Passport- you must have a current one with at least 6 months remaining on your passport from the date of your trip to Italy before it expires. Take a picture of it and keep it in your phone then while traveling in Italy, keep your passport in the hotel or farmhouse safe. DO NOT pack it in your suitcase this sounds obvious but has been done, same with your airline tickets.
U.S. drivers license- if you are renting a car you will need it make sure your license is valid. As well you will need to get an international drivers license which it is really just a translation of your U.S. one, they can be purchased at most AAA offices. https://www.aaa.com/vacation/idpf.html
Airline Tickets-if you have paper tickets take a picture of them on your phone “just in case you misplace them”. If you would like information on how to save money on airline tickets click here.
Ear/Headphones- Some airlines still give them out for free but many these days are charging for them. Same with entertainments systems on the airplanes, the older planes may have screens in the back of the seat in front of you. The newer planes are requiring you use your own personal devices. Make sure you check your specific flight to see what plane and wether you need your own device. Amazon has many new devices to choose from.
Watch- you are going on vacation right? So leave the watch at home, Italian’s don’t worry about anything including being on time. Don’t expect anything or anyone in the country to operate at the American fast pace or you will not enjoy your stay here. The only exception the TRAINS they are always on time and you better get off quick.
Snacks- going away are the days of free snack/meal and drinks on airlines, now there are snack/meal menus with limited choices and expensive prices. Be sure and check the TSA regulations for what you can and can not bring in your carry on luggage. https://www.tsa.gov/travel/security-screening/whatcanibring Here are some suggestions that we travel with.
Hat or Visor with a brim, ball cap will not keep you from burning and typically no one wears them here. You can wait and buy one soon as you get here there are many street vendors selling them.
Sunglasses- if you forget them there are plenty of vendors in the big cities, if you want them ahead of time click here.
Bikini- no matter what your age or size, if you are going to the beach, bring your bikini seriously, if you bring an old lady bathing suit you will be sure to draw attention to yourself. Speedo’s for men only if you dare, Rick is the only one on the beach in long board shorts.
Scarf- which makes a perfect souvenir if you wait and buy one here. Italian’s would never go out in public without some sort of scarf even on the hottest day. I have seen ladies in their bikini’s on the beach with a scarf around their neck. HaHa! Ladies you can use a scarf big enough to put around your shoulders when entering churches. While traveling in Italy make sure and respect their custom's especially in historic and religious sites. We don't want to be a bad tourist.
Light jacket- windbreaker or sweater. Even if it’s warm during the day it and can dip down in the evenings and or if you are near the sea or a lake it might get chilly. Packing for Italy means you need to plan for rain, no matter what time of year you visit you could encounter some rain, hence why it is green all year round.
Walking shoes- Italian’s are just now starting to wear tennis shoes for casual wear more typical is they wear a loafer or deck shoe. For touring around the cities and villages in hot weather sandal’s are ok, remember they were pretty much invented in Europe and you can buy beautiful handmade sandals all over Italy. I must clarify we are talking sandal’s with a real soul not flip-flops, Italian sandal’s wrap around your ankle or leg. The cobblestone streets will not work with flip flops you will stub your toes or turn your ankle trying to wear flip flops save those for the beach. When pakcing for Italy you might want to bring another pair of shoes for dinner or of course, buy some here since Italy is the land of shoes and purses. Might want to bring a few bandaids just in case.
MEN- shirts with collars are a must in the cities and please leave your Hawaiian prints at home they are ok for the beach but not while touring around in the city. Tank tops are strictly for the beach not in town as your shoulders must be covered to enter museums and churches. Shorts during hot weather are ok but bring pants for dinner or you will probably be turned away from the restaurant.
WOMEN- again shoulders must be covered to enter churches so either use a large scarf or sweater or wear a shirt with sleeves. Technically our legs need to be covered too but I usually wear a sundress during hot weather and just my scarf around my shoulders and have not had a problem. Now that long boho dresses are in style, I put a sheer, long sleeve one over my shorts and tank tops and it works.
When packing for Italy or basically any other counry, don’t wear anything that screams “I am American” meaning big logo shirts or hats we don’t want to attract attention. The world is a hotbed of fear these days and in the big cities especially you want to try and blend in as much as possible.
Men and Women carry a small PURSE or bag no big backpacks in the cities it is just too crowded and pickpockets have perfected getting into backpacks. Carry in your purse or bag, TISSUE, especially the ladies as most bathrooms will not have toilet paper. Some will but you have to pay for it so carry a few euro coins around just in case. I carry a tiny bottle of Purell Gel in case I need to sit on the toilet so I can wipe it down. There are NO seat protectors and usually not seats and if there is it will be broken guaranteed. So you need to perfect the art of squatting without touching the seat. Good luck!
Small packet of handwipes as there may not be towels to dry your hands or the hand dryers may not work.
Sunscreen- PABA free which means no harmful chemicals, remember don’t pack it in your carry on. click here to purchase
Water Bottle- bring a BPA (chemical free) free water bottle. Italian’s are the experts at water distribution and all the cities and villages, even our little one has outdoor fountain’s that you can refill your bottle in. The exception would be Venice since it’s built on marshland be careful drinking the tap water there. click here to see the bottles we use.
Electrical converters- if you are bringing electrical appliances with you such as curling irons, blow dryers etc make sure and bring a travel converter specifically for Italy, not the UK that is England. Most hotels will supply a blow dryer and maybe and iron. You can purchase one here.
Camera- nowadays it’s so easy with our phones that most people are not bringing big camera’s but if you do keep it around your neck in front of you. Unfortunately your phone is even easier to steal so a case with a strap of some sort is a good idea and of course, NEVER leave it sitting on a table unattended. I know selfie sticks are all the rage but please don’t bring one and don’t buy one as there will be lot’s of vendors in the cities trying to sell you one. They are so annoying to everyone around you and get in the way of others pictures, there is always someone around that would be happy to take a picture for you.
Cell Phone- you can buy international phone plans at home before you leave or you can purchase a SIM card at the airport when you arrive. There are so many great APPS for the big cities to help you navigate around. Here are several useful ones for our little slice of Italy:http://www.turismo.marche.it/Marche-Turismo-App Just don’t spend all your time looking at your phone that you miss the beauty of the country. Even though your cell phone charger will work with 220 volts which is what we have here in Italy. But the plug will not fit electrical socket here so you will need an adapter that will fit in an Italian plug. We have large converters at the Farmhouses here for your use but you will need the adapter while you are traveling around.
Laptops & Tablets- only if you must bring them otherwise leave them at home your travel experience will be less difficult. Now at most airports you will be required to remove all tablets from your carryon as well as laptops, some even require it for cell phones. When you are traveling around make sure you use the hotel’s safes. We have safes at our farmhouse make sure you use it as well when you are out.
CASH- DO NOT EXCHANGE MONEY at the bank before you leave home and DO NOT bring USD cash expecting to use it. Italy and most of Europe’s currency is the EURO and the best and cheapest way to get it is at the ATM here. Just alert your bank that you will be traveling here and ask them what their conversion rate is and if they have an additional transaction fee, that is not the same as exchange rate. The exchange rate is what the EURO is worth versus the Dollar that day and it changes daily. Today it’s about 1 euro to $1.20. However the conversion rate is what your bank will charge you when you withdraw from the ATM our US bank charges us 1.1%. Most Italian ATM’s limit your daily withdrawal to 500 euro, some as little as 250 per day regardless of your US bank daily limit. You will need cash in euro’s here locally as most small villages don’t accept credit cards. Click here for information on VAT tax return.
Credit Cards- in the cities you will be able to use credit cards at most places so be sure and notify them that you will be traveling here. Also ask them what their conversion rate is meaning what percentage do they charge for your purchases. Capital One and Chase Bank do not charge any conversion fee. Allot of the Italian and European stores will charge you an additional 3-6% when you pay with credit card because the credit card company charges them and they pass the charge on to you.
Most of all bring your enthusiasm and spirit of adventure for your trip to Italy!