Recently,  one of My Vacation Lady‘s newer clients called about packing advice.  They were taking a vacation to Italy in later September going from Florence to the Amalfi Coast.  Since it was fall, the weather could really vary- so maybe between 50 and 75 degrees and while they may not need bathing suits in Florence or Tuscany, they did want them for Sorrento, Italy.

They would be traveling by rail between cities and while they did have the first class seating in most cases, they did have a couple of local trains (less luggage room), AND they had to carry the luggage on and off the train until them met their drivers.

What packing advice did we give them?

  • Since they are going to Italy, knees and shoulders MUST be covered when going into a church.
  • 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 duffel bags instead of suitcases.  You can get so much more into them and because they are more flexible, you can squeeze them into spaces that a hard suit case may not be able to fit.
  • ROLL your clothes– they help keep them wrinkle free.
  • Use back packs as carry on bags.
  • 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 bag 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 1 or 2 credit or debit cards that you  know you will need.
  • 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.

How did our clients fare?  When they got home, they told us that they packed way too much.  They were actually thinking of shipping 1 piece of luggage home but the concierge at the hotel in Siena suggested instead that they ship their 2nd bag to their last hotel (Sorrento) and just use 1 suitcase and their carry-ons.   That was actually a great idea and it worked well for them.  The clothing needed for the end of the trip and the dirty clothes were shipped so they didn’t have to lug it around.

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.