As crazy as it may sound, Paul and I weren’t initially convinced we wanted to go to Italy. Maybe it was just me, I can’t remember. But I know that our earliest discussions about some kind of trip involved EITHER Italy or Mexico. The thought of some remote beach in Mexico where we just sat and stared out at the ocean for a week or so, well that sounded perfect. Life has been so fast lately and whatever it was we decided to do, I wanted it to energize me. I didn’t want to come home from vacation exhausted.
Arriving at the decision to do Italy involved mentioning to a few key people that we were trying to decide and them saying, “WHAT?! Rome! ROME!” I suppose once you talk to people who have been there, who have fallen in love with the city, you realize it’s worth the risk of feeling a bit tired afterward. That and getting to hang with Fr. Tim were two crucial factors. His stay there is not open-ended, so there was no time like the present (and as it turned out, we now know that God had his hand in our decision, imagine that!).
So the minute we decided we were going to Italy (weee!), I did what any level-headed gal would do. I googled “what should I wear in Rome?”
First things first indeed.
In the end, I left most of the major trip decisions up to Paul. I knew I wanted to go to Rome, that we would spend most of our time there, and I wanted to visit Assisi. Other then that, it was all good. But in a later post I will share my thoughts on our various excursions and the cities we saw.
In terms of practical details (which is exactly what I needed when we started our trip planning), here is what I want to share:
1. We packed light. As in: one carry-on suitcase each. And a shoulder bag for me. That was it. If we couldn’t fit it in one of our two suitcases, it wasn’t coming.
2. We did not regret this decision. Especially because we used the train system a good bit, it was nice to have just the one suitcase. Here is my thinking about travel wear: we all have our favorite pants, our favorite shorts, our favorite skirt. Right? So I just packed that ONE favorite of each. You should only bring along clothes that you love, that make you feel great, that mix and match well with the other pieces you bring along.
3. On that note, my Packing List for ten days in Italy:
~nice pair of jeans (I bought a pair of Lucky, super-comfy and flattering)
~nice pair of black cropped pants — this was a last-minute (I mean two hours before the airport!) purchase and I wore them throughout the entire trip. After dropping off the littles before we left, I was passing the mall and decided to go grab a t-shirt for the trip. I had a pair of pants that I didn’t love but they would do. While I was at the store I found some pants that worked great because I was able to dress them up or dress them down and they made me feel really good. Perfect!
~two skirts: black jersey skirt — to the knee, super comfy but looks much dressier than it feels. With a black t-shirt looked like a LBD. And lightweight chambray skirt, perfect when we were at the beach
~pair of shorts that I wore once. Glad I packed just one pair
~black cotton tank
~black dressier t-shirt
~black boatneck elbow-length sleeves
~striped boatneck tee with elbow-length sleeves (but lightweight, good for warmer or colder weather)
~lightweight scarf — MUST HAVE. This was perfect to have for draping shoulders in churches. So one day, for instance, I wore the black capris and the black tank and then used the scarf as a cloak in the churches.
~heavier scarf I used at night and on the plane
~plenty of unmentionables (do not skimp here! But don’t forget you can handwash!)
~one lightweight pajama
~tiny umbrella (didn’t need, thank you Lord!)
~shoulder bag — great for plane ride
~sling bag — a Baggalini found at TJMaxx (thank you Leigh for the tip!) that was awesome, perfect for water bottle, phone, journal, hand sanitizer (I’m wearing it in photo above, not bulky at all!)
~two pairs of shoes
Now, the shoes need their own paragraph because I think you should put as much thought and energy into finding the right shoes as finding the right itinerary. This will make or break your trip. I did a ton of research on this (thank you Rick Steves’ message boards) and settled on a pair of super-comfy sandals with a nice lift but no heel.
I also brought along a pair of flats that I wore one day to Mass and then we had to walk back to our apartment because after wearing my sandals, the flats made me feel barefoot. Not in a good way. I could feel every cobblestone through the shoe. So in the end, I really just needed one pair of shoes, but I was too afraid to only have the one pair. A backup is nice, but in my case, unnecessary.
Things I packed I wish I hadn’t:
~hairdryer — it took up a ton of space and even if you had the converter (which I did) it blew the fuse (which it did). All the hotels and even our apartment in Rome offered a hairdryer. I was too worried about not having one and it ended up being a waste of my precious space. But live and learn.
~big camera — I know, I know. Maybe not. But after the first day of lugging my awesome camera around, I felt like I was getting so worn out. I just wanted to be free to enjoy what I was seeing instead of worrying about documenting everything. So the next day, I brought my phone. And I used the camera on it and that’s what all the pictures are from. Maybe not as good? But I am actually pretty pleased with what we got and the best part is how unencumbered I felt walking through all the cities.
~sweater — worth having, but I didn’t end up using. I just loved having the versatile scarf option I guess!
~lightweight dress — I support I could have worn it, but I felt like the black cropped pants gave me the option of feeling dressy without (possibly) being overdressed.
Any other world travelers or travel experts want to chime in?