Travelling to Italy is an exciting and romantic adventure; and although you should have the time of your life and leave your worries at home, there are still practical considerations which you need to remember before you go! One of things I enjoy doing in Italy as an expat is travel during the weekends.
When it comes to packing for a trip to Italy there’s all the basics to start with, such as clothes, shoes, toiletries and so on; items which you are very unlikely to forget. However, there are a whole range of items which are not so obvious, particularly if it’s your first time visiting Italy or you are not an experienced traveller in Europe.
The Key Items You Should Pack For A Trip To Italy.
There are a basic set of things which you should be packing for any trip to Italy, which include, but are not limited to:
- Clothing that is appropriate for the time of year that you’ll be visiting. Italy can get quite cold during the winter, particularly in the Northern parts of the country so always take a few spare jumpers, a weatherproof coat and gloves. The summers can get extremely hot so, once again, pack appropriately.
- During the summer you should always take a hat, especially if you are planning to do plenty of outdoor sightseeing or hiking.
- Take a selection of weather appropriate shoes. If you plan to go hiking then you should pack walking boots which have already been worn so you don’t get blisters while in Italy. During the summer trekking sandals are cool and comfortable for sightseeing but you’ll also need smarter shoes for visiting many of the cathedrals and churches where the general dress code is smart casual.
- Toiletries are essential items to bring with you and although you can purchase these on arrival you should still bring the basics with you so you won’t need to go shopping on your first night in the country. If you’re travelling by commercial airlines, then you should pack your toiletries in your main luggage because otherwise they’ll be confiscated at the security checks in the airport and removed from your hand luggage.
Essential, But Less Obvious, Items To Pack For Italy.
Travelling to different countries is a wonderful experience but if you’ve never been to Italy before there are a few things that you might not have thought of packing but will make your trip much more enjoyable!
International Travel Charger And Adapter Plug.
When you arrive in Italy one of the first things you’ll notice in your hotel room is that the plug sockets are different to the United States! This might seem like a trivial matter but it means that your American plugs and adapters that you’re used to relying on back home won’t work; so bringing an international travel plug and adapter will mean that you can charge your phone and other devices in the evenings.
An international travel adapter plug has multiple socket options which means that not only can you use it while in Italy but it will also convert the plugs all over the world, including Asia, Australia and the rest of Europe; making this a great companion for any traveller.
Ensure That Your Devices Have A VPN.
While you’re in Italy you are likely to be using a lot of public wifi networks; not just in the hotel but also when you’re out on a day trip and need to check Google maps, travel information or show your digital tickets in the train station.
Using public wifi networks is convenient but it also comes with major risks. Hackers, and other online criminals, will specifically target tourists and other visitors to the country to try to steal their personal information but having a VPN on all your devices will protect you from these risks.
Your VPN will work all over the country to protect you but it will also let you access your online country specific subscriptions and streaming services which you bought in the United States.
A Shawl Wrap.
Italy is still a very religious country where most people dress quite conservatively compared to what you may be used to back in the States. For example, when you’re visiting any kind of religious site, including churches, cathedrals and shrines you’ll have to dress conservatively; but also museums and other sites of cultural significance.
Most Americans are used to walking around in shorts, particularly in the summertime, but while you’re in Italy it’s preferred if you wear pants instead. When visiting religious buildings you are usually expected to wear clothes which cover your knees and shoulders whether you are male or female. For this reason, shorts are not appreciated; so wearing a long dress for women or pants for a man is the culturally sensitive thing to do.
For women; to cover your shoulders a shawl wrap is the easiest way to do so since it can be kept in your bag without taking up too much space. A shawl wrap can also be used to protect you from the sun if you’re outdoors for long periods of time. For men, a light sports jacket can be worn to be in compliance with the dress code in religious buildings.
Wallet – Bring The Right Type!
Of course, you’re bound to have a wallet but while you’re in Italy it’s highly advisable to buy a specially designed travel wallet or purse. This is because pickpocketing is an extremely common problem, especially in touristic areas of Italy.
To combat this you can use a money belt, which is worn under your shirt around your waist. This means that your money, passport and other valuables cannot easily be accessed by a pickpocket. The money belt is very slim and quite close fitting which means that it won’t show up as a bulge on your stomach and ruin your smart casual attire!
If you’re concerned about thieves who can scan your credit and debit cards from a distance to steal your banking information then you can take the extra precautions of buying a RFID money belt. This protects your cards from being scanned by thieves and having your bank details stolen.
Italy is a country that’s famous for its chic style and the high fashion of its residents. This means that if you’re eating out in a restaurant, dropping by a bar, or attending a performance in a theatre then you really do need to make an effort to dress up smartly.
Many venues in Italy actually require ‘black tie’ dress codes, including operas but also luxury restaurants, theatres and other music venues. If you’re travelling with a partner or spouse, it’s common in Italy to coordinate your outfits for an evening in a restaurant or theater! This is fun to do but it’s also going to help you fit in with the locals while you’re visiting their country.
Stainless Steel Water Bottle.
While you’re in Italy you’ll often find public fountains at tourist sites where you can refresh yourself and so it’s always a good idea to have a reusable water bottle. A reusable stainless steel bottle is probably going to be your best choice since it won’t be leaking potentially dangerous chemicals into water – something which is more likely in hot weather.
You can also fill up your water bottle in the morning before you leave the hotel as well to save you having to pay expensive prices for bottled water at the tourist spots.
Unlike in other parts of the world, there’s nothing to be worried about in Italy when it comes to drinking the tap water or the water in public fountains because it has all been sanitized and is considered perfectly safe. One thing to keep in mind though is that in Italy it’s considered extremely rude to ask to fill up your water bottle in a bar or cafe unless you also buy a coffee or some food at the same time.
A Tripod And Selfie Stick.
If you’re planning to take plenty of photos while you’re in Italy then a selfie stick and tripod are very useful to have on hand. You can buy foldable selfie sticks and lightweight travel tripods so they’re easy to take around the sites with you. This will not only save you from having to ask strangers to take your picture but your tripod will also let you take slower shutter speed photos without having shakes ruining your holiday snaps.
A Portable Charger Or Power Pack.
Something which can be a life saver in Italy is a portable charger for your phone, particularly if you’re in rural parts of the country or hiking on the many walking trails.
You can get a lightweight solar charger for your phone just to top up your phone if you need to check Google maps or make an emergency call when your phone is out of battery. This simple addition to your daily backpack can be very useful during your time in Italy.
Packing For A Trip To Italy – Bring The Right Items.
Packing the right items for your trip to Italy will ensure that you have a great time and won’t find yourself caught in situations which could easily have been avoided. Many of the items that you’ll need to bring along with you are fairly intuitive but others, such as a reusable stainless steel water bottle, a VPN service for your devices and a shawl wrap are not so obvious.
Before you start packing, take a few moments to write down a complete list of the things that you’ll need to bring with you and then tick them off as they go into your suitcase! It’s also worth doing a quick double check before you leave just to make sure that you’ve got everything you’ll be needing. Once you’ve got everything packed and ready to go you can relax and look forward to an amazing experience in Italy.