Things that I should have thought to bring along

Things that I should have thought to bring along

After 7 days at sea between Mexico and Honolulu, we were all ready to get off the ship.  However, this stop was not really a "stop" but rather a 10 hour refueling of the ship.  We did our best to see as much as we could of Hawaii in those 10 hours.  Tours included snorkeling, visiting a pineapple plantation, going along the north shore, eating some typical Hawaiian food. One of the most popular tours that sold out right away was the  (believe this or not) WALMART TOUR.  This was a chance for everyone to purchase the things that they needed and forgot to pack. 

One of the most popular items was yoga mats.   We completely depleted Walmart's supply. Another popular item was bed pillows.  Evidently many of us though the pillows on the ship were too flat.   Other items included granola bars, clothes pins, bottled water, reading lamps etc.

By the time we arrived I Kobe, I had added to my list- a plain, cheap Casio watch.  While traveling across the Pacific we lost a day and a few hours in time. Even my iPhone and MacBook Pro were confused.  In addition, I was still learning ship time and that 1800 really meant 6 pm. My solution was a cheap watch so I really knew what time it was.

Some general packing tips you need to know!


Some general packing tips you need to know!


  •  Wear your bulky or heavy clothes (e.g. hiking boots) when traveling through the airport /on plane instead of packing them because they take up so much space.
  •  Waterproof  your shoes / boots before you leave home."Nikwax" (brand name) is a good choice.
  •  Ensure clothes,... especially footwear are comfortable & broken-in long before trip
  •  Bring sandals with enough straps to be secure & comfortable on feet and with a good tread for walking on rough surfaces. "Chaco" & "Teva" (brands) are recommended.  Chaco sandals have a lifetime guarantee.
  •  Layout everything you would like to take,...then subtract what you can live without.
  •  Use duffle bag with carry handle & backpack straps.
  • Carry 1 change of clothes that is light & dries fast in your carry on luggage.
  • Always have layers of clothing to deal with variations in temperature.
  • Down is better than synthetic for warmth & drying speed.
  • For females, bring 1 black dress or dress of lighter color in hot climates.
  • Merino wool is best in both hot & cold climates because it is a natural heat regulator.
  • Wool underwear & t-shirts are light weight, dry faster, and are warmer than other fabric even when soaking wet.  Wool garments are also less likely to chaff.

Other essentials bits of info

  • Keep paper copies of passport, itinerary documents, tickets, etc. in more than one place ( carry on and luggage).  Do not rely only on electronic copies only.
  • Bring a Kensington International Travel Adapter as recommended by SAS.
  • Purchase "Gotoob" (brand) 3 oz. reusable plastic bottles because they have a wide mouth for easy refill.  These size bottles are perfect  for our side trips away from the ship.
  • Select "Dr. Bronner's" pure castile soap (brand name) because of its multiple uses.  You can pour from the large container to 3 oz. Gotoobe bottles for our side trips.   Dr. Bronner's can be used for body, hair, clothes, and everything. It has 18 uses and is concentrated and lasts a long time.  Get the unscented if you are going to be in insect areas.
  • Check out "Trek & Travel" (brand name) Pocket Laundry Wash which comes in a small pack of 50 leaves.  You only need one per load of laundry.  They also have Pocket Body Wash which is great for the in country trips.
  • Select a "RFID" (brand) credit card & passport protective envelope to prevent other people from scanning your info while it is in your pocket.  The envelope feels like thin paper, but is tear resistant. 

 Do you need a water purification vs water filtration?.. what is the difference?

  • A water purification system removes impurities from the water using a chemical process that involved either iodine or chlorine.  On the other hand, water filtration system rids water of any impurities through a physical barrier, a biological process or chemicals.    Good idea is to purchase bottled water and make sure the seal breaks when you unscrew the bottle cap. If you prefer water purifier, Steripen" (brand) is a UV water purifier, smaller that palm of hand, works in 48 seconds.

Money, money, money $$$

  • I just learned that we can easily order $ from each country we will visit online from our banks and pick up before we leave. What a good idea. I am sure that we can use credit cards, but wouldn’t it be great to be able to get off the boat and head out to a local market, coffee shop, or restaurant for a bite without having to search for an ATM or bank?   I plan to order $100 USD worth for each stop except for  Hawaii and Mauritius (since we are only there for about 10 hours and USD are accepted in Hawaii.)




What vaccinations to get?

What vaccinations to get?

One way to approach this is to do your own research by visiting the US State Department website where you will get more information than you ever expected

That is the first step I took. I was so overwhelmed with requirements for the 11 countries we will visit that I actually created a spreadsheet. 

Then, started making regular visits to my doctor’s office. All the immunizations were free except the Yellow Fever vaccine My doctor’s office did not have  he vaccine so I had to go to a special travel immunization clinic where the one shot cost me $240- cash.  

Then, when I got down to the rabies shots, the medical doctor on Semester at Sea said she did not recommend it unless I planned to hang out with monkeys or stray dogs on the street!!  Great- rabies shots were going to be $300 each and it was suggested that I needed three (3) shots. 

Consult with our doctor on which type of malaria medicine you want to take since we are basically in malaria area from China to Ghana!   Typhoid pills can be taken before our departure.

Regardless, do your homework before going to see your doctor.  Try going to your local health department to see if you can get any of these at no charge.

Once we are done getting all of these shots, we can go ANYWHERE!!!

What technology to carry ?

What technology to carry ?

The technology you need depends on how much you want to record this once in a lifetime adventure!

Packing the tech bag

When you start packing this may be the heaviest of your two allotted bags to carry on the plane and then, the ship.  Of course, a laptop computer, HD video camera, a digital cameras, lenses, tripods and cell phone.

To save on weight in your checked bags and assure that you will have all the charging tools that you need. Consider packing chargers, transformers, converters, adapters and tripod in your carryon luggage.  By the way, all technology should be in your carry on with at least one change of clothes in case of any luggage delay or loss.  And… take a picture of your luggage on our cell phone.


First of all, check the international options with your carrier. You may decide to get an international program or you may decide to purchase an international sim card. Or, you may just decided to unplug and only speak to friends and family when you can find a wifi connection in any of our destinations or maybe, not at all.

Keep in mind, you will have some internet on the ship, but onlya couple of hours per day and rumor is that it is super slow.  Some cell phone carriers with international programs have limited data downloads/uploads so be sure to evaluate that.  It is better to pay for a larger data amount than to pay for “overage data use”.


It seems that many of our phones have replaced our need for a camera.   However, you would not want to be at the Taj Mahal and see that you had no charge on your cell phone.  So- consider taking a digital camera with a back up battery that you can always carry with you.  Of course, there will be the expert photographers with theprofessional cameras, but there is something to be said for “not looking like a tourist” all day and slipping with phone or small camera in your pocketto have it ready for that priceless shot.

So- what about GoPro?  Here are some links to compare GoPro Hero 4 and 5. Check them out!!

What to pack for 4 months on a boat?

The first trip to the local REI store in Soho was helpful.  Be sure to sign up for a membership to get an incentive of 10% on your annual purchase around March of the following year.  We will actually be in the middle of the Indian Ocean, but credit for something to purse for your next adventure!!  If you do not use your credit by the end of July, REI sends you a check!

Here are a few items you should consider in preparing for the voyage!

1. Duffle bags (2) with a limit of 70 pounds each. 

This means start lifting weights now.  You need all that stuff if we are traveling 4 months. The challenge is getting it to San Diego and then back from Hamburg to the US.  If you plan to stay the hang out in Europe for a while, you need to consider carrying around 140 pounds of stuff!

2. Travel cubes

These are hand for keeping your drawers organized and they are easy to throw in your weekend backpack for various excursions

3. Hat

A sun hat or baseball cap.  Just remember, we are going to be at sea and there will be the wind.

5. Sunscreen

A must for being on a boat.  Small containers are easy to throw in your backpack.  Maybe have a large container in the cabin and refill GoToobs for your weekend backpack.

6. Comfortable shoes

Whatever shoes you choose, make sure to break them in before the trip.  According to SAS, we must wear covered shoes on the boat and you will probably need some hiking boots along with sturdy sandals with straps. Chao and Treva are great brands.

7. Pocket laundry leaves

I just discovered this.  Another great item for your weekend backpack or even the cabin when you need to wash some items in the sink.

8. Pocket body wash leaves

By the same company, these are small, lightweight and easy to pack.

9. Small wide mouth 3 oz bottles to carry on our in country adventures

GoToob bottles are great because the wide mouth makes for easy refills for your weekend backpack excursions.