So I thought I'd sit down and think about what we brought on our three week tour of Italy and share what was useful, what was a waste and what we didn't bring but should have.
It turned out that our luggage was right on. The A. Saks soft luggage is lightweight, the fabric is tough as nails and the layout of pockets and compartments is very logical and useful. Lisa tended to use the larger rolling duffel (2nd from the right) but she now admits that she brought way too many clothes and could have gone with the smaller rolling pack (2nd from the left). I used that one for all of my stuff, aside from a pair of shoes that went into the top of the large duffel, wrapped by the fold-a-way, lightweight duffel (on the right side). The foldaway turned out to be good for in-country car travel for just throwing things (even groceries) in the bag to toss into the car. Of course, this became a check-in bag on the flight home to hold most of our clothes, making room in the carry-ons for fragile items and gifts.
Lucas was proud of his backpack unit and it fit all his stuff, including some of his stuffed buddies. It fit the overhead when loaded, and for car or train travel would hold even more when expanded. About the only complaint I have is that the handles on the backpack and small trolley are wobbly and I don't care for the T Handles. The D-style handles on the larger duffel are more ergonomic and sturdier. All the wheels worked well, even on cobbles. The zippers are the best...all very heavy duty. All in all, we were all satisfied with A. Saks.
Clothes: Lisa brought way too much for the informal way we were traveling. In general, we packed a 30/70 ratio of summer to autumn clothes. Even though I thought I did enough research on October weather, I failed... it was more like July or the end of August in the northeast U.S. Personally, I hated my one pair of so-called lightweight "travel" pants. The fabric is odd, a bit noisy and actually feels hotter because of the lack of cotton. I really missed my jeans. I felt the same about my Colombia travel shirts (1 short and 1 long sleeved). I think they actually made me feel hotter.
Lisa thought she brought way too much black--mostly wrinkle-free business casual stuff. As it turned out, the evenings were at the end of long, tiring days. We were not inclined to go out to fancy places dressed up. We just wanted a good meal and a solid night's sleep. Lisa advises that unless you are planning on going out to finer restaurants and such, bringing more than a good pair of walking shoes or sneakers is overkill.
Lucas was fine with his mix of cargo pants, shorts, t-shirts, one button down and some long sleeve tees. We brought a nice pair of Italian woven boat shoes for him that he never wore. It was comfy sneakers all the way across Italy for him. Jacket-wise, Lucas and I both brought a fleece jackets and shell jackets, which we pretty much never wore. Lisa had a rain shell with a hood that got carried around. Lucas was wearing his hoodie fleece the first day or two but that stopped with the heat. We all word shells on the hot air balloon but that's about it. In general, bringing clothes for layering just wasn't needed because of the summer-like temps.
If anything, we might have brought a couple of pairs of extra socks. That would have lessened the time needed to dry socks that we rinsed out the night before (when we didn't have a washing machine). And forget about what the guidebooks say about not wearing shorts or sneakers so you don't look like a tourist. You will ALWAYS be spotted as a foreigner for many reasons, so dress for comfort! And if traveling in summer, think "Florida--without air conditioning or ice."
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