Packing tips: Double duty (multiple use) items

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#1
Central TX
43 Posts
Joined Jan 2014
I am looking for packing tips about items that have multiple purposes. I always over pack. How can I be prepare with the least amount of items?

For example,
Baby Shampoo - can be used as laundry detergent, can be used as defog for snorkel mask, and as a shampoo, of course.

What are your ideas? (Please don't criticize the suggestions of others, unless the tip is dangerous somehow.) Thanks, in advance, for any input!
#2
196 Posts
Joined May 2011
Interesting post I always overpack, but it's mainly "just in case" clothing items, gotta realise people really don't care if they see me in the same clothes every 2 to 3 days! I have a bunch of medication too.

Nothing to add sorry, but interested in others tips
#3
Long Island, New York
4,618 Posts
Joined Nov 2007
Originally posted by TXgalSAM
I am looking for packing tips about items that have multiple purposes. I always over pack. How can I be prepare with the least amount of items?

For example,
Baby Shampoo - can be used as laundry detergent, can be used as defog for snorkel mask, and as a shampoo, of course.

What are your ideas? (Please don't criticize the suggestions of others, unless the tip is dangerous somehow.) Thanks, in advance, for any input!
I think it's in our genetic code to prepare for any contingency (some call it over-packing)! That being said here are a few things I have learned to never leave home without: one pair of dress jeans and a nice top; one pair of ballet slippers in the same color as the dress jeans...the soft ones that fold in half...a TIDE stick, Dr. Scholl's corn pads and an anorak or rain jacket that's easy to roll up; a small flashlight and binoculars (small ones). These items go with me everywhere, the list gets added to according to our destination. I've got it down to where I can pack for 21 days in one suitcase that weighs under 50 lbs. and a back pack as my carry on. Can't wait to read responses with other people's ideas!!
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#4
Suffolk County, Long Island, NY
919 Posts
Joined Nov 2000
I always use a color scheme for packing clothing, especially for colder climates where clothing will be a bit bulkier. Just about anything I pack can be paired with multiple items. I also use silk scarves a lot. They are lightweight and take up little space. I can change the entire look of an outfit by changing the scarf and how I tie it. I usually save an empty paper towel or wrapping paper tube to roll my scarves onto after I iron them. No wrinkles!
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#5
Tasmania, Australia
672 Posts
Joined Feb 2012
This would be a good thread for the main river cruise forum.

We were away for 9 weeks in 2012 and managed with one large suitcase each, plus a backpack between us. This year it'll be 5 weeks, so packing light is a necessity.

We always pack mix and match, everything has to be able to be worn with mutliple outfits or they dont get packed, layering too...quick dry fabrics - no ironing, I always pack a couple of different coloured light scarves, they weigh nothing but can be worn day or night and change the look of an outfit. Last time I took a pair of black capris, 3 tops and a light weight black dress, with the scarves I think I ended up being able to wear something that looked a bit different every night for dinner on our 15 day cruise.

I'd rather pack less and buy if I had to, rather than waste space over packing...jmho.

We take small binoculars, I have a flashlight app on my phone which is really good, plus use the maps apps too, so no need for taking maps, even tho our phones have alarms, I always take a little travel alarm clock, a small sewing kit with a small pair of scissors, a small roll of tape (loads of uses), lightweight raincoat each...I'll add as I think of things :-)

Deb
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#6
Tasmania, Australia
672 Posts
Joined Feb 2012
Remembered something else..a couple of costume jewellery necklaces, light weight..but can really dress up an outfit, especially for dinner :-)
Apart from my rings, I never take expensive jewellery away with me..I'd rather not have that worry!

:-) Deb
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Avalon Creativity, Grand France, Paris-Normandy Beaches-Paris, 8th - 15th July 2014
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#7
Long Island, New York
4,618 Posts
Joined Nov 2007
Originally posted by tassietravellers
Remembered something else..a couple of costume jewellery necklaces, light weight..but can really dress up an outfit, especially for dinner :-)
Apart from my rings, I never take expensive jewellery away with me..I'd rather not have that worry!

:-) Deb
I bought a multi-pair card of plain pierced earring studs in five different "jewels": green, lt. blue, dk blue, pink and red. I keep them in a little zip lock snack bag and throw them in my travel suitcase to bring with me whenever I leave home. They cover pretty much any color combination and cost me $5.00 at Claire's. I also bought a faux diamond ring ($1.00 on sale!)that I wear with my wedding band. Depending on where we're going, I don't even bring my wedding rings. Good rule of thumb is don't bring anything you couldn't bear to lose. And trust those of us who have done this before, you don't want to be walking down the street in any city dripping with diamonds unless you have a personal body guard! It's bad enough we can't disguise being tourists, you really don't want to draw attention to yourself.
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Sailed:
Greek Islands and Turkey, Louis Perla, October, 2006
Castles on Rhine, Vantage, Aug/Sept. 2008
Egypt and Jordan, Vantage, Jan/Feb. 2009
Holland and Belgium, Vantage, April/May 2010
Alaska, HAL Statendam, June, 2011
Costa Rica, Star Flyer,Vantage, Feb. 2011
Russia and Ukraine, Vantage, Aug/Sept. 2012
Panama Canal, Celebrity Infinity, April/May 2013
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Gateway to the Black Sea, Vantage, June/July 2014
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Norway Fjords, Celebrity Eclipse, Aug, 2017

Other:
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Italy
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Monaco
Greece
Turkey
Iceland

Not yet Sailed:
Southern Caribbean, March, 2018, Celebrity Eclipse
British Isles, August, 2018, Celebrity Eclipse
#8
Tasmania, Australia
672 Posts
Joined Feb 2012
Just bringing this to the top, as I'm sure there'll be plenty of interest in it for alot of people.

Thanks Admin for for moving this to where it should be.
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Avalon Panorama, Magnificent Europe, Budapest to Amsterdam August 15 -29th 2012
Avalon Scenery, Grand France , Cote D'Azur to Paris, 30th June - 8th July 2014
Avalon Creativity, Grand France, Paris-Normandy Beaches-Paris, 8th - 15th July 2014
HAL Oosterdam, Mediterranean Dream , Venice to Rome , 17th -29th June 2016
P&O Adonia, France and Spain, 3rd June - 19th June 2018 CANCELLED(SHIP SOLD)
P&O Arcadia Spain, Italy & Monaco - 28th May -14th June 2018
#9
Central TX
43 Posts
Joined Jan 2014
Thanks to everyone for their input. I was really looking for double-duty items but these packing tips are fun, too.

Medicines: (especially for Yggdrasil98) My mom travels with about 20 meds. I ask the pharmacy to print an extra label for each. Then I use snack size Ziplocks. The secret is to use a straight pin to puncture the Ziplocks in a couple of places. Then the bags pack really flat and take up very little room. I usually take one of her med boxes that holds a week of meds and just refill it when the time comes. For over the counter meds, I just peel off the label from an old bottle or Xerox it. (I also take a few extra days of meds, in case of a travel delay.)

Scarf trick: To "iron" a scarf overnight, just wet it and stick it on the mirror. It will fall off the mirror when it dries, nice and flat! This also works with ribbons. (Of course, be sure the material is washable.)

There is a great little, inexpensive ebook on Amazon that has lots of packing tips, including what kind of cloth works best for hot and cold weather. If anyone is interested, let me know and I'll look up the actual name.
#10
Madison WI
179 Posts
Joined Aug 2012
Originally posted by TXgalSAM
I am looking for packing tips about items that have multiple purposes. I always over pack. How can I be prepare with the least amount of items?

For example,
Baby Shampoo - can be used as laundry detergent, can be used as defog for snorkel mask, and as a shampoo, of course.

What are your ideas? (Please don't criticize the suggestions of others, unless the tip is dangerous somehow.) Thanks, in advance, for any input!
I believe most of the cruise lines stock the bathrooms with very nice bath products. I know Avalon uses L'Occitane so you may not need to bring baby shampoo for the reasons you mentioned.
I also bring at least 2 space bags so I can compress my clothes on the way back home. I bring a kitchen size garbage bag for dirty clothes and then compress the garbage bag with the clothes in the space bag.
For about the last 10 years we have been traveling with one carryon bag each and one bag each that fits under the seat in front.
I only bring costume jewelry. I would rather leave my wedding rings at home than to risk losing them.
On a river cruise, I believe, you need two pair of walking shoes and for the women add one pair of flats.
#11
273 Posts
Joined May 2013
I know this has been mentioned before, but it might be new to some...if your suitcase is not packed solid, fill the empty spots with bubble wrap. When a suitcase has 'give' is when it has a better chance of being damaged. (Mine was the bottom one of a stack of 20 or so when ocean cruising....can you imaginethe damage the corner of the one above it can do? )
If (!) You have purchases that need additional packaging you're set, and if you just need the space, the bubble wrap can be passed along to someone else who would love to have it for their purchases.

A partial roll of duct tape is also one of those multi use items. Comes in handy to repair a damaged suitcase, and anything else that may sticking.

A medium sized hair clip...for your hair and for holding drapes together that don't quite meet and stay closed.
#12
Central TX
43 Posts
Joined Jan 2014
Shebely, I agree 100% with your wedding ring idea. I've been traveling with an inexpensive band (and all jewelry, for that matter) for the last 30 years. It is a great reminder, though!

Ritabob, I had never heard of this tip and it's a good one! Someone can always use bubble wrap on the way home for fragile items purchased on the trip. Thanks!

When I originally posted this inquiry, I intended for it to be a general travel question and not exclusive to cruising. That is why I posted about the baby shampoo as an example of a "double duty" item.

Again, thanks for the tips.
#13
Australia
151 Posts
Joined Apr 2009
This is fantastic as we are going on our first river cruise and then a bus tour so will be away 4 weeks and no idea what to pack.
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#14
2,109 Posts
Joined Jun 2006
This isn't a double duty hint but might help someone. Right before you leave, check the weather forecasts for the cities on your trip, plus the "historic" highs, lows, rain accumulation, etc. For an early-season Springtime in Holland and Belgium cruisetour, we saw that snow was forecast for Brussels. We quickly added the necessary items and enjoyed the snow covered city. Other tour members, many from warm USA cities, arrived in sandals and light weight jackets. Pack "arrival" clothing in your carry-on bag, since you might not have access to your checked luggage for several hours.
#15
Midwest
483 Posts
Joined Aug 2005
For last year's trip, I changed my list concept from an odds and ends "don't forget" to a detailed "if it's not on the list it doesn't go". This was a tremendous help to me, because I tend to be one of those people who packs (almost) everything since you never know what you might need! I was closer to having the right amount of clothes and a sane amount of luggage, but still too much. Someone on the Viking China board said 3 bottoms, 5 tops (I think), 2 pair of sturdy shoes, and they're good to go anywhere for any amount of time.

I think I can, I think I can . . .
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#16
Long Island, NY
6,511 Posts
Joined Apr 2000
I always bring some gallon and quart sized zip lock bags. Some uses to keep your European coins in, to pack a few cookies from the coffee station to snack on during excursions.

When you pack your shoes make sure they are suitable for walking on the many cobblestone streets.

A cheap rain poncho from the dollar store takes up no room and is light wright. You can also use this to wrap fragile items in your trip home

Finally black slacks. You can wear these prob every night with a different top and nobody would notice :-)
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#17
North Carolina
5,707 Posts
Joined Apr 2005
Originally posted by TXgalSAM
Then I use snack size Ziplocks. The secret is to use a straight pin to puncture the Ziplocks in a couple of places.
Drugstores (including Walmart) sell pill bags - small "ziplocs", sized for about a days worth of drugs with space on the front to write - package of 50 is about $3? I buy them for my husband - he used to wrap his daily pills in foil but the bags are SO MUCH easier! Probably a little more expensive than the snack size ziplocs but the size is ideal and my husband loves them.

(just found these on Amazon - no white space for writing but super cheap - might buy these when we next need some http://www.amazon.com/500-CLEAR-Recl...ords=pill+bags )

I too am a mix & match packer. I'm not sure I have a lot of "double duty" items but I have a detailed packing list and I make sure that everything is necessary and really try to limit those "just in case" items. For many of my trips, buying things on site is a possibility, but I also travel in developing countries and am more careful about first aid & medication packing for those trips, as well as having a couple outfits in my carry-on (or traveling carry-on only if possible) because finding replacement clothing isn't always easy.
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#18
196 Posts
Joined May 2011
Thanks for the medication tips. With the ziplocs, do you have issues at security? I though medication was supposed to be in the original packs with the pharmacy labels/boxes etc. I travel with my doctor's list of medication, but still sort of double stack the insides of the boxes with sheets to save space, but haven't broken the packs into individual doses.
#19
Central TX
43 Posts
Joined Jan 2014
Originally posted by Yggdrasil98
Thanks for the medication tips. With the ziplocs, do you have issues at security? I though medication was supposed to be in the original packs with the pharmacy labels/boxes etc. I travel with my doctor's list of medication, but still sort of double stack the insides of the boxes with sheets to save space, but haven't broken the packs into individual doses.
We have done this for many years and have had ZERO issues with security. The meds still have the RX label so that seems to be satisfactory. The snack size Ziplocks handle a month's worth of pills and the tiny holes let the air out so they don't take up much room . I keep the weekly meds in her normal pill box to help consistency for her on the trip. She's 90 and still going! We just completed a cruise in January.

Y'all have great ideas! I'd like to make this my mantra, too, Live4Cruises! "For last year's trip, I changed my list concept from an odds and ends "don't forget" to a detailed "if it's not on the list it doesn't go". "
#20
Queens, NY
2,161 Posts
Joined Mar 2008
I found snack-size bags great for keeping all those electronic device wires seperated but handy - iphone, tablet, kindle chargers, earphones, camera transfer cord + extra batteries!!

I also pack just-in-case bubble wrap from the dollar store - can just leave it if not needed. And some extra baggies of assorted sizes - often come in handy while traveling (for cookies as mentioned! or snacks from some great food markets!).

If you plan on working out/jogging take old, old clothes you can leave behind.
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