The key to any good packing list is to keep it simple, versatile, and compact. If you’re like me, you only travel with carry-on luggage. Nothing ruins a trip quicker than lost luggage and scrambling to buy necessities and clothes in the local shops on your first day. However other travelers are willing to risk it and check their bags. Regardless of what kind of traveler you are, here is a list of essentials you’ll need for your next trip to Italy.
Comfortable Walking Shoes
Wearing comfortable shoes is a rule for any place you travel, but especially in Italy. Public transportation is available, but you risk missing a hidden gem you would only discover by walking. I always bring shoes with arch support or separate insoles if the shoe is lacking. Typically I’ll stick with a nice mid-calf boot as I am not a fan of open-toed shoes in major cities, especially if there’s a chance of rain. Boots are also a transitional shoe that can be worn with a more formal outfit for dinner.
If you’re coming from the United States or The UK, you will need a power adapter to charge your electronics.
Lightweight Cardigan or Shawl
If you plan on visiting any of Italy’s religious sites, make sure your shoulders are covered. Both can be easily tucked away in a bag while outside, and then conveniently worn in places with a dress code. Even if you’re not visiting religious buildings, some museums and restaurants are just cold. Instead of shivering through your experience, why not have that clothing item handy?
You may get clocked as a tourist for this one, but it’s so ignorant to go to a country where you don’t know the language and expect them to accommodate you. You don’t need to be fluent, but knowing key phrases can be a lifesaver, and most people will appreciate the effort. The best way to get off of the right foot is asking, in Italian, if the person you are engaging with speaks your language. It shows you are trying and may make them more willing to converse in your native language.
Filtered Water Bottle
There is no need to keep purchasing plastic water bottles during your adventures. Bringing a filtered water bottle is truly a lifesaver, and money saver, on any vacation. You can fill your bottle up before you leave for the day and then refill if needed at public drinking fountains. Additionally, if you’re like me and prefer cold water, you can get an insulated bottle to keep your drinks cool longer.
If you plan on being out all day long, a crossbody bag is the way to go. It’s more comfortable to maneuver around the city, it leaves your hands free, and it’s easier to keep an eye on than if you were wearing a backpack. Plus, I personally feel like it distributed the weight better, and unlike a shoulder bag, the straps won’t be constantly sliding down your arm.
Unless you’ve been before and are staying at a place you’re familiar with, bring earplugs. You might not need them, but imagine trying to sleep and hearing all the street noise, or your neighbors talking, etc.
An Extra Bag
You’re going to need this for souvenirs. Even if you swear you’re not going to buy anything, it’s a lie. When I travel, I check my carry-on bag for the flight home. Any medicines or other important items are moved to the souvenir bag, which becomes the new carry-on.