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WHAT TO DO BEFORE YOUR CRUISE: 60 DAY CHECKLIST
Welcome to part two of our pre-cruise checklist series! This time we are going to look at what to do 60 days before your cruise. We have some new things to check off your list as well as some friendly reminders!
Arrange for house and/or pet sitting. We book a popular pet sitter when we travel, so I like to get on her calendar as early as possible. And, if you are going to ask a friend, relative, or neighbor to watch your house while you are away, check as early as possible so you can book their time before they make other plans.
Check your home for security issues. The last thing you want to worry about on your cruise is if your house is safe. Unless you have a house sitter, your house will be empty and you will want to give the illusion of someone being home. There are a ton of options now to help give the impression your house is occupied so do your homework.
Before our last trip, we decided to add some inexpensive, easy to install motion-activated outdoor lights. After a recent package theft in the neighborhood, we also added a Ring doorbell system to help give the illusion we are always home. And yes, I installed it myself! The only downside is you do need wifi and a mobile device to answer the door, but you can assign privileges to a trusted friend or neighbor while you are away who is willing to answer on your behalf.
Book air travel. At 90 days out, I urged you to at least start researching airfare options. Haven’t booked your tickets yet? According to Travel & Leisure, the perfect time to book your flight is 47 days out.
Book your port hotel. Again, at 90 days you want to start looking at your options. If you have yet to book, now might be a great time, especially if you are staying in port during a busy travel season. Again, you do not want to arrive in your port city the day you embark unless your travel time to get to the port is one hour or less. Remember, if your flight is canceled or delayed, the ship will not wait for you.
PORTS AND EXCURSIONS
Book excursions. Again, don’t miss out on an excursion you REALLY want to take by waiting too long to book it! In most cases, if your plans change you can cancel without penalty, but please check with your cruise line to confirm.
Buy gear or clothing for excursions (if needed). Once you book, be sure you have the appropriate attire and gear you will need for your excursion. Again, most excursions will have gear you can use, but some people have or want to supply their own. A quick reminder, gear will add extra weight to your baggage. If you think you will already be close to the airlines 50-pound limit, you may want to reconsider. Which leads me to…
Don’t ignore the need for special excursion attire. On a cruise to Mexico, we decided to add a catamaran and beach excursion to our trip. The only things we were told to bring were a towel, sun protection, swimwear, and “shoes that can get wet”. Little did we realize that “shoes that can get wet” meant we’d be wading through two feet of ocean water to get to the beach from the catamaran. My leather sandals that had previously survived splashing and beach walks were wrecked. If you are unsure about what is needed, call your cruise line.
Start your packing list. Why do I do this at 60 days? As I’ve previously mentioned, I am a chronic over-packer. By starting the list early, I give myself time to start big and narrow from there.
Try on your clothing. If it has been a while since you have worn that cocktail dress or your favorite pair of shorts, things may not fit the way they used to. This is also a great time to look for stains and rips. 60 days will give you plenty of time get garments dry cleaned, altered, or mended. And, if you need to replace an item, you will have enough time to shop.
Check airline requirements for baggage. You can bring as much as you want on a cruise ship, however, you cannot fly with as much as you want. When it comes to carry-on, the TSA allows you to travel with one carry-on bag that will fit in the overhead bin and one personal item that will fit under the seat. However, airlines can set their own limits and will also have their own size restrictions for suitcases that can fit in oversize bins. Checked bags typically have a 50-pound limit before you start incurring overweight fees. If you don’t have one, a luggage scale can be a wallet-saver and help you avoid last minute surprises.
Inspect your luggage. Have your suitcases seen better days? Are they too large? Too small? Too heavy? Do the zippers work? Are there mysterious and unpleasant odors emanating from them? If the answer to any of the above is “yes”, it’s time to shop for some new bags! Get thee to your nearest Marshall’s, TJ Maxx, or similar discount store for great luggage deals. My most recent acquisition was a Travelpro soft-sided suitcase from Marshall’s. She’s large but she is LIGHT. Only 8.4 pounds and she rolls like a dream.
I hope this cruise checklist was helpful! Be sure to follow us on Pinterest and Twitter to see our countdown for preparing for your own cruise! And, if you missed it, be sure to take a look at our 90-day pre-cruise checklist!