10 Packing Tips for A Woman’s Italy Trip

| Mon, 09/13/2021 - 11:07
Susan Van Allen shopping in Florence

Along with joyful anticipation, when packing for a trip to Italy, panic may ensue.

Here are Ten Tips to bring back the fun.

  1. Pack light. Dragging a heavy suitcase through an airport or up train steps drags down your trip. Choose versatile clothes within a color scheme to easily mix and match, stick to travel size toiletries, and load books, guides, etc. on your phone or tablet so as not to add any extra weight.
  2. Go for tailored quality basics, and a touch of formality. Italian women set a beautiful example for us, wearing quality basics, that are comfortable, classic, and well-fitted.  Their style is slightly more formal—for example gym clothes are just for the gym, and shorts are just for the beach.
  3. Leave ironing at home. Italian hotel rooms don’t come with irons, due to fire safety laws, so leave clothes that easily wrinkle at home. Of course, a hotel can press items for you, or sometimes they’ll send an iron up to your room, but do you really want to take time for that on your vacation?
  4. Check the weather forecast.  These days we can’t rely on seasonal expectations when it comes to weather, so check the forecast online before you pack. No matter what, bring a travel umbrella. I’ve also found it a good idea to have a compressible down jacket, just in case things get chilly. And even if it’s not swimming weather, pack a bathing suit, in case a spa or indoor hotel pool opportunity arises.
  5. Comfortable shoes are key. There will be lots of wonderful walking, so be sure to bring comfortable shoes that you’ve broken in. Ankle boots, flats with good support, and wedge-heeled sandals work well. Athletic shoes are fine for during the day, and great to support you when wandering through ancient ruins. Leave the spike heels at home—they get stuck in the cobblestones.
  6. Pashminas bring pleasure. A light, cozy wrap is great for the plane, to warm you up in the evenings, and if you’re sleeveless, you’ll need it to cover your shoulders when you are entering churches.
  7. Plan for shopping. Whether you pick up a scarf at an open market or a designer dress in Milan, you’ll be happy during and post-trip to wear a piece of Italy. Pack a lightweight duffel bag to fill with souvenirs to bring home your treasures.
  8. Carry a personal pharmacy.  Italy’s pharmacies are generally not open 24 hours, so it’s a good idea to bring along a small supply of pain relievers, sleep aids, digestive aids, cold medications, antiseptic cream, and band-aids. Also, you’ll be grateful to always carry a pack of tissues, for places where toilet tissue is lacking.
  9. Adapt to Italy’s electronics. You’ll need a 2-prong plug adapter, (available at travel and electrical supply stores), so your chargers and electrical devices can plug into Italy’s wall sockets. Hotels supply hair dryers, but if you must bring a high-powered hair dryer, you’ll also need an electric converter, so you don’t blow a fuse. You may also choose to bring a travel alarm clock, as Italy’s hotels don’t typically have clock radios, so if you like to glance at a clock as you move around the room, you’ll be glad you brought your own along. 
  10. Have a dress rehearsal. Get out your itinerary, lay out all the clothing possibilities on your bed, and then dress for each day. A glass of wine and Andrea Bocelli music to back you up adds to the fun, as does taking selfies. It’s a wonderful way to clearly see what to bring and what to leave behind.

Buon Viaggio!

front cover
The 10th anniversary edition of Susan Van Allen's "100 Places in Italy Every Woman Should Go"