Booking a cruise and counting the days down until you depart is a tremendously exciting experience, but there are common, every day issues that still need to be sorted out well in advance of your leaving. So here are a few tips on things to consider before you leave your familiar surroundings.
It is always a good idea to start your packing at least a week or two in advance of your departure date. This gives you plenty of time to not only reduce the initial pile of essentials to a more reasonable amount, but also for you to identify things that either no longer fit, or have been damaged or lost since your last holiday. Trying to find last minute replacements is no fun at all, so plan for your packing in plenty of time.
If you have a home burglar or intrusion alarm system you will need to talk to a trusted neighbor or friend and provide them with a house key, and explain how the alarm system works. A good tip for security is to change the code on your alarm, so that your friend or neighbor has their own code for that week, and then afterwards you can change it back to your own regular, secret code. It is important to let your security firm know, if it is the kind that's linked by phone to an office. They will need to know you're away, and who the contact is in the meantime. If your alarm goes off in your absence, it will still need dealing with.
If you have pets, obviously these will need to be catered for. One option is to leave them at home and have someone regularly come and make sure they have plenty of food and water, let them outside for a while and just keep them company. Alternatively, taking them to kennels or other home away from home can be a better idea, since they are likely to receive much more attention and have a happier time. This needs arranging as long in advance as possible, especially if you are going away at a peak season, since places usually fill up quickly at the better and more reliable kennels/catteries.
Always make sure that you have collected together more than enough film, media cards and video tape for your holiday. It is always remarkable how quickly this is used up, and if you try buying film or media cards either on the ship or at ports you can expect to pay two to three times what you normally would. The general rule of thumb is to think carefully about how much you expect to use, then add another 50% to it, and buy it all in well in advance. Don't forget to make sure you put this in your carryon bag, since media cards and high speed film can be damaged by the scanning that is carried out on other luggage.
Finally, another important thing to think about is how you can be contacted in any emergency. Obviously we all hope this doesn't need to happen, but it is important to have a backup plan just in case. The ship's phone will be very expensive to use - sometimes $12 per minute, so it is a good idea to nominate one member of the family to be your direct contact, then if anybody needs you, they can go through this person who can be the single point of contact, to reduce the risk of repetition. You may well find that your mobile will work, and be even cheaper once you stop at a port and are back on land, although you'll need to check with your network operator that your phone is compatible in the countries you'll be visiting.
Victor Epand is an expert consultant about luggage, cruises, hotels, and shopping. You will find the best marketplace for luggage, cruises, hotels, and shopping at these sites for bags, luggage, cruises, planning, preparation, and shopping.