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What To Consider When Packing For A River Cruise

29th May 2019

Packing for any holiday is not everyone’s favourite job, but there’s no doubting that this is when a lot of the excitement finally starts. All you have to do is figure out how to get everything you own into a tiny suitcase and you’re off.

That very scenario can cause a lot of stress for some people, though, especially if you have never been on a river cruise before and are unsure what to expect. So, here are a few things we think you need to consider, in a bid to help make the whole process a little bit easier.

At The Mercy Of The Airlines

Couple Packing Suitcase

Unlike with ocean cruises, where a good percentage of the itineraries depart from the UK, you are going to have to get on a plane to enjoy a river cruise. This means you are at the mercy of the airlines when it comes to how much luggage you can take and cannot simply fill your case to your heart’s content. Make sure you double check the exact allowance for your particular airline, especially as rules are more becoming more stringent (particularly with cabin luggage).

Many people fall into the trap of thinking they need to take far more than they actually do. However, this is only usually realised in hindsight, so how do you prevent making this mistake? A good packing technique (like a space-saving roll) is always a good start, but you also need to limit what you’re taking. We recommend making a checklist and sticking to it. This should include various items of clothing that you know you can wear with more than one outfit.

Comfort Is Key

Choosing Comfortable Shoes

When it comes to which specific items should make it onto your strict luggage guest list, it’s down to your own personal comfort. Try to put less emphasis on style. Remember, everyone will be in the same situation and people are unlikely to judge you for wearing the same thing twice.

Consider the types of things you are likely to be doing during your river cruise and go for multi-functional items first. If you’re planning to join the walking excursions, a comfortable pair of shoes is a must. If you know the sun deck is going to be your home for the majority of the holiday, perhaps a pair of light sandals will take preference.

One of the best ways to be comfortable in practically all weather is to dress in layers. Sometimes it can be breezy whilst on the river, so a few cardigans or pullovers may be a wise inclusion, even if the forecast looks favourable. You’re likely to need these in the evenings anyway so you can enjoy some al fresco dining once the sun has gone down.

Don’t forget that comfort isn’t limited to clothing. Things like sun cream and a reusable water bottle can also be lifesavers.

Know Your Ship

Amadeus Queen Pool

If you want to make sure you include everything you need and don’t forget anything, ensure you review the facilities on your chosen ship carefully. Discover whether there is a swimming pool, gym, spa or anything else which may require you to bring something specific. It’s also a good idea to get a feeling for the general atmosphere that is expected to be on board. River ships tend to be more relaxed than ocean vessels, even in the evening, so formal wear is generally not needed.

Knowing your ship also means knowing things like the currency and type of plugs used on board. This usually aligns with the cruise line’s country of origin and not necessarily the country through which you are sailing. One tip is to invest in a universal travel adapter to take with you wherever you go and then you will always be covered.

Your research should also stretch to the type of shore excursions available, so you know if you’ll need to bring anything along for these. More and more active tours are being offered these days, so leisure wear, hiking boots and fitness trackers could all find their way onto your packing list.

Know Your Destination

Respectful Clothes In A Temple

Understanding the packing requirements for your destinations includes, but is not limited to, checking the weather forecast and preparing your luggage accordingly. In Europe, conditions can be very changeable and so a lightweight waterproof jacket may be another good inclusion.

If you are sailing on one of our Asia river cruises, you’ll also need to bring clothing that’s suitable for entering any temples or religious sites on the itinerary. This means trousers or a long skirt/dress that covers your knees and something to cover up your shoulders too. In these hot countries, opting for a sarong or similar can be a great way to stay cool and respectful at the same time.

Don’t Over Think It

Happy Couple On Holiday

One last tip we have for you when packing for your river cruise is to not overthink it. Much of the stress that comes at this time is because you’re worrying too much about leaving something behind that you’ll later need. Take the pressure off by reminding yourself that this is a holiday and, as long as you’re happy and comfortable, everything will be fine.

Whether you decide to pile up everything you think you need and then half it, just take the bare essentials or something in between, the chances are it will have little impact on the overall experience of your trip. Plus, you can always treat yourself to a functional souvenir if there’s anything important you need and haven’t got with you.

If you would like to learn more about the different river cruises we can offer, you can speak to the team on 0800 954 0064. Plus, you can sign up to our mailing list for more inside information and great deals.

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