"How in the world did you pack for three weeks using a carry on? Could you be very specific?
This is what Nikki asked me in the comments section of THIS post. (For those joining the program in progress, I am heading to Italy for 3 weeks on Saturday.)
So, to be specific, as requested, here was the packing gameplan:
Thank god it's summer. I didn't have to pack heavy things.
I bought a wheeled backpack. Already, I think this was a mistake because it was expensive and I will probably never use the backpack part except when hauling my stuff up stairs in Cinque Terre and in Praiano, but nevertheless, this seemed like the most versatile option. It also has an extra backpack that zips onto the actual wheeled luggage piece. Now, there is no way in hell I will actually be wearing the backpack in Italy, but the brilliant part is that it's extra storage and can be zipped off and put under my seat on the airplane, while reducing the size of the whole pack and allowing me to stow the main luggage piece in overhead compartments so I don't have to check my baggage. You with me so far? Good.
Next, here is what I packed:
1 pair of tiny flat jeweled leather sandals. Because someone has to compete with blinged-out Eurotrash while I am there. (Why do people get so intimidated dressing up for Italy. Have you SEEN europeans? There is just as much bad taste over there. There. I said it.)
1 pair of purple t-strap flat sandals.
1 pair black Havaianas. For the pool. For the beach. You know the drill.
1 pair of low-heeled black patent open-toed Prada sandals. For dinner and whatnot. When I need to look pulled together and not fall down on cobblestone streets.
1 pair of really light kickass Pumas in case I decide to hike anything.
1 pair of lightweight Lululemon sport yoga pant thingies. Also in case I decided to hike between Cinque Terra towns. I never wear this stuff unless I am actually doing something athletic (so rare, trust me). Can double as jammies. (I never sleep in the nude. I am a prude American.)
Bras and undies. Enough for a week.
1 big fuchsia cashmere scarf. I always bring it on the plane when I travel. It's a long flight. I will be cold on it.
1 of these THESE in black. Emergency blanket/scarf/sarong. So useful, so cheap, so light, so why not? My swim sarong.
1 pair of jeans. Because I am an American. If you Google "What should I wear in Italy?" people say, "Not jeans!" Well, they mean ugly-ass jeans people wear with white sneakers. These are cuffed-up Jackie-O-style jeans to go with a white tunic, gold necklace, nice sandals, and big sunglasses. A happy casual travel uniform.
4 lightweight black dresses. I live in these. Short, but not too short. Lightweight, dry quickly, perfect for a swim cover-up or going out to dinner. When I was in Argentina, someone told me, "You don't look like an American." I was wearing my favorite black dress then. It was a compliment. Why not pack an LBD? It's not like I am going to be walking all day. I don't need zip-off pants and Ex-Officio quick-dry buttoned-woven sexless shirts. Why do people pack for europe like it's adventure travel? It's not.
THIS. To ward off chill and cover up in churches. I know it looks very early-onset-Eileen Fisher, but it's super cute and the fabric is excellent.
Gold necklace (two, actually).
Fancy-ass blinged out diamond earrings (see Eurotrash comment above)
Basic black sunglasses.
Kindle, with a bunch of books loaded on to it.
Toiletries. (Enough to get me started. I can always buy more stuff when I get there. It's not like it's a third-world country.)
Starter-euros, passport, and reservation information.
DK Top Ten Rome
The Luxe Guides to Rome, Venice, and Florence. (Have you read these? Oh, god. Bitchy and hilarious and smart. I highly recommend, although the hotel recommendations are too pricy for me.)
Rick Steves. I won't lie. He's geeky, but he's practical. Where other guides want to on about Michaelangelo, I just want to know how to get to the fucking train station. He's your guy for that.
DK Italian Phrase Book (with the companion CD loaded onto my IPod shuffle)
That's a lot of books, I know.
I feel gross owning all three, but I do. Oh, well. The shuffle has a ridiculously long battery life, the iPod had more music on it. The iPhone, well, it's my phone. Loaded with the ATT international phone plan with isn't really a great deal, but better than regular charges. Note to self: turn data OFF before I go, or prepare for a $1000 phone bill.
-Little Nikon digital camera. I love film and like to print, actually, but there is no way I can take better photos of Italy than have already been taken, so a point and shoot is all I need. I am not a big photo-nerd on vacations, anyway. The mind's eye is a better companion, after all.
-Cables to charge all this nonsense
-Neutrogena 85 SPF sunscreen with Helioplex. I have good skin. I do not plan on fucking it up under the Tuscan sun, thank you very much.
-Three BAGGU for shopping, bringing things on the boat around Capri during our day trip, packing wet swimsuits, and whatnot
-Hot-pink satin clutch
-Painkillers (My ankles are fusing together. I insist on walking. I refuse to wear sensible shoes. One thing leads to another.)
-Lanvin Hero shoulder bag. Because it's so very un-fanny pack.
Things I am going to try to cram on last-minute if at all possible:
-Miu Miu slingback platform sandals. Because they are tall without a lot of pitch. And I like tall.
-A lightweight coat with ridiculous sleeves and collar that would be nice to wear to dinner in Venice.
-My vintage fur stole for the plane, because I think that would be funny sitting in coach, but I am pretty sure this won't make the cut. (These are the things I think are funny while I blog drinking wine. Go figure.)
The key (I hope)? Wear simple things again and again and pack accessories. It's not a fashion show, so I don't mind repeating outfits. Week two I am renting a house, with a washing machine. In that regard, I really only have to pack for a week, and I get the middle week to do laundry as needed.
There you go. A lot of little stuff that all fits in my 22" wheeled bag.
Yay me. Yay Italy. Yay not wearing white sneakers in Italy. Go America!
Wednesday, July 15, 2009