Travel Essentials for a River Cruise: What To Pack

Avnish Singh
26 Min Read
Travel Essentials for a River Cruise What To Pack

“Hey there! I’m going to help you not forget to pack any of these travel Essentials for a river cruise. One of the newest Essentials to pack for a river cruise from 2023 is a double-sided sunglasses case. I have my travel sunglasses in one side and then my reading glasses in the other side. And the sunglasses need to be like this, like flat sunglasses, not the big really cute trendy ones.

Antibacterial Wipes

Another essential to pack for a river cruise is antibacterial wipes and like soap sheets because I was thinking maybe some public toilets do not have soap or they don’t have the staff to refill the soap, which is often the case here, but these have like 30 little sheets, and you just add water, and it’s soap.

Essentials for Airplane to Cruise

Let’s think of before you even take off for your river trip. One important travel tip for the airport is to know that flights that are departing to an international City Board. That means you get on the airplane 40-35 minutes at least before the departure time, so before it takes off, you need to be in the gate area. So, I wouldn’t, therefore, get to the airport two hours and 45 minutes before your departure.

When you are flying for a long time, you need to replenish the fluids in your body, be it eye drops or drinking water. One important way to beat jet lag, besides getting sleep on the airplane (which I never can), is to pack some packets of electrolytes. I will link some below, you find your own. In addition to that, also Perrier mineral water has magnesium and some vitamins in it. I can’t believe it; oh, it has calcium in it. Anyway, that’s a great way to boost. I almost feel like I’ve had an apple.

I have found that water bottles that you buy in the store and the airport are getting thinner and thinner. They slip out of my hand; they’re so paper-thin now. But the Perrier plastic bottles that I get at Walmart are really stiff, and they would last me a few days.

One of the most important travel Essentials to pack is a pouch to keep your passport with you, so wear the ugly but practical money belt under your clothes. It’s very soft against your skin, and you will not even know it’s there. Many of you probably still have it in your closet from years ago when you got to travel internationally. This necklace passport Holder will also be able to fit under your clothes if you want it to, lots of organization too.

Another important thing is to take pictures of important documents or your medicine list, especially if it’s prescription medicines. Another thing you want to do is take a picture maybe of the back of your passport; there’s a barcode. So if you do lose it, it will expedite replacing that passport.

Another travel tip is I do not find it necessary to pack the little passport Court booklet on most international flights. But I will say they’re not super bulky, but I would just take it out of there and put it in your money belt while you’re on your river cruise. And remember to have one that has a pin if you’re on the airplane or at least pack a pin in your personal item bag for the airplane for the Customs form before you land.

Currency Exchange Tips

One tip for a river cruise is to search the ship’s website for their frequently asked questions about currency. Our travel tip based on our years of travel internationally is to not exchange your money in the airport; the exchange rate is too high. And then also another tip is do not wait until Sunday evening to get cash out of an ATM because they’re mostly like here in the United States going to be empty. Like it has happened to us during a food tour. We feel very safe getting our money out of ATMs over there. A lot of the international cities are now just accepting cards, but do your research on that.

Also read: One Day Itinerary San Francisco 2023-24

Jewelry Cases

For packing jewelry, this case is great because nothing gets Tangled. But here’s a travel hack, pack your necklaces in the bottom of a gallon bag, tightly roll it up and secure it on the ends with strong hair ties. I use this small one because I pack a minimum amount of jewelry with maybe one necklace.

Jewelry Cases
Jewelry Cases for Travel

Download Netflix Movies and Youtube Videos

I am a pilot wife, and I have traveled in only a carry-on suitcase for over 20 years. So, hopefully, these tips will help you pack only the essentials for a river cruise. One other tip is to know that most airplanes, if not all of them (I’m waiting on my husband to answer this question), they will lose Wi-Fi or the onboard entertainment capability when you’re over the ocean. So one tip is to download Netflix shows or movies or YouTube movies to your phone so that you can watch them in the air without having to have Wi-Fi. And the way you do that is when you’re on Netflix, you find whatever season or episode that you want, and to the right is a little arrow for download. And you need to know that they will expire after a certain number of hours, so just do that the day before your flight maybe or before you’re coming home, do it somewhere where you have Wi-Fi, click the download Arrow beside every show you want to download. And then when you’re on the airplane, you will open up the Netflix app, and then in the bottom right corner is downloads, and you just tap there, and it will show you everything you’ve downloaded.

Okay, my husband says if the airline uses ground-based Wi-Fi, then it should work. But they use satellite Wi-Fi, which will work as long as the signal is clear. So that’s why it may drop off for a little bit a couple of hours overseas or to Hawaii. And I’ve got a video for what not to forget to pack to Hawaii.

Another thing that I packed for the airplane, I packed this Cell Phone stand, and it stays in place. It does not slip either, and it was designed by flight attendants. But even an iPad will fit on there; it’s that strong. And then it also packs flat. I know they now have the little hanging thing that adjusts or fits into the tray table, and then some airplanes have a little hook for your cell phone.

Two other Essentials are a journal to keep track of where all you’ve been and what you’ve done, some memories that you’ve made and addresses of new friends that you’ve met. And then binoculars, I thought that would be a great one, especially if you’re looking at castles or the Christmas markets. They’re both on my bucket list; I cannot wait to do that, hopefully this fall.

Shoes and Outfits to Pack

One other tip is to wear your heaviest shoes inside the airplane so that you’re taking out space in your carry-on suitcase. One thing I like to do on a long-haul flight or a flight that’s over five hours is where compression sucks, and I only recommend the Dr. Scholl’s brand here’s a quick and easy outfit list for when you were actually on your River Cruise.

Step number one is to check the weather before you even choose the clothes for your travel outfits. And step number two is this is what my mother-in-law suggests. She packs three bottom pieces, and that is a pair of khakis, navy blue, and black pants. You choose the color and the fit or the style that you prefer for your comfort and your less stress. And then you’re going to pack four solid t-shirts; this is not the time that we’re trying to impress people, we are done with that, hello over 50. You are going to pack four solid shirts, be it gray, like light gray, solid red, blue, and black, maybe a white if you’re feeling brave or if you’ve packed a little bleach pen.

One important tip is to invest in the laundry, just pay the fee, add that to your budget; it’s so much less expensive than your River Cruise, so chump change that and treat yourself. But if you only need to wash a few clothes, pack some tied sink packets in your liquids bag.

For shoes, you could pack a pair of black shoes or a mix of black and white, like a grayish tone that will go with more of those bottom pieces, and therefore you won’t have to pack both of those pairs of shoes. You can also, based on the weather that you’ve checked, pack one pair of water-resistant shoes just in case it’s raining, and then you can throw those on to go Touring that day on one of your excursions. My favorite brands are Echo; I love the echo sneakers, I will wear those when it’s not even raining, and I usually wear those for my airport outfit, I’ve found. And then also Blondo is another great waterproof, but some of theirs fit differently, so be sure to try those on in plenty of time so you can return them if they don’t fit right, but they are comfortable.

One of my favorite teas to wear is the Talbots brand. I have three sleeveless, this short sleeve shirt, and then also a long sleeve shirt. A cashmere sweater like t-shirt style like this is another great way to go from daytime looks to nighttime dressier outfits. Notice that I just paired this simple T-shirt with some pearls, and it looks that much dressier.

My favorite way to go from daytime to nighttime looks from a casual look to a more put-together look is to dress in a monochromatic way. So, I would wear that Navy T-shirt with navy blue jeans or khaki. There are two other quick ways to change up an outfit while still wearing the same shirt again, you can pack a simple silk scarf, research on YouTube how to tie a scarf so that it’s tight around your neck, not long and drapey. Another way is to research how to drape it over just one shoulder, for example.

And then my mother-in-law likes to bring a sheer jacket, not like a full-on Poncho that swallows you, but it hits at your waist or right below your waist, depending on your height. You’ll notice that with this scarf, I would wear this with a solid black tee, and these colors are going to pop. But I love the color navy blue sometimes, but I think that choosing a dark scarf against a dark shirt does not utilize that accessory as well or efficiently as it could. So, I suggest having a solid shirt and then bright pops of color with your scarf.

One very important tip for a river cruise is to remember that you will be walking on cobblestone roads and a lot of cement. So, have solid footing shoes. And then also check to see whether your ship is going to be really formal; if that’s the case, I can’t help you; you may want to pack a paper-thin raincoat or a weighted regular type raincoat, but I like to pack with two other pilot wives, we like to pack a super thin raincoat so that we can have layers that we can take off in the stagnant air in the subway or in the ship on some parts. But then if it’s raining, I have that paper-thin raincoat with a hood that cinches for heavy rain or for wind if it’s not necessarily cold or vice versa.

Crossbody Bags

And then a paper-thin raincoat will easily pack up and be stored in your crossbody bag, which brings me to another tip, and that is to pack a crossbody bag. If you’re going to be wearing a jacket that will easily be accessible through the jacket right underneath or right inside. I highly recommend Travelon brand because they have slash resistance straps, not just the body of the purse but the straps are also slash resistant, which just means it’s going to slow someone down if they’re trying to steal your purse.

I do like small crossbody bags, but I know a lot of you want to pack like a raincoat in there or your Kindle or something like that. So, there are several larger ones that I’ve had, but I did return them because I didn’t want that size. But you can see right here how valuable they would be in an excursion. Back to medicines, remember that a lot of airlines are running out of overhead bin space now. I have a whole article about ways that you can help yourself have overhead bin space. But last minute they may say, ‘I’m sorry we don’t have any overhead bin space, we’ve got to check your bag for free.’ But then you can pick it up in baggage claim at your final destination. The important tip is that bag could get lost, so have all medicine, especially your passport and important documents in your personal item bag, be it a tote bag or backpack. Do not separate from that.

Pack Medicines

One travel tip that our viewer said is she has her important medicine in a little baggie at the top of her carry-on suitcase. And if that happens, she just unzips it a little bit and pulls out the bag and packs it into her personal item bag. Another River Cruise essential is sunscreen, even when it’s cloudy, you need sunscreen. One option for you to save space is to pack a foundation that has sunscreen in it and moisturizer in it, and that way you are only packing one tube for three uses, which means you have fewer bottles of liquids in that liquid bag. Have you heard that England might be getting rid of the liquid band? It’s fonts; what it really means is that you may not have to take out your liquids bag anymore, ever again, but they still want the liquid containers in the plastic bag for carry-on luggage only, not for checked bags.

And I have another video where my husband who’s a pilot answers weird airplane rules and talks about getting a job as a pilot if you find that stuff interesting. I will link it. One thing I forgot to say about this crossbody bag is it comes with a little strap to be a wristlet. So if you do like to enjoy musical trivia or the cocktail hour, and you want to take your pocketbook with you, you can just put the little wristlet on there instead of taking your whole purse strap with you. It’s already stagnant in here, and it’s just 79 degrees outside, so on a river cruise ship, especially if it is not American-based, they do not need as much airflow, so that’s something to think about.

Airflow Tips

There are travel fans like this one I have in my office. They have fans that are for travel. This is for a little office desk, but they also have these little handheld fans that would fit inside a crossbody bag for the subway. Okay, that’s on the low, look how much it is blowing my hair, and I charged it like months ago, and it has still held the charge.


So that’s an option for you when you are packing makeup. Remember, my travel tip is that just pack your neutral colors and just get a cheap little eye shadow from the grocery store palette and have that be your accent color. And then one travel hack is to remember you can put your makeup brushes or your liquid containers in the mug that’s sometimes in what do they call them, State rooms.

Another travel tip for packing skincare for a river cruise is to remember sunscreen. And then also remember you do not want to try any new skincare that you bought, do not try away from your doctor that’s at home, just stick to your normal stuff. And then another travel tip is do not feel like you need to pack all of your containers for your entire skincare routine. You can do without some of those products for 10 days, maybe in England especially, maybe there are other European cities that are like this for their airport security; they are just giving out their own bags for liquids and making you transfer yours to their size. It’s like less than our court size, and it’s not deep, it’s like super shallow. So just be prepared. And one way to help yourself is to not pack as many containers of liquid, and the way you do that is to swap out the liquids for dry items solid items like a shampoo bar, or I just heard from the five-kilo traveler; she’s from New Zealand. She found a stick of moisturizer; it’s encapsulated in cardboard so she can just cut off the part that she’s going to need for a trip, another item that you can swap out is a toothpaste tablets.

Day Travel Items

I don’t know if I would do that for 10 days, oh, but I usually put about three in per time that I brush my teeth, that’s an option to save space. Also in the room, I suggest packing a little tray or a scrap of fabric that you have laying around your house to put beside your bedside table. I put my hearing aids in here; I will put my watch in there sometime, especially jewelry, and because of the different colors, you won’t forget it. And it folds like it’s completely flat for packing. A lot of river cruise ships have more outlets in them, so I do not think you need to take an extension cord anymore, even if you are packing a CPAP machine, which does not count as luggage to the airline or TSA by the way. However, if you are packing a curling iron or a hair dryer, which I don’t think you really need to pack, you will need to pack a converter.

I have a article that will explain if you really need to pack the converter, there are a lot more pieces to pack if you need a converter versus just an adapter. Anyway, I’ll list that little video for you if you need it, if you are still looking for carry-on luggage. I have a brand new article with the top best five suitcases and the high-quality features they must have that I own, and I have two brand new ones that I found that really shocked me.

Certainly, here’s a list of the essential items discussed in the article for packing for a river cruise:

  1. Double-sided sunglasses case (for flat sunglasses and reading glasses)
  2. Antibacterial wipes and soap sheets
  3. Travel tip for airport boarding times
  4. Eye drops and drinking water for long flights
  5. Packets of electrolytes
  6. Perrier mineral water (with magnesium and calcium)
  7. Passport pouch and money belt
  8. Pictures of important documents and prescription medicines
  9. Traveler’s necklace passport holder
  10. Pens for customs forms
  11. Anti-theft travel tips
  12. Currency information for river cruise destinations
  13. Travel jewelry case or hacks for packing jewelry
  14. Portable gadget stand for airplane use
  15. Journal for keeping track of your travels
  16. Binoculars
  17. Wearing heaviest shoes on the airplane
  18. Compression socks
  19. Travel laundry tips
  20. Monochromatic clothing choices
  21. Silk scarves and accessories
  22. Monochromatic clothing choices
  23. Silk scarves and accessories
  24. Paper-thin raincoat
  25. Crossbody bag
  26. Water-resistant shoes
  27. Travel fan
  28. Makeup and skincare essentials
  29. Shampoo bar or toothpaste tablets
  30. Bedside organization tray
  31. Power outlet considerations for electronics
  32. Converter and adapter for electronics

This comprehensive list covers everything mentioned in the article to help you prepare for a river cruise.

Do not miss the comment section because people know a lot more tips than I do. Thanks for your time, and have a great trip.”

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