Cruise Hacks: 5 Small Tricks That Make a Big Difference

Sep 2, 2015 | By Lauramay LaChance

When it comes to life hacks, cruise hacks or even back-to-school hacks, it really is the little things that make a big difference. We just need to think outside the box and figure out ways to make our lives a little easier. And because space is a major issue when you’re cruising, anything you bring must be small, foldable or storable.

So here are 5 small hacks that will make a big difference on your next cruise.


cruise-hacks-light-0.jpg1. Keep Your Lights On.

Have you ever shared a cabin with someone? Most of us have. So you must have experienced that moment when your traveling partner is ready to leave and they pull their cruise key card out of the wall slot and a few seconds later…the lights go out. It’s not fun, especially when you’re in the shower.  

Here’s how to avoid that. Go to your wallet and grab your library card, Costco card, Dunkin Donuts gift card or any other standard card - just not your credit card. 

Slide that into your key holder and - tada! - the lights are back on. Keep it handy and use that instead of your key card. Just make sure to remove it when you leave your room - no need to keep the lights on in an empty stateroom.



2. Stay Charged.

My phone is normally in airplane mode the entire cruise, but with the growing sophistication of cellphone cameras, my phone has replaced my point-and-shoot. So I always carry a portable cellphone charger in my backpack to never miss a photo.

Most portable chargers range from $10 to $100 and come in handy not only on the cruise, but also in your everyday life. Here are a few we like: Anker 2nd Gen 6400 for a good all-around charger (~$20), the Mophie PowerStation if you want to pack maximum power (~$95) or the RavPower Luster for a single extra charge (~$10).



3. Avoid Getting Charged For Towels.

The cruise lines typically give you towels to use at the pool but they don’t give you fitted chair covers (think fitted sheet in the form of a towel).

Every time you get up to dip your toes in the water, you’ll need something to hold your towel down, because the last thing you want to do is get charged for a missing towel that blew to the aft of the ship.

Bring a pair of towel clips on your cruise. They only cost a few dollars and you can pick them up at Bed Bath & Beyond or even order them from Amazon (these are our favorites). If you’re traveling with a large group, be the hero of the crew and pack a bunch of universal clips or even colorful chip clips, they work too.


4. Keep the Small Stuff Organized.

Our reader, Rhonda H., shared one of her tricks to staying organized both when packing and in the stateroom. Here’s what she recommends, “I pack all cosmetics/toiletries/etc in clear zip lock bags to keep everything easy to see and sorted for stowing on the limited bathroom shelves. I also carry a couple of small white dollar store baskets for the desk area or drawers to contain all the little stuff I want easy access to.” This also prevents any liquid from spilling onto your clothes if something breaks during travel.  


5. Separate Your Laundry.

I typically unpack as soon as I get into my stateroom so I can use my empty suitcase for dirty clothes. This trick worked well until I wanted to stay an extra day in New York after a cruise and all of my clothes were mixed together. Our reader Sara S.­ says, “Put a pop-up net clothes hamper that collapses to a very small footprint in the closet for the dirty clothes (cheap at the dollar store).” Definitely trying this next time!



Have any other cruise hacks? Share with us in the comments below.


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