The Ultimate Packing Guide for First-Time Travelers to Italy

In this Article


Heading to the homeland of da Vinci and gelato for the first time is both exciting and a little nerve-wracking, especially if it’s your first time abroad.

Whether you’re strolling the ancient streets of Rome or gazing upon the ethereal beauty of Venice’s canals, Italy is a place where every corner of the country is packed with details oozing with history and charm.

To make the most of your trip, you’ll want to pack efficiently because dragging your overstuffed luggage across cobblestones isn’t as fun as it might sound.

Here’s a comprehensive list of the essentials you’ll need for a vacation to Italy, ensuring you’re fully prepared to discover the beauty of the Bel Paese without a hitch.


Medium sized luggage

First and foremost, resist the temptation to bring a large suitcase when traveling to Italy. Everything is smaller there, from portion sizes to streets, cars, and hotel rooms. Carrying a huge luggage will quickly become a hassle.

You’ll struggle with finding bigger taxis to accommodate your luggage, navigating trains will be a nightmare, and it will take up precious space in your hotel room. Trust me, opt for a medium-sized suitcase instead.

Passport and/or ID card

This might seem like it goes without saying, but you’d be surprised.

The golden rule of international travel is to never leave home without your identification. For those coming from EU countries, the national ID card suffices, while non-EU citizens require passports. Ensure they are valid for the duration of your trip and have at least one blank page for stamps.

Also, bring along a copy of your passport so you can leave your passport in your hotel safe while doing your daily explorations.

Travel insurance

Travel insurance is one of those things you never think you need until you do. It is an absolute lifesaver in times of unexpected illness, loss, or theft. Keep your policy information and emergency contact numbers easy to reach to simplify the claims process.

We recommend using EKTA insurance because, they aren’t you average annoying insurance company. They make it easy for travelers to get the coverage they need. Their coverage is worldwide and they offer a few different options all at an extremely affordable price. 

Money money money

Don’t forget to notify your bank of your travel plans to avoid having to learn the word declined in Italian. If you have large ATM fees it’s wise to carry a small amount of cash in Euros for immediate expenses upon arrival, like a taxi or a slice of pizza. If not there’s always ATMs at the airport to withdraw Euros.

If you’re planning on staying in Italy for an extended period of time, and will need to be able to transfer money easily to European accounts (i.e. pay rent) you’ll want to make a Revolut account  for easy cross currency transfers that only charge a few dollars in fee, whereas most banks charge about $50 for a wiring fee. 

Drivers license

If road-tripping through Tuscany or along the Amalfi Coast is on your agenda, don’t forget your driver’s license. You might also need an International Driving Permit (IDP), depending on your country of origin.

Power adaptor

Don’t forget that your electronics will not be compatible with Italian plugs, you’ll need to bring adaptors and voltage converter. Italy uses type C, F, and L plugs with 230V supply voltage and 50Hz. Ensure you have the right adapter to charge your devices. 

Always pack a couple extra, you’d be surprised how many devices will need charging at the same time you want to use your curling iron.

European Phone Charger

To ensure you can always charge your phone in Italy, it’s best to pre-order a European phone charger. This way, you won’t have to worry about carrying a power adaptor with you at all times.

Solar Powered Power Bank

With all the snapping and mapping, your devices can quickly run out of juice. A solar power bank keeps them running, especially during long days of sightseeing. 


The Italian fashion capital, Milan, is a clear indication of the national sartorial prowess. Tailor your attire to the season, but a word to the wise—Italians are known for dressing chic even in casual settings.

See our guide to what to wear in Italy.


Toothbrush with cover, toothpaste, and floss

Maintain that pearly white smile amidst all the wine tasting and pasta eating. Make sure your toothbrush has a cover so you can throw it in your bag and go without having to worry about it getting gross.

Shampoo, Conditioner, and Body wash in Reusable Containers

Travel-sized bottles are not only convenient but also compliant with carry-on restrictions. Make sure to get reusable bottles to be a conscious traveler, we think the silicone ones are the best.


Shield yourself from the relentless Mediterranean sun, especially during the summer months. Make sure you’re using 30+ on your face and body, even if it’s cloudy.

Opt for a reel-safe sunscreen, especially if you’ll be taking dips in the Mediterranean.

Moisturizer and lip balm

Hydration is key, both for your skin and lips, given the dryness of airplane cabins and exposure to the elements. You’ll be extremely happy that you have lip balm in your carry-on about mid-flight.

Moisturizer and lip balm

Hydration is key, both for your skin and lips, given the dryness of airplane cabins and exposure to the elements. You’ll be extremely happy that you have lip balm in your carry-on about mid-flight.

Deodorant + Deodorant Wipes

Stay fresh as you explore under the Italian sun with deodorant wipes that are easy to throw in any bag.

Period products

Pack according to your personal needs. Although tampons and pads are widely available, they are usually not the same as the kind you’re used to, which let’s be honest with all the newness you’re going to experience, this doesn’t need to be one of them.

If you haven’t already made the switch to using a menstrual cup, we highly encourage you to give it a go. Especially while traveling these are LIFESAVERS because you can leave them in all day and not have to worry.


Earplugs and Eye Mask

Eye masks and ear plugs are not only excellent for catching some much-needed sleep on a plane but also for ensuring a restful night’s rest, especially if you find yourself in the heart of a bustling city that tends to get noisy after dark.

After all, when your tour kicks off at the crack of dawn, the last thing you want is to be tossing and turning due to street noise.

Laundry bag

If there’s one non-negotiable thing that I learned way too late is to have a laundry bag. It keeps your dirty laundry separate avoiding everything in your luggage from smelling like musty gym clothes. Plus you’ll save time on sorting when you return home.

Babbel App

A little bit of Italian goes a LONG way in Italy, and while duolingo gets all the hype (their marketing team is *chefs kiss) for langauge learning apps, the true hero is Babbel. It will teach you the essentials you actually need to know while you’re on the trip. Plus you can use it for three months for free.

Reusable waterbottle

A reusable water bottle is a win, win, win. Stay hydrated, save money, and curb your plastic waste by refilling at the the widely available public fountains. Plus, tap water is drinkable in Italy, but as always we recommend using a filtered water bottle because it’s always better safe than sorry.

Small Backpack for Day Trips

When you’re heading out on a day trip you’ll want to have a compact backpack to carry your camera, water, and other necessities for a day of exploration.


A small supply of energy bars or trail mix can keep hunger pangs at bay, especially on group tours or long train rides.

Reusable tote

Handy for impromptu farmer’s market purchases or even as an extra carry-all when your luggage is stuffed to the brim. I found that I use my almost daily when I am in Italy.

If it’s your first time going to Italy be prepared for the Italian cultural differences by reading our guide to your first time in Italy.

Whether you’re in the heart of bustling metropolitan chaos or the quiet tranquility of Tuscan vineyards, preparation is the key to a smooth and delightful experience. By bringing these items along, you’re all set to indulge in the dolce vita that Italy has to offer. Buon viaggio!

All Things Italy

Pin to board
Share on facebook

One Response

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *