Give yourself extra time when traveling. Flight times change or are delayed; trains are delayed or there is a strike; driving almost always takes longer than you think (especially if you are in the UK and have to drive on the left side of the road!). Try to be flexible and keep a good attitude. Make sure you have snacks, stay hydrated and get enough rest when traveling! If you are flying to Europe from US, you will go through customs in the first country you land in. I thought 2 hours was enough time to make our connection in Paris but we ended up running to our gate. I would plan for 3 hours now and use that extra time for an espresso and a croissant. Give yourself at least 30 minutes to make a connection at a train station. Some are small and easy to navigate but Bologna has about 17 platforms on different levels of the station. When using a map application to estimate driving times, do it about the same time/day you will be traveling. In bigger cities, these times can vary quite a bit. Again, give yourself at least an extra 30 minutes so you have plenty of time when you make that inevitable wrong turn or need a bathroom stop. I love Rome2Rio to plan the best way to get from Point A to Point B. Find more travel tips on my IG account @discover.ladolcevita!
Carry On Essentials
My number one carry on essential is a big, cozy, soft scarf that can act like a sweater and/or a blanket.
I like to have one bigger carry on that I put in overhead bin (backpack or tote that closes) and one smaller bag/purse that I keep close by. The bigger bag has a change of clothes, valuables (that I don't want to check), Sony headphones (lifesaver!) and a portable charger. I also have my iPad loaded with books and Netflix, sleep mask, ear plugs, snacks and any medications I can't live without for a day as well as Advil, Benadryl and Immodium. Finally, a refillable water bottle and a neck pillow.
In the smaller bag, I have Airpods (yes I have Airpods and headphones for long flights in case one doesn't work), my phone and charger, my wallet, passport and other travel documents/tickets, hand wipes and gum or mints.
You need less than you think and will be happy you packed lightly when you are lugging your suitcase through airports, train stations and up flights of stairs in hotels or apartments with no elevator (not uncommon). Use packing cubes - they are a game changer for creating extra space and organizing. You really only need two pairs of shoes. A comfortable pair of white sneakers (I like Superga, Geox, Adidas) and a pair of nice comfortable loafers/flats/ankle boots/sandals depending on the season. Pack lightweight layers and underwear that dries quickly when washed(dryers are not common in Europe). For 2-4 weeks I would pack: 3 pairs of pants/shorts/capris, a dress or skirt, 4-5 tops that mix and match with bottoms, scarf or two (nice way to dress up an outfit), a lightweight cardigan sweater (for cooler evenings, air conditioned restaurants and religious sites where shoulders need to be covered), and one weather/seasonal appropriate jacket or coat, swimsuit if appropriate and maybe a hat (though I brought one on my last trip and wore it once!).
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