ITALY TRAVEL TIPS 101:
1. WALK DAILY TO GET IN SHAPE: I know I sound like a broken record, but walk many times during the week, uphill and stairs, at least 3 miles per day (about one hour). You will thank me because you will have more energy, and will enjoy your time more comfortably walking up and down stairs, along steep streets and piazzas. In addition, once we’re in Italy, walking is a good way to rise above jet lag.
2. Stay hydrated before you board and once in flight. Keeps your muscles supple, and your mind clearer. Drink lots of water. Always have a bottle of water with you except, of course, through security.
3. The small carry-on I have been using is from High Sierra. The size is correct for overseas travel, but it is always best to check the luggage dimensions for your particular airline. It’s a small carry on. The attached backpack unzips and that was the personal item I carried on. I also pack a thin lightweight baggallini messenger bag or backpack for daytrips and hiking while in Italy. Here’s a link for High Sierra suitcase companies, and also from IT, the world’s lightest suitcase.
Check out my 27 Essentials on How to Pack Lightly Post to help you streamline your packing.
4. Plane: I prefer aisle seats on the plane so I can stretch my legs in the aisle sometimes. Be sure to get up to at least walk to the bathroom, do some stretches in the aisles, and exercise your ankles rolling them in both directions. I also upgrade to Comfort Class (about $200 roundtrip from US to to Italy). There is more leg room, often the seats recline further back, and the seats are toward the front of the plane). You have to pay separately for this after you make your flight reservations.
The European leg of the trip: Often, when we connect with European partner airlines, we cannot get seat assignments until we make our connections.
5. You can wear your sweater and your jacket as layers to keep you warm on the flight (but more importantly to save space in your suitcase). We usually arrive in the Cinque Terre on an 80-degree weather in the afternoon, so we will just strap the warm clothing onto our suitcases as we walk the 10 minutes to our hotel.
6.. Hotels provide: hairdryers in each room, tiny bars of soap, shampoo and conditioner, hand lotion, towels, and beach towels. There are not usually irons or washcloths in the hotel rooms we stay in.
7. Washcloths: Hotels do not supply washcloths in Italy. If you would like to bring a few, buy light load towels at camping stores or online. They are the size of a quarter but when wet will enlarge to a 12×24” washable cloth.
8. Italian phrase book (or other language is traveling to another country) is good to have with you to play with the language. Rick Steves or Barrons.
9. Bring your Travel Insurance contact information; (just the main pages). Tell your buddy where it is in Italy and leave one with your contact person at home. www.InsureMyTrip.com has always been helpful in finding the right travel insurance which should include medical evacuation.
10. Make copies of your passports, of your credit cards, front and back, so you have records of them in case of loss, and leave a copy with your contact person.
11. Money exchange in the airport (just a small amount so you can pay your taxi driver)—try to get smaller denominations to use in restaurants. Often stores will not have change. You can use other ATM machines (called bancomats in Italy) at other locations, which usually give you a better exchange rate than do the airports.
12. Use Address labels that you can stick on items like your phone and camera.
13. Wash out underwear and other clothing in the sink or shower, even using shampoo provided by the hotel, so you limit your toiletries. If you need more soap, you can always buy a bar in the local store.
14. Rolling clothes tightly does take up less space, and prevents creases, although there will still be wrinkles.
15. Over-the-counter Sleep Remedies: Excedrin PM, melatonin liquid or tablets. Jet lag can affect your sleep.
16. Sleep Aids: such as Excedrin PM, melatonin in liquid or tablet form, homeopathic no-jet-lag tablets, any medications. Please sleep on the plane to minimize jet lag. Forget about the movies or reading a lot. Keep your eyes closed a lot EVEN IF you cannot sleep.
17. Address List for family/friends to send postcards. However, postage is expensive–2 Euros ($2.40 USD) to mail a postcard. You can also buy some and mail them once you’re back home!
If you arrive in Italy in the morning, you will just stay awake, not take naps so that you can acclimate and sleep that night.
Italy is 6 hours later than Eastern Time zone, 7 hours ahead of Central, 8 hours ahead of Mountain Time, and 9 hours later than Pacific. So, if you arrive in Italy at 11am, it is still 2 am Pacific time.
Buon Viaggio! Happy Travels. Have a great trip. Please sleep on the plane to minimize jetlag. Forget about the movies and the novel you want to finish. Keep eyes closed EVEN IF you cannot sleep.
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