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Just recently, one of My Vacation Lady‘s new clients called about packing advice. They were taking their first European vacation and it was a 15 night escorted tour through Europe. Since it was going to be in October, the weather could really vary- so maybe between 50 and 75 degrees?
What packing advice did we give them?
Since they are going to Italy, knees and shoulders MUST be covered when going into a church. Her husband wanted to bring shorts. Well first of all, the weather might just be too chilly for shorts but, even it was warm, on an escorted tour like the one they are going on, they might have many opportunities to pop into a church or cathedral. Did he want to miss those opportunities? So to appease him, I suggested shorts that have zip off pant legs (some of the sporting good stores carry them and call them convertible pants).
Problem #1 solved. What else did we recommend?
- Make sure that every item you pack can be worn at least two different ways- so pack black pants that can be worn during the day to sightsee but will also take you into the evening with a dressier top and shoes.
- Pack mostly solid color bottoms in just a few colors (black and beige) that can be worn with different color shirts and can be mixed to go with both pants.
- Add a sweater or blazer or sport coat to throw over any outfit to change the look— or if the temperature drops.
- Limit the number of shoes you bring. Bring 2 pairs of shoes: comfortable walking shoes (not sneakers since you’ll stand out like a tourist) and dressier shoes for the evening.
- Since the weather could get cooler, rather than bringing multiple jackets or sweaters, bring clothes that can be layered–perhaps a lightweight jacket that can be worn over a sweater. When the weather warmed up, take off one of the layers.
- Check the daily itinerary and plan each day’s outfits to match the day’s activities. This way, you’ll know what you need for each day.
In addition, here were some of the packing tips we suggested:
- Use rolling duffle bags instead of suitcases. You can get so much more into them.
- ROLL your clothes– they help keep them wrinkle free.
- Pack shoes at the bottom, followed by the heavier items like jeans or sweaters, and the lightweight items (tops, blouses) on the top.
- Put smaller items of clothing like socks and belts inside shoes.
- Use Ziplock bags to put all of your liquids in and since luggage gets tossed around, I’ll sometimes double back the items — smaller bottles in a sandwich bag and then multiple sandwich bags inside a gallon bag, creating a double seal.
- Empty your wallet of credit cards that you won’t be using and only bring Visa or Mastercard (after you let the bank know that you’re traveling abroad)
- Pack only as much cash as you think you’ll need to get you through a few days and use an ATM for withdrawals while there.
- Leave home the big jars and bottles and use contact lens cases for things like moisturizer and foundation.
- Pack any medications in your carry on, along with a complete change of clothing and any toiletries that you’ll need for the first day.
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My Vacation Lady’s goal is for our clients to have wonderful and stress free vacations. Packing tips are just some of the many, many tips we offer our clients. Stay tuned for how these clients fared on their first European adventure. They’ll be home this week!