be wearing in all those pics?  Is everything coordinated?  How does it look in relation to what your fiance is wearing?  If you, like most brides having a destination wedding, you could very likely be at the resort for several days, at least. There’s rehearsal dinners, cocktail receptions, brunches, dinners, it’s *a lot* of outfits to think of!  Or maybe you’re planning your honeymoon, where the opportunities for Instagram worthy shots are endless.  This is where a personal stylist could be a lifesaver.  A personal stylist can advise you on the latest fashion trends and clothing styles.  She helps individuals and couples on what will make you look your best, both inside and out.

green potted plants on a brown wooden rack showing off clothes

When you have something as important as your wedding or honeymoon, knowing what you want to wear before you go is just smart planning

I spoke with Lucy Bedewi a personal stylist and owner of Wanderlust Wardrobe to find out more about what she does and how she might be able to help that stressed out bride, wanting to look her best but could use guidance through the process:

***Want to check out a fantastic free offer from Wanderlust Wardrobe?  Click here to find out more!***

Lucy explained to me that she got into the business through retail initially, but went her own way after seeing how retailers focus on buying and not actually helping people find clothing that they truly love.  She’s been a stylist for 3 years and her favorite part of the job is seeing women get dressed with ease and become the most confident versions of themselves.  What’s a personal stylist’s biggest challenge?  The fashion industry’s inconsistent sizing!  Thankfully many websites offer free returns so you can try things out and return what doesn’t work.

a woman in a white dress holding a basket while sitting near a waterfall

So many Instagrammable opportunities, so little time

So how would Lucy help a destination bride find that perfect style?  Lucy conducts an hour long consultation where she dives deep into what her clients want to look like as well as present themselves.  Typically, Lucy searches commercial brands, but she’s definitely willing to go thrifting or into luxury lines if that is what the client prefers.  She truly prides herself on doing  whatever it takes to help a bride find that perfect piece.

I asked Lucy, what’s a current trend that she would encourage?  She said right now, it’s a sweetheart neckline. It’s universally flattering and can be paired with lace, tank top straps or an illusion neckline to fit the bride’s unique preferences.  Now I feel like I need to go online and start shopping!  Finally, I asked Lucy, what are her three top reasons for a bride to hire a personal stylist to help her with her destination wedding and honeymoon wardrobe?  Lucy’s top three were:

1) There are A LOT of outfits changes –and a personal stylist is someone to help you navigate them seamlessly.  A lot of brides today are professionals, they are working full time and have a lot on their plate.  Having one less thing to think about running up to the big day can be a huge relief!

2) It can help you pack intelligently and still look amazing!  It’s not just about packing everything and the kitchen sink and hope you have what need – pack smart and you can have every outfit put together before you get to your destination, and know that each outfit is put together, designed with YOU in mind so you don’t have to think about what to wear and that’s one more thing you can cross off your list.

3) It makes getting dressed easy so you can focus on your spouse and guests.  I remember my own wedding and I can just remember that I wanted to treasure and cherish every moment.  I knew this moment was fleeting and I wanted to remember it forever.  Having a personal stylist will make it so much easier to know what to wear and when, and you can just focus on your spouse, your guests and yourself!

three happy people jumping for joy at the beach

 We hired a personal stylist and couldn’t be happier!!

I’m SO excited to announce that Lucy is offering my readers an amazing FREE 20 minute mini-session!!  How cool is that?  Simply click HERE to sign up for your session, remember to add TRAVELFORALWAYS in the subject box so you can get your mini consult – did I mention for free?? 

I would love to hear from you!  What would you use a personal stylist for?  Be sure to tell me in the comments below!

3 Great Tips to Help You Navigate your Post-Covid Destination Wedding Plans  Without Causing Even More Stress and Worry

3 Great Tips to Help You Navigate your Post-Covid Destination Wedding Plans Without Causing Even More Stress and Worry

You’re newly engaged.  Congratulations!  What a crazy time to start planning a wedding, am I right??  Perhaps you’re even thinking,  we really want to have a destination wedding, how is this going to happen?  Perhaps you’ve set a wedding date or close to picking a date, and now you find yourself social distancing, staying home, and anxiously trying to make decisions about when, where, and how to start planning your wedding as the world grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic. To say these are uncertain times is the understatement of a lifetime. But… you have a lifetime ahead of you, and God willing, you get to spend it with your newly betrothed. That’s something to celebrate and think of what you’ll tell your grandkids someday!  And I firmly believe that when we’re all on the other side of this, there will be no more meaningful experience than a social celebration. So here’s my advice. Start planning! Here’s how… 

 

 

Tip #1: Pick a wedding date (or dates)

If you haven’t already, it’s time to determine when you’d like to be married. And then you need to select a few alternative dates. Now more than ever, flexibility is critical. Even if you’re planning an intimate celebration of less than 50 people, you may very well confront a shortage of available Saturdays in 2021. In many wedding markets, Saturday venue availability can be hard to come by in normal circumstances. That’s particularly true in coveted wedding destinations. That hardship may be amplified in 2021 because so many 2020 weddings have already had to postpone and reschedule into new 2021 dates. Take a deep breath, and remind yourself of the following:

  • The day of the week does not change the value, purpose, or meaning of your marriage, or of the way that you celebrate that marriage.  In fact, if you’re planning a destination wedding, depending on where you want to have it, might very well end up on a day that is most advantageous to your travel plans.  For example, you decided on a cruise and you’d love a beautiful beach wedding while you are at port.  Well if your ship is at that particular port on a Tuesday then your wedding will be on a Tuesday!
  • When we all emerge from our current reality, the world will be very different. Like you, your guests will also be craving meaningful social celebration. If they can make it happen, they will be there to celebrate you… on a Friday, a Sunday, or maybe even a Thursday.  The great thing about a Destination Wedding is that if everyone is there to celebrate your wedding, they are also there on vacation and that doesn’t mean confining yourself to a weekend in the slightest.  

Tip #2: Decide when you want to be married (as in married married, legally)

Do you want to be legally married this year?  That’s the first and most important question, and there is no right or wrong answer.  If the answer is yes, you want to be married, no matter what, there are several ways to approach this:  You can choose to forge ahead with your current wedding plans and prepare for how you might react if you are restricted to a smaller or different style event.  Or…You can decide to take a proactive approach and postpone your big party to next year. This is a good option if you find yourself obsessing over the news or constantly worrying “what if.”  This approach has been a popular choice among couples, as there are still a lot of unknowns – stress has no place in your engagement season!  With this option, you can still create an intimate wedding ceremony this year with a delayed reception in 2021, and something really amazing to look forward to!  Even if you are married in a small ceremony this year, you can still share a ceremonial exchange of your vows in front of your larger group of guests at your delayed reception in 2021.  And if you want permission to wear your dress twice, you have all our blessings!   If you’ve decided it’s safest (and less stressful) to postpone your original wedding plan (ceremony, party, and all) to a new date in 2021, an extra year of engagement may just mean extra joy on your wedding day!

Tip #3: Hire a Destination Wedding planner

This is the step that most mainstream wedding media articles will skip over. After all, it’s a luxury to hire a wedding planner, right? Yes it is. It’s also a luxury to hire a photographer, caterer, band, hair and makeup artist… and the list goes on. Have you ever heard the saying “Failing to plan, is planning to fail”? Well, it’s time to take that to heart.

Since quarantine measures were put in place, destination wedding planners have seen a steep rise in the number of couples reaching out, frantically seeking advice. Many couples have been forced to navigate uncharted territory of decision-making, contingency-planning, rescheduling, contract negotiations, cancellations, and extreme anxiety on their own. This is happening for couples of all budgets.

The bottom line is this: couples who have a full-service wedding planner have found themselves in a much better position. The rescheduling process has been smoother, more efficient, and grounded in expertise. Couples who do not have a planner have had to fend for themselves – or they’ve had to scramble to find someone to hire who can help them.

There are ample reasons to hire a destination wedding planner, but most people think the reasons to do so are just so that the wedding will be “organized”, “beautiful”, or “stress-free”. This is especially important when you are dealing with locations that are unfamiliar to you and you might not even see (or at most see once) before your big day.  In addition to your destination wedding planner being able to help you coordinate all the details for the actual ceremony and reception, she also can coordinate not only your travel needs, but also those of your guests so you are getting the most value for your (and their) budget.

We understand that a successful destination wedding or honeymoon, doesn’t just depend on a beautiful location, but also must have impeccable service, great restaurants, romantic suites and rooms, plus make your wedding and honeymoon a priority. That’s why every single destination wedding and honeymoon we design is perfectly matched to a resort and location that is based on your unique personality, dreams and vision as a couple. There are no cookie cutter experiences with us, and that is why we have a 100% success rate at giving our couples what they want.  Click here to request a free 30 minute consultation with me to discuss the destination wedding and honeymoon of your dreams without the stress and worry.  I can’t wait to hear from you!

XOXO,

Arielle

Top 10 Perfect Day at CocoCay tips, secrets and tricks

Top 10 Perfect Day at CocoCay tips, secrets and tricks

Drone shot of Perfect Day at Cocoa Cay 

Royal Caribbean’s private island in The Bahamas, Perfect Day at CocoCay, has become one of it’s favorite port destinations in the Bahamas with all of the great activities and things to do since it’s complete $250 million overhaul in 2019.

Here are our top ten tips and tricks for visiting Perfect Day at CocoCay for when you are planning your own visit to Perfect Day at CocoCay!

1. There is lots to do that costs nothing extra

There is a lot of attention for the activities on Perfect Day at CocoCay that costs extra, but there is a lot of fun things to do that costs absolutely nothing extra.

First and foremost, you can walk around Perfect Day at CocoCay without paying extra.  Just like any port of call, you can walk off the ship and explore on your own.

Here is a list of things that is included with your cruise fare when you visit Perfect Day at CocoCay:

  • Splashaway Bay
  • Captain Jill’s Galleon
  • Skipper’s Grill
  • Chill Grill
  • Snack Shack
  • Oasis Lagoon pool (Beach  chairs, umbrellas and towels)
  • Chill Island (Beach  chairs, umbrellas and towels)
  • South Beach (Beach  chairs, umbrellas and towels)
  • Sports Courts
  • Fitness Classes
  • Freshwater showers
  • Tram service
  • Beach access wheelchairs

However, if you are going to spend some of your hard earned cash on some experiences while at Coco Cay…

2. Buy an admission to Thrill waterpark before the cruise to save money

If you want to go to Thrill Waterpark, make sure you pre-purchase it before your cruise, you will absolutely save money vs buying passes onboard the ship.

Royal Caribbean sells its waterpark passes via the Cruise Planner site and regularly puts the tickets on sale.  If you want to save money (who doesn’t?), buy your tickets before you board the ship.

3. Best times for shortest water slide lines

Thrill Waterpark is home to Perfect Day at CocoCay’s incredible water slides, and as you might imagine, a lot of cruisers are going to want to try them all.  While lines for the slides are usually quite manageable, here are the best times to try the slides to have a minimal wait:

  • Before 11am
  • After 3pm

4. Your drink package works at Perfect Day at Coco Cay

If you purchase a Royal Caribbean drink package for your cruise, you can use the drink package benefits while at Perfect Day at CocoCay.

This means if you have the Deluxe Beverage Package, you can enjoy unlimited alcoholic beverages, along with bottled water, sodas and more. Likewise, the Refreshment Package and Soda Package benefits extend to Perfect Day at CocoCay.

Just like on the ship, souvenir cups or drinks served in pineapples/coconuts are not included with your drink package benefits.  If you have the Deluxe Beverage Package, you can get a discount on the souvenir cup.  Or you can ask for the drink in a regular cup to pay no additional charge.

 

5. Your Voom package works at Perfect Day at CocoCay

If you have a  Voom internet package,  you will have internet connectivity at Perfect Day at CocoCay.

WiFi coverage extends across the island, which means you can stay connected and share photos or videos with friends back home.  You can even post updates and pics in the comments below!  We’d love to see you photos!

6. Secret menu item at Snack Shack

Snack Shack serves up some great food, but they also have a menu item that is not listed on the printed menu. If you ask nicely, you can get a chicken parmigiana sandwich that is essentially a cross between the crispy chicken sandwich, mozzarella sticks and marinara sauce.

7. Free tram service around the island

Keep an eye out for the complimentary trams that are found around Perfect Day at CocoCay.

Beginning when you walk down the pier, you will find tram service to take you down the pier to save some steps (you will have plenty at Thrill Waterpark).

Once on the island, there is complimentary tram service that can take you all corners of Perfect Day at Coco Cay.

8. If you want a quiet spot, go to Chill Island

If your idea of a fun day is quiet time getting away from it all, head to Chill Island.  Chill Island is accessible via the green pathway that is towards the left side when you walk onto Perfect Day at CocoCay.

Once at Chill Island, keep to the left side of the area for pristine ocean views that has no music or the sounds of people at the pool or water park.  Instead, you will find only the sound of the ocean waves.

 

9. DIY Ice cream sandwiches

You will find self-serve soft serve ice cream machines at Perfect Day, along with chocolate chip cookies…I bet you know where I am going with this.

Grab two cookies, dispense ice cream between the two and voila!  The perfect treat!

10. Keep an eye out for chickens, iguanas and birds

This is a fun tidbit, but Perfect Day at CocoCay is home to more than just beautiful views.  If you walk enough of the island, it is not uncommon to see wild chickens roaming the grounds, along with iguanas that sometimes get close to the dining areas to see if any scraps of food rolled away.

Seagulls can also be found flying around, so be sure to keep an eye on your food.

Regardless of the animal, please do not feed any of them.

 Need some help with wedding planning stress? Click HERE for my free video “The Top 5 Things You MUST Do When Planning a Destination Wedding.

What to Expect on Embarkation Day When Sailing Liberty of the Seas – Port City Galveston

What to Expect on Embarkation Day When Sailing Liberty of the Seas – Port City Galveston

Getting through embarkation is a procedure, but a necessary part of getting right to the good part – the cruise!

What is it like to cruise with your husband, your mom and your three kids?  Well, it’s a procedure!  But not difficult at all as long as you plan ahead and have some degree of organization.  Our kids are pretty seasoned travelers.  They are usually on a plane at least once a year, if not more.  The longest they’ve flown is cross country.  So far I’ve been hesitant to have them fly longer than that, although at the end of 2021 we’ll be flying to Israel for our eldest daughter’s Bat Mitzvah (future blog post!!).  But here’s our embarkation experience porting out of Galveston Texas, to board Liberty of the Seas for a 7 night cruise in the Western Caribbean:

First off, we flew into Houston and spent the night at a hotel near the airport.  Pro Tip:  NEVER fly the same day you embark (get on the ship on Day 1).  You are just asking for trouble!  Flight delays, baggage issues, traffic, there are just too many opportunities to miss the boat, pun intended ha ha.  Don’t do it!  Fly (or drive, unless you live super super close to port, in which case good for you) in the night before, get a hotel near the airport and then Uber or ask your travel adviser to set up transportation for you.  Less stress and less opportunity for mess!

 Our first look at the ship!  Yes it was pretty overcast at the time but that cleared up right quick

Once you get to to the port, it’s a lot of cars and a lot of people and a lot of employees helping those people to get through to the check in area!  There are multiple cruise ships docked, people are coming and going and did I mention it’s a lot of people?  Your paperwork (that you should have printed out and put in a binder for safekeeping) does tell you to check in at a certain time, but honestly I would just get to the port as early as possible.  The sooner you get to the port, the sooner you get through your embarkation process, the sooner you’re on the boat and the sooner you’re on your way to fun!  They have porters who will help you tag your luggage if you haven’t already, take your luggage that is not staying with you (pro tip #2:  Make sure to keep a carry on with you (click here to read about what to put in your carry-on).

Need to know what to bring in your carry-on when you’re going on a cruise?  Click here for the must haves (and some don’t ).


Next you’ll be going through security and then through the lines to to check in and get your SeaPass card!  I have had good luck getting to the port early and not having to wait in line for too long.  Leave a message in the comments below – what are your tips for getting through the check in process?

Once you’re through checking in, you’ll proceed to another area…to wait some more.  For this trip we were just in the general waiting area (my husband was not into paying for the special priority area) and there’s lots of people but it’s run like clockwork and we killed time by looking around at the stuff they are selling (trust me there’s always opportunities to buy things).  We forgot our lanyards (doh!) but bought one for of each of us, and considered it a souvenir.  Once they called our group number we were on our way!

Finally on the gangway, ready to get on the ship and ready for the fun to start

We got onboard Liberty of the Seas at lunchtime, and the kids were hungry so we headed over to the WindJammer, Royal Caribbean’s buffet dining room, which is open for break, lunch, dinner and “tea-time”.  Now a lot of people will tell you, don’t visit the buffet during embarkation day because it will be packed, and they are correct.  However I have 3 kids and we were all hungry so off we went.  To be honest, there were a lot of people there but we found a table, the WindJammer is clean, bright and airy, windows all around to enjoy the view and delicious food!  I don’t know about you but with kids we love buffets.  There’s something for everyone and the kids can get what they want, we can get what we want and everyone is happy.  The Windjammer has a ton of options, from American food, Asian and Indian cuisine (look for the area marked “Jade”), soups, salads, sandwiches, pastas, burgers, hot dogs and frieds and of course desserts and COOKIES, my nemesis.

 

Lunchtime in the Windjammer

After everyone was fed and satiated, we were still a little early to go to our staterooms, as they wouldn’t be available until after 1pm.  But that’s ok because we had our carry-ons and this is why it’s so important to pack the right things in it!  We had our bathing suits and sunscreen and we let the kids get their suits on and into the water.  The Lido deck (aka where the pools are) has two pools, side by side, but they aren’t super wide.  However they are great to sit around when they have events like the belly flop contests, which are always fun to watch (or participate in, depending on how much of an extrovert/masochist – hey those bellow flops hurt – you are).  The Lido deck also includes the Aqua Park right next to the regular pools, but it’s separated by a wall and the stage where the musicians play during the day.

Quick dip in the pool on deck 11

Sabrina (my oldest) was old enough to do the Flow Rider on deck 13 and she asked me to come with her so she could check it out.  One of the things I really enjoy about a cruise is the sheer amount of walking we do!  Pro tip #3:  Keep yourself active and work off all the food you’ll be eating by walking and taking the stairs as much as possible.  You can do up to 20k/steps a day or more on a cruise if you’re active and that just leaves more room for the delectable desserts.



Hang 10, my child

The flow rider is this giant surfing machine that allows you to experience boogie boarding and surfing while in one contained area.  Very cool to do so while on a cruise ship!  With Royal Caribbean it’s first come first serve, although there is the opportunity to reserve spots for private lessons, at an additional cost.  During the trip there’s varying degrees of lines and wait times but when we went Sabrina was able to try it out right away.  Braver than me!

Our kids like kids clubs.  We like that our kids like kids clubs.  But even if you’re not sure if your kids will like the kids club, it’s a smart idea to check them, called Ocean Adventure on Royal Caribbean and register your kids, in case your kids want to hang out there.  It’s a big space with tons of game and activities for your kids to do, so you can have a few hours to yourself!  There are three different rooms, one for kids 3-5, one for kids 6-8 and one for kids 9-11.  Pro-tip:  if you have a child age 11+ permission, he or she can sign him or herself out, AND your 11 year old can sign in your younger kids as well!  What people might not realize is you can give your kids some freedom on a cruise ship that you might not feel comfortable doing IRL, since where are they going to go?  (HOWEVER, put the fear of God into them that if they go anywhere near the railings you’ll stick them in the stateroom until you get back home).


Dinner.  One of our three favorite meals of the day

On our voyage aboard Liberty of the Seas we had dinner in the main dining room every evening.  Liberty of the Seas offered three times for the main dining room:  Early dining at 5:30pm, late dining at 8:30pm or my time dining, where you choose (hence the name).  We decided to do My Time dining at 7pm each night, and we had the same table and waiter each evening.  That worked best for our schedule, *although* the only draw back of dinner at 7pm is a lot of the shows would start at around 9pm, which kind of cut into my leisurely dinner, but there’s pros and cons to everything.  Our son called it “fancy dining” because we made him put on a button down shirt and pants every evening lol.  If you want to spend extra money on one of the specialty dining restaurants that’s great but for us the main dining room was perfect.  The kids knew they needed to be on their best behavior, but we had the same wonderful waiter every evening and he would bring the kids food out first, they would eat and then our oldest would take everyone to the kids club and the adults could enjoy a nice relaxing leisurely dinner.  No cooking, no cleaning, just great food, wonderful conversation and no stress!  Are you ready to book your next vacation?  If so where do you want to go?  Leave a message in the comments because I would love to hear all about it.  And if you’d like some help planning your next vacation click here I can help you with that too!

Need some help with relieving vacation planning stress? Click HERE for my free video “The Top 5 Things You MUST Do When Planning a Family Cruise Vacation.

Top Items You Must Pack in Your Carry On For a Cruise

Top Items You Must Pack in Your Carry On For a Cruise

So you’ve booked you’re stateroom, you’ve got a cruise coming up, so exciting!  But what do you pack?  Depending on how long is the voyage, many people will have a larger suitcase, a carry on, and a purse and/or backpack.  Staterooms on cruises are smaller than most hotels so it’s important to pack smart.  Packing a carry-on to bring on a cruise is different than packing a carry-on for an airplane.  For example, there’s no restrictions on liquids.  So it’s not an issue to bring things like your water bottle, sun-screen or toiletries. If I’ve flown into the city of wherever I’m going to cruise, I’ve definitely taken a few minutes to move things around from my larger suitcase to my carry-on, because I wasn’t allowed to bring on the plane (ie sunscreen) but could very well need on Embarkation Day.

Assuming you have both a larger suitcase and a carry-on, here’s a list of things you’ll want to keep in your carry-on and DO NOT leave behind in your larger suitcase.  Why does it matter?  Because good news:  when you’re at port, one of the first things you do is hand over most of your luggage to the porters, who will deliver directly to your stateroom.  Yay!  Less to lug around.  Bad news:  You might not see your luggage for hours.  So it’s really important to pack the things you might need while you’re waiting for the rest of your stuff.  Here’s a comprehensive list of what you’re going to:

Travel Documentation

✓ Passport – Make sure that your passport is up to date.

✓ Visa – If you need a visa for your cruise, make sure that you apply for it 3 to 6 months before your cruise.

✓ Driver’s License – If you plan on driving in certain destinations when the ship is docked, you may want to get yourself an international driver’s license.

✓ Auto Insurance Card – In case you want to rent a car on days when the ship is docked at the port.

✓ Cash – Always bring cash, especially for the little towns who don’t exactly take credit card.

Pro Tip: For safety, always keep a physical (print out) and virtual copy (screenshots on your phone) of your travel documents and identification. You can download any of these apps to scan your documents. You can also send them to yourself as an email attachment.

Important Documents

✓ Tickets – The night before your cruise, make sure that you have your tickets secured inside your carry-on bag.

✓ Travel Insurance – If you’re unsure whether you should get travel insurance, check out why you absolutely should.

✓ Medical Insurance – It’s important to note that your travel insurance and medical insurance are quite different. Before your cruise, check with your provider what your policy covers.

✓ Medical History – If you have any special or chronic conditions, make sure to let the cruise manager / director know about it prior to your trip. Also, prepare a detailed copy of your medical history, including instructions (e.g. where your medication is located, what medication you take, allergies, etc.) should an emergency occur.

✓ Emergency Contacts – Include phone numbers, emails, and mobile messenger profiles.

Pro Tip:You can make individual travel document kits – especially if you’re traveling in a big group – using ziplock bags. Label each one before storing them inside your tote or backpack.

Technology

✓ Mobile Phone – For most people this is a no-brainer but hey, you’ve got a lot to remember.  use this as a checklist and make sure your phone is where it should be. Load your smartphone with offline maps of your excursions so you don’t have any excuse for not exploring!

✓ Camera + Charger – A waterproof camera if you can budget for it is recommended! Don’t forget to pack extra batteries and memory cards.

✓ Table/Ipad/Kindle- Before the cruise, download some movies / series from Netflix for offline viewing. Don’t forget to download while still on WiFi!  WiFi on cruises is sometimes…not the best.  Download at home so you have some content to watch without interruption from slow connection speeds. Don’t forget to download some e-books to read while you’re on the ship (or for less techy, head to the library to check out books made of actual paper!).

✓ Chargers – Use velcro cable ties or twist ties to keep your cables organized. You can also label each for quick access.

✓ Cruise approved Power strip bar- Since your cruise ship stateroom will likely have only 2 electric plugs, a power strip can be very practical. However, it is against cruise line policies to bring a surge-protected power strip (and will confiscate), so you need to be very careful to only buy one this “cruise approved”.  Look for USB chargers, especially if most of your devices are charged with a USB cord.  This also lessons the adaptors you need to bring on your trip.

✓ Portable Charger –  So you can keep charging your devices offboard!

✓ Waterproof Watch – Opt for a cheap, waterproof watch and remember to set it on your ship’s time.  This the time you’ll need to keep track of while you’ll on or off the ship.

✓ Headphones – If you feel extra nice to who you are traveling with, bring a headphone splitter so you can share one device.

Must Haves

✓ Wallet – Keep some pocket money in your wallet for you to use in case of an emergency (meaning if you get hungry and need some snacks, or for a real emergency).

✓ Sunglasses and/or reading glasses  – Keep them in their own storage, so they don’t get scratched

✓ Prescription Medication – Keep them in their original containers. Less questions will be asked when going through security.

✓ First Aid Kit – This is especially helpful when traveling with kids.

✓ Toiletries – pack travel size (and TSA Approved) toiletries like toothbrush, toothpaste, moisturizer, contact lens solution, etc. Also helpful:  need sunblock, aloe gel, lip balm and hand sanitizer.

✓ Change of Clothes – You don’t have to bring an entire outfit.  Pack clothes made from lighter, wrinkle-free fabrics like jersey or linen. I always recommend to bring a bathing suit and flip flops, in case you want to hit the pool before your luggage arrives (or arrives late).

✓ Outerwear – Depending on the season you’re traveling, you might want to bring a light cardigan or jacket with you. You can tie bulkier items like outerwear around your waist (or wear on the plane when it gets cold), so it doesn’t take up space in you carry-on.

✓ Kids Entertainment Kit – If you’re going to be stuck at the airport for a period of time or have nothing on your schedule yet after boarding, pack a backpack with books, art materials, puzzles and their favorite toys to keep them entertained.

Extra Stuff to Pack with Kids

✓ Diapers & wipes – obviously if you have kids in diapers, this is a no-brainer.  Pack enough for the  trip and then some, just in case.

✓ Sippy cups – You pack your water bottle, make sure to pack theirs too!

✓ Kids Snacks – I still bring some of my kids favorite tried and true snacks, even when on a cruise and we’re surrounded by food.  It never hurts to have some of their favorite pre-packaged granola bars, fruit snacks, trail mix and the like.  Especially for when you’re off the cruise ship and at port.  I will admit that when you’re on the ship when we’re by the pool  their “snack” is more often than not the soft serve ice cream dispenser.  But since we’re on vacation it doesn’t really count, right???

 

Miscellaneous

✓ Wine and/or Soda? – Some cruise lines allow you to bring one or two bottles of wine, and up to a certain amount of cans of soda in your carry-on.  If you are trying to stay in budget this is a great way to do so!  I do not think there is anything wrong with bringing a can of soda to the dining room if you just one Diet Coke with dinner, vs paying up the nose for the drink package.  Now a lot of people do opt for the drink package and that’s fine.  But for others if you want to save yourself some money to spend on other things like gratuity or excursions, check out your cruise line’s policy on bringing drinks onboard the ship. 

Bonus – What you CAN’T bring on a cruise

There are a couple of things that many new cruisers don’t realize are absolute no-no’s on a cruise. Don’t bring these.

1. Iron or steamer – This is a fire hazard and you can’t bring this on your cruise, not in your carry on and not in your luggage.

2. Household power strip bar – Since there are not a lot of electric outlets in the cruise cabin, many cruisers have heard that it’s a great idea to bring a power bar. It is, but you must only bring one that is cruise-approved.

So there’s our list!  Is there anything we’re missing, or what do you make sure put in your carry-on that is your must have?  Leave a message in the comments below because I would love to hear all about it.  And if you’d like some help planning your next vacation click here because I would love help make your vacation dreams a reality!

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