My husband and I married while he was on shore tour, so it was a couple years into our marriage before he went to sea. One morning he called me from the boat and told me to run out and buy a few things because he was leaving the next day to go underway for a few weeks. He came home to find full-sized items and laughed. Clearly, I was new to this.
We were up until midnight searching through boxes for his seabag, uniforms and accessories. He was assigned to a pre-commissioning unit (PCU) at the time, so he did not bother unpacking those items when we moved.
After that experience, I make it a habit to keep a stash of items on-hand. I also keep his seabag in the closet with his underway uniform items for easy access.
If your spouse is on their sea tour or getting ready to transfer to sea tour, ask them what they like to take with them and purchase the items ahead of time. My sailor likes to separate items in his seabag with ziploc bags so I keep a few sizes in the pantry. Always check with your spouse to ensure you are not packing an item that contains materials prohibited on board. I do one final load of laundry the day before he leaves to ensure he has his favorite socks and sweats available, as well.
When it comes to absolute must-haves, here are six things to keep around the house:
- Favorite travel size toiletries (shampoo, body wash, deodorant, and shave cream)
- Drink mix packets (instant coffee/ Gatorade/ Crystal Light)
- Non-drowsy dramamine
- Protein bars/ snacks
- Cards for holidays or a special, hand-written note
- Small photos
Is there a special item you like to include? Do you have any packing tips?