I’m an ex-cruise worker – 5 packing mistakes everyone makes, including a blunder that can cause you serious pain

As a former cruise ship employee, I’m used to packing for all climates and conditions.

From hot to cold and north to south in a matter of days, I know first hand how the weather can change in an instant.

As a cruise ship worker, I've traveled through all climates


As a cruise ship worker, I’ve traveled through all climatesCredit: Caitlin Hornik/The US Sun
I made a handful of packing mistakes while preparing to work on cruise ships


I made a handful of packing mistakes while preparing to work on cruise shipsCredit: Caitlin Hornik/The US Sun
You quickly learn to pack for any weather


You quickly learn to pack for any weatherCredit: Caitlin Hornik/The US Sun

But that doesn’t mean that I always pack appropriately.

I’ve made a handful of packing errors while preparing to work on cruise ships, but also when traveling for pleasure.

In every situation I try to remind myself that none of my mistakes are serious – and if they are, there is always a solution.

But some packing errors can affect your journey and comfort.

I usually overpack and at the last minute stuff in as many extra items as my suitcase can hold for fear of forgetting something I’ll end up needing.

This leaves little space for souvenirs that I acquire during my trip, which can make repacking my suitcase for the trip home a nightmare.

Sometimes it also comes down to having to stuff bags into bags, making traveling through an airport with your hands full difficult.

But sometimes I actually don’t pack enough – not necessarily with the essentials, but because I underestimate the number of dresses or t-shirts that I would actually need in the end.

In these cases I wore outfits again or in my case even combined pieces.

In addition to the typical over- and under-packing, I have also neglected to bring enough warm clothing on several trips.

For example, on a recent four-day cruise from New Jersey to Nova Scotia, Canada, the weather was colder and much rainier than I expected.

As a result, I was a bit unprepared for the day we spent strolling around the seaside town.

I made the same mistake while working on a cruise ship that went south as far as Montreal and as far south as Antarctica.

For this ship contract, I had plenty of formal attire and business casual wear for my duties onboard.

But I forgot to pack sweaters and clothes to keep me warm in the freezing temperatures.

Luckily, I always had clothes to layer on top of to maintain a level of warmth in cold temperatures.

Also, I packed the wrong shoes for some trips, which made for a pretty uncomfortable experience.

Buying new, unbroken shoes for an upcoming trip is a serious mistake and can lead to painful blisters and unnecessary discomfort.

There have been trips that I have taken heels and wish I had flats, or when I only had sneakers and wished for heels.

I even packed two different black sneakers once, but had to wear them despite the different heights and soles because they were the only shoes I had with me.

But in such situations I kept going and dealt with the dire consequences later.

And of course I’ve also been a victim of the fear of forgetting a necessary piece of clothing or clothing.

Despite my best efforts, even I sometimes forget to pack something obvious, like a jacket or travel pillow.

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Sometimes I forgot things that are easier to replace, like a toothbrush or hairbrush or contact lens solution.

In those moments, I try to take deep breaths and remind myself that if it’s an emergency, I’ll most likely be able to buy whatever I need.

I've traveled the world as a cruise ship worker


I’ve traveled the world as a cruise ship workerCredit: Caitlin Hornik/The US Sun
You may still be under-prepared even when you think you packed well


You may still be under-prepared even when you think you packed wellCredit: Caitlin Hornik/The US Sun

Emma James

Emma James is a USTimesPost U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Emma James joined USTimesPost in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing emmajames@ustimespost.com.

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