As I depart tomorrow, I have been packing my bags for the last few days. Over the years I have become more efficient, but there are a few things I would never leave without.
- Electricity converter: Italy is on 220 volts and we in the States are on 110 volts. Although most modern electronics can do the conversion of energy for you, appliances like curling irons or electric shavers cannot. I always bring a universal converter to be safe and avoid my straightener blowing a fuse. You can buy these pretty much anywhere- Target, Walmart, Best Buy. If you do forget an adapter or converter, ask the front desk at the hotel. Other guests may have left them behind!
- Medicines/First Aid: I am always prepared with my Ibuprofen, Benadryl, DayQuil, Band-aids and sanitizer. Although all pharmacies (Farmacia) carry these, I like to avoid that extra stop and bring my own! All prescription medicines of course should be packed in carry-on luggage as well.
- Neck pillow: I lose 6 hours every time I travel to Italy from Cleveland, so I like to try and get some shut-eye on the flight. One of the best purchases I have ever made was an inflatable neck pillow. That thing has been with me for over 10 years. I would not fly without it! Not only does it give me a bit more comfort when I sleep, it is small and convenient to pack once it is deflated.
- Empty water bottle: I will not travel without an empty reusable water bottle. I fill it up in airports, hotels, city drinking water fountains in Rome, restaurants, wherever! The poor college kid in me refuses to pay $4 for a bottle of water. Be sure to bring it already emptied to the airport though. Once in Paris I made the mistake of filling it ahead of time, and had to chug about 32 oz. of water in the security line. Avoid the beeline to the bathroom and bring it empty!
- Windbreaker/umbrella: Italy in October can be a bit chilly, a small trade-off for the empty streets free from tourists. Although rain is not anticipated, I would rather be over prepared than caught in a downpour. Along the coastal areas like Le Cinque Terre, Venice or the Amalfi Coast, I always anticipate a bit of rain and wind. My windbreaker has kept my dry and warm on many occasions, especially during the off-season months.
- Sunglasses: Italy in October is sunny as well! I try to fit in with the stylish Italian ladies and bring my trendiest pair. Channel your inner Sophia Loren and stroll around in a fabulous set of sunglasses! I also wear these on the plane when my neighbor opens the window and I get blasted with sunlight. Mama mia!
- Camera: I can't think of a more photogenic place than Italy, and autumn is no exception. The reds, yellows and oranges appear in the Tuscan hills, the sun shines in Rome and the Amalfi Coast stays as blue as ever. I am always guilty of taking hundreds of photos on my trips! Be sure to clear some memory space if you are using your phone. You don't want the "Storage Full" message to pop us as your about to snap a pic of a winemaking festival or perfect selfie at St. Peter's!
- Portable Charger: I am attached to my phone at all times when I travel, though I wish I had the courage to go "off-the-grid." I like to keep a portable charger/power bank handy in my bag or pocket just in case I kill my phone with too many photos, TripAdvisor searches or texts to my friends and family back home.
- Appetite: Come hungry! Even if you are not a "foodie," autumn brings so many seasonal treats in Italy. Local towns are filled with sagra meals, or food festivals. Harvest grapes for wine making, or attend the EuroChocolate festival. Try freshly hunted truffles or indulge in roasted chestnuts. Fall food in Italy is to die for- I have been salivating for weeks thinking about all the goodies that await me in Italy!