Last updated: 12:00 PM ET, Fri May 01 2015

Opinion Home | River Cruising From a Unique Point of View

  • Melanie Gravdal | May 1, 2015 12:00 PM ET

    Easy, Breezy Packing Tips: What to Bring on a River Cruise

    Easy, Breezy Packing Tips: What to Bring on a River Cruise

    River cruising is emerging as one of the most desirable ways to see the world. You move effortlessly through landscapes and villages without traffic or worry. The ship is your hotel, taking you peacefully from place to place with the perfect combination of onboard and on-land experiences. A different way to travel, river cruising also comes with a slightly different packing list. Beyond the usual items you need for any journey – comfortable walking shoes and layers for both changes in weather and religious sites – here are some guidelines on what to bring and what to leave behind for your river cruise.

    Forget the Boa

    Unlike other means of travel, one of the greatest advantages of a river cruise is the ability to unpack once at the beginning of your journey and forget about your suitcase until it’s time to head home. Not having to tow luggage from hotel to hotel throughout your vacation is a huge convenience, but that doesn’t mean you should bring your entire closet. Stateroom space varies from cruise line to cruise line and ship to ship. You’ll want to maximize your space for relaxation, and too many belongings can become a hindrance in your room. So how do you pack lightly, yet still have everything you need?

    Color Coordinate

    Yes, your green and pink silk blouse is a showstopper, but if it can only be worn with one pair of pants, forget it. Opt for shirts, slacks, shorts and skirts in the same simple color scheme – like whites, neutrals and pastels – that can be mixed and matched for multiple outfit combinations. For every week of travel, pack five to seven tops that coordinate with three different bottoms, sticking to mostly solids and limiting the number of prints. And keep it comfy – you’ll thank yourself for packing wrinkle-resistant, easy-care cotton/polyester clothing.

    Pocket It

    Purses and backpacks are not only cumbersome but also thief magnets. You’ll want to pack jackets, slacks and shorts with plenty of deep inner and outer pockets for carrying travel documents, money and credit cards. Fanny packs are an option but they also scream, “Tourist!” Cargo shorts and pants with large pockets are a better alternative, not to mention fashionably more acceptable worldwide.

    Transition Into Evening

    You don’t need to get all decked out for dinner on a river cruise, but you do need to look smart. Using your color-coordinated wardrobe that you’ve packed for daytime (think less sportswear and more smart casual), sprinkle in some pieces that will spruce up your attire for evening – scarves, shawls and belts paired with smart, stylish shoes will put an appropriate spin on your daytime attire while eliminating the need to pack a separate evening wardrobe.

    Include the Right Elements for the Elements

    River cruises offer various decks and vantage points to take in the views. Some may be covered, others may not be. So don’t forget a hat and sunscreen for sunny days, and a light umbrella and windbreaker for the occasional drizzle and the inevitable, enchanting river cruise mist.


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Melanie Gravdal River Cruising From a Unique Point of View

Melanie Gravdal Obsessed with all-things culture - from entertainment and the arts to customs and cuisine - Melanie Gravdal loves to travel, to see and experience new things, new people and new places that broaden her horizon and view on life. And, for the last two decades, Melanie has made traveling the world a central theme in her career as a communications professional. Working with travel and lifestyle professionals from around the globe, she provides public relations counsel and support ranging from strategic storytelling and branding messaging to pavement-pounding street marketing and special events. Originally from Iowa, Melanie now calls Southern California her home.
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