Packing for any cruise is always a difficult challenge. After all, there are a number of considerations to take into effect, from the anticipated weather to the expected temperature to what you’ll want to wear at night. And, of course, how you pack also depends quite heavily on the dress code of the river cruise line you’re taking.
But packing isn’t limited to clothing. In fact, some of the most frequently-forgotten items are more mundane: chargers, cables, common cold medicines and the like.
While the exact amount and number of items you’ll bring will change with each and every trip, we have found over our numerous trips abroad that there tends to be some items that we just can’t live without. These are things that aren’t necessarily easy to procure once you’re abroad, and if they are, they can be quite expensive. If you’re missing a pair of gloves, that’s easy enough to come by. But what if you forget your iPhone charger?
Here’s our list of must-pack items on any river cruise journey. Do you have a favorite item you always take with you? Add your comments using the form below.
USB Battery Chargers
Let’s face it: whether we like it or not, most of us are tied to our mobile devices nowadays – and when that device runs out of juice, it’s just a brick in your pocket. When we travel, we like to bring a small USB charger along with us. They’re relatively small, typically not more than $40 for an entry-level one, and they’ll provide enough power to keep your iPhone taking pictures until you can get back to the ship.
Waterproof or Breathable Clothing
I bought breathable, waterproof pants for an expedition cruise years ago, and I haven’t looked back. Unlike jeans (which are, frankly, the worst thing you can wear in the rain), I take my waterproof pants with me on every river cruise. They’re not the latest in fashion, but they keep me dry on days when it pours rain.
Likewise, summers in Europe can be hot. Breathable clothing, from shirts to trousers, is essential. Jeans and cotton soak in moisture and cling onto it, but a breathable, wicking shirt will dry quickly and keep you cooler overall – even in extreme heat. The downside: none of this stuff is inexpensive. Expect to pay around $100 for a decent moisture-wicking shirt, and add another $100 for a pair of waterproof (or resistant) pants that don’t look tacky.
Extra Memory Cards
What’s worse than having to interrupt your holiday in order to hunt for an electronics store to buy more memory cards for your camera? Nothing. So overbuy before you leave home. It’s better to have more than you’ll need than less.
At Least Two Pairs of Shoes
Bring at least two pairs of shoes. Why? Because after a day ashore on your feet, on cobblestone, you’re going to want to change out of those shoes and into something different. Typically, I find that two pairs of shoes work best. Have one pair be your “outdoor” pair, and one designated as your “on the ship” shoes. The outdoor shoes should have good grip and should be somewhat resistant to water. Runners soak in water like there’s no tomorrow, while flat-soled shoes are liable to slip on wet cobblestone. Choosing the right footwear is crucial.
You wouldn’t believe how many people we meet that don’t have a pen on them. The fact is, you’ll need a pen to sign slips, write down addresses, jot down notes, fill out customs forms, and the like. Bring a few with you; keep one in a jacket pocket so you can fill out things onboard the motorcoach or in a café if applicable. Swipe the one in your cabin if you need to. Pack your passport, and pack some pens – you’re going to need both on your next adventure.
The more you can plan for in advance, the better your river cruise will go. The prepared traveller is a happy traveller.