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Need help with packing for a trip to Rome, Cinque Terre and Switzerland

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Jul 7th, 2015, 07:37 AM
  #1
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Need help with packing for a trip to Rome, Cinque Terre and Switzerland

Hi. I need help in knowing what to pack for an August trip to Rome and Cinque Terre followed by a week touring Switzerland going to Zermatt, Lucerne and Interlaken. I assume it will be hot in Italy but what about Switzerland? I haven't really traveled anywhere where I couldn't pack everything but the kitchen sink! It is overwhelming to think I am limited in what I can bring for clothes because I am afraid of being uncomfortable so far from home. Plus, I don't want to look like a bumbling American tourist. Does anyone know the size of suitcase you are allowed to bring on the Italian and Swiss trains? Will I need a winter coat in Switzerland at the end of August? Do I need to bring hiking shoes to see the Matterhorn? HELP
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Jul 7th, 2015, 08:04 AM
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It's a dilemma isn't it? For starters you can do a search of typical August temperatures for your Swiss destinations, that will give you a rough idea.
It will be hot in Italy.

It isn't so much what size suitcase you are allowed to take on the trains, it is what will fit going down the aisle and where you store it for the journey. My advice would be to have a 22 inch, or 24 in. at max. I saw some tourists on the train in Italy once with enormous suitcases, they had jammed up the whole aisle and were sweating bullets to get their luggage stowed away. Don't be them. lol.

I have done three week trips with a 20 inch suitcase, and I like my clothes. It can be done but you need to practice. Lots of putting outfits together, this works with that etc and heavy editing.

You won't need a winter coat in Switzerland at the end of August and I'm not positive but probably sneakers will be fine for what you are doing there.
Good luck and enjoy!
raincitygirl is online now  
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Jul 7th, 2015, 08:19 AM
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It's not just the size of the suitcase, it's the weight. You need to be able to lift the suitcase overhead (into the racks on the train) and carry it up and down stairs (when changing tracks). I bring only two pairs of shoes, in the summer one pair of walking sandals and one pair of closed walking shoes. The sandals are nice enough to go out to dinner in.

Here's a site with average climate data: www.weatherbase.com.

Remember if you're missing some piece of clothing, you can always buy it. Yay, a souvenir you can wear.
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Jul 7th, 2015, 08:19 AM
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You're allowed to take as much luggage as you can handle - you don't check in for a train like you do in an airport. But *you* will be the one handling your luggage, and sometimes the luggage racks get full, so it will be to your benefit to pack as lightly as possible. Not to mention that you won't want to haul a ton of luggage around when you're moving towns either. (Which CT village are you staying in?) For that reason, I stick to a carry-on size roller suitcase, plus a purse-type bag. I just did two weeks in Italy with that much luggage and didn't have to do laundry, though if you have laundry facilities it will certainly help.

Don't worry about looking like a tourist; just accept that you will. So will tons of other people in the areas you'll be. raincitygirl's suggestion to check typical temperatures is the common sense solution.

I don't know about the Matterhorn, but if you have hiking shoes, you might appreciate them in the CT as well. I wore my Chacos and did fine, but the trails would have been easier with actual hiking shoes.
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Jul 7th, 2015, 09:04 AM
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I'm with Mimar. Comfy sandals go a long way and walking shoes depending on your itinerary {are you hiking in the Cinque Terre? Then walking shoes would probably be nicer than just sandals}.

On our last trip to Rome I only had my sturdy sandals and that was fine. Plan dark clothing in layers and the possibilities are limitless! I always have a black pashmina scarf and black sweater/hooded sweatshirt. These I don't even pack, I have those with me on the flight (scarf tied to bag and sweater over my shoulders). Each night we always hang our clothing outside if possible to air out and we travel with a very small travel iron-a few clothes go a long, long way for us. Underwear and socks can be washed out in the shower daily and will certainly dry relatively quickly. We also always have lighter weight tops and bottoms that do dry (and clean) in a swift manner once they get "beyond" just airing out and re-pressing.

The Cinque Terre is Awesome as is Rome! Have a blast. We haven't been to Switzerland yet.....on the bucket list though
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Jul 7th, 2015, 10:06 AM
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we were in Switzerland last year in late May/early June so probably a bit cooler than when you are going. I did pack light hiking shoes, not high tops since boots are just too hard to fit. I was glad of the heavy soles and traction when we were walking on the snow at the Jungfrau, and those light hikers are good in all climates, hot to cold. You don't really need a heavy coat...what I did was pack a good quality LL Bean fleece jacket, and a lightweight rain jacket. these two together provided enough warmth for Zermatt/Gornergrat and the Jungfrau where it snowed on us, and separately were good layers for nice weather.

Switzerland will probably be quite warm in the valleys. While it was freezing in the Jungfrau, it was 80F at the Ballenburg village museum near Brienz.
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Jul 7th, 2015, 10:15 AM
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Switzerland is NOT Siberia and there is no need for a winter coat. The temps in the valley are (cool) summer temps. the only places quite cold are the mountain tops and you will be there for a limited time.

When we took the train up the Jungfrau I wore a tee, long-sleeve shirt and jean jacket and was plenty warm. In the valleys a tee was plenty - with perhaps the jean jacket if a chilly/rainy night. You could use a sweater instead of the jacket if you prefer.

The important thing for the mountaintops is shoes that have non-skid soles since you will be on snow (NOT in deep snow but on top) at times.
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Jul 7th, 2015, 10:23 AM
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You can carry on any normal baggage no matter how much or how large as long as you can manage it in both Italy and Switzerland - investigate a Swiss Pass or Swiss Transfer Ticket for your Switzerland train travel - passes also cover boats, postal buses and city transits plus give free entry to 470+ Swiss museums and sights - for lots of good stuff on trains in both countries check www.swisstravelsystem.com for Swiss and for both www.seat61.com - great info on discounted tickets in Italy; www.budgeteuropetravel.com and www.ricksteves for general things about trains.

No need yes for heavy clothing - oh the Jungfraujoch train at top will be about freezing so just layer - if the sun is out it feels much warmer but all the places down below will not be that cold and could be quite warm.
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Jul 7th, 2015, 10:56 AM
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In Switzerland you can send your bags ahead on the train and if deposited early enough or the day before they will be waiting at your destination station - about 15 CHfrancs per bag however.

And consider first class on trains as there is IME more room (less peope traveling in the same size train car) - I often have an adjoining empty seat to put bags on - anyway a lot easier IME and significantly more relaxed.
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Jul 7th, 2015, 11:52 AM
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You just need to be able to easily carry everything yourself (including up and down steps, lifting onto the luggage area or overhead, etc.)

I've never been up at high altitude so that may be different, but I've been in the Geneva area of Switzerland many times in summer and it was H-O-T. It's different different years, like anywhere else, but it was 90F degrees often when I was on Lac Leman in August.
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Jul 7th, 2015, 11:57 AM
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I would pack lightweight summer clothes... cotton tops, capris, sandals. I'd take one pair of sneakers (w/ socks) to use as walking shoes or for light hiking.

If you think you will be up at high altitude where it would be cold somewhere along in your trip, pack a down vest (which you can squish into a packing cube or ziplock bag to save space) would be one idea.
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Jul 7th, 2015, 12:52 PM
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We did Switzerland in late September; what we always travel with is a packable down (800 weight) that fits into its own pocket. However, when we were in Switzerland, we didn't need it nor our waterproof rain shells. It was very warm. Considering the temps of last week, summer clothes is all you need with a few baselayers -- thin, thin merino wool, baselayers from Uniqlo (priced fabulously) or elsewhere. For a two week trip in a 20-22" carryon, you can fit in 5 slacks, 12 tops, jacket, maxi-dress, 2-3 prs of shoes (wear the bulkiest & change on plane for comfort). Pack thin layers, leaving sweats, cotton sweaters home. Pick wicking 'performance' layers which dry and pack beautifully. We are doing France for 4 wks this September and am packing tons into my 21" which we'll plane-check; will also have rolling backpack and huge tote for underseat. I am taking 5 prs of sandals & shoes total. You leave your suitcases in the luggage area of the train and bring your valuables in your carry-ons to your seat. Get a few of those thin nylon packing envelopes (Eagle Creek?) Put all your longsleeves in one, tees in another, underwear in another, etc. So easy to find stuff when repacking frequently. Keep your clothes in one palette: my staple is black/gray/khaki with few bright accents. I have goretex Northface hiker/sneakers that I used for hiking, they were perfect (not taking to France though). Travelling with 2 prs Sketchers Go-Walk 2's, the most comfy and lt weight shoes ever had. I can get 29# of clothes into my 21" Lucas. Am a chronic overpacker......
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Jul 8th, 2015, 05:01 AM
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We were in those places in Sept last year and it was quite warm.

Switzerland - The day we went to Zermatt and the Matterhorn I made sure I packed a big jacket and wore a thermal singlet under my shirt (I get cold easily) as I thought it would be cold. I ended up having to take the singlet off and just have a short and thin wind jacket

Rome was just plain hot during the day (apparently it was unseasonally hot) and I found I just need a light cardigan at night.

The Cinque Terre was lovely weather and a t-shirt was fine.

I second the Sketchers G-Walk 2's. I took 2 pairs on our trip and wore them everywhere. They were so comfy.

I definitely over-packed and would take much less next time and more things that could be layered than bulky items. Neutral colours are good and just took a few bright scarves to dress up an outfit (and they added an extra layer of warmth if I needed it).
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Jul 8th, 2015, 08:37 AM
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One thing: it can rain in the summer in these areas. Hence the need for one pair of closed walking shoes and maybe a light rain jacket or small lightweight umbrella. Or you can buy one if it rains.
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Jul 8th, 2015, 11:00 AM
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Two pair of shoes - when one kids wet nice to have dry ones back at the hotel.
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Jul 9th, 2015, 12:57 AM
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Remember to think layers and bring a light backpack (especially for Switzerland).
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Jul 9th, 2015, 08:55 AM
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Yes layers in the Alps - the sunpops out hiking you get warm - it goes back under and a wind comes up you get cold - very changeable, sometimes suddenly so, weather in the Alps - layering is imperative.
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Jul 9th, 2015, 08:55 AM
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Yes layers in the Alps - the sunpops out hiking you get warm - it goes back under and a wind comes up you get cold - very changeable, sometimes suddenly so, weather in the Alps - layering is imperative.
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