Unusual Cruise Essentials 

Since we have been able to much more traveling in Phase 2 of life, one of our favorite activities is cruising.  We have been cruising since our Honeymoon in 1988.  Suffice it to say that cursing and cruse ships have changed A LOT since then.  However, that has not changed our love of cursing and the whole cruise experience.   As we always try to do here at Living Phase 2, we want to highlight ways to make the most of your life and in that vein we want to present some items when you take a cruise you may not have considered.  These are a bit unusual but we have found them very useful to enhance our cruise experience.

Please note, in this blog we will recommend some products we have used and found to work well.  We will embed links to these products on Amazon and if you use these links, we will make a small commission.  However, this in no way influences what we recommend, as we will only suggest products, we believe will truly enhance your travel experience.

Friends, we also have a general Packing for a Cruise video which you may find HERE.

Device Charging Essentials

The first is a very simple solution to what can be a big mess when traveling.  We all have more and more charging cords and cables along with more electronic devices.  Your Kindle, iPhone, Android Phone, Laptop, smart watch and tablet can all take different cable types, and these can become a big mess.  Keeping your cables organized not only make travel much easier and pleasurable, it also protects your cables and makes sure you never leave home without the cables you need.

Here are VERY simple and inexpensive solutions.

First, the easiest and least expensive solution, you can use something you already have around the house.  That’s what we use.  I have some travel kit bags from business class travel that work perfect.

Next, you can also use a simple pencil bag either left over from your kids’ school days or from the dollar store.  Here’s an example:

Pencil case to hold charging cables

Pencil Bags

Here are a couple of purpose designed cable organizers that not only work very well but also come with cable ties and keep all your cords separated and protected.

Sunsir travel cable organizer bag

Sunsir Travel Cable Organizer Bag

Electronic Cable Case

Electronic Cable Case

Whichever solution you select, we recommend you use some type of cable tie to keep them rolled and can organized.  You can use a simple bread tie or purpose made hook and loop ties, which is what we use.

Fastening cable ties with hook and loopCable Ties

One last item for your charger bag is a USB charger.  We use this one and keep it in our travel cable bags to make sure we always have a good, multiport USB charger.  A bonus with this charger is it works well for fast charging of iPhones and Android devices.

USB Charging Station

USB Charging Hub

Finally, now that you have your cable bag and USB charger, make sure to purchase enough extra cables to keep it stocked and ready to go.  Charging cables are now inexpensive enough to allow for buying duplicate cables and keeping them packed in your travel bag so you are never without this important necessity.

Electrical Plug Items

On most cruse ships there is a distinct lack of electrical outlets.  With all our electronics that need charging and other electronic devices we use these days. we often need more outlets than what are available.  You will find many cruise ships have two types of outlets, a US standard and a European standard outlet.  With the right equipment you can make the most of both of these.  We carry a European plug to US adaptor to give us use of all the outlets in our cruise cabin.

US to Europe Power Adapter

US to Europe Power Adapter with USB Hubs

PLEASE NOTE: This adaptor does not convert the voltage, only the outlet.  If you are not familiar or comfortable with the difference in voltage between these outlets, PLEASE DO NOT use use this product.  In the future we will do another blog especially on voltage converters and adaptors and the different voltage and frequency standards.

Extension Cord

We always carry an extension cord when traveling.  It comes in handy for many reasons, but especially in cruise ships.  Like we’ve mentioned, there is a distinct lack of outlets in cruise cabins.  Also, as seen on our channel my wife uses a CPAP, and we always need power by her side of the bed.  A good, heavy duty extension cord is always a good travel companion.

Travel Extension cord

Extension Cord

Medical Kit

Another item we keep packed and stocked at all times and it is always ready to go, is our medicine bag or esentials bag.  For the bag itself you can use anything you have around the house, we use an old travel toiletry kit.  That size is prefect.  Because our list of what’s in our “go bag” is rather extensive, we have dedicated a separate blog for just that topic.  You can find that here:  Travel Essentials when Living in Phase 2.

Baggage Scale

Bag weight limits are very tightly controlled so with packing and unpacking, and adding souvenir purchases, you can never be sure if the weight of the bags you packed at home are the same when you are returning.  There’s little worse than getting to the check-in counter and being told you are over 5 pounds and having to pull out items and repack your underwear in front of the whole airport.  Fortunately, there is an easy solution for this, a portable baggage scale.  I’ve been using one of these for travel for years and it’s a life saver.  It is cheap, lightweight, and easy to pack.  Just throw it in your bag and bring it with you.  When it’s time to come home pull it out and weigh your luggage to make sure you are under the 50 lb limit.

Travel Luggage Scale

Travel Luggage Scale

Magnetic Hooks

This one is especially necessary for cruse ships.  What a lot of people don’t realize is the all walls and ceilings on cruise ships are metal, so magnetic items are very useful in cruise cabins.  We travel with 2 types of hooks and magnetic clip.  The hooks are great for hanging up hats, clothes, lanyards, etc.  The clips are perfect for any paperwork that you collect during your cruise.  Note that the pound rating is based on pulling the hook straight out, not how much it can hold when attached sideways on a wall.  If you want to hold something heavier on a wall, we recommend you get the larger 100 lb. hooks.  We have found the 22 lb. hooks are perfect for hats, lanyards, and other smaller items.

Magnetic hooks to hold hats and lanyards

Magnetic clips to hold papers

100 pound magnetic hooks

100 Pound Magnetic Hooks

22 pound magnetic hooks

22 pound magnetic hooks

Magnetic refrigerator clips

Magnetic Clips

Gaffer Tape

One of the most versatile items you can take with you when traveling is gaffer tape. No, not duct tape or masking tape, but gaffer tape.  This stuff is great and is what holds together most movie sets.   You never know when you you’ll need to tape down an extension cord, or just keep the hangers from banging around your cruise ship cabin when the ship is rocking.  Gaffer tape can help with many situations.

Gaffer Tape

Gaffer Tape

Locking Bag

When we are at the pool or beach there’s always some concern leaving our stuff (phones, Kindles, etc.) when we go for a swim, head up to the bar or just hitting the restroom.  After looking for some time we found a great solution, a locking waterproof bag.  Please note this is NOT ultrahigh security.  However, after all our research, we feel this locking bag is a good compromise of large size, waterproof, and locking ability.   We say this bag keeps the honest people honest.  If someone was very motivated to cut it open and steal your items, this won’t stop that, but it does offer peace of mind.

Waterseals locking backpack

Waterseals Locking Backpack

Silicon Straws

Quite often when traveling bars and restaurants are not offering straws with their drinks.  Even when they do, they are sometimes paper and fall apart.  Therefore, we always travel with our own silicon straws.  There are many options for these, but most come with 8 to 12 straws, a cleaning brush, and some holders.   Here’s one we’ve picked that works well.  In addition to the straws think about bringing some antibacterial dish soap to clean the straws.  Silicon has a tendency to pick up tastes and orders from items and a little wash can take that away.

Silicone Straws

Silicone Straws

Tumblers with handles

When getting a drink at the pool bar it’s often very warm outside and your delicious, cool, frozen drink can melt very quickly.  Having a stainless steel, insulated, tumbler can come if very handy to keep your drinks ice cold.  We select 20oz. size.  We’ve found that’s the perfect size for most drinks.  You can get high-end Yeti™ style, but we’ve found the Ozark Tails tumblers from Walmart or inexpensive ones from Amazon work great.  We always get them without a handle, as that can be added later.

20 ounce insulated tumbler

20 ounce staneless steel insulated tumbler

Tumbler handle

20 Ounce Tumbler Handle


Hotel and cruise ship rooms can be very dark.  After quite a bit of research we found a battery powered, motion sensing, light activated night light, with an amber light that won’t wake you up the way a blue light will.  Its small, lightweight, and easy to pack and works great for very dark rooms when you need to make those middle of the night trips.   The Mr. Beams nightlight we recommend comes in a 3-pack so you can have them in a couple of places such as in the room and the bathroom.

Mr. Beams Motion Sensing Nightlight

Mr. Beams Motion Sensing Nightlight

Friends, we hope you have enjoyed our list of unusual items that we take when we travel.  They have made our travel and cruising trips even more enjoyable as well as give us some peace of mind.

Our general How to Pack for a Cruise video may be found HERE.

We wish you all the best on your travels, and if you have a travel item you think is important that we haven’t listed here, please leave us a comment below.  We would love to hear what you take on your trips.  We can all learn from each other!

Enjoy life in Phase 2,

Mike and Nancy