My Pre-Cruise Ritual

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So 'ritual' might sound weird, but I get EXTREMELY excited after we book a cruise. Packing is my favorite part (I mean, besides the cruising part of course) - The hubs actually makes fun of me because I am seriously ready to start packing like a full month before our trip. I get excited as it is to pack for any type of trip that we're going on, but a cruise... look out!

Although I live in a constant state of disarray within my home (as should be expected with 3 men, 3 dogs and a bird in the house), I LOVE to organize and plan and whatnot. I try with my house, it just never lasts! But I guess that is where I get my love for packing and planning before we go. So here is typically how this goes >>

We actually are leaving on our next cruise in exactly 5 days. FIVE (eeek!) - So I actually wrote it down in my calendar to start planning for my outfits early last week and to not start packing until  this past Friday. This way I have a full week to tweak the suitcase should I find it necessary. Well... the weekend before Halloween, while Johnny was distracted with the Georgia game, I snuck off to our bedroom to, you know... just dust off the ol' suitcase. Next thing I know, I'm going through my closet and picking out my wardrobe for the trip. (I mean... I get TOO excited)

Johnny pops into the room and is just laughing at me and just keeps saying, "What are you doing, honey?!" - Suitcase was empty! I had not pack it {yet}, I was just 'referencing the size' - you know, since we have decided to just pack one suitcase and then one carry-on! Little does he know, I went ahead and put a few things in there. It doesn't hurt to get a head start! So here is seriously how my pre-cruise ritual typically goes:

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Within a few days of booking >>

I locate our passports and any other documents we may need and put them in a safe place. I usually have a plastic bin to hold everything as I am gathering them until it is time to pack them. At some point, whenever I find the spare time, I start to make lists. I'm an obsessive list-maker... Like seriously, it may be a problem. Lists from what to pack, to what I need to buy before the trip for our room or I make a list of possible excursions that we may be interested in.


Within 6-8 weeks from embarkation >>

I do any necessary shopping for clothes I may need. Now before I go too far on this, I am not someone who has an extremely large wardrobe and I do not go shopping regularly to add to my wardrobe. That would be my mother... seriously, she could open her own Goodwill she has so many clothes. I actually maybe shop a few times a year for things I need and I get some key pieces for each season. At the same time, I am constantly cleaning out my closet and donating what I do not want anymore. I actually consider myself somewhat of a minimalist. So if I go through my wardrobe and I see that I do not have what I need for the trip (such as a nice dress for 'elegant night') then I'll go out and find a nice dress. I also do shopping for anything else I think we may need for the trip or we may want for our trip. Amazon is my favorite place to shop online and how can you pass up 2 days free shipping??

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1-2 weeks prior to embarkation >>

Two weeks is usually when I start planning my outfits out completely by the day. I go ahead and set aside any of them that I know I won't be wearing before then. I can do yoga pants and a t-shirt or sweatshirt any day ;)

Again with the minimalism, I do not want to overpack at all! I take as little as I can to keep it simple. Simplicity is my favorite thing in the world when it comes to details! One week out, I actually start putting my stuff together in my bag/suitcase so that the week of the trip, I can focus on my work before I go and have less stress. We get my car cleaned up and ready to go for a long, comfy ride. I also like to use this time to listen to some steel drum music... That really gets me in vacay-mode!

The day before we leave home >>

I'll double check everything in my bag, and usually try to get Johnny to do the same. I triple-check to make sure we have all of our important docs such as our passports, boarding passes, luggage tags and health screening. 

We get the car completely packed and set up to perfection... this is another part I love maybe a little too much! My car has the PERFECT setup. I have tons of extra storage underneath the back part of my car. So we tuck everything that we can fit under there that we know we will not need on the way down to wherever we are going. The only things we have that are easy-to-reach are things we will need that day when we get to our destination. We usually go down to wherever we are porting out of and spend the night so we can get up super early to head to the terminal. 

We stick everything else in the floorboards of the back seats and the back seats we actually lay down all the way. Why you ask? Oh, because we make a bed for the road trip. It's the most brilliant thing ever. See, Johnny and I love to travel to places, but we hate the long drives. My sister-in-law makes fun of us for this, but we just hate sitting in the car for more than 3 hours! So we want to make the ride as comfortable as possible. So while one of us drives, the other can sleep, or watch Netflix or whatever in the back. It is extremely comfortable! If you have a car that you can do this, I highly recommend it! Once we get to our location, if we're close by, we will drive over to the terminal to make sure we know where we are going.

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Embarkation Day (Finally!) >>

We get up, let out a squeal of excitement and we get everything ready to be unloaded as soon as we arrive. We usually will try to get to the terminal about 30-45 minutes before we are supposed to check in. Even if it means we are hanging out in the parking deck, we like to be early. Once we drop our bags off with the porter, we park and get ready to head to check in. We then sit and wait until it is time to board. We always make sure we have our phones/tablet fully charged so we can watch a show or play a game before it is our time to go!

Once we get on the ship, it is time to start the fun. But we'll save what to do once you get onboard for another post :)

Do you have a 'ritual' before you go on any vacation? What quirky things do you do? Well since I'm an obsessive list-maker, [OLM? -is that a thing? Let's make it a thing...] I thought I'd make a packing list just for you guys to download for F R E E to use on your upcoming trip! [Download The List Here]

Alright peeps, next time to hear from me... I'll be in Mexico!

Much love,

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Ashley Strickland