Italy: How to Pack for Ten Days in a Carry on

Thursday, March 12, 2015

It's hard to believe it has been almost a year since our trip to Italy!  I've been promising ya'll a post about how to pack for Italy for ten days in a carry on.  We packed carefully because we wanted to start having fun the minute we landed.  It helped knowing that each of our apartments had a washer (some were better than others, ie. melted bras & dingy clothes in Rome :/).  Before I share my packing list, here are a few pictures from the trip.

Relaxing on our balcony at the end of the day in Rome

Be prepared to walk.  While we drove from city to city, we walked once we arrived in each city.  And we walked all day.  Most of the streets and sidewalks are cobblestone so flats with support or sneakers are highly recommended.  These are my favorite sneakers and I wore them often.  Another tip:  change shoes at lunch time.  Your feet will thank you.

 With my MIL before dinner one night in Rome

I brought wedges just to change my outfits up for the evening and I'm glad I did.  They didn't take up much space in the suitcase and gave me a wee bit of variety.  They were perfect for short walks to dinner.

I basically lived in my trench coat.  The climate was spring-like, so cool mornings, abundant sun, and pleasant days.  I rarely took this jacket off and it was perfect for layering on cooler days.  Also, I highly recommend an across the body bag.  It was nice being hands free while walking everywhere!

Everything I took on the trip could be mixed and layered.  That was key!  From mornings in Venice walking to the market to dinners out in Florence, I wanted to be able to grab and go and not worry so much about how things went together.  Most everything traveled well and required little/no ironing. Who wants to iron on vacation?  Comfort was also key.  Comfort without being too slouchy of course ;).  Most of the items I packed were bought last year or earlier and are no longer available.  I'll bet you have similar items in your closet, but just in case you need help, I've provided links below as noted.

Trench or peacoat - The coat I wore is no longer made, but I love this one from Lands End.  It is reasonably priced and isn't as long as some taking up less room in the suitcase.  Tessa also shared this one the other day on her blog which look darling on her!

Cardigan - This is a great layering piece that can be thrown into a purse for day trips if needed.  I also wore it under my trench on cooler days.

Long cardigan - Great for flying and of course layering!  I wore it with leggings and sneakers as well as jeans and wedges at night.

Foldover skirt - I took my foldover skirt for the sole purpose of space and ease of packing.  I wore it casually with flats during the day and wedges a blouse & pashmina at night.

Jeans -  I took my favorite pair of jeans, these are similar and also a pair of white jeans.  Hindsight, I would've left the white ones at home because no one else was wearing them in Italy and I didn't want to call attention to myself.

Leggings - I wore these on the plane and several other occasions.  A must!

Chambray shirt - What can I say, I just love a chambray shirt and it easily paired with jeans, loafers, and a scarf or leggings & sneakers.

Flowy Blouse - I took a black & white blouse for special dinners that I wore with the foldover skirt or jeans and wedges.  I topped it with the long cardigan on cooler nights.

Sweater or sweatshirt - I took my gray sweater from last year, similar to this one.  It was perfect for early walks to pick up coffee.  Add a scarf and you have an outfit (and pants of course :)).

Stripe knit top - I love stripes like I love chambray!  Mine came from Loft last year, but this one in navy looks very similar.

Scarves - I highly recommend traveling with a pashmina!  I tucked it into my personal carry on bag for the sole purpose of having an extra blanket on the plane for warmth.  Pashminas are so versatile because they are generally huge!  I used it as a scarf, blanket, or shawl depending on the occasion. Also, you will want to buy a scarf once you get there.  Pretty scarves are everywhere, and cheap!

Across the body bag - See above picture.

Shoes - I took 3 pairs.  Wedges, sneakers, and flats with support similar to driving moccasins.

I didn't take extra jewelry and honestly didn't miss it at all.  I wore my diamond stud earrings and a simple necklace every day.  You will have the opportunity to purchase fedoras, sunglasses, leather, scarves, etc.  So save a little room in your suitcase.

One other tip: slip a pair of socks into your personal carry on bag.  They are great for when you want to take your flats off, but don't want to touch the public floor, ew. 

P.S. You will also need adapters for electronics.  Be warned, my flat iron was hotter than usual and I may or may not have lost some hair. 


You might also enjoy:

Murano & Burano
Our Apartment in Rome


  1. I love this post - great options for travel (or everyday!) in general! Do you mind sharing who makes your wedges you are wearing in the picture? I am sure they are not available anymore, but they are super cute!!!

    1. I'm so glad you asked this question because I was going from memory & have been wearing boots more than wedge sandals lately :). Yes, my shoes were bought at least two years prior to the trip and the they are Franco Sarto. I just searched and there are similar ones at DSW. Here is a link in case there isn't a store near you, but it looks like you are from Durham which has great shopping. Hope this helps.

    2. Thanks so much for following up....I apologize I didn't check this earlier and do the same:) I did some searching around and found these ( from Born, which have a similar look. Thanks again for looking, and have a great week!!

  2. Thanks for the list and the pictures. It helps me see how everything coordinates.

    1. You are welcome Peggie! Sorry it took me a year :).

  3. Oh I love this! I'm going through a major purge in my closet and this is a great capsule wardrobe collection that fit perfectly with my "vision" of what I want the after to look like.

    1. My closet needs to be paired down too and I really like the idea of simple combinations with fun accessories to add a twist here or there.

  4. I LOVED this post. We've gone to Italy for 10 day visits twice, and both times I packed pretty much exactly the same things in a carry on! You GO girl!!

  5. Packing all your clothes in a carry on is smart. It's a good list and covers all occasions. The only thing I disagree with is the leggings. They are more a North America thing. In other countries they are reserved for the gym. I would take a pair of black jeans or black pants instead. I've been to Italy three times. Good memories!

    1. Thank you Joanne, but I disagree. Leggings are the most comfortable pant to wear for 10+ hours on an overnight flight. No pants or jeans could possibly come close. Women wore them in each city we visited. How lucky that you've been to Italy 3 times! Would love to explore the Amalfi Coast one day.

    2. Oh, I agree they are the best to travel in and to get comfy around your room. I haven't been in 7 years, so times have changed. They were nowhere to be scene when I was there. Sorry, I stand corrected.
      We rented a motorcycle to tour the Amalfi coast. A wonderful way to be able to see the scenery. It is so beautiful there. Amazing how the houses and gardens hug the hills.

    3. Wow! You were brave to take a motorcycle. That sounds like a great adventure. My in-laws have been and have frightening stories about the tiny winding roads around the coast, but they laugh about it today. Maybe a motorcycle is the way to go. :)

  6. LOVE everything! Can you please post a DIY on the roman shades! Thanks!

  7. These are fabulous tips! We are hoping to go back in July. The crossbody bag total necessity I agree. I woe flip flops most of the time. I bought some expensive "comfort shoes" never wore them!! I took two scarves, leggings, one dress (for the wedding), one pair of jeans and tops that coordinated because as you said you will walk , walk, walk!!

  8. I bought the Jack Purcell's and LOVE them. I've wanted a pair ever since your post about them over a year ago. They are so comfy and chic. Thanks for the recommendation!


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