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Coffee Talk 03.19.23

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Good morning! Although, it will probably be afternoon by the time you read this. I’m not sure what time of day it is, or even what day it is at this point, haha! It’s been a long week… a good one, but a lot going on!

After a whirlwind trip to Florida to take pictures and escape the frigid northeast for a few days, I was up bright and early yesterday morning to head to New Jersey to see my daughter compete in a regional Indoor Percussion competition.

It was a long day because they performed twice. The highest scoring ensembles from the preliminaries competed again in the finals, and we were thrilled to be one of those, but it made for a verrrrrrry long day.

This regional event includes high school and college ensembles, so we got to see some amazing shows, but they didn’t get to the awards ceremony until almost 11PM. I know, crazytown.

I used to be glad none of my kids did travel sports or dance, but this is pretty much the same level of intensity. It’s really cool for the kids, though. It’s part music, part drill, part theater, but it’s also very competitive, which brings an element of sport to the activity.

If you’ve never seen an indoor percussion performance, you should check out this video. That’s the group that won the night last night, although that video is last year’s show, and it’s just them practicing in the parking lot. For some reason, I can’t find anything of the actual competition.

Anyway, suffice it to say, I’m getting a slow start to my morning. I’m also having a little bit of a vertigo flareup, which hasn’t happened in a long time. I really hope it doesn’t decide to linger, but it sometimes does after I fly, so we’ll see…

Meanwhile, our trip to Italy is finally off and running. Thanks so much for all of your suggestions last week. I knew you all would come through for me! We decided to work with a travel agent since time is of the essence and everything is filling up fast. I can’t wait to get our itinerary and start tweaking it. I’m sure it will all seem much more real at that point.

I need to get our plane tickets squared away soon because prices have already gone up since I looked at them last weekend, and I’ve started researching and ordering suitcases and day bags/backpacks to try out. All five us will need something to carry during the day, as well as a carry-on suitcase. (This post is very helpful, if you’re also looking at carry-on luggage for international travel.)

Yes, you heard that right. I’m determined to go carry-on only for this trip. If you know me at all, you know that is a tall order, but I’m sure it can be done, especially since it’s going to be such a hot time of year. All I need are a few dresses and a couple pairs of sandals and some travel-sized toiletries, right? It sounds so simple, ha!

I’ve also ordered some crossbody bags to try, although my old HOBO Cassie is probably as good as anything. (Mine is taupe, not teal.) They also make this one, which is nice and sleek, and might make a nice upgrade to the one I have.

But maybe it’s better to get an anti-theft bag? I also like the looks of this nylon TUMI crossbody, but it’s pretty pricey, and I hear nylon can get slashed? I’m open to any suggestions. In fact, I’ve already ordered a few that you all have recommended.

I enjoy researching, and I know a lot of you are also traveling this year, so I figured I’d order a bunch and review them on the blog. Stay tuned!

Okay, that’s about it. I didn’t even really share much about my Florida trip, but this post is long enough, and I still need to round up this week’s top ten for the newsletter. Enjoy what’s left of your weekend!

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93 thoughts on “Coffee Talk 03.19.23

  1. The sound of a drumline is amazing to me – it’s so energetic. My brother played drums in HS band and I remember loving to go watch him. As for traveling in a carry on, it can be done! You probably already know of “travel fashion girl” on IG, FB and other platforms, but the community is wonderful for helping make light travel possible. Where is Italy are you going? Save room to bring back beautiful shoes 😂

    Cheers – Katie, Spokane

    1. Hi Jo-Lynne,

      I LOVE hearing about your daughter’s band events! I am a band director on hiatus to be a mom but I have directed marching band, concert band, color guard, winter guard, pit percussion, and helped with indoor drum line! I remember those long days of winter guard competitions 😩. Now I am a proud HS band parent! I ❤️ band!

      Also, my only trip abroad was my 2 week honeymoon in Europe (took way too much stuff) and I have always said I’d I ever went back I would ONLY take a backpack!

      Hope you enjoy!

      😀

  2. Your trip to Italy already sounds so fun! Here’s my #1 tip for traveling carry-on only: put a few things in your husband’s or son’s carry-on suitcase. I’m not kidding. My husband & son always pack lighter than I do, so some overflow ends up in one of their bags. And, one more thing we’ve done for years: we bring along a duffel bag that zips up into a small square. It goes in my husband’s carry-on & then we use it on the way home if we need extra space. It typically ends up holding our dirty clothes & we check it. Enjoy planning— that’s always a fun part of any trip!

    1. I live in Europe and bought my first PacSafe bag (a crossbody) during the pandemic. It’s convenient, easy to carry and holds a lot. I use it almost daily.

  3. Our family of 5is traveling the last 2 weeks of May to Italy. My son is only bringing a carry on and staying a few days longer. ( this is his 4th trip)
    Any way how long are you going for? Carry on for me for 2 weeks seems unrealistic. How long are you going for?

    Linda

  4. Good morning…..and Lol my other tidbit here, good thing with Verizon plans (last summer) I just went on line upgraded plan so phone was covered for international and was $10 a day if used that day. Nice for the kids and they’ll use phones for pictures as I did, I’m sure. No other additional cost to plan, very simple. I’m sure your kids know about the app/gps thing that if they get separated from family they can locate you on phone. I didn’t use, but one of the other ladies with our group has young adult children and was using it on her phone, looked pretty cool.

    PS you’ll need to contact your credit card company as well and give them dates and location, if not you’ll get locked out more than likely.

    Ok…no more over whelming. Happy Sunday and glad your moving forward on trip.

  5. Jo-Lynne,

    A trip to Italy in the summer sounds amazing!!

    I travelled to the UK and Ireland pre pandemic. I was able to get by for 10 days with a small carry on suitcase on wheels. I also had a weekender bag with sections and pockets that had a loop on the back that allowed me to slide it on my suitcase which was great. I also had a crossbody purse and a collapsible backpack. I saw someone using a sling backpack which I will buy before my next trip. I took my DSLR so I needed a backpack for that. I put water, ID, a jacket and small souvenirs in it too. I had my phone, but took the DSLR and am so glad I did so that I would have high quality photos from the trip. I wore socks and had slip on shoes to go through TSA. You are probably aware of most of this info, but maybe you will find it helpful.

  6. Going carry-on only is a good idea. But be sure to know the sizes and weight allowances for the airlines you will be taking. They are all somewhat different and can be quite restrictive. For example, Lufthansa has a limit of around 18 lbs for international flights from the US. Some folks have reported that the airlines never weigh their carry-on bags, but flying from a couple of different airports in the Southeast, my bags have been weighed and measured every time. Also, be prepared to have to gate check your bag if you have to change planes in Europe. The regional jets are sometimes pretty small and there may not be room for both your carry-on and your personal item. Italy is grand and is probably my favorite European destination. Hope you have a wonderful time.

    1. Thank you, that jibes with everything I’ve heard. I think we can go direct from Philly to Rome, which will be ideal. I am feeling anxious until I get those flights booked. Are there limits for the trains too?

      1. There are no weight limits on the trains but things to consider are carrying your luggage up and down stairs from one train platform to another, stowing the luggage up over head of your train seat (easy to throw your back out or injure a shoulder): lighter is better. Going for 1 week with carry on is completely do -able especially in summer time when you don’t need winter heavier clothes and boots. We did 5 weeks in UK and Italy with only carry on. Had no problem at all. Brought 2 summer dresses, 2 shorts, 1 pair of linen pants, 4 tops, 1 lightweight jacket, swim suit, hat. Tips and tricks: color coordinate everything, bring something that covers knees & shoulders to visit cathedrals (shorts and tank tops frowned upon), wear sneakers on the cobblestone streets, bring a travel size 3 oz liquid laundry detergent to wash clothes if it’s really hot. I brought a few extra plastic hangers to wash & drip dry with, left them in a pensione. If you are going in the summer, it will be warm/ hot so wick away clothes wash quickly. Bring a voltage converter adapter for your electronics; it’s 220 volt electricity there. The jet lag is real, maybe research ways to minimize jet lag? I struggled for 3 days there and 3 days back back. Try to get on their time zone, don’t think about home time, go on their schedule, try to sleep on the plane. You will love it!! It will be a trip of a lifetime!!

  7. My high school went to a class reunion and shared a room she flew I drove. I packed MANY bags and she had just a carry on

    I asked her how she had a week’s worth of clothes on a carry on and she started pulling out packing cubes

    Now rather i or drive a carry on is all I need and my Packing cubes can back a week’s worth of clothes now without having to look like a bag lady

    1. I have packing cubes, and I don’t feel like they help much. I don’t know if I’m doing it wrong, or what. I packed in them for my trip to Florida, and we had to jam a couple in the last side of the suitcase b/c they weren’t quite the right size to fit side by side. (There were 4 sides, 2 medium sized suitcases.) Paul had to do it, and they smushed everything inside so it was wrinkled more than normal.

      On the way back, I was like, I’m just going to see if they really help… so I packed everything back in withOUT the packing cubes – although they actually took up a bit more room in the corner that I shoved them into. I was able to pack easily with a little wiggle room. I just don’t get it.

      1. I tried packing cubes when we went to Vegas in December. I wasn’t really impressed, either. They didn’t wrinkle my clothes, but I don’t think they saved me much room. They were good for organizing though, I had underwear and tanks in one, daytime tops in another, etc.. my husband went to Tokyo for 9 days with just a backpack, he even brought home souvenirs. I have no idea how he did it!

      2. Check out “compression” packing cubes on Amazon. They make all the difference to pack really compact!

  8. Mixandmatchmama recommends packing cubes, but also gave the tip to spread out each family member’s items among all the suitcases in case something happens to a suitcase. That way, the person whose suitcase is lost/stolen/broken, etc. isn’t at a complete loss because a couple of her outfits are in another bag. We usually try to at least put a few undergarments, socks, swimsuits across a few different bags so we at least have those items in case something happens.

    1. I was thinking that might be a good idea… With older kids, they probably prefer to have their own bags, but I might insist. If I pack it all, it might work. Even though I don’t find packing cubes help me save room, I do like how they organize things. I could use the packing cubes and color code them so everyone knows whose is whose.

  9. So excited for you and your family-you’re going to have a great time. The Italians are very friendly people. You know that you can never predict the weather. When we went to France in 2019 they were having the hottest summer on record. But when we got there in August it cooled down and we actually needed jackets. You’ll just have to keep checking. If anybody can manage to take just a carry-on, you can. You are so organized and plan your outfits so well. You got this!

    1. Haha, yes and no. I’m also terribly indecisive and like to have options. But I am also happy to rewear outfits, and yes, can be very organized when I need to be. This will be a fun challenge! 🙂

  10. I always enjoy reading your blog, Jo-Lynne, as well as your Saturday Q & A. To the reader who asked how to revive second-day hair, might I suggest Blowout Professor on YouTube. He’s a salon owner with a lot of great tutorials on hair care and styling. He has one specifically on that topic. He has some of the best videos out there; they’re both informative and concise.

    1. Thanks for the tip! Sounds like I need to watch that video too, lol. I got extensions a while ago, and now it takes longer to dry and I’m not as eager to wash it so often. But I like how it looks and feels when clean.

  11. I’ve traveled with a Tumi bag for years. It makes traveling so easy with the carefree nylon and the compartments. I have gone to Italy a few times, once on my son’s school trip. We were told to wear a pouch around our neck that goes under your shirt to carry your passport, extra cash and room key. I got mine from REI. There are many pick pockets there, often little girls, where one distracts you while the other is digging into your bag! Italy is my favorite country in Europe, so much history, stunning architecture, shopping and fabulous food! You just need to be vigilant.

    1. Thanks, Anne. I was going to get Paul one of those for sure – I told him he can carry all our passports. No pressure, haha! But he is the most reliable one of us, and also I can’t imagine having anything under my shirt. That would drive me bonkers. Thanks for the tips!

      1. I saw the cutest belt bag by HOBO in the sand color at Belk online, might work for small items while sightseeing, can also be worn across as crossbody. Believe it was around $148.00.

  12. I’ve also been debating about what to do for a daily bag when we go. Not sure whether to do anti-theft or not, but I’ve looked at Travelon, PacSafe, and Sherpani. Love the small Tumi sling, but also debating just a cross-body belt bag. That seems like it would be pretty secure. I’m sure you’ve come across this in your research, but apparently it is a law in Italy (for travelers, I’m assuming) that you have to carry your passport at all times, but that you should also make sure you have a copy. Someone with more experience will hopefully chime in. This is our first trip to Europe too.

    We were going to try for two carryons (w/ a foldable duffle), but have pretty much decided to do a checked bag and a carryon. I know we’ll be buying a lot, including bringing some wine back.

    1. Interesting, I didn’t know we had to carry passports. I thought having it on phone is okay? I hear mixed things about which is safer – having it on you and potentially losing it, or having it locked in safe in hotel where you might not be able to get to it if needed in an emergency or it could be stolen even from there. I’m more worried about one of the kids losing theirs than losing mine.

  13. I like Travelon bags, for a good purse to travel with. They have anti-slash material , lots of pockets, spot for water bottles, RIFD blocking , etc. I call it my Mary Poppins bag because I could fit so much in it. They have a number of different sizes.

  14. Highly recommend getting TSA-pre status so you can go through the security fast and not have to remove shoes, belts, laptops, light jackets, or 3-1-1 liquids, etc. It’s a nominal fee for a few years. 90% of applicants are approved in 5 minutes or less (per their website) https://www.tsa.gov/precheck

        1. Yes, I tried to get one before we went to France in 2020, and then everything shut down and I couldn’t get to a location. After we canceled our trip, I figured, who cares. Now I want it, but all 5 of us need it or there’s no point. AND the kids need Passports. Gah.. so much to do!

          1. Good luck with everything and passports! Hopefully the passports for the kids goes well! One of my kids was able to get his passport updated at college and it was super easy. Just a thought for your college daughter if they have a passport office on campus. One of my other kids we updated back in August. We actually about 30 minutes to small town post office that took appointments and was in and out in 15 minutes or less.

            We are planning Mediterranean cruise in 2024. I am already thinking about it! i am more worried about toiletries and those liquid limits lol. I wear gas perm hard lenses and need specific contact solution. Have sensitive skin so not too concerned about makeup but do like my facial wash and sunscreen routine:))

          2. Jo-Lynne, get the kids passports ASAP. There is a minimum 12 week wait right now due to a surge of applications. I renewed my kids back in January still haven’t received them. You can now make an appointment at the post office and well as an appointment at The UPS store for passport pictures.

  15. So exciting! I adore Italy ( and Europe in general!) and on the trips we’ve taken across the pond I have really, really tried to go carry on only (we’ve only been in the warmer months) and I failed. In my mind it really does seem doable but I just couldn’t make it work even though I read countless posts! I suppose I like too much variety 😂 Can’t wait to read your post on what you packed and wore, that is if you do one, which I certainly hope you do! Enjoy!

    1. I like variety too, especially when going somewhere that I don’t know what to expect. I am hoping b/c it’s so hot, I can get away with less. Just lightweight moisture-wicking dresses and flat sandals. I’ll wear sneakers on the plane. Of course, I also have to get the kids on board!

  16. My favorite travel crossbody is the Lo & Sons Pearl crossbody. It’s very organized and holds much more than you would think. It also comes with a wristlet strap so you can use it as a clutch if you want to. I have the graphite color and it’s a great neutral. Can’t wait to hear about your trip!

  17. Jo-Lynne – if you end up going carry on – would you take a picture of everything you brought? I just tried to pack carry-on for 4 nights in Atlanta, and it was hands down the most stressful packing experience I’ve ever had. Not sure I’ll ever do it again! Also – even if you plan on going carry on – I’d suggest putting an Airtag in each person’s suitcase, just in case it does get separated from you somewhere.

  18. You’re going to have so much fun! I’m going to Paris for my 25th anniversary this spring, but Italy has a place in my heart.
    There’s no shame in having to check a bag and it should be included. International carry ons are tiny as you know, I usually check one bag and do the rest carry on with all our essentials. I’ve never regretted that decision.
    Knowing just a tiny bit of Italian goes a long way and a key few phrases will get you better service. Enjoy your trip!

  19. Love Italy! I was there in September for two weeks specifically Venice. But I had a checked bag and a carry on ( I overpacked imagine that lol!). I also used packing cubes but like you only for organization. I also don’t know what I’m doing wrong as far as using them for saving space.

    But if anyone can just take a carry on, it’s you. It will be hot so shorts, t-shirts and good walking shoes are a must. If you go to Venice try to get a hotel close to the public transportation boat docks, you don’t want to walk around Venice lugging your luggage on cobble stone and up and down bridges!

    Most of all, Enjoy!

  20. So excited for your family! I just returned from London was an amazing trip! I can’t wait to go back. Carry on bag and anti theft crossbody, we were taking train into city.
    The key great tennis shoes and one pair of flats.
    Of course we bought few things and each had small tote on way home for queens tea lol!
    One cute blazer also works with everything.

  21. I’m also looking for a crossbody for Italy. Please let me know what you find. Going to read the post on suitcases for international travel.

  22. Following with interest as I’m going to Italy with the hubby and 2 friends October 1st for 10 days. My husband has been 5-6 times, but not for a few years. I probably won’t do carry-on only, but maybe! I am the most indecisive packer ever! Think I’ll be wearing a lot of black and I must find comfortable sneakers. The worst part for me is I think I need a small pharmacy. Hopefully, none of us will!

  23. Sounds like a fantastic family trip. It’s so hard to get everyone together as the kids get older.

    I’m curious about your vertigo. I recently had an episode. This is the third one in the last 7 months. I was prescribed a motion prescription to take when I feel one coming on. Do you do anything special?

    1. I tried that once before, it helped but I hated the side effects. There are various causes, but no one could figure out the cause of mine.

      Some people get it when the crystals in their ear get disrupted, and you can see a doctor and get that fixed (or do it yourself – youtube has videos) but that isn’t the cause of mine. I have been to various specialists, to no avail. I guess it’s my lot in life. It always goes away after 4-6 weeks.

  24. Hi Jolynne! I messaged you about having a bunch of tips for traveling to Italy with only a carryon…my husband and I went for 2 1/2 weeks and we did it! Thought I’d post here since others might pick up a tip or two as well. I loved reading other people’s comments too. I read some blogs by a lady named Sarah Murdoch who used to be a Rick Steves tour guide. She has a blog (adventureswithSarah.net) and search for “packing”. She has TONS of ideas. I’ll list a few of my faves here. I think the overall main thing is to weigh everything. Sounds silly but if you set a goal, you’ll figure out how to condense, lighten up, etc, so you can actually lift your carryon haha. Airlines have weight limits too, but the main thing is to think about schlepping your carryon everywhere, over your head, etc, so you don’t want a 30 pound suitcase when it’s 95 in Italy! Sarah sets a goal of like 18 pounds I think, but I topped out at 25. I brought my kitchen scale into my bathroom and weighed my makeup, skincare, underwear, clothes, literally everything. And did a couple of trial runs packing everything. I used packing cubes which to me were revolutionary. Also, you want to make sure each piece of clothing weighs just a few ounces. A 1.5 pound pair of jeans just didn’t make the cut. In fact I didn’t even wear jeans in Italy…too hot! Athleta has some really lightweight ankle pants. Vince Camuto has sleeveless v-neck popover tanks that are cool and weigh ounces. You’ll need something on your shoulders to wear in cathedrals…even a lightweight scarf to wrap around your shoulders would be fine. Shoes are heavy…I wore a pair of On Cloud sneakers on the plane and wore them a lot of days touring cities. Also a pair of flat Ecco sandals that I wore all over Venice. And a pair of flip flops for hotel rooms. And that was it! I maybe could have used a little heel sandal for dinners out but I don’t do heels very well especially when I’m walking forever. Take several smaller zipper bags for toiletries. I love my toiletry bag that is similar to what you shared a few weeks ago, but it is too big. Having smaller bags are better because you can tuck them in small places. Tom Bihn has some great ones (pricey), but the quality is amazing. The 3d organizer was great for my makeup (it’s see-through), plus it has a hanger. My husband used the spiff kit. I also used clear zipper bags that came with my packing cubes for other toiletries. Not sure if you’d want me to share links for these Amazon purchases, so I’ll just tell you what they are.
    YAMIU 7 piece packing cubes,
    Lewis N Clark packing cubes (one is a duffel bag that I used in our rooms for dirty clothes which I would hand wash and hang to dry in our rooms…yes I was THAT person). Coming home, you can carry on the plane your treasures in the duffel bag and check your carry on.
    Earth Breeze laundry sheets – I took about 6 sheets (they weigh nothing) and used one to hand wash clothes in the bidet that will be in every Italian bathroom.
    Portable clothesline. So handy. Comes with clips.
    Plastic hooks. I love hooks and these can go over a door or shower door and even provide a hook for the clothes line to hook to. Cheapy plastic ones on Amazon work great and weigh nothing.
    On Gossamer panties. Nordstrom also has these. They dry in no time.
    For my hubs – ExOfficio boxer briefs – super fast drying.
    MOCHIC CUP flat water bottle. I LOVED THIS!! It slips right into your cross body travel bag, and gets lighter as you drink it haha. And it’s flat! Doesn’t leak! I got a lot of comments from people asking where I got it. So handy. I’d fill up from a larger bottle in our room.
    Baggalini Bryant Smartphone Pouch. This is a tiny crossbody purse that I took to dinner when I didn’t want to haul around my travel bag.
    NOOFORMER travel mini umbrella…not sure if you’ll need an umbrella but that one worked great and is tiny and lightweight.
    My husband got an RFID money belt that he wore under his shirt (Rick Steves has a great demo video of that), and we both had RFID passport holders – Amazon has a ton.
    Kitsch Ultimate Travel Set – a bunch of lightweight refillable toiletry items. These were great.
    Gillette mini razor. Tiny but necessary haha!
    Ok for makeup…I revamped my normal makeup routine because all those palettes are super heavy. I pried out the palettes and separated them from the case and took them in snack size zip lock bags like my foundation, bronzer and blush. Pur makes a powder foundation with a sunscreen so that was two products in one. I got a set of lightweight mini makeup brushes. Mineral Fusion makes a 3 way eyeshadow that is super small. I took a mini thrive causemetics mascara. I bought a Revlon colorstay lipstick/gloss combo that is super small and lightweight. Minimized everything which is hard for a person like me who loves makeup! I didn’t miss my normal stuff…it was actually fun!
    I think that’s it for now! I know it’s a lot, but it helps to plan ahead and think about why you bring every little thing to minimize extra stuff you don’t really need. I also did take a larger cross body tote bag that I bought a padded shoulder strap for. I put my travel bag/purse inside so that it could be my personal item on the plane, and it did give me some extra room. I would go the backpack route the next time because that thing got heavy over my shoulder.
    Ok I really think that’s it this time…hope some of this helps, and I’m excited for you that you get to go to Italy! You’ll love it. 🙂
    P.S. Ok one more really frivolous and fun thing…I found these portable vases on Amazon. They pack flat and you just pop it up, fill it with water, and find a little flower stand so you can enjoy fresh flowers in your room! It’s called MODGY collapsible and expandable vase. We met my siblings and their spouses for three nights in Zermatt, and I got one for each of them and delivered flowers to them. It’s not every day that we can fly from all over the world to meet in Europe so I thought they all needed flowers. Like I said…frivolous…but we all enjoyed our flowers!

    1. I just read that you’re not a fan of packing cubes…thought I’d just break down how I used mine because they were wonderful. It took a while to catch on to their value. The largest one…pants and dresses packed flat. Medium size…tops..rolled. Small…underwear, jammies, socks, scarf (any clothing that is not pants or tops). Small…all the other miscellaneous items. I tucked my toiletry and makeup bags in little corners and crevices. Some people put their shoes in a packing cube but I found it to be too big of an item to do, so I stuck those in wherever I could find room. Rolling clothes saves a ton of space, but can make it heavier when you see that you can pack more. 😉

  25. So excited for you! I use travel packing cubes and only do carryons — even have the kids and hubby trained. We don’t even OWN anything else. I went through three sets of cubes before I figured it out. I like many thin rectangular ones that stack in the suitcase, color coded per person, and pack DRESSES. They roll nicely into the cubes, are brainless and easy, always look more put together than separates, and will be appropriate for churches with a Jean jacket or light sweater.

    Also, don’t wear any shoes with a single post heel. All over Europe is cobblestone or bRick or slate —or dirt! You need a closed-toe espadrille (in case someone steps on your feet in crowded areas,) or at least a sandal with ankle straps. It’s easy to twist an ankle on irregular footing.

    Lastly, you’ll probably be pulling your wheeled luggage over some uneven terrain. IF a wheel or handle breaks, can you lift it overhead on a train or back in the airport? Our carryon personal item is always a backpack. Then we’re hands free to deal with the wheeled carryon or anything clumsy/broken. Look into a good backpack, seriously. There’s beautiful leather ones, but they’re hot and heavy. Lily Pulitzer and Vera Bradley are kind of mumsy-cute, but they’re really lightweight and washable, which is nice. I’m sure there’s other options, just consider their heat and weight.

    1. What packing cubes do you like?

      And you feel like backpacks are secure? I like the idea of having something on the front of me, and I find crossbodies more comfortable, but I’m willing to be convinced.

  26. Your family trip to Italy is going to be amazing, Jo-Lynne. And I so enjoyed reading everyone’s comments. Someone mentioned jet lag. Whenever I travel to Europe, I adjust my body clock before I go so I don’t adjust to the time change and waste precious hours being too tired to enjoy myself. In the week leading up to my evening departure from the East Coast, I begin getting up about one hour earlier each day until the day of departure. So, the day I leave for the UK this May, I’ll get up between 2:30 and 3 am EST. By the time I board the plane for my overnight flight, it feels like bedtime (and I’m exhausted from being awake since 3!) so I actually sleep on the plane. Once I arrive at my destination in the morning, I feel well enough to get in plenty of sightseeing or whatever the plans are for the day. My new husband doubted me when we traveled to Paris, but he agreed to try it. He couldn’t believe how good he felt on arrival day. For some reason, traveling home never seems to be an issue.

  27. I love Italy! I am biased though because I have family there. Bring comfortable shoes. What month are you going?

  28. We travelled 3 weeks in Europe last sept – 2 adults, 2 k8ds (9,11). We each had carry on bags and then one checked bag between us. It worked fine, the checked bag was mainly for stuff we bought, plus it was a tricky time of the year and we needed layers. Shoes are the thing to minimise. I had white trainers, ballet flats for dinner etc and my running shoes. I could have got by with just my running shoes + ballet flats (plain black NB pair that look like trainers). I used packing cubes, they helped keep me organised and were really good with the kids (colour coded cubes, one had shirts, one pants etc). We managed fine on trains, there are usually a couple of big steps up into the carriages. The cobbled streets can be hard work with bags, I would imagine an absolute nightmare with the bags with 4 wheels. Im not sure you need a slash proof bag – would you require one if going into Philly for the day? A crossbody that you can keep hold of should be fine

  29. Fun to hear tales from a fellow Indoor Percussion parent! Marching band is huge here in TX but Indoor Percussion is so much fun in the spring! Our family of five spent 2 weeks in Europe last summer with carry-ons. So happy we made it work as there were so many issues with lost luggage! We used Ziploc space bags and they allowed us to pack way more then usual. I joined Travel Fashion Girl FB group and that was a great resource. If you want to do laundry at some point you can bring along laundry detergent sheets (I bought ours on Amazon) that are so much easier to travel with than other forms of detergent. And while I love Italy, I wouldn’t dare wear a backpack there. I really liked my Travelon crossbody and all the security features it offers. I look forward to hearing all about what is sure to be an amazing trip!

  30. Oh my gosh, this is going to be the most wonderful trip! Italy is one of my most favorite places ever. You will love every single minute. Don’t stress on the clothes! You can wear things over and over. The only people you know are your family, and they could care less! BUT, in my experience, jet lag is REAL. It doesn’t effect everyone the same way. My first Europe experience, we arrived after an overnight flight and hit the ground running. By mid afternoon, I could not keep my eyes open and my husband was going strong. I begged for a nap about 4pm, he gave in and laid down, too. We woke up about 3am, ravenous! Best room service ever, and it was just fruit, cheese and Champagne! But he still tells me about a couple of very famous art museums that we visited during that first day that I have absolutely no memory of. Yep, sleep walking! Give yourselves an afternoon of rest the first day, then go to dinner, have an early night and start fresh on day two. It will be worth it!

  31. The key with packing cubes is they need to fit the carryon correctly. I’ve learned so much about packing from Jen Lefforge on YouTube. She has two channels. “Jen Lefforge” and “joyful living with Jen Lefforge”. She does carryon only. Her husband is a pilot and she travels often. She is gearing up for a trip to Tokyo carryon only.

    The Away carry on luggage looks to be the most popular. I regret not looking into it before investing in my Delsey. The Away holds so much more due to its layout. Highly recommend looking into it for yourself.

    Also, I’ve learned to make your personal item work for more packing. I used to just take my large LV neverfull but now purchased an Tumi foldable tote w/luggage strap. I put my nylon crossbody bag inside along with my toiletries and other items.

    One last thing, plan to make a “cabin flight” pouch. I thought this was genius! I use my large truffle pouch and put everything I need during the flight. I put the pouch in the seat pocket. So handy! Can’t take credit again Jen Lefforge has a video on in!

    1. I have both Away and Delsey and I didn’t think there was much difference in the capacity, but maybe there is. Unfortunately both are 21″ and not 19 or 20 – it sounds like 21″ is too big for international travel? Not sure why, they are bigger planes. Any idea? I will check her out. And yes, I love my big Goyard tote for travel here in the US but I am definitely getting a better “personal item” – I ordered the Away tote and another one I saw highly recommended. I will look into the Tumi, thanks! I plan to review them all on the blog.

      1. The away personal bag looks amazing! Jen Lefforge has it and highly recommends it. For the Away carryon she said the Away packing cubes were a game changer! They fit the case perfectly. She seems never liked packing cubes before these as these were designed specifically for the Away carryon. For the Tumi bag I got the Just In Case packable tote. Another travel YouTuber recommended it. I use a nylon Prada crossbody I’ve had forever with my essentials then put it inside the tote prior to boarding. Please share your travel gear journey likes and dislikes. Im so excited for you! Enjoy the planning

  32. FYI: there are some sights (specifically churches) that will not allow female visitors in shorts. My sister and her daughter were turned away just last summer while with a tour group.

  33. So glad you found Travel Fashion Girls–join the Facebook group if you haven’t already. I used to be the person who took at 28″ suitcase that weighed 50 lbs and now I travel carryon to Europe no matter the season or length of time I’m gone. I limit myself to 12-15 clothing items and 3 total pair of shoes (that includes flip flops and sneakers). You can do it…Just plan your outfits by the day and don’t take any “in case” clothing. I wear everything at least twice or it doesn’t go in the suitcase. This goes for the guys too. We take a carryon suitcase and a backpack per person. And then we also have a packable backpack to take with us during the day. There are tons of them at the Columbia outlet. We also take an incase bag–its a fold up packable tote or duffel that lays flat in the bottom of my suitcase. I use it to come home with in case I buy too many souvenirs. I would carry this bag on the plane and check my carryon suitcase. Not everyone would need one, but might come in handy if you took a couple of these between all of you.
    You’ll have a good time planning!

  34. Ahhhh drumline! What wonderful memories 🙂 My son played bass 5 in high school. After he graduated I didn’t know what to do with my time.

  35. When I travel to see my kids in the northeast,I leave toiletries at their homes or buy drugstore lotions and makeup when I land since I can’t bring in a carry on. Can you speak to packing makeup and toiletries in a carry on when traveling international?
    Can’t wait to hear about your trip to Italy!
    Thx

  36. I love your outfit and accessories. It’s interesting to hear about all that entails your trip. I’m learning Italian on Duolingo. Maybe one day I can practice it on Italy.

  37. Hi JoLynne

    You can do the carry on only and you will love it. We did 2 weeks in Italy during the summer & it was great. The train stations often have stairs (not escalators or elevators) & who wants to lug a giant suitcase up and down the steps and on the train? We ended up doing laundry one morning in Florence at a laundromat (only because it was raining). And bringing a foldable bag that you can check on the way home is great if you end up purchasing some items and need the space. Shoes obviously take up the most space so limit to 3 pairs. Have a fabulous time!

  38. We went to Italy for 3 weeks in September a few years ago and took only a carry-on and backpack each. And honestly I feel like I still over-packed, it got heavy over time. Remember when you’re lugging your carry-on 12 blocks over cobblestone streets that you want a light bag because distance makes everything seem heavier. We brought about 5 outfits and did laundry at every AirBnb we stayed at. One thing to note is that there weren’t dryers in any of our units, dryers are not common, so do your laundry on the first few days of checking in so it has time to air dry before packing for your next stop. We planned the trip ourselves without a travel agent and it was pretty easy to navigate. We went to Amalfi coast for 5 nights (really beautiful), Florence (our favorite) for 5 nights, Cinque Terre for 4 nights (this easily could have been reduced to 2 nights) and Rome for 4 nights. We stopped in Luca and Pisa briefly. I recommend buying laundry washing sheets, you can get them on Amazon, it’s detergent in a dryer sheet. Also I brought bar shampoo since I knew I would have other travel size liquids I’d want more than the shampoo. Make sure you take comfortable walking shoes. NOT kidding here, we walked 10 miles a day and my dogs were barking. Everyone, locals included, wears sneakers with dresses, don’t think it’s weird because everyone does it. I wore sneakers pretty much everyday, I did bring a pair of sandals but only wore them to dinner when we didn’t have to walk very far. If I had to do over, I’d bring 2 pairs of sneaker walking shoes. Also, pack some Compeed Heal Blister guards. You don’t think you’ll need them and then bam, you have a blister and they’re a life saver. For clothes I brought 3-4 thin blouses, a nylon skirt/skort, a pair of capris, 2 jumpsuits, a swimsuit, and a light sweater wrap for visiting churches. Make sure your knees and shoulders can be covered for churches. It will be warm in July so be prepared. I took a Travelon anti-theft crossbody purse. Highly recommend no-wrinkle light weight nylon type fabric pants/skirts, like Athleta or Eddie Bauer and then some cute Evereve blouses. Our next trip we’d spend more time in Florence, some time in Tuscany, Venice, Milan and Lake Cuomo. If you get a chance watch Bobbi & Giada’s series on Italy, I love all their stops. She wears dresses and sneakers every episode. You’ll see lots of P448 and Golden Goose sneakers over there LOL. Hopefully that helps. I’m jealous and happy for you, you’ll love it.

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