As the departure day for your cruise draws near, you’ll likely be excited, but you may also feel a little overwhelmed. Help reduce your anxiety by having a checklist, so you make sure you don’t forget anything before you go. Even the most seasoned travelers can miss packing something or run into issues along the way. Here’s a look at five things to do before your next cruise.
Book Your Excursions and Activities
If you have your heart set on certain activities and excursions, it’s not worth risking them selling out by waiting to book everything once you’re on the ship. Many of the best shore excursions sell out long before embarkation day arrives. For ports you are unsure about or considering exploring on your own, you can wait and watch the onboard presentations and read documentation to see if there is something that catches your eye. By booking the others in advance, at least you know you don’t need to stress about the ports and tours that are most important to you.
Get Your Money in Order
Make sure you have enough cash for all the departure day items you need ahead of time. Perhaps you need to put gas in the car that day. You might need cab fare or tip money for luggage porters. Be sure to contact the banks for any credit cards you plan to use abroad to ensure they add a note that you’re traveling to your planned destinations. This is also a good time to verify if your cards have international transaction fees.
Get Seasick Medications and Applicable Prescriptions Filled
If you take regular medication, you’ll want to have all your prescriptions filled and travel letters if necessary. Some countries have very strict restrictions on prescription drugs, so you’ll want to research the requirements ahead of time if you’re flying internationally to start your cruise. In some destinations, over the counter medications are considered illegal as well. Otherwise, make sure you pack plenty of the items you may need the most, including seasick medication, anti-inflammatories, allergy medication, stomach/diarrhea relief, hand sanitizer and any other supplements and vitamins you typically take.
Make Sure to Handle Everything at Home
Some nervous travelers are so busy worrying about what they need on their cruise; they forget to handle critical details at home. Make sure all your bills are paid before you go, especially anything that is due while you’re on the cruise. Have your mail and newspapers held. Don’t give potential thieves the green light that you’re not at home right now. Do you have a family member or neighbor you trust? Give them a copy of your house key so they can check on the property in case there is an emergency.
If you have a pet that is being boarded, call and confirm the booking. The last thing you want is to show up at the boarding facility only to find out your dates are wrong, or they lost your reservation and the facility is now full.
Confirm Everything and Get Your Travel Documents in Order
One of the biggest mistakes some travelers make is not checking their passport expiration date before heading out on a cruise. Many countries require that you have a passport with at least six months validity beyond the completion of your trip. If you’re down to the wire on the six months, get a new passport. Also, do you need a visa for any ports of call or your embarkation location? For example, if you have a cruise starting from China, you’ll definitely need to apply for your Chinese visa with plenty of time before departure day.
If you don’t have a printer at home, ask a friend or go to a printing center to have all of your travel documents printed out before leaving. Some immigration officers might ask to see your documentation, and you’ll need hard copies for your cruise embarkation day. Some of these will serve as luggage tags, so the baggage handlers know what cabin to place your luggage in. Plus, it’s helpful to have a printed record of everything you need in case something happens while you’re on the trip.