How to pack for a tour. Tips from 25 years of traveling to Europe.
Over the years, we have experienced that most travelers bring many more things than they need. And sometimes bring the wrong items and either do not wear the items or end up wearing all the wrong clothing.
Here are a few tips that I have learned over my 25 years of traveling to Italy.
I can pack for a month trip all in a 22 inch suitcase. How you say…….
Here’s my tips.
Pack only light weight pants
Unless you are going to be there in July or August, you will not need shorts or sundresses. And especially if you are going to be entering any Churches. You will not be admitted to some Churches if you are wearing shorts, skirts above the knee, or any sleeveless shirts. You may get away with it in some places, but do not take the chance. Bring a few pairs of black polyester pants that can be washed and will dry quickly in your accommodations. I have only brought black pants for as long as I have been traveling to Italy. Another tip is to roll the pants up as tightly as possible. They take up less room and will not wrinkle. I take 10 pairs of light weight pants all in black.
Think in layers
If I am going to be in Italy during May or September, I do take lightweight sleeveless blouses. I take a few in white and cream colors. They wash and dry quickly and I can put on a sweater for evenings or going to Churches. Basically I take 10 blouses one for each pair of pants. I can mix and match the pants and shirts. I always pack several scarves. Italy is famous for people wearing beautiful scarves. A beautiful colorful scarf will make any outfit look different. Instead of jewelry, use the scarves to accent your outfit. Don’t pack too many as it is fun to buy scarves in Italy to wear and then bring home.
Sweaters and jackets
I always take 2 sweaters, one in tan/gold and one in black. If I take a third it would be in a beige color. Additionally, I always take a lightweight rain jacket that is 3/4 length. It is in a light tan has pockets inside and out and has a removable hood. If rain is a possibility, which is always in Italy in the spring and fall, I throw on my jacket which is washable and put a very small compact umbrella in my pocket. If I am in very busy cities, I skip the umbrella and just put up my hood. Sometimes it is difficult to navigate the crowded streets with an umbrella.
Let’s talk about colors
I recommend you leave your bright colors and pastels clothing at home when traveling to Italy. You will be better off in more neutral colors, so that all your clothes can be used. You can make more outfits out of all neutral colors that can be paired or layered together to make great outfits each day. This is where the scarves can make a difference.
This is a difficult one. I always take 2 pairs of shoes besides the ones I am wearing and one pair of big comfy socks. The socks are great for hanging out in the rooms. The floors can be stone and cold. I take two pairs of fashionable flats if I want a dressy look for dinner or out in a city. I take one pair of walking shoes for comfort. I wear my walking shoes during the day and change to my flats to give my feet a break at night. I am not one that wears tennis shoes, I prefer one of the great sketchers shoes, very comfortable, light weight and fashionable all at the same time.
Always take lots of band aides with you. It seems you can be wearing a pair of shoes forever, but as soon as you get to Italy, you walk for a day and you end up with a blister. I will put the band aide on my heel or any pressure point on my feet to avoid the blister. A small tube of neosporine is always in my bag. Along with my Tylenol or pain relief medicine.
Definite do not needs
Italy has the most wonderful creams for your skin. Most are made from olive oil. This is something you will want to buy there and use there and bring the rest home. Shampoo, conditioner, cosmetics and perfumes are also some of the best products you can buy. So these are the things I buy for myself while in Italy. On each tour we will have stops so you can buy these products at very reasonable prices so save the space in your suitcase to bring these items home. Hair dryer is another item not needed. All accommodations have hair dryers, so save that space too.
Don’t forget about all the things that you are going to buy and bring home
If I really want to bring home lots of things. I pack my suitcase and then put it into an empty larger suitcase for the trip. That way I am only traveling with one checked bag for the trip over and can return with 2 bags, one filled with all the goodies I wanted to bring home, even packing bottles of wine within my clothes.
Always pack clothes for the next day in your carry on
I can not tell you how many times, I have traveled with a group and had an issue in Paris or London and all of our luggage did not arrive. Luckily all the tour participants packed the next day clothes in their carry on and we all had clean shirts and underwear to continue our tour. The luggage showed up and was at our accommodations that evening. You can always get through a day with clean underwear and a clean shirt.
If you have specific packing questions, give me a call or email me at.