America By Rail Blog

posted on January 05, 2018

With two different types of travel, packing for a rail and sail trip might have you feeling stumped. Both train vacations and cruises can last more than a week depending on which excursion you choose. However, you still must pack light to fit everything you need and leave some room for souvenirs. This could mean packing several different types of clothing for special occasions, the beach, hiking and other excursions. If you’ve found yourself with a full suitcase and you aren’t even done packing yet, take these tips to help you pack light for your rail and cruise adventure.

Make a list

Always start packing with a list of the things you would typically need on a trip. As you pack, cross off items on the list so you know what you have left to pack. Start by listing the clothing items you’ll need and the quantities. Once you lay out everything you need, this will help you visualize and cut out anything that’s unnecessary. Remember the basics such as sunscreen, over the counter medications, laundry soap and cell phone chargers. They do sell these items on ships, but at a higher price. Include even the obvious necessities on your list. You’ll never know what you’ll forget.

Choose the right luggage

Be strategic when choosing a bag to use for your checked luggage. If you’re bringing a checked bag, make sure it’s a bag that you can easily carry without wearing yourself out. You may be taking your luggage with you off the train or ship and you’ll need something that’s easy to transport. Many passengers opt for a compact bag with 360-degree wheels for ease of use and storage. These bags are easy to move from one place to the next and can be stored in smaller cabins.

Pack like a professional

Knowing how to strategically pack a suitcase will save you a lot of packing stress and room in your suitcase. Start by laying out all the clothing and shoes you think you’ll need and cut it in half. Try to pack clothing items that you can mix and match and wear more than once. Similarly, you should pack shirts or bottoms that can be dressed up for dinner or down for excursions. Plan outfits for each day based on your final items and pack an extra outfit just in case. Once you’re ready to pack, roll all your smaller clothing items, fold sweaters and jeans and stuff undergarments into shoes. Be sure to leave a little extra room for souvenirs.

Bring a carry-on bag with essentials

Just in case your luggage gets lost along the way, you should pack a carry on or small bag with your important items. This includes an extra change of clothes, money, your passport or identification, cell phone, medications and toiletries that you use regularly. Never leave valuables in your checked bag as they could get stolen or lost. You could also pack a swimsuit or a nice outfit, so you don’t have to wait for your luggage to get to your cabin to participate in the ship’s activities. Your carry-on is also a good place to pack any over the counter medications or a small first aid kit.

Pack for the weather and your destination

Even if you’re taking a rail and sail trip along the California coastline, the sea air may feel colder at night. Ships also tend to crank up the air conditioning in the recreation and dining areas. Check the weather leading up to your trip and pack a few extra clothing items for unpredictable weather. Different cruise lines also tend to have different dress codes for dinner and some even offer tuxedo rentals if they have a black-tie dress code. Keep this in mind when you pack and don’t be afraid to wear the same dinner outfit twice to increase space. You should also keep in mind your destination and what you’ll be doing when you get there. If you’re touring national parks, opt for comfortable clothing and layers for when you’re at higher elevations.

America By Rail’s Rail & Sail tours are a unique way to explore the best of America’s cities and coastlines. Focus on your new adventure by packing smart and avoiding the stress associated with preparing for travel.

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