Every single time I told someone that we weren’t taking suitcases with us to Italy, they just looked at me and laughed. Or if they were too polite to laugh in my face, they’d sort of try and hide their shock with a little, “Oh wow, OK”. I ignored it though, because backpacking through Italy might have been the best decision that we could have made. Which is why I thought I’d share what we packed and how we did it.
When we originally decided that we were NOT going to be lugging around massive suitcases over the cobblestone roads of Rome we patted ourselves on the back for being so flipping clever. No lost luggage, no unnecessary waiting at the airport and no trying to squeeze it on all the train rides we had to take. I mean, look how happy and slightly smug we look in that picture?!
And actually when you think about it, how often do you end up packing in extra crap just because you have the space? I know I pack WAY more than this for one little weekend away to another town, let alone a brand new country for 9 whole days. The key is packing versatile clothing that matches with each other and finding a place in between that offers the opportunity to wash clothes. Check and check!
So here is what we packed in our backpacks for 9 days in Italy
I wanted to keep my look very casual. Which in hindsight was cool, but not how I sort of envisioned all of my photographs if you know what I mean. But looking great in pictures was second to making sure that I was comfortable when we were walking all over the place. Getting cold is also a serious concern of mine, because as soon as I get cold, I’m miserable and can’t enjoy a single thing hence the jerseys and jacket. Since all my clothing was rather on the neutral side, I spiced things up with a pair of pink sunnies that I got at Cotton On. Not pictured – a couple bra’s and about 6 days of underwear.
(I wore the thickest of the jeans, the Converse, a top and a jersey and carried my jacket – so they technically weren’t in the bag on the way there but were stuffed in there on the way back)
What I packed:
- 1 dress
- 4 tshirts
- 1 long sleeved top
- 2 skirts
- 1 shorts
- 2 jeans
- 4 pairs of secret socks
- 2 jerseys
- 1 jacket
- 1 pair of Converse
- 1 pair of sandals
- 1 pair sunglasses
I could easily have done without the sandals and replaced it with another dress.
Also, Converse were a bad idea. Even though I have had this pair for about 4 years and they have moulded to my feet, they are not what one would term “walking shoes” and so I’m sure they contributed to my buggered up knee. But you live and you learn and all that stuff.
Obviously I took all my make up, sunscreen, my meds and hair care goodies. But, as we were kid free for 10 days and not particularly wanting to add another one to the brood we brought something for that too. I didn’t end up taking the no jet lag stuff, because Italy was on the same time zone as South Africa so that wasn’t going to be a problem.
What I packed:
- Make Up
- Skin cream
- Shampoo and Conditioner
- Tripease (natural remedy that really helped me on our second flight there)
- Always Red Perfume that will now forever remind me of Roma – the city had a similar scent to it
In hindsight I would not have bothered with my meds because I was never at the AirBnB when I needed to take them. Also I bought a cheap razor when we got there because I didn’t want to walk around with fuzzy legs all the time.
Then there were the last few things, but really flipping essential things that we couldn’t have gone without:
What I packed:
- Passport (duh)
- Bank cards (and an extra that I hid deep in my backpack)
- Euro’s that we got from a friend
- Earphones – essential!!
- Charger for phone and camera
- DSLR camera
- Book for the plane/train
I toyed with leaving the DSLR behind and only using my phone but that would have been the biggest mistake ever! I ran out of space on my phone after a couple of days and that’s after totally clearing it before we left. We took loads of photo’s but also short little videos which I have absolutely adored looking back at now.
Then our friend Lisa made this little pack for us and it was lifesaving! It had all the little things you never knew needed.
What she packed:
- Wet wipes
- Sewing kit
- Hair tie
- After sun
- Quick dry hand wash stuff
Other than all of this, Seth had a little backpack that could fold up really small that we used for day to day wandering around. And then we also had the modern version of a moonbag but one that goes around your neck and shoulder. We used this thing every day, all day – best thing we bought besides the Selfie stick 🙂
We also knew that we were going to have to buy the kids and our family lots of presents to make up for our time away, so we borrowed a bag from my brother that folds up really small, but when opened is basically the size of a duffelbag. Perfect for all our gifts on the way home. We literally only unfolded it on the last day.
In the end our bags weighed around 6.5kg for me and 8kg for Seth before we left. Easy peasy.
And in fact taking the backpacks around was not a bad way to do it. We didn’t have to wait at the airport, we literally walked out and headed straight for adventure. The only time we cursed our packs was when we had to check out of our AirBnB at 10am but couldn’t check in the new one until 3pm. That my friends was rough. But if you have the extra Euro and a bit of foresight, you can put it in a bag storage that you can find around the city.
All in all it was good though – we’d totally do it again!