I'm leaving on a jet plane...

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All my bags are packed, I'm ready to go.... To Italy!! Back in March when my mom and her two sisters and I started planning for our trip to Italy, our September departure date seemed ages away. We signed up for a 9 day Rick Steve's Heart of Italy tour which will take us to Rome, through Tuscany and the hill town of Volterra, through the Cinque Terre and finally ending in beautiful Florence. From there we leave our tour group for Venice for three days at this magical city of a hundred islands. To make the most of our time there, my mom and I are then renting a car to drive through northern Italy, exploring the small towns, vineyards, and beautiful lakes that make up this region. We're covering a lot of territory and I'm so unbelievably excited for the adventure to come!

Booking the tour and flights however was the easy part of planning this trip. What to bring? What to wear?! Suddenly September came and I found myself rather ill-prepared for my upcoming trip. I had gotten shoes- an amazingly comfortable pair of Nike mesh sneakers and a great pair of Eric Michael padded leather sandals- and made sure to spend some time wearing them in for maximum comfort. My mom and I also both upgraded our roller bags to new compact international flight approved bags from eBags. They're super well made, tip-proof and have lots of handy pockets and compartments for keeping your items organized. Besides these new bags, our best purchase were packing cubes. Coming in three sizes, they are the perfect way to keep your tops, bottoms and undergarments organized and contained within your suitcase. I am seriously never traveling again without them- they make packing nearly painless!

16 plus days worth of outfits in 3 packing cubes! 

16 plus days worth of outfits in 3 packing cubes! 

With all this new gear I just needed to figure out what to wear for my 16 days overseas. I am a firm believer in carry-on only travel- it takes away the potential worry of a lost bag and gets you going quicker once you've reached your final destination. However packing for an extended trip with only a small roller bag and purse can be quite a challenge, especially if you're traveling to multiple destinations where the weather may vary or you plan on picking up a few souvenirs. For me I also didn't want to spend too much money on new travel appropriate apparel (i.e. wrinkle free, quick dry, multi-purpose clothes) so that I would have money to splurge on a few great finds abroad. There are a plethora of great travel blogs and Pinterest boards around to get wardrobe inspiration around how to mix and match key pieces to maximize your looks without packing a full closet of clothes. I really like the blog Hitha On The Go for packing tips and travel product recommendations. My final strategy came down to a color pallet of black, grey, and olive green, with a few white tops and a few pops of color to mix things up. I limited myself to a few simple pieces of jewelry and a few nice sized scarves to add color and provide the necessary cover up for when we visit churches. While I wish I had looked into a new carry on bag (really keen on getting a Lo and Sons O.G. purse) and a smaller travel purse that I could carry around during the day I feel really good about my final (very last minute) selections and outfit combinations.

My ridiculous leopard print packing cubes made packing my suitcase a total breeze! 

My ridiculous leopard print packing cubes made packing my suitcase a total breeze! 

What are your travel must-haves? Any favorite places to go or things to see in Italy? I'll be trying to share as much of my trip here on the blog so stay tuned! Here's hoping I didn't forget anything!

Ciao!

-c.