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Uno Minuto - How To Pack for Your Holiday
March 18, 2015
I cannot emphasize enough this firm point: packing excessively for your trip to Italy can really put a needless damper on your travel.
One of my biggest general Italy travel tips is: pack light, with care. If possible, bring only one carry-on size suitcase, even if you are checking it, and one backpack per traveler, especially for families. Traveling in Italy involves logistics often unanticipated by travelers when they are packing. Cars are smaller with limited luggage space, any more luggage than this is almost impossible to manage, in many cases you are arriving in a pedestrian area and must carry all of your own stuff. There are fewer elevators, there are cobblestones, it may be hot. There is a safety risk to fumbling with an excessive amount of luggage in popular tourist destinations, and in certain areas visible luggage in your rental car runs a high risk for theft.
Be deliberate as you pack your clothes and accessories, grouping by category: 3 tank tops, 2 blouses, 3 shorts, 2 pants, 4 dresses, one dressy shoe, one sandal, one athletic shoe, minimal jewelry, minimal toiletries. Assemble each category on the bed and review how you will mix and match color wise to create outfits—if any items do not work, do a second pass and edit out any unnecessary items. For holidays over 5 days, you can easily do laundry, whether requesting that your hotel send it out to a fluff and fold, which is not very expensive in Italy, or at your holiday rental.
While packing for your trip, consider ways to economize on your packing by taking greater care with what you pack, and how you pack. You do not need very many toiletries, I love to shop for this type of thing on my trip and it is relatively inexpensive, and fun to use foreign products that are often a high quality. Use a compression packing system or simply ziplock bags with the air squeezed out, this will save on space, and also protect your clothes from any damage. When traveling with kids, consider airlocking one ziplock bag per day of travel for 7 days, and if you stay longer do your laundry and repeat, especially if you are making more transitions during your stay. This will save you a lot of headaches!
My amica, Mara Gorman author of The Family Traveler’s Handbook and the Mother of All Trips blog, offers the following advice on packing as a family:
Leave some of the clothes and toys at home. Make piles of everything you think your family will need to wear. Then remove at least one top and one bottom from everyone’s pile. You probably don’t need quite as much as you thought you did. Have the children do the same with the toys and books for their backpacks.
Plan your trip so that you can do laundry. Make sure you have access to a washing machine (and if you’re lucky, a drier – in Europe, much to my amazement, they are often the same appliance) at some point during your trip.
Remember when you are flying that each of the kids gets one backpack, one carry-on suitcase, and one baggie for toiletries. You’ve purchased a ticket for those children and they get to bring just as much luggage as you do. That’s usually enough room to store what you need, especially since you can all use the same shampoo and soap. And don’t feel like you have to segregate each person’s clothes into his or her “own” suitcase – kids’ clothes are smaller and take up less room.
Have everyone wear their heaviest shoes, sweaters, and coats on the plane, even if it's warm where you are departing from. This saves valuable suitcase room and can come in handy on chilly airplanes.