Cruising can be a ton of fun for everyone in your family. It's often easy on the budget and I think it's an efficient way to see new countries you've never visited before. I frequently cruise with my family in Europe and the Caribbean for these reasons alone. In fact, I was able to go on a cruise to see Norwegian fjords with my family for under $7,000 including airfare.

But before you head to the port for your first cruise, you'll need to pack strategically to save space, money, and your own sanity.



Bringing a hat to help protect your skin is smart, but they can also be a pain to carry around on port days or pack in your luggage. This leather clip lets you carry your hat on the outside of your tote bag or suitcase so you're not stuck holding it all day long.

I know what you're thinking — there is absolutely no way your cabin will fit a checked suitcase or even a carry-on. But the Biaggi luggage folds down into its own carrying pouch that'll fit inside a standard drawer.

The nylon is thin and packable, but quite sturdy, and there are two different sizes for a carry-on and checked bag. This luggage is perfect for cruising since space in your cabin is so limited.

You might not need an adapter if your cruise ship has American-style plugs, but you absolutely do need a portable power bank.

Cruise cabins are notoriously light on outlets, but a power bank can help charge multiple electronics overnight or whenever you need. This one is also portable so you can power up your devices no matter where you are.

If you're prone to sea sickness — or just worried about it — you might want to pick up these acupressure wristbands. They can help prevent nausea when you're on board, which can make your cruise a much better experience. I've used them before and as far as I (and my kids) can tell, they absolutely work.

You'll absolutely want a water bottle once you're on board. You can use it to fill up on water for free whenever you're near your ship's dining room, helping you save money on bottled water and avoid single-use plastic.

This dual-chamber water bottle also holds snacks, which you'll also want to stock up on whenever you can, so it's a total no-brainer.

If you're taking advantage of the flowing drinks on your cruise, you might want to pack these collapsible, reusable straw from REI to help reduce single-use plastic and waste. I use mine all the time and because they're collapsible, they're not inconvenient to carry around.

This wrinkle-release spray from Downy is the answer if you don't want to wear wrinkled clothing for the nice dinners and shows you've reserved. Just spray and the wrinkles will smooth out. In my opinion, it's basically magic.

This portable safe attaches to a pool chair or other semi-permanent objects so you can safely leave your money or room key for long stretches of time. I have one and love it. Not only is it useful when you're enjoying the pool deck on your ship, but it's great to bring to the beach when you're at port too

You can buy sunscreen once you're on board your cruise or at port, but you might pay out your nose depending on the situation.

I always bring sunscreen along with me on our family trips so I don't have to overpay later on. This sunscreen kit from Sun Bum is a good deal, and comes with sunscreen, aloe, and lip balm with SPF.

You should absolutely make sure you have travel insurance before you cruise. This is especially true if you're exploring the Caribbean during hurricane season from June through November.

Without travel insurance, you could be out all or part of the money you've spent if you wind up not being able to go on the cruise for some reason, including inclement weather that's out of your hands.

Berkshire Hathaway offers cruise-specific travel insurance called WaveCare that includes trip cancellation or interruption insurance, travel medical insurance, medical evacuation coverage, travel assistance, and more.

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