Three Weeks in Italy: What to Pack

Jun 3rd, 2012, 03:13 PM
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Three Weeks in Italy: What to Pack

My wife and I are classic overpackers but for three weeks in Italy, we are planning to bring one large suitcase that rolls and a space-saving garment bag for our nicer clothes.

We've had friends tell us NOT to bring the garment bag, but it really is a travel -specific bag meant for this kind of thing.

Thoughts on our strategy and what we should pack? We are going fro 9/20 to 10/11 and traveling from Venice to Rome and places in between.
cdispoto is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2012, 03:50 PM
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Pack exactly as you would for one week.
jubilada is online now  
Jun 3rd, 2012, 03:59 PM
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Well we are going to pack for a light week and wear things multiple times but was interested on thoughts on the garment bag as well.
cdispoto is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2012, 04:10 PM
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Good walking shoes!
kelsey22 is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2012, 04:26 PM
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Two small carryon bags would be easier to manage than one large suitcase. And you might wish you didn't have a garment bag to carry. You really only need 3 pairs of jeans/slacks and about 5 shirts with 2 or 3 layers for warmth, then 2 pair of shoes each. Or 3. I've always taken 3 pair of shoes but didn't necessarily need them. Bring a collapsible duffle bag to bring home souvenirs and/or dirty clothes. A compression bag is really good for keeping dirty clothes in your suitcase.

I wouldn't want a large suitcase to deal with when getting on and off trains, nor would I want to bother with a large suitcase in Venice. You need to be able to walk up steps and over bridges in Venice. And yes, make sure all your shoes are comfortable for lots of walking. Bring moleskin just in case.
elnap29 is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2012, 04:27 PM
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I hope it's clear I mean one carry-on bag each.
elnap29 is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2012, 04:38 PM
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We've had a rule for a lot of years and a lot of trips from one to three weeks. One roller bag each no larger than 21 inches. We have never had a problem fitting in everything we need. It is so great not to feel over-burdened with a lot of heavy stuff getting on and off trains and walking up steps in the metro. If you are not traveling in the dead of winter, one small bag or carry on each should be plenty.
mamcalice is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2012, 04:39 PM
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Pack plenty of bandaids for blisters. They are ridiculously expensive in Italy. ( And I thought my shoes were well broken-in). Really. less is more. You will be happy to have less to pack and carry around. You can always buy a bag to check when you come home. You can also pick up a sweater or jacket if you have not packed one ( wow...what a great souvenir! Beats a plastic gondola by a long shot)

People are not looking at your clothing...whether or not it is wrinkled, etc. If you are that concerned, get an iron from the concierge. It will work with European current and you don't have to haul around that weight.

If you have two 21in carryons, they can pretty much stay with you on a train. Big stuff has to stay at the end or a car and you may worry about it rather than enjoy your journey.
uhoh_busted is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2012, 05:22 PM
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I did a similar trip in 2010 - the temp was in the hi 70'-80's and the weather was perfect. A very light jacket is all you will need, and if you are like most - you'll need it on the plane.
Definately, agree 2 21" carryon's is much easier than one large on trains. Steps on trains are steep - walkways are bumpy - -
2 is better than 1. I agree -less is more - you will not need garmet bag or dress outfits unless you have a special event to attend. You are on vacation - Enjoy -
Cathy_Twilley is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2012, 05:30 PM
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Leave the garment bag at home. I can't tell you the last time I saw a garment bag on a luggage carousel at an airport.
rfbk50 is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2012, 05:36 PM
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Discourage the garment bag. Big for what it holds, heavy in proportion to its contentnts' weight, unweildy on steps or trains, etc. I saw a traveler at the Rome airport forced to check one (doesn't meet carry-on size).

Anything you can pack in one can be packed in a carry-on with good technique and emerge relatively unwrinkled, but non-hanging garments won't do well in the garment bag. If you will be driving and want to use a garment bag in your car, take a lightweight plastic zip-up garment bag such as comes with a suit purchase from a department store packed in your suitcase.

There are many packing threads posted. Don't burden yourself unnecessarily.
AJPeabody is online now  
Jun 3rd, 2012, 07:37 PM
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No garment bag. Not really meant for a tour of Italy. More like a business trip or going to a wedding in Michigan.
tuscanlifeedit is online now  
Jun 3rd, 2012, 08:04 PM
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One big suitcase is a lot more difficult for two people than each person having their own, smaller one. Big ones are a pain on trains, up and down steps, etc.

I do check my suitcase, but also have a super light weight, tote style, carry on. I pack a good bit of stuff, meds, change of clothes, etc. in the tote (in case luggage is lost), but leave enough space in my suitcase to put the tote inside it when we land. That way, I am never dealing with more than one bag or piece of luggage.

One other plus for two bags. You can each put a few things in the other person's bag. Then, if one is lost or delayed, you still have clothes and stuff. If all of your things are together in one, big checked bag and it is lost or delayed, much bigger pain to deal with.

The garment bag will be a big pain, nice for traveling in a car, but not good on a long trip to Europe.
Sassafrass is online now  
Jun 3rd, 2012, 09:36 PM
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As stated above-- two small suitcases. One for each of you. Easy to manage, keep track of your stuff, and you will have your own space to organize (or not organize, as your style demands.) Also, of course, an extra bag to put your new purchases in... carry-on size.
kawh is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2012, 10:41 PM
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You haven't said HOW you are going to travel, car or train. If by train, don't even consider a garment bag - are you going to stuff it into the overhead luggage racks or carry it in your lap all the way?

You will be surprised at how much you can squeeze into two small bags and if you are moving frequently, no one will know you wore the same dressy outfit for dinner last night (or care at all if they do know.) Your friends are 100% right.
tarquin is offline  
Jun 4th, 2012, 03:14 AM
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I am in Europe right now for six weeks and I cannot emphasize enough: LESS IS MORE...! We each have a 21" carry on and a small day pack and at times, trying to catch a quick train connection, going up and down stairs in the stations (there is not always a convenient elevator) that even feels like a lot. You definitely do not want to have a big suitcase. The aisles in the trains are narrow an then you have to lift the bag up on the rack overhead. You will be going up and over bridges in Venice. Two smaller bags will be much easier o handle. Trust me. You will be sorry if you bring a big suitcase. Have a great trip.
michele_d is offline  
Jun 4th, 2012, 11:22 AM
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One large suitcase is a really bad idea. One of you will be lifting it A LOT. If you are doing any train travel at all, you will be lifting it over your head, and you will be MUCH happier with two 21" rollers, one for each of you. As for the garment bag, another really bad idea. And you don't need it. I have never used anything bigger than 21" even for long trips of several weeks. Pack a bit of woollite for washing the undies in hotel sinks, and get a hotel to do one laundry load for you half-way into the trip. I cannot emphasize how much happier you will be with a lighter load. For nicer clothes that you don't want to wrinkle, get yourself a packing folder (from ebags or eagle creek), and while you are on their site, get yourself a set of packing cubes. They are awesome for travel where you are on the move a lot, never really unpacking.

Let me just add--I returned last night from a two-week trip in Italy (Rome, Sorrento, Assisi, Chianti). I had my 21" and even I was wishing I had made due with something smaller. You will curse that big suitcase and garment bag by day three, I promise.
PDersch is offline  
Jun 4th, 2012, 12:02 PM
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And take a small travel-size spray bottle of Febreeze--it works great to freshen items you wear multiple times, which should be everything!
PDersch is offline  
Jun 4th, 2012, 12:38 PM
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if you are in italy for 3 weeks, you are probably going to need/want to do some washing anyway, either in the bathroom sink/bidet or at a launderette [or if you are very lucky, the hotel laundry].

so you really only do need things enough for a week, plus it'll be warm, so you won't need heavy jumpers, etc.

this is what i would take:

warm trousers x 1 [for any chilly nights]
light trousers x 2
shorts x 1
t-shirts x 4
shirts x 2 [you can wear alone or put over a t-shirt]
cardigan x 1
fleece/jumper x 1
light waterproof
walking sandals
walking shoes
undies & socks.
light nightdress x 2

unless you are meeting heads of state/attending a wedding, you do not need "nicer" clothes.

travel light, be happy.
annhig is offline  
Jun 4th, 2012, 01:53 PM
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oh dear I am stressed after reading this. We are also going for three weeks to italy in July and had planned on bringing a garment bag b/w we will be attending a very formal wedding in florence at the beginning of our trip. So two of our nights will be quite dress and require bringing a suit and formal dresswear. Maybe its worthwhile to roll it in our bag and pay someone to steam it when we get there?
Griffy is offline  

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