A trip to the Dollar Tree is always on our “To Do” list before packing for a cruise. It’s an excellent place to get many items we need (or want).
The original article (Dollar Tree Items for the Frugal Traveler) detailed items for travel/vacation in general. This article is specifically about shopping for Dollar Tree items for a cruise.
PACKING FOR A CRUISE:
TRAVEL SIZE CONTAINERS
Space can be a valuable commodity in a cruise ship cabin. Dollar Tree can be your shopping spot for travel-sized bottles or containers. They have a variety of ‘qualities’ and types.
These TSA approved containers have ‘secure’ lids for toiletries – shampoo, lotions, cremes, etc… For ‘extra’ security, pack bottles in a Ziploc bag (get those at the Dollar Tree too…) or put a piece of plastic (grocery bag, etc…) inside the lid before closing it.
These containers have snap on lids (in 6- or 10-pack) and would work for small non-liquid items – earrings, Advil/Tylenol, wax earplugs, etc…
The variance in these 2 pkgs 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 our travel-size med bottles years ago….and am still using the same BOTTLES (Obviously, NOT the same meds…..) I just refill the small bottles each year with ‘new’ meds from my Costco-sized bottle. (Remember…medication has an expiration date)
…and for those who don’t care for generic medications, Dollar Tree has name brands too – Advil, Aleve, etc…. 🙂
NOTE: I didn’t snap a pic of their band-aids, but this is a good place to pick those up as well…..especially if cruising with children. 🙂
Pill organizers are of course for daily meds or vitamins….
Thinking Outside the Box:
Use these to hold/contain anything small -jewelry, rings or earrings. The see-thru compartments keep everything viewable while separated and organized.
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 – 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. 🙂
HIGHLIGHTERS!!! These are great for marking the cruise schedule each day. The multi-colored packs would work well for families, those traveling with teens or those on multi-family/group cruise
Yes…paper is my weak spot. I’m a post-it note junkie..and I LOVE all the options at the Dollar Tree – all shapes, sizes and colors. I use this for vacation planning…..and for leaving notes for the cabin steward or other family members while on a cruise.
Dollar Tree also has magnetic notepads. (no photo). Stateroom walls are metal so magnetic notepads are nice to attach to the wall – easily accessible for leaving those notes for family members or cabin stewards.
Nightlights – especially for interior cabins – though we use them in balcony cabins too. Some cruisers prefer tea lights as they don’t require an outlet….Dollar Tree has those too… 🙂
Plug ins that expand your outlet to 3 outlets – an absolute necessity since cruise cabins typically only have 2-3 outlets to begin with. One by one, the cruise lines are beginning to prohibit ‘surge protectors’ and power strips. These (below) are becoming your only choice if you have multiple things requiring electricity (curling iron, electronics, etc…)
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 cut 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.) your cabin when first boarding the ship. 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! 🙂
(Whatever’s left at the end of the cruise, I use to clean the bathroom at home…and buy a new package for the next cruise.)
HAND SANITIZER/HAND SANITIZING WIPES: I bring these for port use as most ships have hand sanitizer dispensers EVERYwhere!!! There are bottles…or pre-moistened wipes.
The wipes come in packages of 40….or 3 individual packs of 10 both for $1….
My preference is actually the 3-pack. Yes, there’s fewer of them, but they stay sealed (and ‘wet’) until you open them. For us, that’s a better value….. Large families/groups would see it differently. 🙂 🙂
CLIPS of All Sizes: Whether you need clothespins for clipping wet swimsuits to the clothesline in the shower….or weighing down the shower curtain so it doesn’t ‘attack’ you when showering….or keeping curtains closed for ‘dark’ at night on Alaskan cruises….
OR the larger Big Plastic Clips which are great for securing towels on a windy balcony or pool deck, Dollar Tree has it.
There are the basic clothespins (lightweight & the best value) the big plastic clips (3/$1) or even binder clips in the office supply section (3/$1) for a multitude of uses. I always throw a variety into our suitcase. 🙂
Small clothes hamper – lightweight and collapsible –or– mesh laundry bags….for those dirty clothes. Small size is great for a cruise cabin.
AROUND THE SHIP:
These small bags are nice for carrying around the ship – for towel, cover-up, sunglasses, sunscreen, book or whatever you need. Also nice for taking into port with the things you may need there. I like the fact that I don’t worry about it getting dirty, sandy or torn up. I paid $1 for it… I’ll just get a new one for the next cruise. )
FOOD & DRINK ITEMS:
WHO takes food or drink on a cruise? Well…those who may limit themselves to the ‘free’ beverages on the cruise – but still want something a little different on occasion…. Snacks are good for taking into port. – as the ONLY food items allowed off the ship in port are items that are pre-packaged (sealed) by the manufacturer.
Though they’re nice for any vacation, we particularly like them for cruises.
Dollar Tree has Snapple and Wylers and sometimes Minute Maid or Crush- all very good brands (imho).
YES!! THEY HAVE THE SUGAR-FREE DRINK MIXES TOO!!! 🙂
Dollar Tree has LOTS of options for this…some regular inventory…some seasonal or ‘changing’ inventory. – nuts, trail mixes, crackers, cookies or the cheeze-n-pretzels…all individually packaged. (I personally don’t buy pre-packaged nuts 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, there are several name-brand options – for $1 !!
LOOK!!! SUGAR-FREE CANDY TOO!!!!
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…. 🙂 Every trip is different and I cater my ‘organization method’ to the vacation.
I also use those post-it notes (pictured above) during my planning process too. Colored paper and pens are my weakness!!! (Don’t laugh…everyone has weaknesses… 🙂 )
On our recent Alaskan Cruise, I put our map (and other things) on the wall with magnets, clips and hooks – all purchased at the Dollar Tree. I particularly liked a round magnetic box I used for holding extra clips, paper clips, etc… I LOVED this display courtesy of Dollar Tree!!
Mentioned above but repeated here…the magnetic note pads are a nice addition to the ‘wall display’ too 🙂 🙂 Easy Access!
Other Items With No Pics….There’s Just so much!!!
- Playing cards. Most ships will have a large number of these in their game rooms. Carnival gives them to passengers free (a set with a Carnival ship on them) but if you’re avid card-players, you might want to bring your own deck. Dollar Tree has them 2 pk/$1. 🙂
- Lint rollers for those formal night clothes
- MAGNETIC Dry erase boards for leaving notes for cabin steward or other family members. These would be GREAT if going on a Group Family cruise… Put them outside everyone’s door to leave messages to each other. UNFORTUNATE STATEMENTS THAT MUST BE MADE: Realize that messages left OUTside your cabin door should be written with attention to ‘security’. And…those same messages OUTside your stateroom are at risk of suffering at the hands of mischief….
- Shower Caps – great to cover shoes on an Alaskan cruise when rain can make them muddier than you can clean prior to packing. This will protect clothes from the mud you CAN’T get off….. HEY….Alaska’s worth it!!! 🙂
- Rain Ponchos: These are very thin. They would work fine for a Caribbean cruise (lightweight and inexpensive) I would not recommend for a cruise to the Rain Forest or Alaska….as you need QUALITY rain gear in those areas…
- 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… SOMEtimes, ships can have issues with the system ship-wide. Air Freshner is just nice to have. 🙂
- Sunscreen or lotions – large sizes…or travel sizes
On a recent Multi-Family Cruise, I made a small goodie bag for everyone containing several of these Dollar Tree items. 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’ 🙂
- Nightlight/tea lights
- 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
- small tote bag
- shower cap
- playing cards
- air freshner
- drink mixes
- snack items (nuts, crackers, candy)
- Cruises: Miscellaneous Items to Take on a Cruise
- Cruising With Children – What you Should Know
- Cruising On a Budget
- Alaskan Cruise: Vancouver & boarding the Cruise Ship
- Getting Through Airport Security with Children
- Dollar Tree Items for the Frugal Traveler