Packing for a family of 4

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#1
Beaufort, SC
159 Posts
Joined Sep 2004
Any packing tips you wanna share?! This is the first time we are all sharing a room together It's always been cheaper for us to do two rooms but NOT this time... anywho, I'd rather cruise and all be together in the same room than not cruise at all but I'm not even imagining how we are going to deal with suitcases and everyones clothes!

It's me, DH, DD 13 and DS 7... any genius ideas or tips you may have on how you pack to make things a little more efficient? I'm trying to figure out if we should all have separate suitcases, try to pack together or what?!

2 days... ahhhhhhhh
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#3
United States
215 Posts
Joined May 2013
Originally posted by Bella8286
Any packing tips you wanna share?! This is the first time we are all sharing a room together It's always been cheaper for us to do two rooms but NOT this time... anywho, I'd rather cruise and all be together in the same room than not cruise at all but I'm not even imagining how we are going to deal with suitcases and everyones clothes!

It's me, DH, DD 13 and DS 7... any genius ideas or tips you may have on how you pack to make things a little more efficient? I'm trying to figure out if we should all have separate suitcases, try to pack together or what?!

2 days... ahhhhhhhh
When we take all our boys, our four oldest share one interior. Our oldest shares one witt our 9 year old, and then our 17 and 14 year old share one. They take another for shoes.

My husband and I also share one bag for all our casual clothes and shoes and then put our formal clothes in a garment bag.

Don't overpack, that's the biggest thing I can think of. With four people in one room, it's going to get tight.
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#4
Canada, eh?
88 Posts
Joined Apr 2013
There should be room under the beds to roll thin suitcases to keep them out of the way. I packed all my stuff in one aircraft carry-on size bag for the flight down, and it worked out well in the room too.

I shared a room with my brother and my parents and sister had another.

Pack less than you think you'll need. You'll end up buying souvenir shirts and stuff anyway. There is shipboard laundry that costs $3 to wash, $3 to dry, $1 (or was it $1.50?) for detergent. The machines on the Glory took only quarters, but some of the ships now allow you to use your S&S card for laundry.

With a family of 5, we pooled all our dirty laundry together and did one load about midway through the cruise. We also did another load on the second last night, but that's because after our cruise ended we were spending another week in Florida.

I chose not to bring a suit jacket or tie or dress shoes for elegant nights, so I only brought a pair of black dress pants, belt and a nice shirt. I felt a little silly wearing running shoes to with that, but nobody's looking at your feet. Saved a little space that way.

If I were to do it all again, here's what I'd pack for a Caribbean cruise:

- enough socks and underwear for 4 days (do laundry mid-week)
- one pair of zipaway convertible cargo pants/shorts (wear every day)
- one pair of black dress pants and belt to go with it
- 2 or 3 nice casual T-shirts or button-up T's
- long-sleeved dress shirt (doubles as second layer if cold)
- bathing suit
- one extra pair of shorts
- pair of black running/walking shoes
- pair of water shoes or sandals
- sleepwear
- toiletries bag (toothbrush, paste, shaver, floss)
- hat
- small backpack with packable umbrella and metal water bottle (fill up on ship, carry to excursions), and light packable rainproof jacket
- power tap or small power bar for electronics
- chargers for iPhone, iPad, camera, etc.

I think that's about all. It sounds minimalist but you end up buying extra clothing along the way.
#5
1,322 Posts
Joined May 2001
One problem that occurs is what to do with the dirty clothes while on the cruise. They tend to get thrown all over the cabin on chairs, the sofa, etc. or just stuffed back in a draw or closet mixed in with the clean clothes. I bring a collapsable hamper so everything gets tossed in there. Then going home, I pack all the dirty clothes in 1 suitcase so I know what's getting washed when I get home.
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#6
Houston, TX
13,521 Posts
Joined Mar 2004
I just survived a week with four grown women in a cove balcony. Not sure I'd do it again, but we survived!

-We stuck smaller suitcases in larger suitcases before sliding them under the bed.
-One of my cabin mates brought a hanging fabric shoe hangar for the closet to actually use for shoes.
-I found a couple of suction cup shelves at Target for around $7 each. Got a corner one for the shower, and a regular rectangular one for the wall. We probably could've done without the regular one, but the corner one for the shower was a lifesaver.
-There are two drawers under the couch, if you're in a room with one. One of our drawers was full of bedding, but we could still put a little bit in it, and had another large drawer free for misc. stuff.
-Try to save a drawer in the desk for random junk - chargers, purses, lanyards, flat irons, etc. It was amazing how less cluttered the room felt just by getting a bunch of that stuff off the desk.
-For us, they took the couch cushions off and just wedged them in between the beds. The two in the beds were short, so they just put them at the head of the bed, sort of like a headboard, to free up floor space. This did not work for my 5'9" self, as when I laid on the bed with it in place, my feet hung off the edge.

Good luck! It's doable - but tight.



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#7
Houston, TX
13,521 Posts
Joined Mar 2004
And check the stack of life jackets when packing - one of my shirts had gotten wedged in between them. I never would've found it if I hadn't actually pulled the jackets out of the closet!

A collapsible dirty clothes hamper is good to put in the closet. You'll have room for it with that shoe hanger since the shoes aren't on the floor of the closet. We used to use the suitcases, but it's just a pain trying to take them out from under the bed and put them back in when there's four people in the room.


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#8
Canada, eh?
88 Posts
Joined Apr 2013
Bring large plastic bags or laundry bags to store dirty laundry in. Maybe you only need one large one for a family, everyone throws their dirty clothes in together, do a load of laundry when it's full.

The most annoying thing will be when everyone comes back from a beach excursion and you need to find space to hang up 4-5 wet bathing suits and towels.

Everyone will just need to be disciplined about keeping all their stuff together. Maybe designate a drawer or shelf or corner of the room for everyone and call it "their" corner for throwing their iPods, backpacks, water bottles, wallets, and so on.
#9
Beaufort, SC
159 Posts
Joined Sep 2004
Awesome tips ya'll! Thanks
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#10
Cincinnati, Ohio
1,984 Posts
Joined Mar 2004
After I unpack the suitcases, I always put a big one (open end out) under the bed. This way I can pull it out and push it back in like an extra drawer. I will use it for dirty laundry or simply another drawer if needed.
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#11
188 Posts
Joined Aug 2012
I'll also add about dirty laundry. If you aren't able to wash, we use compression bags to seal and minimize them. Somehow dirty laundry always takes more space. Lol. We also use trash bags too sometimes.
#12
USA
3,260 Posts
Joined Jan 2013
I would add ... that if you are turning your bags over to a porter at any time, that you cross pack. I've heard horror stories of lost luggage. This way you all would have at least some clothing if a piece got lost.
Good luck! Safe travels!
#13
906 Posts
Joined Apr 2006
Originally posted by monkeyluis
Pack light. Remember you can do laundry. Use the bundle method. 1 bag each, carry on size.

One of my favorite references:

http://www.packinglight.net/travel_info_depot.aspx
That video was amazing! Now what would be even more amazing is if I can convince my wife to use this method of packing. I'm not counting on it though.
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#14
188 Posts
Joined Aug 2012
Originally posted by AFAMILY
That video was amazing! Now what would be even more amazing is if I can convince my wife to use this method of packing. I'm not counting on it though.
My wife does. We do very well with just one carry on size bag.
#15
California
16 Posts
Joined Mar 2013
I have also found that if you roll all your clothes and lay them on top of pants, legs hanging over suitcase and then fold legs over rolled clothes you will be amazed how much clothes you can get in a suitcase and how much less they come out wrinkled.
Have a wonderful cruise. I too would rather add more guests to a room then not cruise at all.
#16
MASS
1,710 Posts
Joined Aug 2008
We use the collapable hamper too. Another trick I use is when it is time to pack up to leave. I lay all the suitcases out and sort the laundry while I am packing. When you get home the dirty clothes are all ready to go right into the washing machine. Keep one suitcase empty for the clean clothes and souvoniers.
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#17
Ontario
642 Posts
Joined May 2009
Originally posted by taszmom
One problem that occurs is what to do with the dirty clothes while on the cruise. They tend to get thrown all over the cabin on chairs, the sofa, etc. or just stuffed back in a draw or closet mixed in with the clean clothes. I bring a collapsable hamper so everything gets tossed in there. Then going home, I pack all the dirty clothes in 1 suitcase so I know what's getting washed when I get home.
Originally posted by monkeyluis
I'll also add about dirty laundry. If you aren't able to wash, we use compression bags to seal and minimize them. Somehow dirty laundry always takes more space. Lol. We also use trash bags too sometimes.
The four of us in our family now travel with just carry on and use the suitcase under the bed technique for corraling dirty clothes. When it is time to come home, I combine any leftover clean clothes (which usually isn't very much) into one suitcase and I loosely fold the dirty clothes so that they fit into the suitcases better. Now that my DS is reaching the teenage years, I think I'm going to need to use a large plastic bag to corral the smells!
#18
New York
828 Posts
Joined May 2010
Originally posted by BrwnEyedGirl45
I have also found that if you roll all your clothes and lay them on top of pants, legs hanging over suitcase and then fold legs over rolled clothes you will be amazed how much clothes you can get in a suitcase and how much less they come out wrinkled.
Have a wonderful cruise. I too would rather add more guests to a room then not cruise at all.
I second this. Rolling clothes saves a lot of space.
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#19
Ontario
701 Posts
Joined Dec 2010
Use the laundry service on board! Its pricey but so worth it to help you travel light.
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#20
167 Posts
Joined Mar 2013
Originally posted by monkeyluis
Pack light. Remember you can do laundry. Use the bundle method. 1 bag each, carry on size.

One of my favorite references:

http://www.packinglight.net/travel_info_depot.aspx
Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I never can pack light and this way lets me still pack all my outfits but pack into a small bag.
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