Six Keys to Packing Light

By: Joe Thompson

When you watch movies or TV shows involving cruise ships, the cast seems to have an endless supply of wardrobe and props. There's a reason for that: it's entertainment!

In reality, a cruise ship cabin is much tighter. But the issue is that on gay cruises you want to have as many options as possible—I mean, you are surrounded by gay men—and there are numerous parties where costumes are part of the fun. So how do you find the right balance?

We turned to David Jedeikin, author of Wander the Rainbow, which chronicles his year of backpacking across the globe in style. He offered tips for every guy looking to cruise the high seas.

AllGearCU1. Lose the Wheels
They may save you from lugging your finery around, but all that extra hardware means extra weight, reduced space inside the bag (and in your cabin), and a tendency to over stuff it. So don't take one. Jedeikin advises, "Go with what long-haul budget travelers have been doing for eons: a backpack. Yes, that piece so often associated with grimy hostels and even grimier backpackers actually makes for a suitable companion on long trips, evenly distributing weight around your body and allowing you to [navigate tight spaces] with ease."

Bags with zip ups around the front like regular luggage ensure that your duds don’t arrive looking like last week’s laundry.

PackingCubeClosed2. Cube It
Stuffing your bag at the last minute leads to forgotten items or an inability to find anything (rubbers) when you need it. "Fortunately, a number of luggage vendors sell packing cubes like these in all shapes and sizes, allowing organization of shirts, slacks, socks & undies… just about anything you can think of. These can be found at the same stores that sell backpacks (such as REI), as well as online."

3. Limit Your Denims and Shoes
Tempted to pack a set of Diesels for every night? Denim weighs more, is bulkier, and takes forever to dry. One nice pair of jeans and one other pant can be combined with plenty of shirts to make new looks all the time. The same rule applies to shoes: a comfortable pair for the gym/sightseeing, and one nice pair for parties and dinners. Done and done!

4. Consider the Season
Bring one windbreaker or sweatshirt that can be tightly folded, one nice suit coat if you're dressing up at any point, and if it's a sunny climate bring plenty of shorts and T-shirts; those will be your primary wardrobe, and they can be bundled into neat rolls that reduce wrinkling and save space. You only need one, maybe two swimsuits. Seriously. Even a Speedo takes up space.

5. Ship Stuff Home
Feel free to shop at any ports of call, but don't lug the stuff back on the boat. Says Jedeikin, "There’s nothing wrong with... shipping home what you don’t need at an intermediate stop. You can send your stuff back relatively inexpensively... and you get to enjoy a little retail therapy."

4web1345271576. Think Light and Double Your Fun
Dressing up is great, but unless you're a drag queen you shouldn't have a ton of bulky costume changes. Choose outfits that can be packed small (Spandex or short-shorts, anyone?) and don't require lots of props. Also consider ways a regular clothing item can get double or triple usage: Diesel jeans and a T-shirt for the first meet and greet, with a suit coat for dinner, and with a harness for the leather party.


With some simple forethought, you'll save yourself a ton of space and stress, letting yourself have more fun while sailing the high seas.

Top image: Cruise Critic
Gay cruise costume images: Village Voice.