Packing Advice

Packing Advice for Train Trips in Italy

Unsure of what to pack for your trip to Italy? Read on for tips on how to pack which you may find useful:

The Glory of Carry-Ons

There’s something to be said for only having to deal with a simple carry-on bag — bringing one has so many perks. First of all, no baggage fees. They mean less time spent packing and unpacking. There are no maximum weight restrictions for carry-ons — unlike with checked baggage, which, on top of having to pay for checking excess baggage, you must pay a fee if you go over a certain weight or go through the annoying task of trying to lighten your luggage at the check-in counter. One of the best perks is no standing around baggage claim when you land, waiting for your bag to come off the belt. It can take forever and that means less time spent in bell’Italia. But probably the top reason for bringing a carry-on — no worrying about the hellish nightmare of lost baggage. And therefore no going without toiletries or fresh clothes for days or spending precious vacation time and money shopping for things you already have.

Bringing a carry-on truly is so much faster and easier. There are some restrictions though. Baggage may not exceed 45 linear inches (or 114 cm) in combined length, width and height, including any handles and wheels, with the exception of small musical instruments. Bags must fit easily in the Carry-on Baggage Check (approximately 22" x 14" x 9" or 56 x 35 x  23 cm). And it must fit in the overhead compartment space or under-seat space available at the time of boarding.

Tips for Maximizing Luggage Space

Concerned you won’t have space in your carry-on for all you want to bring and bring back? In order to fit as much into your suitcase as possible, there are lots of tips to help maximize space in your luggage.

Lay clothes as flat as possible in your suitcase instead of folding or rolling. You don’t need to bring your entire medicine cabinet for toiletries — just the necessities. As for makeup - only bring essentials and the minimum you wear on a daily basis. Buy travel-size versions of shampoo, conditioner and lotion or small plastic bottles and transfer your favorites into them. Remember, the liquids rule for carry-ons is you can’t bring bottles bigger than 3.4 ounces (100 mL), with exceptions of medications and child nourishment.

Limit the amount of books you bring to one or two or count on one of the best inventions ever for traveling, a kindle. Choose clothing pieces that compliment each other in style and color; that means choosing a color scheme and a general look and sticking to it so pretty much any pieces can be mixed and matched. Only bring one statement piece, and don’t pack more than two pairs of shoes and one bag.

Suitcase Technology

There are a whole bunch of new suitcase technologies that have just come on the market or will soon which can make packing and traveling so much easier, faster and hassle-free.

Planning on bringing home some Italian souvenirs, like some olive oil or a few bottles of lovely Italian wine? But worried about fitting everything in your baggage? Briggs & Riley has developed a patented technology for carry-ons that allows the bag to actually expand up to 33 percent, and then compresses back to its original size.

Bag2Go will soon come out with the most genius of technologies that has suitcases embedded with an RFID chip that acts as an electronic bag tag. This will allow travelers to check their bags online and then simply drop luggage off at the airport - which leads to less time spent waiting in line to check bags. It will also come with a companion phone app that allows you to trace its location and see whether it made it onto your flight — bonus.

Bluesmart is taking pre-orders for the world’s first smart and connected luggage. When you pull the handles, the suitcase weighs itself, which means no more worrying if your bag is too heavy ever again. It will also come with an app that allows you to lock your bag using your phone, track your bag’s location and record trip information. They’ve also partnered with Uber, so that if your bag ever gets delayed, an Uber driver can pick it up at the airport for you and deliver it to you.

Must Haves When Packing for Your Trip to Italy

The most crucial things you’ll need on your trip to Italy are your passport and your rail pass or tickets. Of course, you’ll also need money or travelers cheques — get foreign currency in advance at  Also important are guidebooks and maps, sunblock/sunscreen, addresses of the friends and family you want to write to, a mini umbrella, a journal and the location of hotels and directions on how to get there from the station.

Packing Toiletries and First Aid

Make sure to take toiletries and some first aid essential with you. If you take prescription medication and you’re going on a long trip, ask the pharmacy for advance medication. Proof of the trip must be shown (ie: proof of ticket purchase, etc.) with a note from a doctor.

A small, requisite first aid kit would include Tums or antacids (foreign food may not agree with everyone!), Advil or Tylenol (painkillers), first aid cream or lotion (Bacitracin, Neosporin, etc.) and some Band-aids are also wise to have.

Don’t Forget to Bring Entertainment and Electronics

To amuse yourself on the train, bring your entertainment and electronics, like your music player/mp3 player, camera (digital or regular), camera film/memory cards, batteries and chargers for electronics. It’s also crucial to have the proper American to European outlet plug adapter.