6 Important Things To Consider When Planning Travel To Europe This Year

Are you planning a trip to Europe this year? Or maybe thinking about traveling to Europe (or anywhere)?

2022 looks like it’s going to be a huge year for international travel, and I awill be traveling a lot myself. There have been many uncertainties regarding international travel during the coronavirus pandemic, and plenty of intrepid travelers have lost money or run into problems with their international travel plans, so today I want to go over six things you need to prepare yourself for international travel in 2022.

1. What Is The Cancellation Policy?

There are a couple of things you need to do before you commit to putting down any deposits or buying any tickets. The first is to find out what this hotel/vacation rental/airline/event location’s cancellation policy is. Don’t commit to anything that doesn’t offer a full refund if there is a covid related cancellation.

Do Not accept a credit or a voucher. Only take a full refund. So many people were issued worthless vouchers or credits for travel that was cancelled in 2020, and are now finding that those credits or vouchers are worthless or have expired.

2. Choose Your Credit Card Wisely

image via SmarterTravel.com

The second thing to do before putting down any deposits or booking any flights is to find out what your credit card’s cancellation and refund policy is. If the tickets you booked for an event or the deposit you put down on an apartment were purchased with a credit card you might be able to have that card reverse the charges, especially if it is a travel card. There are several great credit cards for travel that don’t charge international transaction fees and that are more likely to help you get charges reversed. You can check out a list of the best credit cards for international travel, and their specific perks and fees here

Be careful using the credit card from the airline you are flying without checking the refund policy first. Their first loyalty will be to the airline, not to you. Weigh out the pros vs the cons on this one. The benefits of buying your flights with this card such as priority boarding, free checked bags and the miles you earn, may outweigh the risk of not getting a financial refund if the trip gets cancelled. (Also this may be offset by travel insurance)

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3. Pack A Mini Medical Kit

I learned this one the hard way, albeit thankfully not with covid.

Pack over the counter medical supplies to take should you contract covid while you are away. Yes, everywhere has pharmacies, but you may not be able to access them when you need. There may not be 24 hour pharmacies close to where you are staying (or in that city at all) and even when you do find open pharmacies you won’t necessarily find the medicines that work for you at home.

For example, I know that if I come down with a cold/flu/upper respiratory infection or any of those types of ailments at home I can treat them with DayQuil, NyQuil, Mucinex, Advil Cold and Sinus or any of a multitude of over the counter medicines available everywhere here in the U.S.

Travel Medical Kit, see here on Amazon

I have never seen any of those medications in Italy, France and Spain (the main places I travel to in Europe.) That doesn’t mean they don’t exist there or that there isn’t a local equivalent, but it pays to have what works for you with you. It can be really tricky trying to explain to a pharmacist in a foreign language what it is you are looking for, and more tricky trying to read the back of the box in a foreign language when you are sick.

I travel with the following items, linked here on Amazon: liquid capsules of DayQuil and NyQuil, Mucinex in capsule/tablet form, Motrin or Advil, normally in liquigel form, along with Zinc and also Liposomal Vitamin C. I take Zinc and Lipsomal Vitamin C every day when I’m traveling anyway, regardless of whether I’m feeling sick or healthy. And of course, the one time I did get sick while traveling was the one time I didn’t bother bringing any of my normal supplies with me. I was so annoyed with myself and have never made that mistake since! (I also have never fallen sick while traveling since.)

Your best bet is to consider what you would take if you were sick at home, and take those items with you, albeit in capsule form, not bottles. You can almost guarantee that if you bring a ziplock bag with your medical supplies you will never need them, and end up annoyed that you dragged them around with you, which in all honesty is the ideal outcome!

Last year I also brought a travel thermometer (that is still in its original packaging – I never needed to open it) and one of my travelers packed a little oxygen meter/pulse oximeter, that also never was unpackaged. It might feel like overkill now, but should you get sick while you’re away, or heaven forbid get covid, you’ll be glad to have both, even if just to show yourself you’re doing ok.

All of these items can pack down into a ziplock bag, and take up no space in your suitcase.

RELATED POST: WHAT TO PACK FOR ITALY, ESSENTIAL ITEMS FOR A PERFECT TRAVEL WARDROBE

4. KN95 Masks

On the Italo train to Salerno, October 2021

Masks are probably going to be a thing for a while yet. Where I live in the U.S no one wears a mask, but in Italy while I was there in 2021 they were required indoors, everywhere. Be it on a train, in a shop, in a museum – anytime you went indoors you were required to wear a mask.

International flights required masks to be worn at all times too, and many airlines only accepted surgical masks and N95/KN95 masks. When I was in Italy in June of 2021 masks were required at all times both indoors and outdoors.

Venice, June 2021

I advise my Glam Italia Tour travelers not to plan on wearing fabric masks in case they are not accepted. Also with the (current) Omicron variant doctors are saying fabric masks don’t provide sufficient protection. As surges spike masks go out of stock or have long wait times for delivery, so I order mine well ahead of time. While traveling in 2021 for three months total, I wore these masks and these masks. What I found most helpful with the KN95s was the nose clip stopped my glasses from fogging up, and the extra pouch in front of the mouth and nose stopped me from breathing the mask in, which tend to be the two things that drive me crazy with masks.

5. Buy Travel Insurance With Covid Cover

This is the most important thing on the list.

You should be buying travel insurance for all international trips anyway, to cover you for lost baggage, interrupted flights and most importantly major medical. Should you have something massive go wrong, such as a heart attack, stroke, aneurysm, break your leg, get in a bad car crash – any of the multitude of things that could potentially go wrong, you need a good comprehensive medical insurance cover. In regular times the big thing to look for with the medical portion of travel insurance is how much cover they provide to repatriate you if you are unable to fly home alone. For example if you had a bad stroke and were incapable of navigating an international airport alone, the insurance would provide a nurse to travel home with you.

Don’t buy the insurance the airline offers – that protects the airline first, not you.

Not all travel insurance policies have covid cover. Here is Forbes Magazine’s Top 10 Travel Insurance Policies With Covid Cover.

The things to look for with covid cover are as follows:

  • Does it cover you if the country closes to international travel?
  • Does it cover you if you test positive and are unable to fly?
  • Does it cover you for hospital treatment should you contract covid while overseas?
  • Does it provide quarantine coverage should you test positive while away and not be allowed to fly home?

At this time you are required to provide proof of a negative test before being allowed to board a flight to the U.S, as well as most other home countries. Should you test positive you will be required to stay in the country you have traveled to until you test negative. This can mean at best days, at worst weeks, of paying for accommodation or guarded quarantine (depending on which country you are in) until you test negative. This can run into thousands of dollars. You will also need food and drink during this time, and chances are you may not have budgeted for it.

RELATED POST: 15 Fabulous Books Set In Italy

6. What Is Your Vaccination Status?

Most countries will no longer allow entry to unvaccinated travelers. Before traveling make sure you know what your destination country considers fully vaccinated.

  • Do they mean 2 shots of an approved vaccine? (Different countries acknowledge different vaccines)
  • Do they require you to have had a booster shot?
  • Is there a time frame for when you have to have your most recent shot? One of my tour guides in Rome had a group turned away from the Vatican because although fully vaccinated (2 shots) their 2nd shot was more than 9 months prior. They were able to get a rapid test at a nearby pharmacy and come back an hour later, but it would have been good to know ahead of time.

In all likelihood covid will be around for a while. At the time of writing this Omicron is the variant du jour, but you can guarantee there will be more variants coming down the line. No doubt some will be mild and others will be bad. As such each country’s regulations and requirements regarding covid, testing, and vaccinations will keep changing and evolving. Personally I think this will just be part of travel from here on out. I wouldn’t cancel travel plans, or stop traveling until you think there might be a time of no masks or no covid. Instead, be prepared, get good insurance, and explore small group travel options instead of mass tourism travel.

New Untold Italy Podcast Episode!

I was super excited to be the guest for the December 31st episode of the Untold Italy Podcast. (Episode #104)

In this episode I talk about how I craft experiences for my travelers on my Glam Italia Tours and also for myself when I am traveling. By making a few tiny adjustments you can turn a good experience into a once in a lifetime, absolutely amazing experience, and in this episode I tell you exactly how I do it. It’s fabulous! I hope you will give it a listen!

Holiday Season Sales You Need To Know About At Colleen Rothschild Beauty

As a non stop traveler one of my favorite things to do when the Christmas season gets cranking is to pick up travel sized gift sets of my favorite products.

The post contains affiliate links

If you’ve been following this blog for a while then you will already know that I am an avid fan of Colleen Rothschild beauty products. I have been using Colleen Rothschild Beauty for a few years now, and although I keep full sizes of the products at home I also get the travel sized products to take on my Glam Italia Tours with me.

Right now Colleen Rothschild has some fantastic discounts happening for the run up to Christmas, both on full sized products and on gift sets. If there is something you want that isn’t already discounted you can use the code CORINNA20 at checkout and get 20% off. This code works year round, not just in the holiday season.

WHICH GIFT SETS SHOULD YOU TRY?

For travel or if you just wanted to try the products without committing to full sizes, I like the Discovery Kit. This gives travel sizes in the following products:

  • Radiant Cleansing Balm, 30 ml (1 fl oz)
  • Dual Enzyme Polish, 15 ml (0.5 fl oz)
  • Clarifying Detox Mask, 15 ml (0.5 fl oz)
  • Sheer Renewal Cream, 30 ml (1 fl oz)
  • Extreme Recovery Cream, 15 ml (0.5 fl oz)
  • Face Oil N°9, 4 ml (0.14 fl oz)
  • Muslin Cleansing Cloth
  • And a newly redesigned exclusive CR Travel Bag

The Discovery Kit has a $150 value but at the moment is on sale for $69. If you don’t see this post until after the sale has ended you can use my CORINNA20 code to get 20% off.

This summer I traveled Italy for just under 3 months, using the Quench and Shine Travel Essentials hair set, and it was fantastic. (Obviously across 3 months I went through more than one set)

The Quench and Shine Travel Essentials Hair Set

At home I am never without my two hair hero products from Colleen Rothschild, the Quench and Shine Restorative Mask, which I use on my hair almost every time I shampoo it an the Quench and Shine Hair Serum. These two products make my thick, coarse, dry hair completly managable and really glossy and shiny. I also really love the smell of them – the fragrance is gorgeous.

Everything you need for gorgeous hair while you’re away. (And at home!)

This set is completed with the Quench and Shine Restorative Shampoo and the Protect and Perfect Styling Cream. These 4 products are everything you need for fabulous, bouncy hair, both at home and when you travel.

This set is normally $54 but at the moment it is on sale for $39. If you are reading this after the sale has ended you can still use CORINNA20 to get a discount.

WHICH OTHER PRODUCTS SHOULD YOU LOOK AT?

I have loved all the Collen Rothschild products I have tried. My skin tends to get really dry while I’m at home in Phoenix, but then turns to normal when I’m in Italy where the air is much more humid.

Wherever I am in the world I swaer by the Radiant Cleansing Balm, to the point I always have a spare in my bathroom closet.

Radiant Cleansing Balm – the best cleanser ever.

This cleanser not only dissolves makeup, including the most stubborn waterproof mascaras and eyeliners, but it also gives your skin a beautiful deep cleanse. Most cleansers leave your skin feeling parched and pulled tight, but this one leaves your skin all glowy and supple. It’s an absolute game changer.

The regular pricing for Radiant Cleansing Balm is $65. It lasts a really long time. At the moment it is on sale for $49

I always use Face Oil Number 9 and I swear by the Hydrating Mask. At home where the air is so dry I mostly use the Extreme Recovery Cream (which isn’t that extreme – it’s just a really great moisturizer for dryer complections) and all summer long in Italy I use the Sheer Renewal Cream mositurizer. It is perfect both for normal climates and for when it’s really humid out. This moisturizer is a game changer. Although the other three are not discountd (unless you use my CORINNA20 code) the Hydrating Mask has a massive discount right now, so I’m buying up a couple of them.

Colleen Rothschild black Tourmaline Primer

Another of my favorite products is the Black Tourmaline Face Primer. This one is also not discounted but you can use my code for 20% off. I use the Black Tourmaline primer both when I do my own makeup, and also I have one in my pro makeup artist kit. Don’t be put off by the black color – once on your skin it evens skin tone, diminishes fine lines and wrinkles and also protect the skin from environmental pollutants.

In the makeup room with the Black Tourmaline Primer

For more great gift ideas for travelers check out these 21 Books To Inspire Your Wanderlust and the fabulous travel clothing and travel gadgets on my Amazon page: Amazon.com/shop/CorinnaTravels

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What To Pack For Italy – Essential Items For A Perfect Travel Wardrobe

I just got back from 2 months of traveling in Italy leading my Glam Italia Tours.

It was so fabulous and we had so much fun. You can see some of the places we went and the fun things we did on my Instagram page @CorinnaTravels. Along with the images on the grid I also stored some of the Instagram stories I made while in Italy in the highlight section.

While I was away I had so many messages from readers asking about my luggage and my travel wardrobe, and although I tried I just couldn’t get back to everyone. With that in mind today’s post answers (hopefully) all those questions.

A post like this feels too sales-y for my newsletter, where I try to just talk about special secret places I find in Italy. If you are a member of my newsletter I will be linking this post in an upcoming issue. If you don’t belong to it yet, you can join the newsletter here.

The post contains affiliate links.

LUGGAGE

The first element of a successful travel wardrobe is having the right luggage. I don’t want my clothes and belongings getting all scrunched up and needing extra maintenance (ironing). I also don’t want to break my back lugging a suitcase or duffel up and down stairs, on and off trains and through busy airports. If you heard the episode of the Untold Italy podcast where I talked about travel packing (you can listen to it here) you I talked about the time my soft-sided luggage sat out in the rain on the airport tarmac and arrived to New York soaked through. With that lesson under my belt I always travel with a hard-sided suitcase. For the past 6 years or so I have used the Medium Suitcase from Away Luggage.

The Away Luggage Medium Suitcase and Everywhere Bag

I have it in the sand color. The medium allows me to pack for 2 weeks or 2 months if needed, but I also use it for short work trips. This suitcase has been everywhere with me, up and down the U.S, to Australasia, and many many trips to Italy as well as Paris and Barcelona trips. It has already traveled more than most people do in a lifetime and is still in excellent condition. I should probably scrub the exterior as that is one of their features – you can clean it and keep it like new. But I never bother!

The Away Everywhere Bag

The other piece I have traveled with this year is the Away Everywhere Bag. I got this before I went to Italy in June and nearly sent it back, thinking it would be too small. I am so glad I didn’t because this bag is an absolute MVP! It is the perfect cabin bag when you fly, doubles up as an excellent day bag when needed, and frankly has been indispensable these past 2 months of tour guiding. It comes in both leather and in water resistant nylon, which is what I bought. I kind of wish I had bought the leather one, because this bag is so killer, but the nylon has still been genius. One of the reasons I nearly sent it back was the handles initially seemed a bit flimsy, but again I am so glad I kept it! This bag is an absolute workhorse and is incredibly strong and durable while still looking quite chic.

Sunglasses

I had so many people ask about the sunglasses I wore all over Italy this past two months. Sunglasses are such an important part of a travel wardrobe. Not only to protect your eyes from the sun, but also as a great fashion accessory that can make a simple outfit look very chic. I like oversized sunnies because they can hide a multitude of sins while making a great statement!

At lunch in Arezzo. These were my go-to sunglasses and earrings for the entire 2 months I was in Italy.

Normally I splurge and buy designer glasses each year for my Italy trips but this year I got this pair on Amazon for $14.95 Funnily enough I got more comments and questions about these cheapie shades than any designer pair I have ever worn. I absolutely loved them and am ordering another pair as a backup in case they aren’t selling them next year.

EARRINGS

In Civita di Bagnoreggio. I wore the same sunnies and earrings every day.

I don’t normally wear earrings as I am allergic to everything. I got these Pavoi earrings on Amazon after a blogger talked about being allergic to earrings and these ones working for her. They are the only earrings I can wear, so I got the hoops in two sizes. I travel with the small ones, and wore them every day. They were super inexpensive at $12.95, and despite being worn everyday for more than a year are still like new! You would think at that pricepoint they would be tarnished, but they’re not even slightly discolored.

MY TRAVEL CAPSULE WARDROBE

I try to work from a core basics travel wardrobe and then add fun pieces to brighten it up. Some pieces are around year after year, while others are just a one season lucky find. I base my travel clothes around having a couple of great pants, a couple of really functional skirts and some good, versatile dresses.

I also throw in a cropped denim jacket, a merino sweater and a scarf.

I wear a lot of white tops, most of them from the Chico’s travelers collection. White always feels fresh and clean and it goes with almost everything. Chico’s traveler fabrics are tremendous. They wash easily, hang out to dry and don’t need ironing. I have worn them while traveling for about 10 years and just swear by them. I also pick up t-shirts and long sleeve t’s from Nordstrom. Theirs tend to be decent quality and hold their shape nicely, which is important if you want to wear them multiple times while you’re away.

SKIRTS

Bias cut skirt from Amazon The Drop, in Piazza Grande, Arezzo

I found this skirt on Amazon The Drop. It is part of their permanent collection and comes in tons of colors. It is cut on the bias, which is lovely on slim girls but is also fabulous for curvy girls like me. I bought it in the lime green and in red, and am ordering it in the leopard print and black for winter.

One of my challenges on this trip was that I was arriving at the end of August and was going to have at least a month of very hot weather, followed by cooler through cool weather and then potentially cold weather. So with limited suitcase space I had to plan items that would work with all temperatures. These skirts were great with blouses and t-shirts in the hot weather, but when it turned colder I wore the red one with a black merino sweater and also with a tan sweater I picked up in Italy. The skirt was great both with summer sandals and also with sneakers when it got colder.

I love that the bias cut swishes a bit when you walk, and has enough fabric to let you walk all day up and down the hill towns of Tuscany, or stride through the streets of Rome without feeling confined.

PANTS

Eddie Bauer Ankle Departure Pants in Bassano del Grappa on a steaming hot day in June. I used my Everywhere Bag as a day bag and camera bag on this trip.

This year I traveled in (and wore to death) Eddie Bauer Ankle Departure Pants. I got them in olive (they call it Dark Thyme) and in black, and they were the most versatile pants I’ve ever had. Firstly the cut again is great on slim girls but is also very flattering on bigger girls like me. I flew in the black ones and then throughout the trip wore both the black and the olive. During the hot months they were awesome with blouses and t’s. I wore them with sandals and with sneakers and they always looked chic. When it got cold I wore them with sweaters that I bought in Italy (at OVS, the Italian version of Target).

Eddie Bauer Ankle Departure Pants at a wine tasting in Umbria

These lightweight pants can be washed in the bathroom sink (I had a washing machine everywhere I stayed) and hung out to dry overnight. They are the perfect travel pant. During the last 3 weeks I was in Italy there was a cold snap and I ended up rotating through my 2 pairs of departure pants and one pair of white jeans every single day. Having pants that dried overnight was a lifesaver! I found the best price on the Eddie Bauer Departure Pants here on Amazon.

SWEATER

You seriously cannot beat merino when you travel. It temperature regulates so works in temps as cold as freezing but also up to 75 degrees (23 celcius). It is as thin as a t-shirt fabric, so your suitcase isn’t filled up with bulk. Merino wicks away moisture from your skin and also has an anti-smell property, so you can wear it several times before needing to wash it. This sweater got worn to death on the second half of this trip. Merino is also the perfect fabric to wear when you fly. It’s hard to believe something so lightweight and thin can be so incredibly warm!

Icebreaker merino base layer in black in St Peter’s Square, Rome

I buy merino base layers from Icebreaker on Amazon. A simple merino crew neck, lightweight sweater is an essential travel piece in all but hot weather.

DRESSES

I wear dresses more than anything when I travel. They always look chic, they’re cool and breezy in hot weather, you can wear them with a sweater and sneakers when it gets cooler, and they do a great transition from a day sightseeing to an evening out.

Black dress in Orvieto

This year I traveled with really inexpensive dresses. Some of them were dresses I’ve had and traveled in for years – if you’ve followed my travels you’ll already have seen them on heavy rotation. But I did pick up a couple of new dresses from Amazon’s Essentials Collection this year that should be available for a while.

In Venice with my local guide Emanuele. This black dress got worn every week while I was away.

This black dress comes in multiple colors but I loved it in black. The simple square neckline is always pretty and flattering. The wider shoulder straps allow for bra straps to remain hidden, the cinched waist and tier at the bottom help give a more hourglass shape. It was so inexpensive that I was sure it would fall to pieces and be left behind when I came home, but it is still is fantastic shape, even after having been worn so much. It runs a bit large, so order a size smaller than you normally wear. I got it here on Amazon.

It is also great with a denim jacket, and when we got into cooler weather I wore it with a sweater.

Striped knit dress in Venice

The same goes for this dress I purchased on Amazon. I’ve never met a stripe I didn’t like! This one is in a t-shirt type knit fabric that is perfect for travel. It was easy to launder, which is a major deal when you are planning on wearing the same pieces over and over on an extended trip. The Amazon Essentials Women’s Tank Maxi dress is ankle length and very flattering. It was fabulous during the hot months and I wore it with a denim jacket or a sweater when it started cooling off. Once the really cold weather hit I packed it away, but realistically it is a good 3 season dress if you have some layers. It comes in a variety of colors too. The stripe is temporarily out of stock but the solid shades are still available.

Pink Floral dress at the Montemorli winery in Tuscany

This pink floral dress was a major win. I ordered it from an Old Navy ad on Instagram, of all places. The first one I bought in my normal size but it was way too big, so I got a second one a size smaller and saved it for traveling. As you can tell from my social media it really did get worn to death this summer. The elastic in the back is starting to stretch out, so I need to find some way of repairing it, because I loved this dress so much and it was a one time thing which won’t be back next year.

SHOES

I travel with one pair of really good sandals that are comfortable, support the foot and ankle and that I can walk ten miles per day in if needed. For years I have worn the Mirabella by Sofft. I keep track of my steps via the iPhone app, and know I can get 315 miles out of a pair of Mirabellas! I buy a new pair every other year.

I also travel with a good pair of white sneakers. They have to breathe, be super supportive, and look decent.  After knee surgery last year (meniscus, nothing exciting) the physical therapist got me to buy these Under Armour Charged Assert 9 sneakers.They might just be the best sneaker I have ever had. They got worn half to death and when I got home I just threw them in the washing machine, and they look as good as new!

MASKS

On one of the many trains I took in Italy

This year and quite possibly for a while in the near future, masks were essential for travel. Italy never dropped their indoor mask mandate, (although they may do before long) so you had to have masks with you everywhere you went. On the international flights you were required to wear a surgical mask the entire time, so having quality masks was essential. I like to wear the KN95 surgical masks because they have that extra ouch in front of your mouth and nose which stops you from sucking your mask against your face. They also fit the face the best and don’t have open spaces for germs to get in. I figure if I have to wear a mask it might as well be on that is the most comfortable and that lets me breathe as easily as possible. I took these masks because the box gives an assortment of colors, and these masks in black and in white.

At the cathedral in Ortigia, Sicily

As you literally cannot go inside anywhere without a mask, I had a couple of spares in my handbag all the time. These masks were individually plastic wrapped which was really handy. KN95 masks seem to go through spells of being sold out, so I bought mine well in advance.

I hope this helps you planning your travel capsule wardrobe for Italy (or anywhere in Europe). A good rule of thumb is to have 4 bottoms, in my case 2 skirts and 2 pairs of pants, then 6 or so tops that go with all of them. This way you can mix and match and keep making new outfits. Italy gets really hot in the summer, so I like the convenience of wearing sundresses too. I also take one denim jacket, one merino sweater, a scarf, a pair of sandals and a pair of sneakers. This rounds out my travel capsule wardrobe, giving me lots of options and getting me through every circumstance from rainy days to dinner parties!

Have you read my best selling Italy travel books? Glam Italia! How To Tavel Italy: Secrets To Glamorous Travel (On A Not So Glamorous Budget), Glam Italia! 101 Fabulous Things To Do In Rome, and Glam Italia! 101 Fabulous Things To Do In Florence are all available worldwide on Amazon