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Packing for Italy

I am convinced NO ONE packs like I do for a trip to Europe! I continually read packing threads on Slow Talk, and am AMAZED at how little people bring for a three week trip. Let me start by saying we always have a big rental car, we don't take trains, as Brad LOVES driving in Italy, and I have no trouble lifing or managing my luggage! Brad is also a wonderful "Schleppopotomus". He is always entertained and challenged by getting everything in the rental car trunk the first time he must pack it.

I always pack ON PAPER first, not in my closet. I type a full page of everything I will bring, then add accessories, purses, shoes, shawls, and misc. items like books, maps, camera, chargers, adapters, Italy cell phone, etc. When I am done with my list, I check off each item as I pack it.

Our Italy days go something like this:
We get up early (6:30-7ish). I wash my face, run a brush through my hair, and jump into capris and a top. Palma goes outside to caffinate and smoke. Breakfast. Brush teeth. Out the door by 9ish. Hang out in a hilltown, or city, exploring our surroundings, shopping, sightseeing, stopping for breaks in caffes. 1p.m.ish: Lunch. Unless we are on a daytrip, we return to our room for a nap from 3-5ish. THEN I shower, wash hair, put on some make-up (low maintence 15-20 min. max for the whole routine!) and dress nicely for dinner (usually a skirt or dressier top, or dress).

If we are on a daytrip, where we won't return until after dinner (three times this trip), then I shower in the morning and wear something like a skirt or sundress for the day.

This year's pack list (Which is the LEAST I have EVER brought) consists of :
7 pair capris/crop pants (3 black, 3 white, one black/white)
1 pair long linen pants
4 skirts
3 dresses
3 purses/one evening bag
3 pair shoes plus what I wear on plane (black, white, dressy black, gold)
3 very lightweight summer cardigans/jackets (black, white, an one matching skirts)
21 daytime tops
5 dressier tops
4 shawls
2 nightgowns/light robe
bathing suit/cover-up
22 pair of underwear (throw one away each day) more room for shopping
3 bras
14 selected pieces of "fun" jewelry (all made by me)
Trader Joe's insulated bag (for wine, cheese, cold cuts)
Slow Travel tote bag
3 books to read/journal (Brad brings 3, and we trade)
Cosmetic case (size of a zip-lock bag)
cigarettes (Cartons fit in side zipper. Can't buy Virginia Slims in Italy.)
Brad packs laptop, ipod, camera, converters, chargers, Italian cell phone

Yes, this ALL FITS in my Briggs and Riley 28 inch roller bag, and is around 48 lbs.
In my small carry-on bag, I bring my jewelry, my pillow, and a book for the plane. My purse with passports/tickets/journal fits in there too.

So, it all fit, but then I take a few things out of the BIG bag, and put them in my 22" roller bag (which attaches with a strap, and they roll together). In here goes a few gifts for people I will see in Italy. The point is, I will have the 22" bag virtually EMPTY to fill with whatever I buy in Italy. DUH!

Why would I dress any differently than I do at home? I also don't do laundry on vacation (may send bras or nightgown to hotel laundry). Brad has laundry/dry cleaning done half-way through a trip, and wears everything twice. He is MUCH fussier than I am about packing.

I did my "fake pack" last weekend. (Must make sure everything fit in my bag, and stayed under weight limits.) All my clothes are ready, and I won't wear them before I go (OK, I might have to borrow one of the pair of white capris...)

Here is what I DON'T bring:
umbrella (don't ever use one at home either...my hair will dry...)
closed-toe shoes (only worn in winter)
Meds/first aid items consist of my once-a- week calcium pill, a few bandaids, a tube of neosporin and some Advil. (That's all I have at home too!)
Guide books. I've already done my homework. I have confirmations, maps, and ST restaurant lists in a folder.

Now I must wait 28 days to go!

Comments (17)


Palma! I don't own 21 tops even at home. You make me smile. So what's the itinerary? Or did I miss that somewhere.

Palma - I'm with you - if you wouldn't rinse out your undies in the sink at home then why the heck would you do it on vacation? I despise wearing the same thing over and over again - I just won't do it!

'tis a good thing Paul doesn't mind schlepping the bags about.

You are the bestest! What will you be wearing for the next 28 days?
I don't have a schlepper to travel with~ so it really doesn't matter how fancy my pjs are. I like the idea of disposable panties. Don't you wonder what the housekeepers think?
Now we want a day by day itinerary...

Palma, Palma, Palma... I despair. Really, with a frozen shoulder? What will you do if Brad hurts something?

I could move to China for a year with that wardrobe... and what's so bad about washing something out? It puts a little colon before the book in bed.

I have an old friend who come to see me with luggage like that, and she is so upset that my guest room doesn't "adequately" accommodate her stuff. She suggested I remove the bidet from the bathroom to make more room for her stuff. Now how would I live without my bidet, and why would I want a dressing table in my bathroom?

I used to make colored Kleenex ballgowns for my paperdolls -- maybe we could do something like that for you?


But Judith, It all fits in ONLY one good bag on wheels! It ROLLS easily!

Sandi and Kim, Not to worry! Lots more where that came from in the closet. I have PLENTY of choices of what to wear for the next three weeks without disturbing the "packing guest room"!


Are you bragging? Whatever the reason for your post, I find your need to reveal what you purchase on your numerous shopping excursions and the contents of your closet just obscene.

I think there is something missing in your life; something for which you are compensating by shopping. Recognition or approval or love? Is your blog a cry for help? I could recommend a therapist.

Judith, I am still laughing.


Palma, we should all learn from you! Advance planning is something I am so in need of. If I do what you do prior to your trip, I would not have to shop for things I forgot and need away from home and deal with a language that I am not familiar with ... On my next trip with AnnieK, I will certainly remember this blog and use your tips... You just never cease to amaze me! Big fan here...


The reason for my packing blog, was feeling good about packing early and taking a LOT LESS than other trips. I have never gotten everything in ONE bag before, with room to spare. After reading many packing threads on ST, I also feel there is more than one way to pack, and no one is right or wrong. We must all be comfortable with our own style of packing and dressing on our vacation.

I'm not sure why you read a blog you find "obscene", but I appreciate opinions and comments from readers. As far as shopping goes, yes, I love to accessorize. I always have. I am surprised at your repulsion, as I have enjoyed reading YOUR lists of shopping treasures on the "Secret Indulgences" thread. WARNING: I will be both shopping AND blogging from Italy!

Palma, my dear, I salute you for your forbearance.

There are many lovable things about you, but a 28" suitcase is not one of them, in spite of your inner vision that it is tiny! I once traveled Greece and Italy for 3 weeks with an 18" totebag, but I was a size 3 then. I had a color scheme of khaki green, hot pink and purple. Neutrals, in fact.

I have a photo of me and my bag at the end of the trip, and if the Umbrian humidity hasn't stuck it to the glass, I will scan it and post it on my blog.

Having more than once tried rolling heavy bags full of samples across cobbles and train tracks, let alone lifting them into trains, I have my doubts about its efficiency, but I shall look for and expect a stunning presentation when I see you.


Palma, someone says you could use a therapist. I know a good one in Palm Desert if you need a recommendation.

Palma - anyone who would suggest a therapist based upon a blog post should probably look into that mirror themselves!

I thought the post was a riot. There are two travelling camps - the light packers and the heavy packers. We know where you sit on the continuum between the two. I know where I am on that continuum as well. This guy will NOT be handwashing undies at night before bed. I don't do it at home so I sure as heck won't do it on a vacation. However, to those who enjoy that sory of thing - go to town! LOL

Rock on Palma - you rule sis!

So don't wear undies.

The Gelato Queen:

Palma ,

You and I pretty much pack the same except I don't accessorize . Well maybe I take more than you. I am proud that you were able to decrease you luggage weight by 60lbs! Good job summersister. Soon we will see each other!!!!!

Palma, I take less than you, but it is not as organized. It really helps me to see and read what others take on their trips. I just returned from Italy and I took a 22" and a carry-on for three weeks. Yes, I did do some laundry, and we had all sorts of weather - cold, hot, rainy, dry - so I had to plan for everything and was okay there.

We had a car the whole time, but we were still complaining about our luggage.... I think we need to bring bigger suitcases so we don't have to cram so much in such a small space. Hmmm.

I also wonder about those white pants. I don't even bring khakis because I think the first time I wear them, I will sit in pigeon poop or something. Can you wear them more than once??

You are the packing guru.


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