Cruising with Kids Part 2: What to Pack

I’m a big proponent of packing light. We have more time for fun on vacation if I know exactly what I’m going to wear and don’t spend time debating outfits and changing clothes. Plus, logistically it’s a lot easier to get to and from our destination if we limit the number of bags we bring.

That being said, I plan exactly what the boys and I are going to wear weeks in advance so I have time to purchase anything we might be lacking. I only pack what I’m certain we will wear plus one or two backup items in case of accidents or a change in plans.

I’ve found that packing cubes help keep everything organized. Amazon sells them in a variety of sizes and colors. I got a pink set with 4 different sizes for myself and two sets of 4 small cubes for the boys – green for Luke and blue for Eli. Robert handles his packing and he hasn’t bought into my packing cube obsession…yet.

Packing cubes

I’ve organized the cubes differently based on the vacation. For a road trip last year, I put a day’s worth of clothes in each cube, so when we got to a hotel, all we had to bring in was that day’s cube. 

For the cruise I packed by item. Each of the boys had a shirts cube, shorts cube, underwear/PJs cube and an outwear/swimsuits cube. I packed my stuff by the outfit, putting the items where they fit best. 

My stuff!

For our 5-night cruise, I fit all our cubes, plus our toiletries and some extras in an large suitcase. 

The extras included items we don’t need on a daily basis, including rain jackets, umbrellas, a few pull-ups in case of nighttime accidents, first aid and hats.

Since we were able to fit everything in one suitcase, I let the boys pack a few comfort items in their little Toy Story suitcase. They each brought a blanket, plush to sleep with and small toy. Luke had a LEGO mini figure and Eli had a car. I thought they wouldn’t play with these items at all and I was hesitant to let them bring them, but they actually got a lot of use when we were in our stateroom. Any time we were in there getting ready, they stayed entertained by playing so I was happy they brought them. 

I also brought a carry-on tote with everything we needed for day one since the ship staff takes your luggage and you might not get it until after dinner.

In total between the two boys and I, we had a large suitcase, a kids suitcase and a tote bag, and it felt very manageable. Robert’s shoes and clothes take up more space so he kept his items in separate suitcases and manned them himself.

There was only one item I wish I’d packed more of, and I hesitated to even pack any in the first place: pull-ups. My boys are potty trained and have relatively few nighttime accidents. We have absorbent underwear they wear at night called Thirsties, so I was planning to bring them each a Thirsty and 3 pull-ups each in case the thirsty got peed in. We reuse pull-ups if they are dry, so I figured we’d have plenty. Well night one, each pull-up got peed in. At that rate I was nervous we’d be short a pull up for the last night, so I wished I’d brought one for each night. We ended up having enough, but now I know, the changes in their schedules and drinking habits will likely lead to nighttime accidents while traveling. 

Thirstiest – these things have saved a lot of sheet changes!

If you’re taking a trip soon and feeling overwhelmed by packing for your family, here’s a quick list of the items we packed for our 5-night cruise.

Carry-On Tote – I carried everything the boys and I would need.

  • swimsuits x3
  • hats x3
  • rain jackets for the boys
  • sunglasses x3
  • sunscreen
  • lightweight sweater
  • travel docs 
  • passports
  • wallet
  • phone

Large Suitcase

My Stuff

  • 5 casual outfits (ranging from cute to comfy)
  • 4 evening outfits (day 1 I kept the outfit on I wore all day)
  • raincoat
  • swimsuit
  • 2 coverups
  • purse
  • jewelry
  • toiletries
  • makeup
  • first aid
  • hair dryer
  • hair curler
  • hair iron
  • rubber flip flops
  • cute sandals
  • heels
  • PJs
  • umbrellas
  • chargers

Boys Stuff

  • nice shirts x10
  • pants x4
  • t-shirts x12
  • shorts x12
  • swimsuits x2
  • hats x2
  • sunglasses x2
  • flip flops x2
  • PJs x4
  • sweatshirts x2
  • underwear x14
  • socks x6
  • absorbent underwear x2
  • pullups x6
  • toiletries

Now that I see the full list, that’s a lot of stuff! It won’t be long before the boys’ clothes start taking up more space and we won’t be able to fit everything in one suitcase, but until then, I’m enjoying the convenience of their tiny little clothes!

2 thoughts on “Cruising with Kids Part 2: What to Pack


    Great tips! I love packing cubes! Guess you learned on Royal Caribbean that you could have left your dryer at home! You guys are great!


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