Okay, so I can’t believe that it has almost been a year since I got on a plane and flew across the globe to Italy by myself. I learned a lot while I was there and I would go back in a heart beat! However, if I were to go back, I would pack very differently and so would a lot of the friends I made while I was there. So here’s the deal when it comes to packing (and other travel suggestions) from Mike, Coco, Olivia, Megan, Kimberly, Melissa, and of course, yours truly.
Bug Spray (You’ll need it. Like the strongest, most toxic, bug spray you can find in the United States) – If you are going to Italy in the summer, prepare yourself, because nobody tells you how muggy it is, and how many mosquitos there are, and how the bug spray that you can purchase at the pharmacy in Italy does not work (just FYI).
Comfortable Walking Shoes (or even hiking shoes) – You are going to walk everywhere. Period. Better be comfortable right?
Rain Jacket (and rain boots- no joke- I know they take up a ton of room in your luggage but they were SO worth it!) – I found a pair of rain boots at Charlotte Russe for $5. When I packed I put breakable items inside the boots because the sturdiness of the boots protected anything from breaking. Then when I packed to come home I left them in Italy because they were only $5! Do your research, find a good deal, or even go to Goodwill to find some. I promise you will not regret having them with how much it rains in Italy during the summer. Oh and bring an umbrella or be prepared to buy one while you’re there. You will use it constantly.
One Really Great and Versatile Jacket – I packed for the completely wrong season. The week before I left for Italy I was tracking the weather and it was in the 50s and rainy. So of course, I assumed the whole summer would be that way (wrong). You need to pack for every possible scenario (because you will experience all four seasons in just 5 short weeks). So in addition to a great jacket/coat, you’ll need some jeans, shorts, sweaters, tank tops, boots, and sandals. Or just pack a few basic things and purchase anything you need when you’re there.
More Advice from Former Arizona in Italy Students:
1. You will travel A LOT so bring a portable phone charger, camera batteries, etc.
2. Exchange currency before you get to Italy.
3. Pack things that you won’t care about if they get ruined or you have to decide to leave in Italy to make room in your luggage for souvenirs.
4. Bring reusable shopping bags (you know the eco friendly kind you can get at the grocery store?) When you get groceries at the market in Italy they will charge you if they have to give you bags, and like I mentioned above, you will walk everywhere, so you’re going to want your groceries in a bag.
5. Go to a new restaurant every day. Of course you will find your favorites, but there are so many to choose from that it is important to branch out and experience as much as you can (especially in Orvieto).
6. Try your best to learn and order everything in Italian. Even if you fail horrifically, people will be nicer to you because you tried.
7. Don’t ever order a “latte,” you will just get a glass of milk, and the servers will laugh at you.
8. “Pack light! Pack light! Pack light! And then pack lighter than that!” This is a direct quote from Melissa and she is absolutely right. You are going to over pack no matter what and it is going to be such a hassle carrying your luggage with you all over Italy and even worse if you plan on traveling in Europe after your study abroad trip.
9. Write down everything you do and see! You will spend a lot of time in cafés anyways, so bring a notebook or a laptop and document your experiences. Looking back on this blog almost a year after my trip, I am so grateful that I have the ability to relive my adventures.
10. You can pack everything you need in a carryon and a backpack. Trust me you will thank yourself if you do. Checking on a bag is so frustrating and Brittany’s luggage got lost in Rome. Do yourself a favor and ditch the check on.
11. Invest in a nice camera. I look back at my iPhone photos and cry inside knowing they do Italy no justice.
12. Plan your weekend traveling and any traveling you want to do after the program as soon as possible (like right now).
13. Eat gelato every day and take a photo of your gelato in every city. It’s usually displayed just as beautiful as any piece of art you will see there.