Thursday, April 14, 2011

Italia: Questions Answered

Before we frolic off to Firenze with a pit-stop in Pisa, I thought I'd answer a few questions regarding our travels....

Kelly asked about my travel ensemble... I'm a little old-school when it comes to plane attire. Breathing all that recycled air in-flight makes me feel gross and shlumpy clothes just make me feel grosser, so I usually try to look somewhat presentable when I fly.  Pile on the fact that I was stepping off the plane in Italy where folks are just more put together in general, and I immediately axed all thoughts of my comfy yoga pants.  But, on the other hand, who wants to be stuck in an airplane seat for 12 hours wearing stiff binding clothing? Not I.  Travel Uniform to the rescue!  

travel ensemble
Nice, thick black leggings, a tank top, and a (non-wrinkly, non-faded) hooded pullover. I contemplated wearing the same flats I'm wearing in that link, but was already anticipating a potential tight connection in Madrid so I went with the sparkly Toms instead.  Overall, this outfit wouldn't win me any fashionista awards, but it wasn't sloppy and it was definitely comfy.  Upon arrival in Rome, I immediately switched out of the leggings into GAP Always Skinnies and traded my pull-over for a light jacket and a scarf.  Still not up to Satorialist snuff, but I didn't look like I was on my way to Disney Land either.  That'll do pig, that'll do!  

I also must give a plug to said GAP cotton tank.  I feel like every Spring I buy a bunch of cotton "beater" tanks, and every year, I'm disappointment in them.  They're either too short, the straps are too thin or too thick, they stretch out too quickly, they fade, etc, etc.  I've tried all the usual suspects... Old Navy, J. Crew, Lands' End Canvas, and, in the past, GAP.  All of them... well, suck.  I'd resigned myself to the Old Navy ones because at least they're cheap and long with good straps {although they stretch out quickly and fade even quicker}.  I happened to sample one at GAP when trying on a pair of jeans last month and fell in love!  Then the lovely Kikbee told me they had been restyled after so many complaints in years passed!  I am enamored with these tanks.  They are thick, long, fade resistant and hold their shape like champs!  I wore a deep eggplant one throughout the entire hell that was Day 1 {actually about 36 hours in total} and when I took it off, it looked exactly like it did when I'd put it on the previous day.  It was a bit stinky, but I actually wore it again the next day while we were hiking to have another layer under my tee.  Still looked {although it definitely did not smell} perfect even after our big hike.  

Okay.  Plug over.  Next! 

Bunny asked about the shoes we wore in the trail in Cinque Terre... We both wore normal tennis shoes.  I did wear hiking socks though and those helped immensely... no hot spots on my feet!  Hiking shoes would have been helpful for some of the steeper climbs and descents, but they aren't necessary. 

Sarah wanted to know where we keep our passports and what kind of bag I carry when traveling.  While we are in transit, I keep our passports zipped in the inner pocket of my purse.  Photocopies of each of our passports are in each piece of checked luggage.  Once we arrive at our destination, we lock the actual passports in the hotel safe {ask the front desk if there isn't a personal one in your room} and we keep a photocopy on us.  

Rome 2011
Chiang Mai 2008

As far as bags, I carried a cross-body bag {very similar to this}- be sure to get one with a tight clasp or zipper!  I've also carried Longchamp totes abroad and those work well, but are easier to snatch if you're not being cautious.  I keep all my cash, credit cards, drivers' license, and passport photocopy inside a Ziploc baggie and an internal zippered pocket inside whatever bag I'm carrying.  The Ziploc is not stylish, but it allows you to see what you need quickly... you don't want to be fumbling through an overstuffed wallet all the time! 

And finally, Natalie wondered about iPhone usage in Europe...  Every hotel we stayed in had free internet available so I did not upgrade to an international plan for the trip.  AT&T assured me that if I REALLY NEEDED to use my text or data, I would be able to {at an astronomical charge, but still}.  Well, guess what AT&T, when I REALLY NEEDED to use my phone, it told me my emails were going through but they did not.  I'm still pretty pissed about that.  A woman we chatted with in Florence told us she'd purchased a Droid from Verizon specifically because she heard iPhones were terrible in Europe, even with international data plans.  Of course her Droid was also giving her bigtime issues even with her upgraded package.  Internet cafes are the most reliable for sure.... not helpful in an emergency, but more than good enough for checking in every now and again.  

I think that about covers it... I'll be happy to answer any more questions if y'all think of any! 


  1. Great info! I'm getting so excited about my Paris trip - I think I may skip making my iPhone international.

  2. i have a similar travel outfit and last time i wore it (to, um, wichita) i had a long cardigan on but a regular tee underneath. so going through security i had to shed the cardi and my butt was all "look at me! leggings as pants!" and i was embarrassed. But then i turned around to find my husband taking off his sweatshirt, his tee clinging to it, leaving him topless. i was no longer embarrassed.

    love these posts! i have travel envy!

  3. @erin - CRACKS ME UP! I am forever wearing those printed holiday socks {easter bunnies! cupids! sombreros!} with my boots and I've been mortified more than once when my otherwise sleek travel outfit morphed into LOOK AT MY LEPRECHAUNED FEET whilst being scanned.

  4. You always look so put together. I love love love that scarf you're wearing with the red dress. Can't wait to hear more about your trip! I've been telling your scary "Day 1" story to friends getting ready to travel abroad as a cautionary tale.

  5. Oh these are GREAT travel tips! No matter how short the flight I always get off looking (and smelling) like I've been traveling with no shower for a week.

    We don't have any problems with our iPhone or Blackberry Internationally, but well...we live in Scotland. We aren't considered international when we travel. We get signal no problem.

  6. I just bought two of those gap beater tanks and I LOVE them too. Plus you can't beat 2 for $20! :)

  7. I love your detailed notes and photos. Thanks for sharing everything - I know it takes a lot of time.

    I am curious what you use to find hotels? Guidebooks? Tripadvisor? Combination of both?

    ps- Glad you are ok after Day 1. But hey, we all knew you would prevail!

  8. If possible you can purchase a really cheap phone once you've landed. We bought one for 10 pounds and that little dude worked in Croatia and my iPhone didn't even get a signal. So not cool. it was nice to have that cheapo phone just for emergencies.

  9. PS- Glad the heroine lived to tell the Italian tale!

  10. This isn't travel related, but is a burning question after reading: where are your thick black leggings from? I've been on the hunt for a quality pair for ages!

  11. Thanks for sharing your experience with us!

    PS: I have no idea why you have been so hard on yourself about how you look in your Europe pics. You look healthy and happy and radiant!

  12. @ellenmeopea - Thank you so much for saying so! Ideally, I'd be most comfortable somewhere in between those last few photos {the Thailand one taken right after I took the Bar... most successful "diet" ever, but definitely not the healthiest!}.

  13. Where is your camel sweater from? Love it. Leggings=total lifesaver.

  14. Thanks for posting your purse and passport advice. I am loving your travel tips, here and at EAD Living. Great stuff! Thanks much.


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