What To Pack For Italy – Must Have Items And Top Packing Tips

I just got back from Italy. I was on a two week long work trip, and was one of the lucky ones to fly in a week after the country opened to travelers after the covid tourism shut down. Italy was as incredible as ever, possibly even more so than usual because there were almost no tourists there.

Enjoying a very empty Venice

The day after I got home I was super lucky to be a guest on my favorite Untold Italy podcast, this time to talk about what to pack for your trip to Italy. It is a really comprehensive episode and we really get into the weeds and address all the questions Katy gets daily on the Italy Travel Planning Facebook page. I get DMs with these same questions on my Corinna Cooke Author facebook page and we also hear the same concerns in the Untold Italy Insiders private members group. So I think it’s fair to say most people have the same concerns when it comes to choosing what to bring to Italy and how to pack! The episode is fantastic and I am sure you will find it really helpful. You can listen to the episode here.

Rather than rehash everything I talk about on the podcast I wanted to give you some links to the game changing products I talk about. Some of these are affiliate links, others aren’t. All the products that are available on Amazon are also linked on my Amazon page: Amazon.com/Shop/CorinnaTravels. I update the Amazon shop page as I discover new travel items and also when things I like become available on Amazon. I don’t know about you but I prefer to be able to get everything in one place.


These are the Away Luggage bags I talk about in the episode. Apologies for the blurry photo!

In the episode I talk about the luggage I have been using for years now. I have the Away Medium suitcase, in Sand. My case is really beaten up now because it has been used so much. In my normal pre-pandemic life I was spending several months each year in Europe, bouncing home to New Zealand whenever I could get down there (nowhere near often enough) and flying back and forth across the U.S multiple times per year on makeup jobs. That poor suitcase has been really overworked, yet still other than the cosmetic scrapes I’ve not gotten around to cleaning, is in excellent condition. It has four 360 degree wheels (essential) and is ergonomically designed so that it puts the least amount of stress on your back. It is incredibly sturdy yet is also lightweight.

The Everywhere Bag from Away.

I also talk about the new carry-on bag I bought from Away prior to ths last trip. In the episode I couldn’t remember its name, but it is called The Everywhere Bag. When it first arrived I wasn’t particularly impressed and thought about returning it, but I am so glad I didn’t! This bag is an MVP. It’s small but you can fit so much into it! My carry-on always has 3 changes of clothes (in case my suitcase doesn’t arrive when I do) as well as all my electronics, my camera, phone chargers, adaptors and all the other nonsense I like to have with me on the plane.

Jam packed but still not heavy. It also fits under the seat in front if needed.

I bought the nylon version of the Everywhere bag in the matching sand color to my regular suitcase. I had signed up for Away’s emails so was notified when they had a sale. This bag is normally $165 but I bought it on sale for $115. It has lots of convenient internal and external pockets, has a sleeve that slips over your suitcase handle and also has a hidden compartment underneath where you an stash a travel umbrella.

Using the Everywhere Bag as a camera bag in Bassano del Grappa. I’m wearing the Eddie Bauer Departure Pants and these Adidas sneakers. Both were indispensible travel companions.

I ended up also using this as a camera bag when we went on day trips too, because it’s really strong and sturdy but also very lightweight, much lighter than my normal tote bag.

There is another bag I forgot to mention on the podcast and that is the Paravel Fold Up Duffel. This bag zips into itself and packs down to the size on an iPad. It is great to throw in your suitcase in case you need an extra bag to bring your shopping home. I have it in navy, which I couldn’t photograph well, so am using this Google image. Had it been available in red when I bought mine, I would have chosen that! But that second image with the bag? That’s how small it zips down to! You could either bring it onboard as a carry on, or if you were going to check it as a second bag, I would only put clothing in it, as it is nylon, so breakables will break. This makes a fantastic Christmas present for any travelers. in your life!

How cool is this?? I just wish I had the red one.


In the episode Katy told me about travel laundry detergent sheets. I can’t believe I didn’t already know about these?? Anyway I got right on Amazon and ordered these Travelon Laundry Detergent sheets. I chose Travelon from all the brands available because I’ve bought tons of Travelon travel gadgets over the years and have always been happy with them. Also these come in a small package, ideal for travel.

I also talked about bringing a travel sized wrinkle release product. I normally use Downy, mostly because I like the smell, but there are lots of really good brands. These are a life saver, especially if there isn’t an iron where you’re staying. I just spritz the clothing item, shake it out and let it hang, ideally overnight if there is time. Over the years I’ve done plenty of high speed de-wrinkling though too.


For most of us this is the hardest thing to figure out. My three most important tips here are to choose travel friendly fabrics, pack separates to mix and match and plan on wearing each item at least twice. I try to wear each at least 3 times, but I tend to be away longer than most people. My next trip has me away for 2 full months, so everything needs to be really well thought out and will get worn over and over.

Icebreaker Merino wool base layer. Perfect for year round travel.

I talk about merino wool in the podcast. If you are like me wool itches against your skin. Merino doesn’t – it is the absolute magic travel fabric! It is as lightweight as a longsleeve t-shirt and might even take up less space in your suitcase because of the way it packs. I get the 175 weight, which temperature regulates from about -20 degrees F to +75 degrees F. It is perfect for flying as it keeps you warm but doesn’t overheat. It is also great to have in your suitcase if the weather suddenly turns cold. You don’t have to have a heavy chunky sweater to stay warm. Merino also wicks away moisture if you perspire and it has an anti-stinky property that stops it getting smelly if you wear it several days running. In the winter I travel with a merino dress, a merino tshirt and a merino cami. It really does become indispensible. You can see more merino products here.

Another great find is the Eddie Bauer Departure pants. I have them in black and in olive. They’re made from a man made travel fabric that is lightweight, doesn’t crease, and packs dpwn tp nothing. In a pinch you can wash them in the bathroom sink, hany them out and thy’ll be dry and wrinkle free in the morning. These are great staples for any traveler’s wardrobe. Athleta makes a line of pants from a similar fabric too.

I also talk about compression socks and hose. These stop fluids from pooling in your feet and ankles when you fly and have been shown to be instrumental in preventing DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis). They apply graduating pressure from your feet working upward, which keeps blood and fluids moving. You can read more about Deep Vein Thrombosis and flying here.


On the podcast I talk about having a good, lower back supporting sneaker that can still look chic. This past trip I worse this sneaker by Adidas. Not only was it a super comfortable shoe but it also held its shape and looked good with skirts, dresses and pants. I like this two toned shoe by Reebok as well, especially with the olive departure pant. I also talk about sandal I’ve been wering for a few years now called the Mirabella by Sofft. I keep track of the number of steps I do each day and have calculated that I walk 315 miles in each pair of Mirabellas before I replace them! They have great support and the leather is super soft so doesn’t really require breaking in. I swear by them.

Beach Towel

You can’t guarantee your hotel or vacation rental will have beach towels for you, and who wants to travel with something as bulky and heavy as a towel? I normally pack one of these Turkish beach towels when I travel. They’re lightweight and dry you quickly. You can double them up as a scarf or a sarong or any one of a bunch of things, so they are really handy to have with you. Also if you wind up staying somewhere where they only give you one towel (trust me it happens) you’ll be glad you had it with you.

Tech Stuff and Electronics

I always travel with an external phone battery like this one from Mophie. Lots of companies make them and they com at a variety of price points. Make sure you buy one with at least 10,000 mAh so you can fully charge a phone and a tablet from completely dead. Should you get stranded somewhere you’ll be glad you did.

You also need an international power adaptor like this one. It’s not enough to just have an Italian plug fitting, you need to convert their voltage so you don’t fry your hair dryer or curling iron the minute you plug it in. Most of them have several USB ports too, so you can charge phones and tablets while also charging your mophie.

Nano Titanium Travel Hairdryer. This is the best travel dryer I have ever had.

Another MVP for travel is this tiny travel hair dryer. It is at full professional strength, so even someone with as much hair as I have can blow it out effectively and quickly. PLus it has the whole Nano ionic titanium technology that helps blow your hair out smooth. It’s genius.

You can see how tiny the hairdryer is here.

On my Amazon page (Amazon.com/shop/CorinnaTravels) you can fin everything else I talked about on the podcast, plus more bits and pieces I swear by for trips to Italy. The page is broken up by category to make it easy to find everything you’re looking for.

If you want more insider information about planning your trip to Italy and secret places most travelers don’t even know about (even inside the big cities!) be sure to join my newsletter. Twice each month you’ll get the secrets in your inbox. You can also check out my website here: CorinnaCooke.com

Don’t forget to listen to the Untold Italy Packing For Italy podcast episode here.

7 Things You Need To Pack In Your Carry On Bag


Are you traveling any time soon? Do you have a list of travel essentials that absolutely must go on board the plane with you? At the time of writing this I have a friends stranded in an international airport with none of the things I recommend on hand. I swear – I tell my friends these things all the time and they never listen, but my readers are often messaging me saying “Thank God you told us to pack this item!

AwayTravel.com makes the best luggage! Unbreakable, chic, lightweight and innovative.

Away carry on bags are super chic! Find them at AwayTravel.com

This post has affiliate links so that you can just click and purchase anything you don’t already have. There is a chance that this blog will receive a couple of cents on the dollar if you buy something.

Before I get into the list I want to stress to you the importance of buying travel insurance on international trips. Of course there is the medical benefit should something major go wrong, and I always have a policy that will pay for a nurse to fly back with me should something really bad happen. But I do think the little things an insurance policy covers are crucial too. Should you find yourself stranded overnight in an airport terminal your policy should cover putting you in a hotel, or getting you another flight home.

If your suitcase goes missing your insurance policy should cover you for replacement clothing while you are away. If you miss your connecting flight you will want coverage too.
I always use Allianz Travel Insurance. There is a link at the bottom of this post, and also some travel insurance information for you here:
Check out the Top Ten reasons why people buy Travel Insurance and see if it is right for you.

7 Things You Need To Pack In Your

Carry On Bag

1. An External Phone Charger

I am a firm believer that you should never get on a plane without a fully charged phone and a fully charged phone charger. We have all heard horror stories of passengers being forced o sit on the tarmac for hours, flights being rerouted and stuck somewhere, flights being delayed or cancelled. There are so many things that can happen (and frequently do) that leave you in a situation where you really do need to use your phone.

Although most airport terminals have places where you can plug in to charge up, I have never seen one with enough power points for everyone to plug in.

I recommend getting a charger that lets you fully charge your phone from dead, at least two times. I have one that is too heavy, but I got my son this one this summer. It is lightweight and relatively small but has 10,000 mAh
Jooswin Portable Qi Wireless Charger 10000mAh Power Bank For Any Smartphone ,Tablet PC JW-WCP111 (Black)

If you are an Apple user make sure you pack the Android charging cable too. Apple cables won’t plug into most chargers to charge them up. You can charger your Apple phones and iPads on them, but need the Android cable that comes with them too.


2. An International Power Adapter

international travel adaptor with fittings for every country. A must when traveling internationally

If you are traveling internationally you will need a travel adapter for any electronics you will be plugging in. From curling irons to hairdryers to laptops to phones there are always things you need to plug in! An internationally configured adapter is essential. Different countries have different wall fittings, so your plug from home won’t fit. They also have different voltage – the USA has 110 volts but most other places have up to 220 volts. This means you will blow your electronics the first time you plug them in if you don’t have an adapter.

I have used this one from the Container Store for several years. It has fittings for every country I travel to, and also has a USB charging port to charge phones with.

3. Noise Cancelling Headphones

Noise cancelling headphones are essential for air travel. Block out everything from screaming babies to loud talkers with these Bose headphones

Even if you don’t have screaming babies or loud talkers to contend with, the buzz and hum of airplane engines seldom turns into white noise. Typically it is the noise that keeps you awake for the entire flight.

If you are sitting on or behind the wing (economy class) you cannot get away from the noise of the engines. Even in first/business you sometimes hear it. Noise cancelling headphones block out all the noises that will drive you crazy during the flight.

I always get Bose headphones because I like their sound quality. Or, should I say, I’ve had Bose headphones for years. (they last a really long time!) They always offer Bose headphones in First/Business class, so there must be benefits to them over others.
Bose QuietComfort 35 (Series I) Wireless Headphones, Noise Cancelling – Silver


4. Portable WiFi

portable wifi hotspot for international travel

Although there is public WiFi available when you travel it is seldom secure. When you sign on to free WiFi hackers have easy access to all the info including passwords, that you have on your device. A portable WiFi unit not only keeps your data safe but also keeps you connected all the time.

I had been paying $10 per day to have international service with Verizon, but this past summer I rented a portable WiFi unit from Espresso WiFi in Italy. It was fantastic! The service was much better than Verizon too.

Airport WiFi is notoriously expensive, unsecure (and hopeless) and is to be avoided. Having your own little WiFi device is a brilliant option.

GlocalMe G3 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot,

5. A Big Scarf

I have traveled with a giant pashmina for the past 20 years. It is starting to look a little worn now but it has been the best investment ever. It is lightweight, doesn’t take up any room and is really warm. Planes can be really cold and you never know how clean or dirty airplane blankets really are. A few years ago my son opened his plastic wrapped airline blanket and it was full of moth holes! It also smelled really bad. I prefer to have my own pashmina with me.

It also doubles up as a pillow on the plane and a really chic, warm wrap when I don’t want to carry around a jacket or coat.


6. A Change Of Clothes

I actually pack 3 days worth of clothes into my carry on when flying internationally. If the airline should lose your suitcase you need to be able to change into something clean. They normally have your bag back to you in 3 days, but if they don’t you can at least mix and match and wash pieces each day. If 3 changes feels excessive just pack one. It never hurts to be prepared!

7. Healthy Snacks

You never know when or where you will be stuck without something to eat, or something healthy to eat. If your flight gets grounded for hours, makes an emergency stop somewhere, gets cancelled or you are in any situation without food you will be glad to have some protein bars or other healthy snacks to tide you over.

Although I have never had a food emergency, I nearly did. I flew home from Rome on an Alitalia flight a year ago and didn’t have breakfast ahead of time because they normally feed you so much on international flights. On this flight there were no snacks, we waited hours for food and when it came it was like a child’s meal, approximately the size of a Lunchables. I was starving! The man sitting next to me was nearly in tears. He was really hungry and there weren’t even any extra meals on board. He and I shared the protein bars in my carry on bag, which were a lifesaver. But I still arrived in Los Angeles after a 10 hour flight with a banging headache…


Getting ready to travel can be stressful. There is so much to remember, so many things to take care of, so many things to do. I have taken the stress out of travel for you with my printable PDF Pre Travel Checklists.

I use these myself and I give them to my Glam Italia Tour travelers to make sure they get to the airport with as little stress as possible!

If you would like your own copy of this lifesaving stress-buster just click below:



10 Tips For Packing For Italy This Summer

Are you heading over to Italy this summer? I will be there with my 2017 Glam Italia Tours, and am already thinking about what I’m going to wear, what to pack and what to leave behind.

Figuring out what to pack is the key to a fantastic vacation. You want to look chic yet be comfortable, have clothes for very occasion you’re going to need, and not pack too much.

Some of the things you need to have for any trip to Italy include good walking shoes, a scarf to throw over your shoulders when going into churches, and some hem lengths that at least hit mid-thigh to knee area. Every year I take travelers to the Duomo in Siena, and every time we see tourists in short shorts or short skirts who have to put on paper skirts if they want to go inside! The sun gets fierce over there so you should pack a good hat too. I found a killer hat on Revolve.com but I didn’t buy it on time and now I can’t find it anywhere.

too much luggage in florence

One of my friends with too much luggage in Florence!

Here are 10 Tips For Packing For Italy This Summer (plus a bonus tip!)

10 Packing Tips For Travel To Italy This Summer

Don’t Overpack

I learned this the hard way, but when you are traveling in Italy do not overpack! Unless you have a porter trotting around with you everywhere you go, carrying your bags, getting them on and off the trains for you, driving you and your bags around in your own assigned vehicle, you will be miserable if you have overpacked! Cars in Italy are small and you will not have room for multiple bags unless you have a car to yourself. Even then you won’t be able to leave your car anywhere with all your bags visible because they won’t be there when you get back!

If you are staying in vacation rental apartments, and my trips always do, you will probably find yourself having to carry your heavy suitcase up multiple flights of stairs to get to your apartment. These buildings are centuries old, and many do not have elevators. Trying to maneuver heavy suitcases, or too many bags through the train stations and on and off trains is a nightmare, especially when you are getting on and off full trains and having to quickly get yourself up or down a staircase to your next platform! Been there, done that, never again!

Only Pack things That Can Be Worn Multiple Times.

I used to be the queen of wearing every single thing I brought with me,  but only wearing each thing once. It was incredibly stupid! Pack items that you can wear multiple times (or at least more than once), and that are interchangeable with other items in your suitcase.

Pack more Tops Than Bottoms.

It’s super easy to change things up and look like you have many outfits if you have more tops than bottoms. I’m always re-pinning other people’s travel packing stories on Pinterest, where they have 3 pairs of pants/skirts and 6 tops and make it look like 20 fresh outfits. I haven’t quite mastered it myself yet, but I’m working on it! Check out my Pinterest Travel Packing Board Here

Don’t Pack More Than 3 Pairs Of Shoes.

Seriously. Shoes take up so much space in your suitcase, and you really don’t need too many pairs with you.

I once had a traveler who brought 14 pairs of shoes with her. She ended up boxing most of them up and sending them home at huge expense.

Related Post: How To Use Trains In Italy

Bring good, comfortable walking shoes. I wear fun colored Supergas that look chic, but that I can walk in all day long. Pack sandals that you can walk in forever, and that won’t give you blisters or aching feet, and maybe one other pair for going out at night. Everywhere you go you will see super chic travelers wearing Birkenstock Gizehs. Technically they don’t look bad and you can literally walk in them all day and night. If you had told me 3 years ago that I would even own a pair of Birkenstocks I would have died laughing  and told you you were mad. However, one of my travelers back then pointed out to me that everyone was wearing them and that they are beyond comfortable, and I’m not quite sure how she did it but she talked me into getting a pair. I have never looked back! I have a black pair and a white pair, and this year I may buy some other color too. I order them on Zappos.com (A sude note about Birkenstocks: you need to wear them around to break them in before you travel)

Allianz Travel Insurance


Don’t Pack Heels

Italy is all hills and cobblestones, and high heels just aren’t practical while you are there. In fact they become a liability. Not only are you likely to twist, sprain or break your ankle, but you are unlikely to be able to keep up with the rest of the group as they are heading out and about.

Related Post: 10 Things You Absolutely MUST Do In Rome

Don’t Pack Multiple Electronics

You don’t need a laptop, an iPad, a digital camera, and a smartphone. They take up valuable space and can get quite heavy. These days electronics can multi-function, so only bring what you need, and items that do more than one thing.

Don’t Pack “Just In Case” Items

Basically you won’t need them. If by chance you get invited to a ball while you are there, go buy a ball gown in Italy – it will be more chic and fashionable anyway! Anything that you may suddenly need you can always buy there.

Don’t Pack Extra Pairs Of Jeans

Jeans are amazingly heavy (I found that out the hard way) and you really don’t need multiple pairs with you. (also found out the hard way)

Pack one pair if you think you will need them, and leave the rest behind.

Don’t Pack At The Last Minute

This is where the mistakes happen. Plan out your outfit for each day, well ahead of time. I start with a rolling rack and put on it everything I think I might like to wear, and over the days or weeks prior to my trip I start pulling out the things that maybe won’t work, that I can get by without. Think about the climate you are traveling to and what you will be doing while you are there. Italy is all about walking and is full of hills, so make sure you are packing comfortable clothes and shoes to walk in.

Related Post: How To Order Coffee In Italy

Only Pack Things You Love

There is no point in packing clothes that you feel iffy about. Only bring things that you love, that look great on you, and that you will adore walking around in.

Leave Room In Your Suitcase For Shopping!

There is SO MUCH amazing stuff to buy in Italy, and you are going to want to bring some of it back home with you. From Italian leather handbags and jackets, to ceramics, to food, to wine, to clothes and shoes (this is afterall the world capital of fashion!), no matter who you are you are going to find all manner of amazing things that you want to bring home with you, so leave yourself plenty of space in your suitcase.

Vera Bradley Designs, Inc.

Packing Tips For Summer In Italy