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What to Pack for a Cruise Shore Excursion: 10 Essentials to Put in Your Day Bag

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There are a lot of things to consider when packing for a cruise vacation. On the ship, you’ll need bathing suit gear and dining attire (don’t forget about formal night!), but what should you bring for shore excursions? We’ve gathered a list of all the essentials you need to bring for your upcoming cruise shore excursion.

Outlander Backpack Day Bag; Courtesy of Amazon

1. Day Bag for Cruise Shore Excursion

Having the best bag for your cruise excursion is most important. We love a bag that collapses down, and can easily be thrown in your suitcase, taking up no additional space. The best bag for your cruise excursion should have plenty of interior and exterior pockets, be durable and water-resistant, and be large enough to fit all the stuff you may need for the day. We love the Outlander Ultra Lightweight Packable Travel Daybag. It features a large main compartment and a smaller interior zippered pocket to hold valuables (which doubles as the pocket the bag folds into to collapse it down). There are two exterior pockets for easy access to things like sunscreen and two mesh pockets on the sides that can hold water bottles.

Related: Beyond the Diaper Bag: Best Daypacks for Traveling Families

KEEN Women's Whisper Sandal; Courtesy of Amazon

2. Shoes for Cruise Shore Excursion

You’ll want reliable shoes for your cruise excursion and your footwear will vary based on which activity you choose. If you’re headed to the sand for a day at the beach, flip flops are an easy choice. If you plan to explore the city or do some hiking, we suggest a comfortable pair of walking shoes or sneakers for the whole family. Nothing will ruin a cruise excursion faster than sore feet! If you plan to do any type of adventure cruise excursion, closed-toed shoes are almost always a requirement. Whether it’s ziplining, riding an ATV or visiting a waterfall, closed-toed shoes are best for a cruise excursion. We recommend the Keen brand of sandals as the best shoes for cruise excursions. They can be worn for almost any activity. They are great for the beach and can be worn in the water if there are rocks, and are also comfortable for walking, with closed-toe options.

Related: Best Water Shoes for the Beach 2019


Purple Bathing Suit and Kids' Beach Cover Up; Courtesy of Amazon

3. Comfortable Outfit

Consider the climate and the activity for your cruise excursion outfit of the day. A bathing suit and nice beach cover up are perfect for some beach time. Loose fitting shorts and a short-sleeve shirt are always good options for a day exploring in warmer weather. But if you plan to do something a bit more adventurous or that requires a harness, such as ziplining, maybe opt for capri pants or lightweight pants that will keep you cool while also protecting your legs.

Sunscreen and Bug Spray; Courtesy of Amazon

4. Sunscreen and Bug Spray

Be sure to apply your sunscreen and bug spray prior to leaving the ship for the day. But don’t forget to throw them both in your daypack. Most cruise excursions last several hours or the entire day so you will definitely need to re-apply in order to avoid sunburn and bug bites.

Related: Does Natural Sunscreen Actually Work?

iPlay Sun Hat; Courtesy of Amazon

5. Hat and Sunglasses

No matter where you’re cruising, a hat and sunglasses are always important to bring along for the day in order to protect the whole family against the sun. We love the iPlay swim and sun flap hat for babies and little kids. It offers UPF 50+ protection and features a tie under the chin so there’s no chance of it falling off.

Related: Best Sunglasses for Babies and Toddlers


Assorted Snacks; Courtesy of Amazon

6. Snacks and Water

The endless, free food options stay on the cruise ship when you leave for a shore excursion. You don’t want anyone in the family to get hangry or have a meltdown, so be sure to throw some snacks in your cruise day bag. Protein bars, trail mix, almonds or crackers are easy to bring from home and pack in your luggage to use later. Or grab an extra banana or some fruit from the breakfast buffet before you disembark for the day. Bottled water (which is often for purchase on the ship) is also great to have on hand.

clothes folded in suitcase: Courtesy of JoeyPhoto/Shutterstock

7. Change of Clothes

If you plan to spend the entire day off the ship, but also plan to hit the beach, do some shopping and grab lunch at a local restaurant–you may want to change out of that wet bathing suit. Or put on a pair of shorts rather than wear your sheer beach cover up. Accidents happen and changing out of wet clothes will make you more comfortable on a cruise excursion, so remember to pack a change of clothes in your cruise excursion day bag.


Woman packing her bag with diapers and wipes; Courtesy of Africa Studio/Shutterstock

8. Diapers and Wipes

You will likely be away from the cruise ship and the convenience of your stateroom for several hours while on a cruise excursion. So make sure to pack a few extra diapers and wipes in your cruise day bag.

Related: Best Poop-in-the-Pool Proof Swim Diapers

Walkie Talkies; Courtesy of Amazon

9. Walkie Talkies

If you’re cruising internationally and don’t have an international cell phone plan, it won’t be super easy to communicate with your group once you’re off the cruise ship for the day. Purchase a pair of walkie talkies with long range capabilities and you’ll be able to keep track of everyone in your travel group no matter what shore excursion everyone chooses to do.

Related: 5 Ways to Stay Connected on a Cruise Ship


Portable Mini First Aid Kit, Multifunction Travel Medicine Storage Bag; Courtesy of Amazon

10. Medications

Keep a small container of emergency mediations in your bag for the day. Some Tylenol, asthma, and allergy medications, motion sickness medication and any other personal medications that your family may need are important to keep with you when venturing off the cruise ship.

Teen Girl’s Cool Cruise Outfit for Summer

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Mom’s/Women’s Cool Cruise Outfit for Summer

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