So.....Italy was better than I ever dreamed it could be!!
I learned a lot about what works for me as a traveler and what doesn't! I have discovered that I do not like one-bag travel....and you know what? That's okay!! It's not like I failed a test!!
My beloved Aeronaut is going to a new home to be loved and to continue with new travels and adventures. A WF will be joining me on my travel adventures going forth, as well as a 25" or 29" rolling bag to be checked. After three hours of trying to get through the airport lines in Milan for the return trip home, the Aeronaut was just too much for my back.
My Ristretto for iPad was perfect as a personal item on board, however. It was just exactly the right size to hold my iPads (regular and mini), iPhone, Bluetooth headphones, RFID blocking pouch with passport, 2 mini OPS (one with euros, the other with 2nd ID and credit cards), side effect, 3D organizer cube with cables, plugs, adaptors, Side Effect with my sunglasses inside, medicines in small OP, and a small yarn stuff sack with my current sock knitting project.
The superstar of the trip, however!?!? My Side Effect. I never left the hotel room without it! Once we were in our room(s) I transferred the mini OPs (with money and credit cards) into the Side Effect, kept my glasses case (to keep either prescription sunglasses or regular prescription glasses in), copy of passport, flushable wipes, iPhone, a drink "koozie" (to keep drinks cold since they don't serve over ice in Italy), and a small, lightweight umbrella (used for shade as well as rain). I wore the SE cross body for security. The weather was in the 90s, so no need for jacket or sweater. If I had needed to carry one, I would probably have used my Ristretto as my EDC instead.
Whenever and wherever I travel, I keep a small journal to note what items I brought that worked, what items didn't work out, and what I wished I had brought. So....if anyone is going to Italy in the summer, here are just a few of my notes:
1. Bring a visor, not a hat. Too warm on the head wearing a hat, even if for sun protection.
2. Patagonia travel dresses are super for breathability and they DO NOT WRINKLE. Little black dress can take you from day tours to evening formal meal.
3. Diuretic if you have a lot of difficulties with edema. Boy did I ever get edema. After three days without relief, I found a Farmacia. They didn't speak English, but I was able to communicate Edema. After one Diuretics, I was in the restroom 4 times in one hour!
4. Speaking of restrooms, bring travel packets of flushable wipes. Can be used for toilet paper as well as cleaning hands.
5. Again, while we are on the subject of restrooms, a candle and matches would have been great to have along. Not to get into too much icky detail, but NONE of the hotel bathrooms ever had fans.
6. A couple first aid ice compresses (the ones wear you crack and shake and then they get cold). The first time I asked for ice, I got 3 cubes in a paper napkin. When I was finally able to communicate that I needed ice for an injury, they brought about 1-1/2 cups of ice....this time in an unfolded paper napkin.
7. I should also have brought a couple of the small travel Shout stain remover packets.
8. The small travel sized bottle of Downey Wrinkle Releaser was invaluable in freshening up and un-wrinkling the few creases that our clothing did manage to get.
9. Small battery night light to help you find your way to the restroom in the middle of the night in an unfamiliar room so you don't have to turn on the bedside lamp or use a flashlight that may wake your spouse or partner.
10. Argan oil is the absolute BEST to manage dry hair. A little goes a long way. BUT, it cannot be stored in a GoToob! I rinsed out an empty bottle from my eye drops. The size was perfect and it really controlled how much to use (because a VERY little really does go a long way!)
11. Light shoulder shawl, for going into churches.
12. A CAT5 or CAT6 network cable! Wifi was spotty at best. Some hotels only offer it in the main lobby. Some only allow one hour of free wifi. But all had the cable outlets...you just needed the cable to get "wired in."
13. Take 1 tour every OTHER day. Hubby and I tried to squeeze in 2-3 tours every day. We got to see a lot, but it was so much pressure to be at a certain place at a certain time. We actually enjoyed ourselves the most when we skipped the tours to Murano and Burano and just spent the day exploring Venice on our own. We spent hours people watching at Saint Marks square in Venice. It was one of the best days of our trip!
13. Compression socks - yeah, they're pretty fugly, but so were my rhino feet when we landed after 15 hours of traveling!
14. A "koozie" to keep you drinks cold! Beverages are served chilled, but no ice! If you want to take your time sipping a cool drink, you'll need a "koozie" to keep it cool. I did get one drink with some ice, but only 2 ice cubes!
15. I almost forgot about the other SUPERSTAR TB item! The travel trays! Never leave home without them!!!
If anyone else has tips for Italy or Europe travel, please add to my list!!!
See my happy Side Effect at Saint Marks!?!?
And my poor rhinoceros feet three days AFTER landing in Rome!