Dollar Store ‘Finds’ Specifically For Cruises

Photo Credit:  Nicholas Eckhart on Flickr  CC Lic.

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…


Space is 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… 🙂

travel size bottles

These TSA approved containers have ‘secure’ lids.  If you’re still concerned, secure it with either a piece of plastic (grocery bag, etc…) inside the lid before closing or use tape over the lid or simply pack the bottle(s) in a Ziploc bag (also available at The Dollar Store).






Other containers with snap on lids.  These packages have either 10  or 6 and would work for things like earrings, Advil/Tylenol, wax earplugs,  etc…travel size containerstravel size containers





The variance seemed to be in the quality of the container AND the lid.

Cater the quality of the container/lid to what you plan to use them for.












Medications:travel size medications

Travel sized medication bottles.  Buy one (or two) of these – then combine several meds (of different shapes & colors) into that bottle.  After your trip, be sure to ‘use’ the meds from that bottle (medication has expiration dates) then refill it for your next trip.  Don’t re-buy the bottles every year….but DO fill them with ‘new’ medications each vacation.



medication containers

Pill organizers are of course for daily meds or vitamins….or use them to pack pill organizer - 3x/dayjewelry – rings or earrings.  Everything stays contained and separated. Cruises are the only time I would take enough jewelry to warrant something like this.










Eye masks are essential when on Alaskan cruises in June or July if you have a cabin with a window or balcony.  The sun doesn’t set until very late (how late depends on when you’re cruising….).  They’re also nice for that red eye flight home from Anchorage.






ear plugs



Ear plugs come in handy quite often – for flights or if you happen to have a cabin 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.  🙂


post its and highlighters



Post it Notes to leave notes for your cabin steward or other family members;  Highlighters for marking the cruise schedule each day.  Multi-color packs of highlighters are great for traveling with teens or on multi-family cruises







Nightlights – especially for interior cabins–though we use them in balcony cabins too






3 plug extenders




Plugs that turn 1 outlet into 3 – an absolute necessity with outlets being in such short supply.





zip ties



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 packs of 9 for .97.  This is a pack of 15….for .03 more.  Better value at Dollar Tree!  🙂


Hand sanitizer or hand sanitizing wipes for mealtime et al   20170613_142858







These came in packs of 30…..but what I LOVED was the 3 individual packs of 10.  You get the same number of wipes, but only open 10 at a time.  🙂





Clips of all kinds come in handy for hanging swimsuits, securing towels on a windy clothespinsbalcony or keeping curtains closed for privacy or ‘dark’ on Alaskan cruises when the sun shines til midnight.  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)  I always throw several different clips (variety) into our suitcase.  🙂





Small dirty clothes hamper – lightweight, foldable/collapsible.  Great size for the small cruise cabin.









flavored water packets

These are nice for any vacation – but we particularly like them for cruises. We don’t spend money on ‘drinks for purchase’ – 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 –(Some ports – Mexico in particular – do not have ‘safe’ food/water sources)   Water in some Mexican ports may give travelers the dreaded Montezuma’s Revenge.  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.

packages of peanutshigh protein snacks





High protein snacks –   Dollar Tree has quite a few options.  Now, I personally don’t purchase pre-packaged nuts – I find them to be rancid (nothing to do with Dollar Tree…I feel that way about Walmart bags too) but for those who like them, these are certainly less expensive.

cheese and pretzelssnack-individual sizes







peanuts or snack crackersvariety of snack crackers from Dollar store






EVEN Sugar Free!!!!


SUGAR FREE options!!


 20140718_1911551.jpgThere are many options at the Dollar Tree for organizing your travel paperwork, boarding passes, luggage receipts, tickets, confirmations, etc…  There  accordion files in a 5 x 8 size  are what I’ve used for several years.  They also have PLASTIC pocket folders that work well for this.  They’re durable and hopefully will last through an entire vacation.  🙂


Happy Shopping!