A trip to the Dollar store is always on our “To Do” list before traveling. It’s an excellent place to get many items we need (or want).
The original article (Dollar Store Finds for the Frugal Traveler) detailed items for travel/vacation in general. This article is specifically for cruisers.
Though many of these items can be found at Walmart, Target etc… what I’m referring to here are the stores that sell everything for $1 — Dollar Tree, The Dollar Store, Deals, etc…
TRAVEL SIZE CONTAINERS
Space can be a valuable commodity in a cruise ship cabin. The Dollar Store has a variety or ‘qualities’ for everything from liquids (shampoo, conditioner, lotion/crèmes) to small items like medication, earrings, etc…
These TSA approved containers have ‘secure’ lids.
For ‘extra’ security, pack bottles in a Ziploc bag (get these at the Dollar Tree too…) or put a piece of plastic (grocery bag, etc…) inside the lid before closing it.
The variance seemed to be in the quality of the container AND lid. Just cater the ‘quality’ to what you plan to use them for.
Travel sized medication bottles. I bought ours years ago….and am still using the same BOTTLES (Obviously, NOT the same meds…..) I just refill the travel size bottles each year with ‘new’ meds from my Costco size bottle. (Remember…medication has an expiration date)
…and before anyone thinks these are ‘lesser quality’, if you’re skeptical about generics, Dollar Tree sells name brands too – Advil, Aleve, etc…. 🙂
I didn’t snap a pic of their bandaids, but this is a good place to pick those up as well.
Pill organizers are of course for daily meds or vitamins….
Eye masks are great for that nap – or on an Alaskan cruise when the sun never seems to set. Do you have a red-eye flight? – great for that too!
Ear plugs come in handy quite often – for flights or if you happen to have a stateroom in a noisy area. I liked this set with the small container for storage – I bought 2 of them as I’m always losing earplugs. 🙂
Yes…paper is my weak spot. I LOVE all the options at the Dollar Tree – post it notes of all sizes and colors, pads of paper for note taking in the planning sessions…or for leaving notes for the cabin steward or other family members.
Highlighters are great for marking the cruise schedule each day. The multi-colored packs are great when traveling with teens or on multi-family/group cruises
They also have magnetic notepads. (I didn’t snap a photo of those). The walls are metal so these notepads are great…to put up on the wall…and have easily accessible…or to leave notes for others in the family.
Nightlights – especially for interior cabins–though we use them in balcony cabins too
Some like tea lights for this as they don’t require a plug. Dollar Tree has those too…
Plugs that turn 1 outlet into 3 – an absolute necessity with outlets being in such short supply.
Zip ties for luggage placed in the hallway the night before disembarkation. NOTE: You only want to use these if you’re headed home at the end of your cruise OR if you have means to get them off. They are quite effective in ‘securing’ your bag…but MAY keep YOU out if you don’t have scissors or knife. 🙂
It’s a good idea to wipe down surfaces (doorknobs, remote, light switches, etc..) to disinfect (i.e. Norovirus et al.) These travel sizes are just the right size. Walmart has packs of these…but they’re 9-packs for .97. This is a pack of 15….for .03 more. Better value at Dollar Tree! 🙂
Hand sanitizer or hand sanitizing wipes for whenever you need them (I bring these for port use as most ships have hand sanitizer dispensers EVERYwhere!!! )
Two different packs – a pack of 40 for $1….or 3 packs of 10 for $1….I actually liked the 3-pack. They stay sealed (and ‘wet’) until you open them. It may be a lesser quantity, but I think overall, it’s a better ‘deal’…..unless you have a big family. 🙂
Clips of all kinds come in handy for hanging swimsuits, securing towels on a windy balcony or keeping curtains closed for privacy or ‘dark’ on Alaskan cruises. The Dollar Tree has clothespins (lightweight and the best value) big plastic clips (3/$1) or binder clips in the office supply section (3/$1) to hold towels on chairs on windy decks. I always throw several different clips (variety) into our suitcase. 🙂
Small clothes hamper – lightweight and collapsible –or– mesh laundry bags. These are a great size for the small cruise cabin.
These are nice for any vacation – but we particularly like them for cruises. We don’t purchase drinks on a cruise – we drink the tea, lemonade and coffee offered free, then bring these along to flavor the water when we want something different. Dollar Tree has Snapple and Wylers and sometimes Minute Maid- all very good brands (imho)
WHO takes food on a cruise? Well…those who may want snacks while in port — The ONLY food items allowed off the ship in port are items that are pre-packaged (sealed) by the manufacturer. So yes…I take some snack items on cruises.
Dollar Tree has LOTS of options for this…some regular inventory…some seasonal or ‘changing’ inventory. I like the high protein snacks when traveling – There’s cheese and pretzels, snack crackers or peanuts/trail mixes (I personally don’t buy packaged nuts/trail mixes at all as I find them to be rancid – That has NOTHING to do with Dollar Tree…I don’t buy them at Walmart either) but for those who like them, these are certainly less expensive.
NOTE: They even have Sugar Free!!!!
There are many options at the Dollar Tree for organizing your travel paperwork, boarding passes, luggage receipts, tickets, confirmations, etc… I’ve used both these 5 x 8 accordion files and most recently, PLASTIC pocket folders. They’re durable and don’t get torn up with all the handling/packing etc…. 🙂
On our recent cruise to Alaska, I put our map (and other things) on the wall with magnets, clips and hooks – all purchased at the Dollar Tree. (There’s several other things along the side of the map – barely visible in this photo….that I catered to what I was bringing for the wall. I particularly liked a round magnetic box I used for holding extra clips, paper clips, etc…) I LOVED this display courtesy of Dollar Tree!!
Other items that I didn’t take pics of….I mean there’s just so much!!!
- Playing cards. Most ships have these in their game rooms, and Carnival gives them to passengers free (a set with a Carnival ship on them) but when on other cruise lines, it’s nice to bring your own if you like to play cards a lot
- Lint rollers for those formal night clothes
- Dry erase boards for leaving notes for steward or other family members. These would be GREAT if going on a Group Family cruise… just get the ‘magnetic’ ones and they can be put on the wall outside everyone’s door. Leave messages for each other et al. Just realize that messages left OUTside your cabin door should be written with attention to ‘security’. If cruising during the summer when ships have a higher number of teens on board, messages could be altered by unruly teens on board (ugh!!!)
- Shower Caps – great to cover shoes on our Alaskan cruise when we expected rain (and therefore, mud). It can be really difficult to get them clean enough that you feel comfortable packing them…
- Rain Ponchos: These are very thin. They would work fine for a Caribbean cruise (and getting them for $1 is GREAT!) I would not recommend for a cruise to the Rain Forest or Alaska….as you need QUALITY rain gear in those areas…but for a light rain shower you might encounter on a Caribbean cruise, they would be great. (lightweight in the suitcase and very inexpensive)
- Windex wipes in small packages (15) if going on bus or train tours. If you have to take photos through windows that don’t ‘open’ it’s nice to clean them beforehand.
- Air freshner: nice for those ‘odors’ in the bathroom… but also because sometimes, there can be issues with the system ship-wide. Air Freshner is just nice to have. 🙂
- Sunscreen or lotions – large sizes…or travel sizes
On our recent Multi-Family Cruise, I made a small goodie bag with several of these Dollar Tree items in it for everyone. It was so much fun to give!!! 🙂
Copy/Paste/Edit & Print this shopping list
- Travel Size containers
- Travel Size medications
- Band aids
- Pill Organizer
- Eye Mask
- Post It notes/Paper
- dry erase board
- 6′ extension Cord
- Plug in ‘things’ 🙂
- Zip ties
- Disinfectant Wipes
- Hand sanitizer (bottles or wipes…or both)
- windex wipes
- Clips (clothespins, binder clips, plastic clips, large paperclips)
- laundry bag or clothes hamper
- Organization items (pocket folder, accordion folder)
- lint roller
- rain poncho
- shower cap
- playing cards
- air freshner
- drink mixes
- snack items (nuts, crackers, candy)
- Cruises Pt 6: Besides Clothes, What do I Take?
- Information (and Tips) for Cruising with Children
- Cruises Pt 4: Saving Money Once Onboard
- Alaska Cruise on Star Princess
- Children and Airport Security
- Dollar Store Finds for the Frugal Traveler