In three days, I leave for a 19-day trip to Italy. While there, I will visit Rome, Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast, Tuscany and Florence, Follina (a small town in the Veneto, perfect for exploring the Prosecco Road) and will end the trip in Venice. The purpose of the trip? To check on hotels I recommend to my clients and scout and inspect some new ones, connect and reconnect with hotel owners and managers, meet and see again the tour guides I use and experience some of their unique (and ubiquitous) adventures and discover and rediscover some delicious restaurants and shops all to bring the best of what Italy has to offer to my valued clients. And, I’m going to blog about it.
But, before that happens……..I must pack my suitcase!
What I THINK I want to take….
….but do I REALLY want to take ALL OF THIS?
How do you pack for such a trip? In short? Carefully. First rule of thumb……NEVER take anything that, if lost or stolen, would break your heart. As much as I love to wear my mother’s diamond Art Deco dinner ring, it’s staying at home. No insurance policy could ever replace that ring for me. Second, bring only the things that are comfortable. Love those Donald Pliner heels? You won’t after a few hours on Rome’s cobblestones or walking to the top of some of Tuscany’s hill towns. Super tight pants? Have you SEEN the size of an Italian lunch? Third, edit what you do want to bring. If the idea of dragging a suitcase filled with bricks around the block two or three times doesn’t appeal to you, then you must be careful when selecting what you will want to take. Don’t fool yourself, even though I may be having a private driver transfer you from the airport to your hotel and that hotel’s bellmen are Johnnys (or Giovanni’s)-on-the-spot, you will STILL have times where it will be you and only you with your bag. Notice that the words luggage and lugging are very closely related?
Here’s how I do it, and yes, it’s still a work in progress. I go through my closet and lay everything I THINK I want to take on the bed. I match up pants with tops and jackets. I get my scarves, purses, accessories and shoes and add that to the pile. Then I start building outfits. I try to keep it to a consistent color pattern with lots of solid colors. For a November trip, that means blacks and greys. Cream shirts, along with some prints can be interchangeable and I only need to bring black shoes. Then, I break it up with different wraps and scarves. I bought a red coat this year – it brightens up the wintery black and grey, works with pinks and purples for some added color and you instantly become easy for your traveling companion to find you and in a crowded piazza and for you to find your coat at the Galleria Borghese’s coat check. Big, chunky costume jewelry…….and you’re all set. If it doesn’t work with black, grey and red……it doesn’t go.
So, once it’s all laid out on the bed……..put half back. Coordinate, coordinate, coordinate. Edit, edit, edit. Choose one or two complete core looks from top to bottom. Then find complimentary pieces that will work interchangeably. Laundry and dry cleaning services through your hotel are always available.
What to leave…..what to take…..
Also, think about where you are going. Italy? Hmmm, I’m thinking leather! So, the Burberry purse I laid out to take goes back into the closet and out comes one I’ve lost the love for. I’m thinking along the way, I’ll fall in love anew, and the old, out of favor purse will be left behind so the new ones takes up no extra room In my suitcase. I have a favorite “hidden gem” of a scarf store in Florence that I love to go to. Why take three from home when I can take one, and then get a few more when I get there? I always take old socks, unmentionables, old workout pants and t-shirts for nightwear and along the way, I leave them behind. I actually have a drawer in a spare bedroom where I store them throughout the year for upcoming trips. I get samples of perfume, facial cleaners and moisturizers and shampoo and conditioners to lessen the load. I try to take cosmetics that I’m almost out of, then leave the empty containers behind. My salon is great and happily provides shampoo samples for each day I’m gone. Nordstrom and other fine department stores are also generous with their cosmetic and perfume samples. Remember, a little preparation makes your point to point journey easier and leaves more room for the treasures you’ll find along the way. Finally, no matter what you pack or don’t pack, whatever you do, don’t forget your passport!
Don’t forget this!
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