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Packing Tips from a Travel Advisor

July 10, 20245 min read

What can I say, I travel A LOT. It’s my passion after all!

I get asked about becoming a packing ninja, and here are my tried-and-true techniques to rock your travel world.

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PACKING IN GENERAL: I do not check bags if possible, so I typically travel with a carry-on suitcase like this that requires me to roll my items instead of folding them. It truly does save room! Leave the high maintenance attire at home and opt for more wrinkle free options. Instead of packing shorts + shirt, I have a closet full of flowy dresses that unfold with ease, even after being tootsie-rolled in a suitcase all day. If you want slacks or something that might wrinkle, wear it on the plane. If you are heading to the beach, just plan for three types of shoes: pool/beach flip flops (I like these because they are comfortable AND you can rinse the sand off later), dressier flip flops or evening shoes if you dine out AND something comfy for excursions (sneakers perhaps?). If you plan to stay at the resort, that third pair can be more resort shoes like these. I do not pack heels for my trips. Ever. And I don't take full size anything! I literally have my “travel stash” (eternally packed in my carry-on), consisting of trial sizes of deodorant, hairspray, sunscreen, bug spray, moisturizer, vitamins and travel makeup. Ladies, travel won’t need your cocktail dress and full makeup kit to be parked at the beach all day.

Ditch your normal purse and opt for a front of the body bag with ID + one credit card and some singles to offer as tips. Depending on your airline's carry-on requirements, a tiny purse is easy to stash in my backpack prior to boarding. A front of the body pouch is your best friend when traveling to destinations that are notorious for pick pockets (don’t put your phone or wallet in your back pocket EVER). With that having been said, don't let a few bad apples spoil your ability to explore this amazing world! You won't have issues with thieves if you take a few simple precautions. I pack smart, keep my belongings close and try not to stand out as a tourist (the goal is to blend in, so leave your favorite team jersey and ballcap at home). Heading to the airport? Grab an empty water bottle and look for a free water station on the other side of security to save money.

CRUISES: When it comes to packing, plan on two categories. Start with your main suitcase, which will be checked with the cruise ship bellman at the curb upon arrival. Remember those luggage tags the cruise line told you to print? Does that really matter? YEEESSSS. You will 100% want those printed for curbside check in. Those printed luggage tags saved our bacon leading up to a cruise in California, but that’s a whole other story. These tags ensure that your belongings get to your room, so it is mission critical to print them at home (on the app and/or website) and attach them to your suitcases. Don’t forget a tip for the bellman.

Next, keep a backpack or duffel bag with items you'll need for the embarkation day: book/kindle, medications, electronics, and valuables. I have never had issues with sea sickness, but if you anticipate that, bring some Dramamine. Once you check your suitcase at the curb, you won't see it again in your room until much later. Therefore, make sure you're wearing your dinner outfit. A stash of makeup is perfect for a quick freshen-up. For gentlemen, perhaps shorts or jeans and a polo? An early arrival at the ship makes for an excellent pool day, so I find it easiest to eat at the pool or the buffet on the first night. Don't forget your towel clips! These babies come in handy at a resort, on a cruise AND even at home at a pool party.

Once your suitcase arrives at your cabin, take 30 minutes to unpack and settle in. Utilize the drawers and shelves…and stash your suitcase under the bed. The cabins are small, so some pre-sail organization sets you up for success the rest of the trip. Familiarize yourself with the cruise line's benefits and packages. For example, are you able to access laundry options? Wait, why would you do laundry on vacation?? If you are flying, this is an excellent amenity, because it allows you to carry a smaller suitcase onboard your plane (instead of $$ checking a large bag). If the cruise ship has a self-laundry center, one laundry day might eliminate the hassle and expense of checked airline luggage on a shorter cruise. Take a couple of laundry pods with you. Even better, maybe you have an option for affordable laundry service! If you are on a 10 day or longer cruise, this is mission critical. I became a believer after a 15-day cruise for sure! We sent out laundry three times, and it was nice to walk into our cabin and have fresh apparel (including underpants) awaiting us!

Cruising is my jam, so here are some of my best tips for safe and efficient travel.

 ALL INCLUSIVES: Depending on what time of the year you travel, the weather might be dramatically different at home vs your destination. I love my “leisure suit” that is basically a comfy but blingy (after all, you want to travel in style!) velvety pants and zip up jacket with a tank top underneath. It’s always cold on the plane, so this is perfect! Simple to tie the velvety jacket around my waist at the destination. Taking a vacation hat? No worries when you wear it on the isn't counted as a carry-on item. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need a different outfit every night. After chilling at the beach all day, nobody cares if you wear a versatile black dress multiple times! Especially if you are just wearing something an hour or two, it’s OK to pack light.

Planning a cruise? Don't miss our blog, 'Top 10 Must Haves for Your Dream Cruise' and ensure you’re fully prepared for an unforgettable voyage!

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Lisa Farrimond

Travel Agent

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Hillary Mayrhofer


Lisa is an amazing travel agent! She booked my Cruise and found some amazing deals and excursions for me! She was very knowledgeable and helpful with answering all of my questions, since this was my first time taking a Cruise. I had no idea what to expect. I will definitely be using her services for my next trip!

Jerad Carpenter


I had the pleasure of booking a cruise through Lisa. She has a wealth of knowledge when it comes to the ins-and-outs of a cruise ship. The tips she gave me from arriving to the ship and leaving was spot on. It made my life and planning so much easier. I will definitely be using her services in the future.

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