How Low Can You Go: 10 Items Older Women Must Take on a Week-long Cruise


I have long been an advocate of packing light. It has saved me more headaches than I can count. There have been times when I decided it was necessary to take a little more ‘just in case’ and I always regretted it.

Everything from broken wheels and handles to carrying my bags up stairs or over cobblestone streets has taught me that less is more.

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My usual go-to for travel anywhere is a rolling backpack and a tote.

I can easily fit in them all that I need for my trip, but both are still lightweight enough that if I must, I can actually pick them up and carry them. Not checking luggage at the airport and getting on and off trains and buses is so much easier with just the two bags.

Now I’m getting ready for what is called a Barefoot Cruise and need to rethink what packing light really means. With only 10 – 12 passengers, small cabins, and very little space, I want to make this as simple as possible.

This will take a little bit of planning, but I love the thought of doing something in such a new and different way; it feels like a bigger adventure.

So, here is my packing list:

  • 2 swimsuits
  • 1 pair of shorts
  • 1 skirt
  • 1 dress
  • 2 t-shirts
  • underwear
  • flip flops
  • hat

Just looking at that list gives me a bit of anxiety. Is it reasonable to take so little and still be comfortable? Aside from a small bag of essential toiletries – shampoo, deodorant, and sunscreen – what else do I really need? If I were packing for a regular trip, I would take all the same things just more of them.

Planning Is Everything

What I will do is plan very carefully exactly what those 10 items are.

I will make sure that everything is lightweight and can be washed out by hand if needed. The t-shirts will serve as swimsuit cover ups as well as nightshirts, so everything must match. When I look at it that way it doesn’t seem so bad, in fact, it feels rather freeing.

I do want to test my theory, though. So, for my next few short trips I will try to pack this way and see how things work. I will determine if there is anything that I can’t live without before I get out into the middle of the ocean where I won’t have access to anything.

When I was in my 20s, it was nothing for me to throw my swimsuit and a change of clothes into a bag for a quick trip. But now that I’m in my 60s, my travel style has changed dramatically so this will be very enlightening.

I know this isn’t something that would work for everyone but the fact that it has peaked my interest tells me that I need to try it. I would much prefer the focus to be on the experience as opposed to the things.

I’ve been interested in independent travel for many years now and this may be my biggest challenge yet – but I’m excited to try it.

Are you a light traveler or do you like to take every single item you think you will need? What are the biggest drawbacks of taking too little or too much? Share your stories and join the conversation!

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