Whether you’re headed to Venice or Rome, wine country or the seaside villages of Cinque Terre, you’re sure to get wonderfully lost in the dreamy country of Italy. I’ve traveled all over this country — in all different climates — and gathered my best tips in this complete packing guide for Italy.
What to Pack For A Trip To Italy
Italians are stylish — it’s a fact. Don’t be that tourist walking around in bulky running shoes. Choose a pair of comfortable but cute shoes; take into consideration that many women in Italy wear heels everywhere, so bring block-heeled shoes or wedges as long as they are comfortable for you. I would caution against actual stilettos or high heels as most of the streets are made of stone.
If you prefer flat walking shoes during the day, a pair of comfortable flats are perfect for everyday wear. I also wear a cute pair of white sneakers (like these) with summer dresses if I know I’m going to be doing a lot of walking during the day.
The notion of wearing shorts is still up for contest (some say it’s fine, others disapprove), though to be safe and not be left feeling self-conscious I’d suggest leaving the shorts at home. A maxi skirt like this one is always my go-to, but I would pack a pair of skinny jeans or capri pants as well.
Especially if you’ll be staying near vineyards or water, I would highly suggest bringing along some bug repellent. Don’t love the smell of deet or the way it feels on your skin? Neither do I. Avon Skin So Soft is a great deet-free alternative which actually works in keeping the mosquitoes away and it also includes SPF 30 sunscreen!
Electrical Plug Adapter
To use electronics in Italy, you’ll need outlet adapter type C (two round prongs) or type L (three round prongs in a straight row). Type L is specifically for Italy, while C works for most of Europe.
You’ll also want to make sure any devices you take, like laptops and hair straighteners or curling irons, are dual voltage. Most newer electronic devices — such as phones, computers and cameras — are dual voltage, but if you hail from the US or Canada and have items that are solely 120V, you’ll need a voltage converter.
If you’re staying at a resort or hotel, they may even have some available for you to use, but I would bring your own just in case. Don’t be that person that fries their electronics in a foreign socket!
If your phone carrier doesn’t include international data, but you know you’ll need to use the internet frequently while in Italy you may want to look into getting a wifi hotspot. Finding restaurants, hotels, and coffee shops that offer wifi will be rare in most places, and even if you are able to gain access to the internet it will likely be disappointed with it’s weak speed. You can ask your cell phone carrier about international data packages, but likely a wifi hotspot will be less expensive.
However, only indulge in wifi if you absolutely need to — for work reasons and the likes. Get off your phone and enjoy the fresh Italian air!
If you plan to visit any religious sites, bring a shawl or a pashmina that can act as a cover-up. Dressing modestly for religious sites is absolutely critical; shoulders and knees — for both men and women — should be covered.
A small cross-body bag that you can drape across your body not only deters thieves, but relieves shoulder pain caused by bigger purses — plus you can keep everything you need on hand all day. Don’t forget to bring cash, as most places — especially restaurants — will expect you to pay in euros!
Additional Packing Tips For Italy
Buy travel insurance
Let it be known that language barriers can often lead to confusion and miscommunications when booking your hotel, transportation and activities. It’s not uncommon for trains and transportation to be late (or even be cancelled altogether) and although Italy has socialized healthcare, this policy does not extend to foreigners. We use and trust World Nomads and their rates are competitive with other carriers.
Download the Google Translate app
Don’t arrive in Italy and be shocked if nearly no one speaks English. I’d highly recommend learning a few key Italian words and phrases before your trip. However, I’ve found the Google Translate app highly useful when having one-on-one conversations with those who speak foreign languages. You can even speak directly to the app and translate it in real time, making communicating so much easier! While I’d normally suggest bringing a phrasebook, this is much faster and will save you the carry-on space.
Consider where you’ll be traveling
When packing, it’s important to consider exactly where in Italy you’ll be headed to. The climate in northern Italy (say, Milan or Lake Como) is drastically different than hotspots in Southern Italy.
Let Google maps guide you around! The streets in Italy are notoriously chaotic, and often aren’t labelled or are hard to recognize. Rather than staring down at a paper map (dead “tourist” giveaway) or your screen trying to navigate yourself, plug in some cordless headphones and let the voice guide you to your destination!