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  • TheWayToItaly

Italy Packing Prep 101

I don't know where I heard this but my motto (and other people's as well) for travel prep is: "Take half of what you pack, and twice as much money."

While I have a hard time with the latter, I am a pro at the former. It only took one trip to Italy with a couple of suitcases -both bigger than a small child for me to realize schlepping more than one bag on and off trains and planes, up and down Venetian bridges (they involve stairs on both sides) and apartment stairwells didn't make for a fun experience. And the painful memories to this day still haunt me.


Packing everything you need (the key word here is NEED) into a carry-on case and adding a carry-on bag doesn't have to be hard.


Here are a few ideas to help make a light load (NPI) of it and inspire you to pack less:


  • Checking luggage increases the possibility of unnecessary problems: lost luggage, more to carry, and extra baggage fees. You may have heard of the recent lost/delayed luggage epidemic due to staff shortages at airports. It is still a thing and its awful if it happens to you.

  • When packing an item think about how many times you are going to wear it. If you are not going to wear it more than three times, don't pack it!

  • Fall temperatures can vary so bring several light layers that can easily be removed as temperatures rise during the day and put back on as it cools off in the evening. Several light layers are easier to pack, take up less space, and are lighter to carry than bulky items.

Everything in one carry-on suitcase.

  • Choose clothes that pack well and color coordinate. For example, choose a base color for pants, skirts & leggings like black, brown, or grey, and then match the bottoms with a couple of highlight colors. FYI – Italians wear very dark colors, a lot of black all year long.

  • Pack one pair of walking shoes and one pair of comfortable dress shoes for dinners. You only need two pairs plus what you wear on the plane. Ladies I do not recommend flat sandals or thongs. It's a personal thing - dirty feet are uncomfortable.

  • Wear your bulkiest clothes and shoes on the plane to free up more space in your suitcase.

  • Accessories, accessories! Ladies' scarves or wraps can give a limited wardrobe extra color. They can easily be used to dress up an outfit as well as keep you warm.

  • A few pairs of inexpensive earrings are fun to bring and can also change the look of your outfit. Do not bring anything very expensive.

  • Pack chronologically, with items to be worn first on the top.

  • Pack items tightly so that clothes do not have too much space to move around and wrinkle. Dry-cleaner bags between blouses and pants keep them from sliding in the suitcase and wrinkling.

  • Roll t-shirts, pajamas, and scarves and tuck them into any small pockets of space.

  • You can also tuck socks into shoes to save room.

A Few Extra Tips for Packing

  • If you wear glasses/contacts, pack an extra pair or at least have a hard copy of your glasses prescription.

  • To avoid problems when passing through customs, keep medicines in their original labeled containers. If a medication is unusual, carry a letter from your doctor attesting to your need to take it.

  • If you plan to wash some items at the villa, hotel, apartment, etc. which has a washer, take a travel clothesline for hand drying items & soap. When packing remember micro fibers dry quicker than cotton.

  • If you have any severe allergies write them out in English and translate them to the languages of the countries you will be visiting. Write on a business card size card and keep it on your person. This is easy to do by using www.freetranslation.com.

  • Remember to pack your bag only two-thirds full to leave room for shopping and souvenirs.


I hope some of these suggestions inspire you to pack less for your trip to Italy or anywhere your travels take you.


If you have a few suggestions of your own, drop them in the comment section below.

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