I believe I've mastered the art of packing light. Weather, location and style will obviously dictate what you'll want to bring, but I'll share my two standard packing lists used for my annual trips to Italy. Here I am heading to the airport with one 21" rolling carry-on, and one tote for my personal item. The size limit is 17x9x10 inches for a tote.
When traveling in Italy you have to consider cobblestone streets, bridges, stairs and perhaps hoisting your bags onto a train or boat. It's not fun lugging heavy baggage when you're trying to have a relaxing vacation, especially up & down uneven stone steps! Hope this helps you to pack light, so you can better enjoy your trip.
Note: Always wear your bulkiest items on the plane, it's often cold during the flight so you won't mind having that jacket & extra scarf. In this photo I'm wearing my yoga pants, tank top, long sleeve cardigan and a scarf. I'm heading to Italy for 1 month in the summer, and I won't need anything warmer than this for cool evenings. This is my go to flight outfit.
Packing List #1 For my annual Yoga retreat in Tuscany
My summer yoga retreat packing list:
3 dresses (maybe 4 if I'm going for more than 3 weeks)
2 colorful scarfs (you'll need to cover your shoulders to gain entry into churches etc)
1 pair capri pants
2 tank tops or t-shirts
1 cardigan sweater
1 pair yoga pants
2 yoga tops
1 pajama set/or nightie
2 bras/7 underwear
1 pair cute flip flops
1 Pair wedge heels (Please don't attempt those cute spike heels on cobblestone streets ladies)
1 pair comfy walking shoes. I have a pair by Keen that do double duty as sandals & hiking shoes
1 pair of compression socks for the flight
Books to read on flights, and a journal
*Make-up and toiletry bags, see below for list of suggested contents
*Toiletry bag should include: nail file, tweezers, special shampoo/conditioner, soap, deodorant, lotion/moisturizer, hair ties, toothpaste/toothbrush, comb/brush and small packets of laundry soap. In summer add sunscreen and mosquito repellent. OR just buy most of these items during your travels for a great local experience.
MEDICINE: Don't forget to pack any necessary meds, and maybe allergy pills if you are prone.
*Make-up bag: make-up remover wipes, eyeliner, mascara, Chapstick/gloss, face powder & brushes.
Ladies... make-up should be basic. You're on vacation and you're naturally beautiful already!
There's no need to carry tons of make-up that'll melt in the heat anyway. The only exception for me is Carnevale. To join in the fun, you'll need your shadows and theatrical make-up ;)
I know, you're wondering about only packing 3 dresses right? You can wear each dress at least 3 times on a trip. Above you can see me in a basic black mid-length dress, in the center photo I'm wearing my capri pants and one of the tank tops, and I'm carrying my cardigan in case it gets chilly. I always tie a scarf to my purse strap to have handy if I need to cover my shoulders. Make sure everything color coordinates so you can mix and match. In the third photo you can see my carry-on is a little fatter, now packed with gifts and souvenirs, but I was still able to carry it on the plane to get home safely, without worry of lost luggage or the hassle of waiting at the baggage carousel.
There are lots of packing light videos on YouTube for fun.
Stay tuned for my very own "How to Pack Light" video coming soon...
Packing list #2 Carnevale in Venice
Yes, this is me, and Yes... all this fits into my carry-on luggage!
Winter in Venice for Carnevale:
2 pairs leggings
1 heavy winter coat
2 undershirts (for PJ's and to wear under sweaters if you get cold)
comfortable waterproof boots
one extra pair short boots (you should always have a back up pair of shoes)
Costume skirt & top or 1 pc dress
opera length costume gloves
theatrical Make-up kit
Other options: You can rent a costume in Venice for $450-1500 per day to avoid having to carry-on.
Warning: Carnevale may become addicting.
This picture was taken at Carnevale February 2015. Everything mentioned above fit into one rolling carry on bag, and one personal shoulder bag. I never check bags, I've witnessed too many peoples luggage getting lost, something I don't want to risk especially for only a few days at Carnevale. Plus the less you have to carry the more enjoyable your trip will be.