Italy Packing Tips:
You’ve heard it a million times; now you’ll hear it once again— pack light. You don’t need a steamer trunk
and we are not going to a third-world country. Allow room for purchases. You are your own porter, so get a soft-sided 20-22” bag with wheels and a pull-up handle and one school-size backpack. No more. Airlines have a strict 50 pound limit on each suitcase, so recently the inner workings of suitcases have been made much lighter. TJ Maxx has a great selection. Use only combination locks that airlines can open. We travel by train, so the bags must fit in the overhead luggage racks and in the trunk of a European taxi, which may be a Fiat rather than a big sedan or van.
Bring comfortable, easy-to-clean clothes. Black hides dirt but also absorbs heat. Artificial fabrics don’t
breathe and will make you grimier than you’d ever thought possible, so go with light cotton instead. Bring several plain t-shirts (avoid imprinted things and ball caps) and one sweater for cooler nights. Socks and undies don’t take up too much room, so throw in a few extra pairs.
We walk a lot. Get in shape. You need good support on cobblestone streets. A sturdy pair of walking shoes
(broken in before your trip) and a spare pair (perhaps Birkenstocks or Danskos, which are well-padded) allow you to switch off and give your feet a rest. Forget prissy flats and high heels and no flip-flops. You need to protect your feet and be comfortable. This is not a fashion show.
Shorts, if not frowned upon, will almost certainly brand you as a foreigner in most countries, as will white
sneakers, jogging suits, loud, imprinted t-shirts, and weird haircuts and hair colors. Do not wear provocative clothing. All shirts must cover midriff, belly buttons, and shoulders and skirts must cover knees, for the churches. Cover cracks, front and back! Bring plain blouses or t-shirts. No tank tops, sleeveless, or camisole-types without a shirt/jacket/sweater to cover. Churches require modest clothing, and we go into a lot of churches!
Never put prescription drugs or valuables in checked luggage. To avoid customs delays or confiscation, carry
your medications in their original packaging. Bring enough of your medication to last the entire trip plus a couple of days. Also in your carry-on bag, bring an extra pair of eyeglasses or contact lenses, but no scissors or pointed objects.
For your liquids/creams airlines limit your carryon items to what you can get into a 1-quart size Ziploc bag.
Pack the rest in your checked luggage in Ziploc bags (or even double bags). Pressure on airplanes can cause lids to pop off and create instant slick messes inside your luggage. Bring small purse packages of Kleenex and have some in your pockets at all times (trust me) for emergency toilet paper.
Hotels in Europe give towels, soap and shampoo. Bring washcloth and hair conditioner, as European hotels
don’t have them. Hotels have hairdryers (Curling irons rarely have a converter switch and will melt. I’ve witnessed it.) Use small size deodorant, toothpaste, etc. and discard as you go --- hotel freebie bottles are perfect.
Label the suitcase and backpack with your name, address, and phone number. (If you use your home
address, cover it so that potential thieves can’t see it readily.) Inside each bag, pack a photocopy of your itinerary along with your name and address. At check-in, make sure that each bag is correctly tagged with the destination airport’s three-letter code. If your bags arrive damaged or fail to arrive at all, file a written report with the airline before leaving the airport. The airline will deliver luggage that became separated from you to your hotel, usually within 12-24 hours.
You should have a credit card (Mastercard or Visa) and an ATM card in YOUR name. Travelex cash cards
are not reliable, and no one does traveller’s checques anymore. When you shop or use an ATM machine, keep all receipts. You need them for customs and for insurance against charge errors. Photocopy credit cards, passports, and carry addresses and phone numbers of offices that handle refunds of lost credit cards. If you buy expensive items, ask for the paperwork for getting a Tax Refund at the airport. Do not try to cheat customs. They have dogs sniffing for drugs and other contraband products. If you purchase forbidden things, you’re on your own with the police.
Contact with home can be managed! Cellular phones and iPads are allowed but not encouraged. Hotels
usually have Wifi and a computer for guests; Hotspots and internet cafes abound. Phones/iPads are convenient way to maintain contact with home, but can be a major distraction. Phone/iPad use is not allowed during visits to historic sites, museums, and group meals. NEVER place a phone cal from a hotel room. They charge a fortune (5Xs as much). Use only public pay phones. Long distance phone cards are available in Italy at a reasonable cost and are easy to use.
Finally, students are personally responsible for all additional hotel charges, such as mini-bars, bottled water, and
telephone. They are also liable for property damage caused by them, regardless of reason, accident or not.
ITALY PACKING LIST: Paperwork and Communication: _____ Passport (photocopy for you, one for me). Put your copy somewhere other than where your passport is. _____ MBC student ID. (Student ID card may give discounts) _____ Evidence of health insurance (insurance card) _____ ATM card in YOUR name: (Traveler’s checks and prepaid travel/VISA cards are not recommended.) _____ Credit card in your name. (Visa is best; Mastercard). Keep receipts. Photocopy cards and phone #s. _____ Journal (bound book 6 x8” is adequate) (TJ Maxx, Borders, Barnes-Noble) _____ 3-4 ball point pens _____ Optional/Suggested: tour book: Rick Steves, Let’s Go Italy _____ Optional: very small binoculars --- great for seeing things high up and small pocket calculator BAGS: one 20-22 (max)” with wheels; 1 school-size backpack. No more. (TJ Maxx has a great selection.) Use zippered bag organizers or Ziplock bags for packing. The organization helps you find things. Clothing Spring is unpredictable in Italy, as it is here. You must prepare for rain and cool weather. In your wardrobe, be discreet. Do not draw attention to yourself by wearing bizarre or revealing clothing. For churches especially, clothing must cover shoulders, bosom, midriff, belly button, whole fanny, and knees. _____ 2 long sleeve shirts or t-shirts _____ 3-5 short sleeve shirts (modest un-imprinted t-shirts) No tanks without a shirt to go over it. _____ 3 slacks or jeans. No more than that. You will be in places long enough to wash. NO shorts! _____ Optional: 1 skirt and a jacket. We do not go to fancy places. Black pants and a jacket will take you anywhere. _____ 4-5 pairs socks (optional: 1 pair stockings or tights) _____ 5-6 changes underwear _____ 2 pair walking shoes, including one that is reasonably waterproof, are required. No high heels or flip-flops. High
heels are difficult on cobblestone streets.
_____ Sweater, fleece, or sweatshirt for warmth. _____ Umbrella and other rainwear lightweight, nylon, waterproof Anorak hooded windbreaker is ideal _____ Optional: Lightweight bathrobe and slippers (all bathrooms are in room) Airlines limit you to 1 quart-size Ziploc for carry on liquids. Place other things in Ziploc bags in your suitcase to guard against messes from spills. (I double bag liquids in the suitcase. Bring an extra Ziploc) _____ Medication (prescriptions must be in drugstore bottle) _____ Travel size: aspirin, laxative, Imodium, Tylenol, cold remedy, band-aids, Q-tips, deodorant, toothpaste,
sunscreen, shampoo, conditioner, insect repellent, and lip balm etc. small bottles inside Ziploc bags.
_____ Comb, brush, Cosmetics. Hair conditioner. Hotels provide shampoo but not conditioner. _____ tampons/pads (even if you don’t expect to need these!) _____ wash cloth or sponge (unlike the USA, European hotels do not provide these) _____ Spare pair of eyeglasses or contact lens, solutions _____ 2 one-gallon Ziploc bags for wet stuff or smelly socks. 1 extra quart size Ziploc for stuff on airplane. _____ Liquid soap (Woolite) for washing clothes small bottle _____ 6 purse size Kleenex packages (use for toilet paper at public bathrooms) _____ Travel clothesline (Staples) _____ Ear plugs; sometimes cities are noisy. _____ Individual moist towelettes and small hand sanitizer _____ Little sewing kit (like hotels give out), safety pins, _____ Small combination locks that airlines can unlock. (Staples) _____ Money belt that can be worn under clothing _____ Battery alarm clock _____ Camera big digital storage chip. Much cheaper here! _____ Suggested: Ace bandage; Dr. Scholl’s footbath is refreshing; moleskin, blister band-aids
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