It’s actually happening – down to zero hour when I start my trip to Italy! I’m so excited that I can’t stand myself (I have no idea what that means I just always say it when I’m more than excited about something)! Heading to Emilia Romagna, between Florence and Venice, which many consider to be the heart of Northern Italian food for Lambrusco and Sangiovese, Prosciutto, Parmigiano-Reggiano, fresh pasta and more! I’ll be eating at a 3 Michelin Star restaurant in Modena, Osteria Francescana, going to many early morning markets to see what’s in season, taking cooking classes with the Nonnas (grandmothers) to learn how to make their special pasta and so much more. It will be a whirlwind trip, and I absolutely cannot wait to get on that plane! I’ll be stopping in New York for one day first for a “food crawl” in Brooklyn.
Now for the stuff that has to be remembered — or as I like to call them my travel “hacks” — or the trip can be difficult.
I’m always double and triple checking that my passport is current at least a month before my trip. That way I don’t get caught like I did last February when I couldn’t get on my flight to Paris because my passport only had 3 months left before it expired. Almost all countries now require that you have a minimum of 90 days (or more for some countries) from the date of the end of your trip left on your documents. Don’t get caught short like I did- it can be a disaster! That’s a story for another day but I did make it to Paris and only a couple of hours after my friends did!!
As I think of something, I don’t want to forget I pull it out and start making piles — like the chargers. Once those piles are complete, then I put them in bags. I mentioned bagging almost everything to help with organization, but I didn’t mention shoes. Their soles can be quite dirty, and you don’t want that on your clothes. If you didn’t save the dust bags that came with them when you bought them — just use disposable shower caps over the soles, and you’re good to go. If everything is in a “baggy” then if a bottle leaks the liquid will stay in the bag and won’t get all over your new sweater. Make sure that if the length of your trip means that 3oz of shampoo will not be enough then pack a full-size bottle in your checked bag too- just double plastic bag it- that way you’ll have what you need, and you won’t make a mess on your clothes!
I always keep a cosmetics bag packed with essentials — toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, etc. Then all I have to do is add to it when I pack for each trip. That way I know I won’t forget the obvious stuff- it’s the easiest to forget. Also, the morning of the trip as I’m washing up and putting on my “face” I put those daily items in that cosmetics bag, and I know I’m covered.
No matter how crammed your bag is — you’d be surprised what you can fit inside shoes and into corners — belts, socks, small stuff you won’t need during your flight.
Alright… almost finished. I’m always happy when everything I wanted to pack actually FITS into the suitcases I want to bring! One last thing — I invite everyone to watch my trip through social media — Twitter and Instagram: @FranBerger and on Facebook, just search my name!