Yesterday I sat down in my room, installing things that we need for the trip, like Google Earth (which won't work.), update the computer, etc. Old Reliable is what I call this old Windows laptop, like from 1990-something. We will probably use it to post posts on the blog and check my Gmail inbox. I found something out about that computer, it's like we haven't used it in 20 years (which we probably have) because up to the hour you're reading this, it's probably still updating.
What Should I Bring
What should I bring?, What should I bring?, What should I bring?, yeah. Really, what should I bring. Whenever mom and dad ask me I always answer: "ummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. I don't know?!" Okay, so I think I've figured it out. We each have a bag, and part of it will be clothes (I mean like, 3/4!) So probably next post, or the post after that, I might be able to share a little computerized drawing of what will be inside my bag (probably BORING stuff, like clothes, notebooks, a stinky old 3rd gen Kindle and 2 stuffed animals (I LOVE DOGS!) Well, I hope you enjoyed this double-feature post, that's all for now! -Lucas
I got all my ducks in a row months ago with the packing plan. I got a credit card that allowed us one checked bag each for free. Whew. Saving lots of money and not needing to lug baggage around the airport. I was a planning rockstar. Then, whap! Hubby announces that from all his research, he has come to the conclusion that we should avoid checking ANY bags. To save time. Huh? Three weeks of clothes in a single carry on bag? How on earth was that supposed to happen? He gently explained we would not carry 3 weeks worth of clothes, we would have to do laundry whenever we could (or wash underwear in the sink if we needed to). Uh, ok. I'll keep an open mind, or at least try to. Airline max carry on dimensions were 9 x 14 x 22. The first bag he ordered as a trial didn't look too bad--smaller on one side than the other, but still staying within total linear dimensions. Maybe I could work with this. Then, the sneaky airlines removed "total linear dimension" flexibility. The trial bag was officially now too big. When the smaller bag came, I broke into a sweat. I was sure I couldn't fit even a week's worth of clothes in there, let alone all the accessories I needed. And so, we embarked on a trial packing session. He packed--no problem. When all you need is two pairs of jeans for a 3-week trip, you can't go wrong. But I'm a GIRL. I need a hairdryer. And shoes. And well, STUFF. We knew Lucas would not be a problem. And so, we embarked on a trial packing adventure for moi. I laid out all the clothes I wanted to bring--no not 3 weeks worth, enough for about 7-10 days. We folded, rolled, packed, squeezed (I continued to sweat) and squeeze some more. And you know what, it is possible to pack carry on only for a 3-week trip, provided you are willing to:
Leave the hairdryer home
Leave the travel iron home
Get over the fact that you can't take 19 days worth of clothes
Pack lots of hair ties (see 1)
Resign to looking a tad wrinkled (see 2)
Realize you really can wear certain items more than once (see 3)
Map out the strategic locations of laundromats where you travel (also see 3)
I won't lie, the girl who expects to have a nicely ironed change of clothes for every day is still getting used to this new way of travel. But I'm still not feeling washing underwear in the sink...stay tuned! --Lisa
Hi All- Lucas goes Italian are posts written by me: Lucas! Every day or so I will post about my adventures in Italy. Posts may be a day old, due to time change & whether not we have Wi-Fi! And please leave comments, I would like to keep in touch with my classmates! -Luca (The Italian Lucas)
P.S. most of my posts will be in the last category... "Postcards".
Lots of people ask if they can bring this or that as carry-on and at times it can be confusing depending on where you're getting your information. Here's a great link to a TSA online tool that let's you search for all sorts of things to find out whether they are permitted on board or not. BTW... Tripods are OK.
One amazing tool you might have right now... Microsoft OneNote. It has helped me keep track of all the research for this trip. The structure is simple: Create a notebook (called "Italy Trip" or whatever). Open tabs (called sections) titled for each part of your trip (Rome, Florence, etc.), add other sections to keep track of travel reservations, hotel reservations, etc. You can clip and paste ad hoc from the web... URLs, photos, bits of text, just about anything you can see on your screen.
In fact, a great ability is to use the print-screen key on your keyboard to print a web page or photo that typically can't easily be copied... then paste it from the buffer (control-v) into an image editor (I use Photoshop) to crop out unnecessary items, and then to paste the image into. This is an excellent way to capture an copy-protected image of something you want to reference later on. As long as you can see it on your screen, print-screen will print it to the copy buffer.
You can then add pages to each section, although since the section spaces are truly virtual (without boundaries) I haven't found a need for that. Everything gets pasted onto one page and I just zoom in and out or scroll around.
Every time I come across a travel tip, I cut and past it into OneNote. Items also retain their URL s. Just a click takes you back to the site where you originally found the information. OneNote also auto-saves. You will never lose your notes. Amazon has OneNote for around 60 bucks.
It's been about three months since I started researching and planning our grand voyage. I'm going to try and give you some tips and advice based on what I've learned.
Here's the first big tip. Google Earth. I can't tell you how valuable this tool has been in researching places to stay, sites to visit, the best viewpoints for vistas, the best scenic drives, where to park, and how to avoid the dreaded no drive zones found in most tourist towns (zona traffico limitato).
Google Earth is easy and free to install. While Google map is best for planning driving routes, Earth allows you to save pin maps sorted by folder for each region or town you will be visiting. I have a folder for Puglia a folder for Rome and so on. I've pinned the best parking spaces, best views, hotels, bakeries, delis (salumerias), cheese shops, Hertz locations, and of course, all the sites I'd love to see in a given area.
And the best thing about Google earth is dragging the little man to see the street level view, in 360°! This can prevent you from booking and agriturismo that looks more like a factory, how seedy a particular neighborhood really is, or how thick the crowds really are at all popular tourist site so you can plan accordingly. You might even discover areas worth visiting you had no idea about before actually seeing them on Earth.
Try exploring with Google Earth months before your trip. It's both addictive and enlightening. My son doesn't want to see too much on Google Earth because he wants to be surprised... But after all, I'm the grown up and realize that surprises while traveling is not necessarily a good thing.
Google Earth's amazing 360 degree street level view!
Okay, the title may sound stupid, but you'll find out why I titled it that. Mom (Lisa) found this travel site called Travelsmith, which basically has things made for flight to save space. (I was thinking about getting an airplane tray extension which can hold 2 cups and a laptop).
Mom also found some homeopathic pills called No-Jet-Lag ($12.99 On Travelsmith, but on Amazon we found it for seven bucks). The package is only sufficient for like 50 hours, and you're supposed to take 1-2 every 2 hours, so I think that's wrong.
Every day I think about one thing that I'm looking forward to: getting back to the States.
I'm not really an airplane person. I'm frightened of just the thought of looking out the window of the plane. My first post!! Lucas (Needed To Make My Name Bigger)
Experience the Italian lifestyle, heritage, cuisine, art, music, language, traditions, and take your own Grand Voyage to Italy ...even if you've never been to Italy! Andiamo, take a Grand Voyage with us...