Sample packing list for a tour of Italy
Here are some suggestions for what you should bring on a two-week tour of Italy:
Bring up to five short-sleeved or long-sleeved shirts or blouses (how many of each depends on the season). Shirts with long sleeves that roll up easily can double as short-sleeved. Look for a wrinkle-camouflaging pattern or blended fabrics that show a minimum of wrinkles.
A reminder: most of the historic churches (e.g. St Peter’s Basilica in Rome) require that knees and shoulders be covered.
Bring two pairs. If you want to bring shorts, one pair is probably enough.
Underwear and socks.
Bring five sets (lighter dries quicker). Cotton/nylon-blend socks dry faster than 100 percent cotton socks which lose their softness when air-dried.
Bring one pair of comfortable walking shoes with good traction, and perhaps a pair of more formal shoes as welll (although high heels are a danger on cobbled streets...). Sturdy, low-profile tennis shoes with a good tread are fine, too. Whichever shoes you bring, make sure they are well broken in before you leave home.
Sweater or lightweight fleece
It's difficult to predict the weather in early Spring or late Autumn. In Summer, it's easier: hot.... So something you can put on for the evening if it's just a touch cool can be handy.
A large lightweight silk/pashmina scarf can serve as neckwear or a head wrap if it gets a little cool. It can also double as a blanket on planes and trains and covers shoulders on chilly evenings when dining al fresco.
A light and water-resistant windbreaker with a hood could be useful if the weather changes. A plastic weatherproof poncho that can be folded away is also useful (but hopefully it will be all sunshine and blue skies when we are there!!).
Comfy streetwear — such as shorts, leggings, T-shirts, tank tops, yoga pants, or other lightweight athletic gear — can be used as pyjamas or loungewear at the end of a great day's touring.
Documents, Money, and Travel Info
Money belt (or neck wallet)
Personally I leave my valuables in the hotel safe, however some clients are more comfortable taking their valuables with them. If that's you, then a flat, hidden, zippered pouch - worn around your waist (or like a necklace) and tucked under your clothes - can give peace of mind.
I provide information regarding money here. Accessing money is so much easier today than it was even a decade ago.
I bring my passport and tickets (and driver's licence plus an International Driver's Permit if I'm hiring a car). I also take photocopies of these and a couple of passport-type photos as this can help get replacements more quickly in the unlikely event that the originals are lost or stolen. (I also upload these to an online storage service - Google Drive gives quite a deal of storage for free) so I can access them no matter what happens. Am I a little over-careful? Probably - especially as to this point I haven't required them - but it sure helps me stay relaxed. Also, bring any necessary contact info for your health or travel insurance.
And don’t forget your Medicare card; if you do need to see a doctor in Italy, it’s useful to have this with you because Australia and Italy have reciprocal healthcare arrangements.
Small day pack
A lightweight pack is great for carrying a jumper, camera, guidebook, and picnic goodies while you leave your large bag at the hotel. Don’t use one of those packs that people ear around their waist outside their pants — they’re magnets for pickpockets.
Toiletries and Personal Items
Before cramming it with every cosmetic item you think you might use, ask yourself what toiletries you can live without for a short time. (Remember, most familiar brands of personal items are sold throughout Europe.) For your overseas flight, put all squeeze bottles in sealable plastic bags, since pressure changes can cause even good bottles to leak.
Sealable plastic bags
Bring a variety of sizes. In addition to holding your carry-on liquids, they’re ideal for packing leftover picnic food, containing wetness, and bagging potential leaks before they happen.
Our best advice is to bring your own prescription medications with you; your local prescriptions are not valid in Italy. It may be useful to get a doctor’s letter listing the medications you are using and any allergies you have. Over the counter medicines are readily available throughout Italy and Italian pharmacies are excellent.
If night noises bother you, you’ll love a good set of expandable foam plugs - especially as you aren't sleeping at home in your usual bed and every little bump in the night can stir you. They’re handy for snoozing on trains and flights, too.
We also recommend that you bring sunglasses and spare glasses.
Many Australian telecoms offer roaming rates for Italy if you feel you need your phone, however these days - with wifi fairly omnipresent - unless you need to be in direct contact all the time, our advice would be to download an app like Skype or Whatsapp and use that to make calls back home to Australia when you are connected to wifi. Happy to talk you through how to do this. (There are also great free map apps that you can use without being on wifi or a phone plan, so you can always know where you are!!! Gee travelling there days is sooooo much easier than it was when my dear dad and mum travelled in the 60s and 70s!!!) More information on taking your phone with you is available here.
Think about taking along an extra memory card and battery, and don’t forget the charger and a cable for downloading images. We often hold little photo competitions amongst our groups as well, and you'll be surprised at the quality that comes out when people become competitive.
Tablet or laptop
I find a laptop or tablet to be very useful for doing research in a new place or downloading photos and uploading them to Instagram or Facebook.It can also be useful if you feel like some late night entertainment as you can access services like Netflix wherever you are in the world if you have a subscription.
Chargers and batteries
Make sure you bring the chargers for any devices you do bring. Otherwise you'll just be carrying a paperweight around wherever we go!!
Even if you bring the chargers, unless you bring a suitable power adapter you won't be able to plug them in. See more about adapters here, and make sure you get one (or two) in Australia before you leave. Much cheaper and easier to find than trying to get one in Italy.