Carry-on Luggage for a month in Italy Video

Even though it seems that taking carry on only is easier for the guys, I have found that women can do it too, and still look elegant and comfortable! For my 27 essentials for carry-on only, read my previous posts, and enjoy this video. There is such freedom and ease in traveling lightly. The women traveling with me on My Italy Retreat women’s travel tours take carry-on only for 10 days. I do the same for five weeks.  I’ll show you how in this video!

Travel Tips 101 for Italy


Spoleto, in Umbria, Italy
Enjoying walking more stairs in Spoleto, Umbria
Walking up hill!

Walking up hill!



1. WALK DAILY TO GET IN SHAPE: I know I sound like a broken record, but walk many times during the week, uphill and stairs, at least 3 miles per day (about one hour).  You will thank me because you will have more energy, and will enjoy your time more comfortably walking up and down stairs, along steep streets and piazzas. In addition, once we’re in Italy, walking is a good way to rise above jet lag.

2. Stay hydrated before you board and once in flight. Keeps your muscles supple, and your mind clearer. Drink lots of water. Always have a bottle of water with you except, of course, through security.

3. The small carry-on I have been using is from High Sierra.  The size is correct for overseas travel, but it is always best to check the luggage dimensions for your particular airline.  It’s a small carry on.  The attached backpack unzips and that was the personal item I carried on. I also pack a thin lightweight baggallini messenger bag or backpack for daytrips and hiking while in Italy.  Here’s a link for High Sierra suitcase companies, and also from IT, the world’s lightest suitcase.

Check out my 27 Essentials on How to Pack Lightly Post to help you streamline your packing.

4. Plane: I prefer aisle seats on the plane so I can stretch my legs in the aisle sometimes. Be sure to get up to at least walk to the bathroom, do some stretches in the aisles, and exercise your ankles rolling them in both directions. I also upgrade to Comfort Class (about $200 roundtrip from US to to Italy). There is more leg room, often the seats recline further back, and the seats are toward the front of the plane). You have to pay separately for this after you make your flight reservations.

The European leg of the trip:  Often, when we connect with European partner airlines, we cannot get seat assignments until we make our connections.

5. You can wear your sweater and your jacket as layers to keep you warm on the flight (but more importantly to save space in your suitcase). We usually arrive in the Cinque Terre on an 80-degree weather in the afternoon, so we will just strap the warm clothing onto our suitcases as we walk the 10 minutes to our hotel.

6.. Hotels provide:  hairdryers in each room, tiny bars of soap, shampoo and conditioner, hand lotion, towels, and beach towels. There are not usually irons or washcloths in the hotel rooms we stay in.

7. Washcloths: Hotels do not supply washcloths in Italy. If you would like to bring a few, buy light load towels at camping stores or online.  They are the size of a quarter but when wet will enlarge to a 12×24” washable cloth.

8. Italian phrase book is good to have with you to play with the language. Rick Steves or  Barrons.

9.  Bring your Travel Insurance contact information; (just the main pages). Tell your buddy where it is in Italy and leave one with your contact person at home. has always been helpful in finding the right travel insurance which should include medical evacuation.

10. Make copies of your passports, of your credit cards, front and back, so you have records of them in case of loss, and leave a copy with your contact person.

11. Money exchange in the airport (just a small amount so you can pay your taxi driver)—try to get smaller denominations to use in restaurants. Often stores will not have change. You can use other ATM machines (called bancomats in Italy) at other locations, which usually give you a better exchange rate than do the airports.

12. Use Address labels that you can stick on items like your phone and camera.

13. Wash out underwear and other clothing in the sink or shower, even using shampoo provided by the hotel, so you limit your toiletries. If you need more soap, you can always buy a bar in the local store.

14. Rolling clothes tightly does take up less space, and prevents creases, although there will still be wrinkles.

15. Over-the-counter Sleep Remedies: Excedrin PM, melatonin liquid or tablets. Jet lag can affect your sleep.

16. Sleep Aids: such as Excedrin PM, melatonin in liquid or tablet form, homeopathic no-jet-lag tablets, any medications. Please sleep on the plane to minimize jet lag. Forget about the movies or reading a lot.  Keep your eyes closed a lot EVEN IF you cannot sleep.

17. Address List for family/friends to send postcards. However, postage is expensive–2 Euros ($2.40 USD) to mail a postcard. You can also buy some and mail them once you’re back home!

18. Check out more travel tips from previous posts and even one from my world-traveling husband.

If you arrive in Italy in the morning, you will just stay awake, not take naps so that you can acclimate and sleep that night.

Italy is 6 hours later than Eastern Time zone, 7 hours ahead of Central, 8 hours ahead of Mountain Time, and 9 hours later than Pacific.  So, if you arrive in Italy at 11am, it is still 2 am Pacific time.

Buon Viaggio!  Happy Travels.  Have a great trip.  Please sleep on the plane to minimize jetlag. Forget about the movies and the novel you want to finish.  Keep eyes closed EVEN IF you cannot sleep.





How To Pack Lightly for Carry-On Only Travel

The plight of a large suitcase in Italy

The plight of a large suitcase in Italy

The Sweet Life* Pack-Light List for Women: 
Lenora Boyle’s 27 Essentials for Carry-On-Only Travel

I’m giving you a peek into the list I send to my Italy Retreat for Women travelers. Maybe it will be helpful to you, too.

The 27 Essential Items will be split between 2 bags: your carry-on luggage measuring 22x14x9 inches (55x40x20 cm), which will fit in the overhead, and one personal bag, such as a large purse, briefcase, or backpack that you’ll place under your seat. Most airlines have a carry-on weight limit of 40 pounds. But, check with your carrier for size limits.

Why carry-on-only travel? Freedom and simplicity! You won’t lose your luggage, it’s easy to hop on and off trains and buses, wheel your bag along cobblestone paths and up a flight of steps when needed.

I never dreamed I could travel with less than a very large 60-pound suitcase and now it’s easy for me. You’ll get the hang of it, with practice.

So welcome to easier travel!

1. Shoes, 3-4 pairs: I use back strap shoes (Merrell’s, Keen, or Ecco) for walking up hills and stairs, closed toe shoes on the flight with light socks for warmth, a “dressy” pair of flip-flops for dinner around town, and rubber flip-flops for walking on the cold hotel floors and maybe in the showers. TIP: Pack pajamas, hairbrush, etc. inside your closed-toed shoes, so no space is wasted.

2. Scarves, 2 or 3: This is my #1 must-have. I use them for multiple purposes – dress up any outfit, use as a shawl or as a head cover for warmth on the plane or on a rainy/breezy day. A shawl can be added to wear on cool evenings.

3. Skirts or dress, 1–2: I usually bring a skirt and a dress, or skip the dress and bring 2 skirts instead. I keep a scarf and a long-sleeve layer in my daypack for dinner if I’ve been out hiking the trails.

4. Tops: I suggest 2-3 short sleeve tops and 2-3 sleeveless tops, one sweater, lightweight hoodie, and 1 long-sleeve lightweight top. Make sure to mix and match so everything goes together. Sleeveless tops aren’t permitted in some churches – another reason for that scarf in your backpack. You can possibly wear two tops on the plane to save space.

5. Pants: 1-2 capris, 1 long, 1 pair of shorts or a skort, and maybe a pair of leggings (to sleep in or wear under your skirts). Italians do not wear shorts; however, in the Cinque Terre many of the hikers do.

6. Jacket: Lightweight waterproof jacket/windbreaker/raincoat. I wear this on the plane so I can save room in my carry-on.

7. Sun hat, sunglasses: Make sure your hat can be scrunched in your suitcase without ruining it. I love Wallaroo hats.

8. Computers/Tablets: This is optional. I bring mine to blog and upload photos. Internet is spotty, though, so just plan on having limited internet time. Also, if you have a book on your tablet, you won’t need to pack one.

9. Camera: Bring an extra battery and extra memory card. Also, a charger with adapter for European voltage.

10. SmartPhone: For iPhones, you can turn cellular data off, and still do Facetime and texting as long as you are in a Wi-Fi area. Consult your carrier for your options. Facetime is free, but there is a charge for outgoing texts.

11. Notebook and pens for journaling. A small Italian phrase book.

12. Tissues and antibacterial wipes: Small packets. Many public bathrooms do not have toilet paper.

13. Small purse: For glasses, lipstick, credit cards and cash when we go out to dinner.

14. Liquids: You can pack as many 3 oz. containers (100 ml) as will fit into a quart-sized zip-lock baggie. Contact lens solution can be in a separate baggie and not counted with your liquids.  You can buy a strong zippered quart sized zippered plastic bag from Eagle Creek that I’ve used for years and love it.

15. Toiletries: If you want to travel with your make-up, transfer your liquid foundation, and skin creams into small containers. A little goes a long way. Use zip-lock plastic baggies instead of make-up bags to save room.

16. Daypack: This can be a lightweight Baggallini over-shoulder purse, a light backpack, or cross body messenger bag for daytrips and hiking while in Italy. Here’s a link for several suitcase companies that sell regulation sized bags for European standards.

17. Flashlight or book light to double as flashlight. 

18. Eye shades and ear plugs: Bucky eye shades are my favs. They are soft and super comfortable, with a small pocket for ear plugs. I prefer the foam ones that just muffle sounds. It can be noisy outside your hotel windows and on the plane.

19. Alarm Clock: Italy hotels usually do not have clocks with an alarm.

20. Swimsuit and sarong or cover-up. Since we travel to the Italian Riviera, we swim. A sarong is optional but can be used as towel if we put it in our daypacks/messenger bags during our hike, and then stop to swim.  Our hotel in Monterosso will provide beach towels.

21. Reading glasses: Pack two pairs in case you lose one. You’ll want to be able to read the menus!

22. Passport: Get a passport holder that you can wear around your neck. Baggallini carries one that I like. It looks a little dorky, but it’s worth it to know where your passport and boarding passes are. You can safely tuck some cash or a credit card in the extra zippered pocket. Make a copy and keep it separate from the original one.

23. Extras on board: In addition to one carry-on and one personal item, passengers may bring on board a coat, reading material, small bag of food and devices such as wheelchairs and walkers.

24. Under Garments: 4-5 pairs of underwear that you will wash out with the hotel shampoo, then hang to dry. (Cotton takes longer to dry). 1-2 bras.

25. Pajamas: Lightweight or else you could sleep in one of your tops and leggings.

26. Water and protein snacks: Buy water after you go through security, as it is important to stay hydrated during your long flight. No fruit can be taken to foreign countries, but nuts and seeds can be eaten on board.

27. A small Italian phrase book from Barrons or Rick Steves (if you have room).

Rolling clothes tightly takes up less space, and prevents creases, even though there will still be wrinkles which are hard to avoid. This all works most efficiently when each wardrobe piece can be interchanged.

Buon Viaggio! Happy Travels!

* I’m all about living the ‘sweet life’, or as the Italians call it, la dolce vita.  It’s about finding pleasure in even the simplest experience–the fragrance of a new morning or the taste of a ripe peach on your tongue.  Surround yourself with beauty and create the life that you want.