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10 Must Have Items for Your Italy Packing List (Besides your passport)
You’re going to see a lot of amazing places during this epic trip to Italy. Trust me when I say that these amazing places are even more incredible than you can imagine. Do yourself a favor and put a good camera on your packing list. There’s nothing worse than opening Shutterfly to print books or enlargements and seeing a pop-up that basically says, “Warning! Your camera sucked.” My camera of choice is a Nikon D5300 DSLR – about $500 for a camera and lens kit – but a smaller camera will do just fine if a DSLR isn’t for you quite yet. There are many budget-friendly options that will help you achieve a lasting moment. The idea here is don’t rely on your phone camera. While most phones have a decent camera nowadays, they still aren’t ideal for specialty printing, and you will find yourself limited on some of your shots. An actual camera is definitely an Italy packing list essential.
Italy currently sees more visitors per year than any other country and this means it’s a pick-pocketers heaven. They aren’t generally aggressive or dangerous, but they are artfully sneaky. While you are busy snapping a perfect image of the Colosseum, you may very well miss the hand in your pocket. Worse, you may realize your backpack is now open and your passport has found a new owner. On the off-chance you catch one, they’ll be gone before you can do anything about it.
Keep your belongings yours with a Pacsafe bag. I recommend a 15L Venturesafe by Pacsafe. It is slim, spacious and perfect for carrying a laptop. The padded back adds a bit of comfort. Items are secured by a metal mesh lining (so that the bag is slash proof) and locking zippers. If you’re not into backpacks, Pacsafe makes purses and messenger bags as well that you can find on Amazon. Don’t let pickpockets deter you from taking that dream trip to Italy! They are unlikely to harm you. If you take precautions and stay aware, they will most likely leave you alone.
The safest and most highly recommended way to keep your money and passport safe is a money belt. Even Rick Steve’s recommends you place a money belt on your Italy packing list. Keep the bulk of cash here with your credit card and passport and have a small amount of cash in one of the inside pockets or your bag. We purchased a Peak Gear money-belt from Amazon that worked perfectly.
There are a lot of stunning churches in Italy and they all have a dress code. If you want to revel in the beauty of these structures, be sure that your shoulders and knees are covered. Particularly in the summer, it can get hot and, while shorts and tanks are not uncommon, a simple scarf will ensure you aren’t denied access to St. Mark’s or St. Peter’s. This type of mishap can ruin your morning or afternoon, especially if you just spent 3 hours in line only to get turned away. Putting a light scarf on your Italy packing list will ensure you don’t have to miss out on anything.
Do NOT go on a trip to Italy without good walking shoes! I don’t mean flip-flops nor do I mean your most comfortable heels. No matter how often you wear them at home, neither will serve you well for long days of walking in Italy. Pack your most broken-in walking shoes. These shoes will need to carry you 6 to 8 miles per day on cobblestone roads. I put two pairs on my packing list for Italy – a pair of Ecco Soft 7 in white and my black Tieks shoes. The bf bought a pair of the same shoe (Ecco) in mens and loved how they wore as well. Even though I didn’t actually have time to break in my Ecco shoes, it all worked out. Both pairs worked out amazingly and I am proud to report I went blister free after 18 days and 90 something miles of trekking.
Rick Steve’s Guide To Italy
This book absolutely belongs on your Italy packing list. It will help you along the way whether it is knowing where to go or figuring out what you’re looking at once you get there. We had an outline of what we wanted to do during our trip to Italy. Even though we knew the places, we often forgot interesting and sometimes important information. It was handy to be able to open the guide and read more about the monuments and sites. Rick Steve’s Guide also has some great recommendations that you might not otherwise consider. Another perk is you can often get a discount at places featured in the book! Don’t forget to also download his free app on your phone for some self-guided tours.
Ulmon City Map2Go (AKA, LifeSaver App)
Unless you would rather get lost (repeatedly) download this app. There is a fee to purchase to app but it is worth every cent. If you keep an eye out, you can often get it for a discount. It was recommended to me shortly before we departed, so I just forked out the eleven bucks and called it good. You also have the option to download the City Maps app for individual cities and those apps are actually free. Again, totally worth it. Basically, you download the cities or areas in advance (over wifi) where you will need navigation. Once these areas are downloaded, the gps and navigation will work offline. No need to worry about international data charges or getting lost.
List of Embassies/Consulates with Contact Info
This is a must-have for not only your Italy packing list but for any other country as well. In the event your passport is lost/stolen or you find yourself in some other kind of predicament, it is a good idea to know where you can find help. Know where your nearest embassy is located and have their phone numbers, including the emergency line. List of US Embassies/Consulates.
Refillable Water Bottle
In Italy, there are fountains throughout most cities offering clean and free drinking water. You will drink a lot, and a buck or two adds up. Especially when you’re talking about several bottles a day! Pack a refillable water bottle and fill it up at the hotel in the morning. You may still need to buy a bottle here and there, but far fewer than otherwise. A great choice is this collapsible water bottle by Nomader. It’s compact, making it great for saving space in your suitcase and leakproof so you don’t have to worry about it throughout the day.
You won’t remember nearly as much about your trip as you think you will. Take a few minutes each day to jot down the funny stories, the nearly mishaps, that amazing restaurant with the BEST Cacio e Pepe, the french couple you met waiting for a boat, and a little something about the kind man who took a different route to work because you were wandering circles in Capri because I forgot to download the map. Give yourself the best souvenir and record all of your favorite details during your amazing trip to Italy!
Foldable Travel Bag
This isn’t technically an essential but, if you’re like me and you shopping while you travel, the Scout foldable travel bag is definitely a must have item to pack for Italy! This travel bag folds up into a small pouch that fits perfectly into your luggage. When it’s time to come home, just unfold and you have a carryon size bag to tote home all your wonderful souvenirs! Purchase a Scout bag on Amazon or read more about it on my complete review of the Scout Plus 1.
Want some photographic travel inspiration? I’ve got that!
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