WHAT TO PACK AND EXPECT FOR NORTHERN ITALY + SWITZERLAND
Italy and Switzerland are amazing places...no doubt about that. but what should you expect when traveling in these amazing countries?
HERE'S WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW
Our 'Northern Italy +Switzerland' tour kicks off in a couple days, and having sifted through this amazing itinerary shortly after Tony came up with it, I feel inclined to detail some of the things you should pack, and what to prepare for...Italian cultural norms, while amazing and super hospitable, can also be a tad petty sometimes...
Let's not forget on this trip, both Italians and Swiss people are proud people. Proud of their culture, proud of their traditions, and while SUPER hospitable people, a good many of them can be stubborn. So please remember to not get in their way, be kind, courteous, and of course, not make a mess or look too much like a tourist...
It'll pay off in the future, trust me!
LET'S START WITH WHAT TO PACK
Our Northern Italy tour for 2017 is in August...which means, Italy is going to be hot, hot, hot! Take for instance, Florence...where we will be spending a number of days there at the end of the trip. This upcoming week looks BRUTAL, and having lived there, I know how hot this stone city can get. In 2009, I believe the city was voted the hottest recorded temperature in Europe at an astonishing 117 degrees Fahrenheit!
So, please...pack light, maybe only one suitcase and one day pack, with lots of light, white clothes. Trust me, it will be well worth it. Plain and simple, you're going to be hot, but it's so much better to be prepared for it, than be caught off guard....it will take you a solid two days to acclimate properly, but the best thing you can do is to HYDRATE!
The weather in Italy is always coolest in the morning, so hopefully, that's when we'll get the group to do some workouts together. The evenings will remain super hot, so again, be careful and remember to hydrate well, and hydrate often. Now....what to pack! Ladies...I'll do my best, but feel free to just use this 'as a guide.'
And to answer your question, yes, there will be ample opportunities to do your own laundry in each city, so let that factor into your packing decisions! Just don't forget your passport (and a copy of it) in your second luggage.
THE PACKING LIST
One day pack, one suitcase (under 50 lbs) and definitely a water bottle.
- 4-5 socks
- 3-4 tank tops
- 2-3 t-shirts
- 2 blouses or dinner attire
- 2-3 hiking / wod shorts
- 1 nice pair of pants
- WOD shoes (can serve as hiking shoes)
- swim trunks (can use WOD shorts)
- Nalgene Water Bottle
- One suitcase
- One day pack
- Pair of going out shoes (not heels, in my opinion)
- Anything else you deem worthy for this trip!
- Three Solid T-Shirts
- Two Tanks
- Couple of undies (at least three)
- One button up (if you must)
- At least two WOD shorts
- One pair of hiking shorts
- AC adapter for Europe
- Nalgene Water Bottle
- One pair of pants
- One suitcase
- One day pack
- 3-4 good pairs of socks
- WOD shoes (can double as hiking shoes, too)
- One going out pair of shoes
- Maybe a hat?
OVERALL, LESS IS ALWAYS MORE
Truth be told, you shouldn't be freaking out about what to pack. Italy is a first world country, and anything you may be 'missing,' you can absolutely get in any of the towns and cities we're going to. In my travels, I've been lucky to learn, as long as you have at least an outfit on, you'll get by, or at least to your next destination. That being said, less is more....beware of overpacking and definitely leave room in your luggage, as there will be ample shopping opportunities.
And for this trip, I would avoid heavy clothing items, such as jeans (ok, well maybe pack a pair) but seriously, shorts, tanks, sunscreen, sunglasses, hats and water bottles will be your best friend on this trip.
Now, WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN TRAVELING TO ITALY + SWITZERLAND IN THE SUMMER
Ok guys, so I want to keep this section here short and succinct...Italy and Switzerland, as I mentioned above, are incredible places and very near and dear to my heart. Since our tour takes us through Milan, Lake Como, Lugano (Switzerland), Bolzano, Venice, Florence and Cinque Terre over 10 days, you can imagine there's going to be a lot of travel time....and really, there's very minimal amounts of it.
Trains in Italy (to say the least) are EFFICIENT! The fast trains (and even the regional ones) are nearly always on time (fingers crossed there's not a strike) and with little bits of time between each of these destinations. You'll be whisked away to where you where you want to be within a few hours max. Plus, the fast trains we'll be on have air conditioning and very clean bathrooms, which makes for easy traveling when you're going to and from. We will be on one regional train from Milan to Verona, then to Bolzano that is a little bit slower than the fast trains, but the views make up for it in the Dolomites.
With all that said, be prepared to be carrying your own luggage (this is where packing light is always a benefit)to and from the trains, as well as from the train stations and to the hotels. Please keep in mind, this might be the most difficult part of the trip....as everyone on the trains and in the train stations always has luggage and is bringing it into town.
Not to mention, August is a high-traffic tourist month in Italy. Be prepared for vacationers from all around the world in places like Venice, Florence and Milan. As you can expect, people from all over want to see Italy more than a few times in their lifetimes, and as packed as these places can get, it's always important to have at least one buddy (or one person you've got sight of). I'm serious - the crowds can be insane during July and August in Italy and Switzerland, so please buddy up on the trip and keep your phone on you in case you get lost....I'll have international service, so if you need assistance at any time, call me at 617-866-9573!
Which brings me to another big point....pickpockets...No one quite makes a living in Italy like thieves. That's an old Italian phrase that still rings true today. And the one thing I'll say about pickpockets is that they are good. Damn good. So keep your wallet, passport, jackets and any other valuables deep in your luggage, or in your front pockets. Especially be aware of pickpockets in close quarters bars, train stations, cafes and restaurants.
Another thing to be mindful of in Italy are the beggars....as beautiful as a country as Italy is, there's an unfortunate amount of beggars on the streets. Especially during tourist season (the summer). Many of the beggars may actually be people looking for a handout, or needing one, but please do not help them out. Italy has a robust welfare system and plenty of systems in place to help aid those in need. Unfortunately, many of these people may be using their 'earnings' for something else entirely. If you are approached, avoid eye contact and continue moving on.
Another thing, to keep in mind of are the amount of people selling things on the street. That is to say, there is a huge number of migrants who have come to Italy seeking refuge from their countries, and many of them get wrapped into peddling various items on the street. From sunglasses, to roses, to watches, fidget spinners and more....they will do anything from coming up to give you a hug, a high-five or even put something on your wrist and then ask you for money. DO NOT, let them do any of those things! Avoid eye contact, say 'No, thank you,' and simply move on. Just be courteous and avoid confrontation. At the end of the day, these people are simply trying to make a living.
LAST BUT NOT LEAST...
Don't be fooled by the preceding couple of paragraphs....Italy and Switzerland are both amazing places, with incredible food, landscapes and filled with things to see. The best thing you can do on the trip is enjoy yourself. Give in to the cultural immersions and try to speak a bit of Italian and Swiss, and feel free to laugh, let loose, and soak in the sights! Get lost in the narrow alleyways, walk on the cobblestone, ask the shopkeepers questions and really try to get engrained in the culture. Slow down and smell the roses, look around, put down your phone and really just try to have the best time possible!
Again, you have ten days to really lose yourself in some amazing places. Milan is gorgeous, Lake Como is captivating, Lugano feels like a dream, Bolzano is otherworldly, Venice is a traveler's paradise, and Florence you could live in for the rest of your life. And it really is up to you, on this trip, to make the most of every sunset and every waking minute in these places. Don't live your life through a camera lens, but do it with passion, purpose and next to some strangers with a smile on each one of your faces.
On the tour, we'll give you a walking tour of every city, every place, give you a few fun facts, but also give you plenty of free time to explore on your own. Nobody likes to feel like a sheep the entire time and be led around. You're all athletes, you're all adventurers, and on every VoyEdge RX trip, we're going to treat you like one. Our tours are not mindless point A to point B vacations....they're small, tight-knit, group-oriented trips for you to work hard, work out, hike, party, go sightseeing and really learn a thing or two about the community you're traveling with, but also to the places you're going. Not to mention, we're going to go pretty wild with our box drop-ins. There's nothing more that I love than getting a damn good sweat on in a foreign place...
Anyway, traveling has a way of opening our eyes, helping us reflect on our own lives, but also opening them up to new faces, new friends, and new opportunities. Relax, take it moment by moment, and as with every trip you take in life, take the good, with the bad. The world is bigger than each of us, our needs, and should be looked at in the big picture. You get what I'm putting down?
See you out there. Live large. Don't always play by the rules.
~ Cam King
Co-Founder // VoyEdge RX