What to Pack for a River Cruise

If you’ve been to river cruises in the past, you already know that packing for one is no joke! On the other hand, if this is your first time packing for an exotic cruise, you are definitely in for a surprise.

Of course, you’ll be spending a significant amount of time on your private charter cruise lounging around in your deck room or socializing with your loved ones, which does not require any “special equipment”.

However, the moment you head onto an expedition, you will wish you’d have prepared more thoroughly. In order to avoid this moment of defeat, we’ve prepared a list of some items you should definitely bring on your next cruise.

Now, the first thing you should pay attention to is your travel destination’s current season. Most river cruises take place in quite exotic areas, which means that such places also usually have two seasons.

Whether you are traveling in the dry or the wet season, you should pay extra attention to making sure that you come prepared. Getting surprised by weather is one thing in Paris and a whole other thing in the Amazon, trust me!

So, without further ado, let’s see which are some of the essentials you’ll definitely want to make sure to bring, and which ones are not leaving your home anytime soon!

Clothes and shoes

When it comes to your choice of clothes, you will want to pay attention to several things. The first thing that is of utter importance when choosing which clothes to pack up for your river cruise is that they are, of course, comfortable.

Since most rivers’ climate is more than humid (and keep in mind that you’ll be sweating all the time) you will also want to make sure that your clothes are dry-fit.  And of course, you will want to protect yourself from the sun and those pesky mosquitoes, so the smartest move would be to wear long sleeves and long pants as often as you can!

Mosquitoes are attracted to dark fabrics and can bite through tight-fitted clothes, so pack as much of breathable, light-colored, and loose-fitting clothes as you can!

When it comes to the selection of shoes you should bring, you’ll be happy to hear that most cruise ships will offer you with their own rubber boots for those muddy expeditions.

However, you absolutely have to make sure to bring a pair of clean shoes for your flight back home. Just leave them in the suitcase during your stay on the ship! And speaking of the ship, you will be fine with just about any type of footwear throughout the stay – flip flops, Crocs, sneakers, you name it!


Being protected against the sun is one of the most important things on a river cruise, so make sure to bring a wide-brimmed hat. Just like your clothes, they should be dry-fit and light-colored. Another thing to keep in mind is that the hat should be wide enough to cover your shoulders for optimal protection!

Those of you with long hair already know how annoying it can get in humid conditions, so make sure to stack up on headbands and hair elastics.

As for your choice of sunglasses, you should definitely leave any of your more expensive pairs at home and bring a pair of UV protective cheap ones on your cruise instead. You don’t want to spend your time in the jungle looking for Dior sunglasses that you lost, would you?


Some of the exotic places you will be visiting do not have a source of clean drinking water. So, while Mekong cruises, for example, can be the experience of a lifetime, it is probably better to be on the safe side when it comes to your source of water with Lifestraw!

Plastic Ziploc bags

By the end of your cruise trip, you will be swearing by these bags! Due to the humid conditions, you will want to make sure that your belongings are kept safe and dry, especially your electronics.

This is where plastic Ziploc bags step in and do the trick for whatever you need to store away – especially your outfit for the flight back home!

woman looking out of ship deck onto water

A water-resistant backpack

Can you imagine an early morning expedition without having your things on you? Of course not, which is why you should make sure to spend an extra buck on buying a high-quality water-resistant backpack that you can bring anywhere!

Other things

As for the other tips and tricks you may need while packing for your trip, you should pay extra attention to bringing all your medication onboard! You will hardly be able to replace your prescription pills in the Amazon, right?

You should also make sure to bring some extra memory cards because no matter where your cruise ship is taking you, it is guaranteed to be a place that you will want to photograph and remember!

And the last but definitely not the least essential for your river cruise is bug spray, of course! It is an absolute must-have on such trips, so bring as much as you think you need.

So, if you make sure to pack thoroughly, your next river cruise will definitely be the time of your life!

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