Many of our guests and clients have asked about the type of luggage and clothing to bring with them to Italy or to other European countries, either on their own, or on one of our small group tours.
(A special note: I am certain that any number of readers will disagree with some part of this blog post. Based on over forty years of travel experience across Europe, this has worked well for me, our clients and our family)
Well packed luggage – Photo credit ABC News
In almost every case, for less than three weeks of travel, here are my suggestions:
-21″ Roller bag. Soft side luggage is always better as it can expand and/or contract easily. Hard side luggage is always heavier and less manageable for packing.
-One piece of hand luggage. The hand luggage could be a small back pack, a smaller bag or duffle bag as long as it meets your airline’s size requirements for carry on. You should consult your carrier’s luggage information before checking in.
-Prescriptions: Be SURE to pack a sufficient supply of whatever prescriptions you have with you in your carry on luggage – usually the smaller of the two pieces you have with you. It is also recommended that you bring prescriptions for your most important drugs from your attending physician with the name of your drug using the LATIN name(s). Finding, in many cases, something as simple as Tylenol (by trade name) can be very confusing in an Italian pharmacy. The Latin name of the drug solves those challenges.
In a few cases we have had clients arrive in Europe without their luggage (see below regarding delayed or lost luggage) and without their needed medications. It can be a long and arduous process to replace those medications. It is always better to carry them with you.
-If you follow the weather for Maryland, NC and SC before you go, you will find that the weather in Italy parallels that weather very well. Check the weather for those states and you will find, in most cases, you have packed appropriately.
-Packing your luggage:
- any shoes you pack should go at the bottom of your bag, closest to the wheels on your roller bag-this keeps the bag’s “center of gravity” low and helps to prevent tipping over when you take your hand off of the luggage:
- don’t pack blue jeans – they are very heavy and take up a lot of room in luggage – cotton/khaki type of slacks for men (or shorts) and linen/cotton slacks for ladies are best May to October: for travel between November and April, heavier slacks along with a light weight cashmere sweater, layered with a light jacket and scarf are nearly all you will need: wrap your belts around the frame inside the bag-they take up no room at all
- LAYER-light items first, then heavier items and a final layer of light items-again, this helps with center of gravity and makes moving the bag all the easier.
-Hair dryers, shampoo, personal products:
- Travel light. Most hotels in Italy provide shampoo and conditioner. If your hotel room does not have a hairdryer in the bathroom, ask at the front desk. Most have one you can borrow for your stay.
-Remember that if you are traveling by train, you must lift your bag up in to the rail car, perhaps place it overhead and then take it off the train at your destination. Heavier bags become, believe me, much heavier the longer you are traveling.
WAY too much luggage for the train
-Laundromats: Nearly every town in Italy has a public laundromat. Hotel laundering can be, as in America, expensive. Most of the public facilities are 24/7. I recommend during the day, particularly in the larger cities. sdx
-Remember, also, that very, VERY, few people will be able to recall what you wear day to day during your travels.
-Lastly: We have had clients wait more than one year for reimbursement from airlines after their luggage was delayed or lost in transit. While this is unacceptable, it is always – ALWAYS – best to keep your luggage with you when you travel by air. Period. Do all you can to do give yourself the peace of mind that comes with having your luggage with you.
(Do NOT fly Vueling-a discount carrier within Europe that is majority owned by Iberia, American Airlines and British Airlines. The problems we have encountered with this airline are indescribable.)
-Go comfortably. Take comfortable walking shoes with you. Travel light.
-Enjoy your trip!