What is wrong with me? How do others do it?

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20 Posts
Joined Aug 2017
Kudos to everyone that travel with only a carry on, and wash out their clothes in a sink or do laundry while on vacation When I vacation, cruise or otherwise, I take one large piece of luggage and a carry on. I do not have to pay a checked baggage fee, therefore no money savings by not checking a bag.
Also, one of my rules, while on vacation, is no laundry. I can stay home and do that. I also really enjoy the option of wearing different outfits on vacation. I take a couple of simple cocktail type dresses for formal nights and one pair of heels that work for both dresses. Not much luggage space is used. I never have the opportunity to dress up in real life, so I like having a reason to dress up on a cruise.
For me, trying to cram everything in a small carry on is more stressful than managing luggage on a a trip.
To the OP, you are not doing anything wrong. There is no right or wrong amount of luggage to take on a trip. More important is what works for your needs and preferences, and what you are comfortable with.
Enjoy the journey, no matter where it takes you.
Fairview Texas
313 Posts
Joined Oct 2007
In the 22 years my honey and I have been cruising, we have learned a lot about packing. I take a LOT less than I did back when we started. That being said I have different packing lists for different lengths of cruises and different climates. We like to do walk-off at the end of the cruise so that is a factor.

Now we usually take 2 26" rolling suitcases, 2 carry-ons and a backpack each. Our longest cruise was 32 days and we have free laundry but I won't send everything out (some ruined clothes). We will do some laundry ourselves. We like to wear clean clothes everyday and have a little variety. We will wear some things a second time like pants and shorts. We don't get real dressed up for dinner anymore but we do dress nicely for the dining room.

I like to walk down the hall the night before the ship docks and see people with 4 or 5 bags waiting to be picked up. Good for them! I always say why does it matter to you how much I take as long as I don't ask you to carry my bags!
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Philip (DH) & Randy (DW)

Upcoming cruises:
3/18 Royal Princess - Eastern Caribbean
9/18 Golden Princess - TP

Past cruises:

2/18 Carnival Breeze - Bahamas
10/17 Crown Princess - Canada & New England
6/17 Viking Ve - Grand European
4/17 Royal Princess - TA & Med
2/17 Carnival Breeze - W. Caribbean
9/16 RCCL Oasis of the Seas - E. Caribbean
2/16 Caribbean Princess - Bahamas
12/15 Disney Wonder - Bahamas
11/15 Carnival Magic - W. Caribbean (Girl Cruise)
9/15 Golden Princess - TP
4/15 Regal Princess - TA & Baltic
2/15 Emerald Princess - W. Caribbean
1/15 Diamond Princess - Australia & New Zealand
4/14 RCCL Radiance of the Seas - Hawaii
2/14 Caribbean Princess - W. Caribbean (Couples Cruise)
10/13 Carnival Triumph - Mexico (Girl Cruise)
4/13 Crown Princess - W. Caribbean
12/12 Crown Princess - Med & TA
11/12 Crown Princess - Greek Isles
9/12 Sapphire Princess - Alaska Cruisetour
1/12 Carnival Magic - W. Caribbean
9/11 Emerald Princess - S. & E. Caribbean (B2B)
4/11 Coral Princess - Panama Canal (B2B)
1/11 Carnival Conquest - Bahamas
11/10 Emerald Princess - S. Caribbean
4/10 Grand Princess - TA & Med (B2B)
1/10 Carnival Conquest - W. Caribbean
9/09 RCCL Freedom of the Seas - E. Caribbean
3/09 HAL Oosterdam - TA
10/08 Crown Princess - E. Caribbean
4/08 Emerald Princess - TA
12/07 Disney Magic - E. Caribbean
9/07 Coral Princess - Alaska Cruisetour
2/07 Grand Princess - W. Caribbean
3/06 Grand Princess - W. Caribbean
10/05 Coral Princess - Panama Canal
4/05 Grand Princess - W. Caribbean
10/04 Disney Magic - E. Caribbean
1/04 Golden Princess - E. Caribbean
1/03 RCCL Voyager of the Seas - W. Caribbean
9/01 Grand Princess - E. Caribbean
1/01 Disney Magic - E. Caribbean
1/00 Disney Magic - Bahamas
1/99 Disney Magic - Bahamas
9/96 Premier Big Red Boat Atlantic - Bahamas
sw, Fl - Fort Myers Area
7,038 Posts
Joined Nov 2015
Since formal clothing isn't a necessary item that eliminates a lot of room in your suitcase.
Try it sometime and you'll appreciate how much easier it makes it.
I travel with one small bag and even have room for extra items.
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S 645/72/826/90
Fredericksburg, va. USA
86,268 Posts
Joined May 2001
My flip-flops do pool AND beach duty...and walking around town! I LIVE in flip-flops in warm weather! I bring shoes for dinner, and really, the rest of the time, I'm in flip flops! Now, hubby's shoes are larger, but not necessarily heavy....except for "dress" shoes...they do weigh a bit!
SoCal Gal
5,874 Posts
Joined Dec 2011
The more I vacation, the less I bring. I'm becoming quite good with a capsule wardrobe.
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Retiring 1 July 2018

West Sacramento, CALIFORNIA
392 Posts
Joined Oct 2004
It's in the DNA. Some can do it and some cannot. I CANNOT! I need 5 shirts just to get through lunch. I just don't even try anymore. One of the perks of being older is that Paying an extra $50 for a 2nd suitcase is a little easier then when I was 25.
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NCL Southward: September 1980
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Dolphin Lines: Sea Breeze 1991
Commodore Lines: Enchanted Isle 1993
Sonesta Nile Cruises: Moon Goddess 2001
Windjammer: Yankee Clipper January 2002
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NCL Sea January 2005
Carnival Spirit January 2010
Amazon Cruise 2012
Crown Princess: March 2017
Grand Princess: June 2018
4,440 Posts
Joined Mar 2007
We both enjoy getting dressed up- nice clothes for mdr dinners and tux and gowns on formals. We have breakfast in Sabatini's so we want to look nice there. I had to laugh last spring because I really tried hard to pack light. I brought dh's tux but left his white dinner jacket at home. He kept asking about it. I guess if I can bring three gowns, he can have two jackets. Neither of us enjoy wearing the same things day after day so we pack a fair share of clothes. And I always pack at least four swimsuits.

We did four weeks of cruising and two weeks traveling around Europe by train a coupke years ago. We each had a backpack plus three suitcases. It was hell getting on and off the trains and finding a place to stow them. We decided only two suitcases when doing something like that again and it was fine last spring. But if we are traveling and even doing pre and post cruise stays, I plan to bring as much as we want if no trains or odd transportation are involved.
We wear mainly Tommy Bahama clothes and they are unique and don't want to wear them more than twice since people tend to remember them more than a dark shirt and pants. I wash his shirts myself but do send them down for pressing. I wash out my clothes and hardly send anything to the laundry but I do want my clothes clean when I pack to go home. And it seems that many of our cruises involve different temperature zones and I want a variety of outer clothes. I don't want everything coordinated so I have to wear a black jacket with all my outfits.
As someone said, we pay a lot for our cruises and I am not going to be cheap with luggage charges.

The world would be boring if we were all alike, so good for you if you can travel with just a backpack and carry on but it isn't for us.
SoCal Gal
5,874 Posts
Joined Dec 2011
Originally posted by Cuervosar
We eliminate the non-essentials. Deodorant, toothpaste, socks, underwear. By only taking one extra pair of jeans and T-shirt we eliminate needless luggage.
Please tell me these were indeed essentials.
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Retiring 1 July 2018

Evergreen CO
297 Posts
Joined Jul 2016
When I traveled for work I was always on a tight schedule and always used just a carry-on. No time to wait for checked baggage. Hurried off plane to car rental - to business location. Now that I'm retired I enjoy the fact that I don't have to hurry. I do what's easiest - for me that's curb side check-in of all baggage, arrive early (no stress about missing plane) and enjoy a bloody mary before boarding. Upon arrival no rush to car rental - stroll to baggage claim, wait 20 mins for luggage, Uber to hotel. It really doesn't make any difference if we have one bag or four, so we just pack what we want and don't stress about over-packing. For a 14 day cruise it usually works out to 2 suitcases and a garment bag. I know this approach isn't right for everyone, but it's what works for us.
233 Posts
Joined Mar 2014
Originally posted by shellgirl61
To the OP, you are not doing anything wrong. There is no right or wrong amount of luggage to take on a trip. More important is what works for your needs and preferences, and what you are comfortable with.

Enjoy the journey, no matter where it takes you.

Exactly - to each their own. Enjoy your cruise!!

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cruise history | 2012 - Crown W Carib | 2013 - Ruby Greek Isles | 2013 - Ruby E Carib | 2014 - Emerald W Carib | 2015 - Sapphire SE Asia | 2015 - Emerald E Med | 2015 - Emerald W Med | 2015 - Star W Coast |2016 - Emerald E Carib | 2016 - Emerald E Coast Getaway | 2016 - Royal S Med | 2016 - Regal Baltics | 2016 - CB Princess E Carib | 2017 - Crown E Carib | 2017 - Royal S Med | 2017 - RC Majesty Bahamas | 2017 - Oasis E Carib | 2017 - Regal - NE Canada |

2018 - 38 days/5 booked cruises TBA | 2019 - 20 days/2 booked cruises TBA. X and VV on the horison
2,872 Posts
Joined Feb 2010
It’s a mystery to me, too!! My DH keeps trying to get me to take 1 less suitcase, but it never fails that I go over the weight limit and out comes the extra suitcase!

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Cruising through life one ship at a time
Ontario, Canada
312 Posts
Joined Feb 2007
Originally posted by Woobstr112G
Your DH could always use Cruise Line Formalwear to pre-order his tux/suit/dinner jacket. This way it would be in your cabin when you board.

That is a good idea and we have taken advantage of this many times. However a few cruises ago, we encountered bad luck twice in a row. First time, my 6ft. 4 husband who weighs 240lbs found that the tux left for him would accommodate a 5ft 10 170 body and there was nothing the ship staff could do for him. Second occasion was on a trip to Hawaii where the Formalwear company left the 'dirty' formalwear on the dock and took back the formal wear that was to be delivered to the ship. Even with cleaning there was no way that all sizes would be available. Since then, my DH wears a very good blazer to travel and wears it with white shirt, tie and trousers etc. on formal nights.

We purchased large suitcases about 10 years ago but gave them away and now we travel with two small suitcases and small carry-ons. As another poster said, mix and match, and if you are at Anytime Dining, no one will even notice if you wear the same clothes to dinner more than once.
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Pat and Richard
2018: Alaska
Fall 2016: Pacific Coastal - Celebrity
Spring 2016: TA on beautiful Equinox - the best crew and cruise ever.
Past Cruises: Celebrity 14, Princess-4,
RCCL-1, Holland America-2, Sun Cruises-3
7,671 Posts
Joined Dec 2011
Originally posted by cruisequeen4ever
It’s a mystery to me, too!! My DH keeps trying to get me to take 1 less suitcase, but it never fails that I go over the weight limit and out comes the extra suitcase!

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Ever notice that same packaged luggage will weigh different amount at different airlines scales?

Earlier this month weighed 48 pounds on Delta outgoing and same suitcase with a few pieces of my clothes getting tossed weighed 53 pounds?
549 Posts
Joined Aug 2006
Originally posted by PekingeseLady
OMG, TY all so much for all your replies. You made me laugh, I took some notes for when I cruise and have to fly, but as I am driving a Truck......
If you are driving to the port I don't see a problem. Take all you want!
We have to fly from a cold climate (Boston) to Florida or San Juan.
We both take a 25 inch piece of checked luggage and are able to fit formal wear and everything we need for the cruise in that and our under-the-seat carry-on.

We do Europe by air with a carry-on only so as not to be constrained by luggage. It IS possible with careful planning and coordination of outfits.

However, cruising is so different when you drive to the port. Have a great time!
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Royal Caribbean, MOS, Southern Caribbean 10/96
Carnival Elation, Eastern Caribbean 8/06
Carnival Miracle, Exotic Western Caribbean 10/06
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Carnival Victory, Eastern Caribbean 2/08
NCL Dream, Boston to Bermuda 10/08
Carnival Freedom, Western Caribbean 5/09
Carnival Inspiration, Western Caribbean 10/09
Royal Caribbean, VOS, W. Mediterranean, 5/10
NCL Dawn, Boston to Bermuda 10/11
Royal Caribbean, MOS, Key West/Bahamas 10/12
Royal Caribbean, MOS, Key West/Bahamas 2/16
Carnival, Fascination, Southern Caribbean 2/17

Princess, Crown Princess, Western Caribbean 2/18
4,302 Posts
Joined Feb 2007
Run an internet search on 4x4 capsule wardrobe. The basic concept is everything goes with everything else - in this trip, black. Those 16 pieces can turn into a whole season of clothes if done property.

I JUST packed, tonight, a 22" carry on suitcase for an 7 night trip to the Caribbean (+1 night in hotel before). 2 dresses, 4 blouses, 1 black slacks, 3 shorts, 8 t-shirts, yoga pants, hoodie or sweater, 1 cover up, 2 night shirts, 1 dress sandal, 1 flip flops. That all fits in 1/2 the suit case! The other half is my water shoes, hat, snorkel gear and 3 swimsuits. I will wear another yoga outfit to travel with my gym shoes. We get laundry but mostly I will use it to come home with clean clothes!

The backpack gets the tablet, kindle, jewelry, binoculars, liquid toiletries etc.

We don't mess with soda, water etc. so that is a non issue. We pretty much always fly to the port and I refuse to pay an extra $200 round trip for our family of 4 just because we can't pack efficiently. Really, it's not hard when you get the basic minimalist concept down and neatly fold/roll clothes.

I should add that my formal wear for Princess is still very light weight polyester dress/gown - the don't wrinkle, can be packed in a ball if you want, and if you get the adjustable designs can be worn many ways. And a basic black dress can always be dressed up with jewelry. DH can pack 1 dress shirt, 2 ties and wear his jacket on the plane and pack his dress pants or in the alternative, rent a tux for under $100 and not have to mess with it.
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Royal Caribbean February 2000 (Eastern)
Carnival Valor March 2007 (Western)
Carnival Legend March 2008 (Western)
Carnival Fascination March 2009 (Key West/Nassau)
Carnival Glory August 2009 (Eastern)
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Grand Princess May 2014 (Alaska)
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Carnival Sunshine October 2017 (Norfolk to Bahamas)
Carnival Triumph December 2017 (Yucatan)
Carnival Fascination March 2018 (Island hopper)
1,198 Posts
Joined Jul 2013
Unless you really have to travel with only a carry on, why bother? Just take a large suitcase and pack what you want. I can pack light if I really have to- like if we are doing a weekend in Europe and don't want to pay for baggage- but if I can take a larger case I'll just pack what I want. Don't let the pressure from those 'Oh I just walk on with a small sandwich bag carrying everything I need for my 3 week cruise' people get to you
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Jan 2016 NCL Epic Canaries, Morocco and Madeira
My review of our Epic First time cruise
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2,282 Posts
Joined Feb 2006
Originally posted by SquishTheWhale
Unless you really have to travel with only a carry on, why bother? Just take a large suitcase and pack what you want. I can pack light if I really have to- like if we are doing a weekend in Europe and don't want to pay for baggage- but if I can take a larger case I'll just pack what I want. Don't let the pressure from those 'Oh I just walk on with a small sandwich bag carrying everything I need for my 3 week cruise' people get to you
Love this post!!
Sydney, Australia
8,242 Posts
Joined Jan 2014
I really can't be bothered with mimimal / capsule wardrobes. For a start they are usually made from synthetic fabrics and I prefer natural fabrics, at least for day wear. Also I'm a plus size so I can't wear skimpy clothing. I don't mind putting a load of laundry through the laundrette once a week but I hate having to hand wash stuff in my cabin at night when I'm tired. I don't go on holiday to do chores like that.

We did downsize our very large suitcases many years ago after a land trip to Europe involving train travel. They were just too large and heavy. Now we use a combination of medium-large spinners with overnight bags that fit on top, plus wheeled carry-ons.

Also over the years I have learnt to:
Always carry more than one pair of dressy shoes, and also of walking sandals. I've had shoe straps or stitching break in the past (I even had a heel break right off once, back in the days when I wore such things) and have also had several occasions where shoes got totally soaked in unexpectedly heavy rainstorms.
Always carry at least two swimsuits, partly because I hate getting into a damp swimsuit, and also because I've experienced swimsuit "disintegration" during a trip.
Always carry warm layers even in summer, and at least one lighter layer in cooler climates (I find jeans are too hot on warm days). Some places, like Melbourne in Australia, can get four seasons in a day.
Always carry more than one pair of casual pants and also dressy pants. Accidents happen and if they do I want something clean/dry/undamaged to change into.

I like variety in what I wear too, so like to have a selection of tops for both night and day, and also a selection of evening dresses - I don't wear gowns though as they are too heavy.

I always pack a super lightweight cotton robe, a sarong, and a pashmina. I hate thick towelling robes and hotel/cruise ship robes usually don't fit me anyway.
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and Sea Princess Hawaii, Tahiti and South Pacific cruise in August 2019

Sep 2017 - Royal Princess - Mediterranean
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Suwanee & Ellijay, Georgia
913 Posts
Joined Nov 2010
We fall more into the group who takes whatever we want. We both have a 26" bag, and if it's only for 5 days, those work out. If we go to 10-11 days, or cold weather sailings in Alaska, we normally add a third carry on size. We rather have it and not need it, then spend time working with whatever we pack in a small bag, as we do enough of that on other trips.

Cruising is only one vacation type we take, and average one a year as that's enough for us. We do tour on our motorcycle, and those trips can be just a weekend or 7-8 days. Either way, we both get one bag about the side of a full face helmet that fits in the saddlebag, and we pack that for the duration of the trip. So when we cruise, or take any other vacation, we take whatever we want.

To us, given the cost of the cruise, we just figure in baggage fee's on the plane if we need too, since we usually fly to the port. Even the couple of times we have driven to FLL, we still pack all we want too.

It works for us
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David & Ellen

Caribbean Princess 10/2018 - Southern Caribbean Melody
Coral Princess 8/2017 - Alaska Southbound ....... Review & Pics ..................
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456 Posts
Joined Feb 2016
You never lose a bag when you travel with a carry on. You don't have to wait for ages in the baggage claim area to find that your baggage is the very last to show up, beaten and haggard.

With a carry on, you walk off the plane, head out the door and your leg is the first one the drug dog sniffs as you make your way to the taxi.

I see people falling all over themselves trying to wheel out several large suitcases around. I wouldn't want to travel like that but that's just me.

For us, it's not a problem to wash out underwear and socks while taking the morning shower. Today's casual shirts for active wear are usually made from wicking material. They wash out easy and dry fast. It only takes a minute to wash these things and hung up, they dry quick. I've never been late for breakfast yet.

The bottom line is travel the way that makes you the most comfortable. Everybody's different.

Happy cruising.