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General Travel Tips and Advice Have you traveled before?- Please share your tips and advice with fellow Tpunks!

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Old 02-01-2004, 07:27 PM   #1
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OK, I'm trying to plan my first trip (study abroad in Italy) and have found that all of my searches for tips end up with packing tips. This would be helpful if people specified more than "long sleeved." What I want to know is, if I am going to be in Florence for a year (or at the least a semester) what kind of clothing will I want, or would be appropriate? Also, are there any customs in Italy that it would be a good idea to be aware of? I've found lots on pickpockets, and on Italian men being VERY persistant... what should I know? Basically this is a call for anything and everything you have learned on any trips to Italy.
This forum has been really helpful on giving me ideas for how to limit what I bring, I would just like to know if anyone has advice that would be expecially helpful...
Love the site!
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Old 02-02-2004, 09:24 AM   #2
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hey pf23! Florence is a city-city, and if you're studying abroad, meaning actually living in the one city for a year, then you will want to mix-in with the crowd. I don't know where you live and what you're lifestyle is now, but just bring city clothes. Also, when are you leaving for Florence? For instance, if you're going to leave in the Spring, I would just take mainly Spring/Summer clothes and a couple of thicker items that could take you into the colder weather, include a sturdy jacket or coat. If you have the budget you could ship the lighter items back and have someone send you some winter clothes that you can leave pre-packaged before you depart, or, you can simply do some budget shopping when the time comes. Europe is expensive, but if you're there for a year, you'll know where to get cheaper items when you need it.

Anyhow, these suggestions are not all inclusive, you'll want apparel that you can mix and match, such as:

1-2 jeans,
1 black pants,
1 tan/grey pants,
a couple of clingy shirts/blouses in solid colors that you can dress down or up w/ scarf/jewelry/sweater/jacket,
few tanktops
few short-long sleeve t-shirts that you can layer,
1-2 sweater/cardigans,
light jacket for windy/chilly weather,
thick jacket/coat for winter,
1-2 spring-fall skirts,
1 light black dress,
sturdy/comfortable pair of walking shoes/boots/sneakers for everyday and travelling,
1 nice pair of black shoes for going out at night (you won't be able to wear sandals in the winter),
flip flops,
1 bathingsuit,
1 hat/cap,
underwear and socks (I love smartwools).
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Old 02-02-2004, 10:30 AM   #3
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Thanks! That will definately help. The plan is to leave in Sept. and come back in April, probably about 2 years out, since I think I missed the deadline for next year I'm from US, upper midwest, i.e. minnesota/wisconsin. I was thinking that I would bring too much and ship things home as I didn't need them, since there wouldn't be a time issue (I've heard lots and lots of horrible things about Italian mail). What I've figured out so far is that my basic jeans and a comfy shirt are probably not going to fly (after all I am a lazy college student with no real reason to get dressed up normally) should I be thinking the type of clothing I would see in New York or London?
Also, if I'm there all year I will have two 10 day breaks and a 1 month winter recess. I'm thinking of heading to the UK to visit the folks and possibly a stop in Paris on the way. Any suggestions?
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Old 02-02-2004, 12:58 PM   #4
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Oh, and as a Minnesotan/ student Wisconsinite I have a variety of winter coats to choose from. Will a wool pea coat work? Should I be planning to bring my Northface with removable lineing? Could someone teach me how to correctly spell lining?
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Old 02-05-2004, 06:56 AM   #5
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Hi Fudge,

Carisia's advice on clothing is all really good. The only thing I might suggest is layering your coats. I always take a light WATERPROOF jacket. And if it gets cold, I put on a hooded, zip-up sweatshirt inside the jacket. The two have combined to keep me warm in just about anything this side of a Lithuanian winter. And you being from the Upper Great Lakes, well, Florence's winter is not going to seem that cold to you.

Italy does not have the same four seasons as we do (or three in your case -- Winter, brief Spring & Fall, repeat). It has a wet/dry climate. Summer is warm and dry, but Winters are chilly and wet, especially in the north, where you'll be.

Other than that, Italians are VERY fashionable. The hipper people you see at home will be wearing what the Italians wore last year, likely. But I wouldn't get too caught up in all that. Carisia's advice about city clothes is on the mark.

Fire away with any other questions, cara mia!

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Old 02-05-2004, 02:21 PM   #6
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OK, we actually only have two seasons... winter and road construction. They tend to run into each other too (like those stupid plows outside my window this morning). I've heard that the Florence airport has really bad baggage handlers, so I'm hoping to limit the baggage to carry ons, and buy everything else there. I can't seem to find the carry on limit for AlItalia, but I'll do that later. Would it be worth bringing the coat, or would it be cheaper (and save me the space) to just buy it there? Also, are there any places off the beaten path that you would really recommend? places where tour guides are worth it? places they aren't? THANKS SO MUCH!
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Old 02-10-2004, 06:47 AM   #7
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Sorry it has taken me so long to get back with you, Fudge.

If the "beaten path" is Rome-Venice-Florence, then I have a number of recommendations:
1. The Amalfi Coast - absolutly gorgeous seaside towns rising up out of clear deep blue water. My all time favorite photograph I took is of Positano on the Amalfi coast.
2. Paestum - near Salerno, this set of ruins of three Greek (yes, Greek, they colonized southern Italy before the rise of Rome) temples that are really cool. As a matter of fact, they are more complete than anything actually IN Greece.
3. San Marino - called the "postage stamp" kingdom, this tiny country is built on the mountaintops and has all kinds of towers and medieval fortificiations. It will be quite a bit colder, though, than the surrounding area...
4. Cinque Terre - these five villages aren't much off the beaten path anymore, and I myself haven't been to them, but everything I hear says it is an awesome experience to hike around them.
5. Ravenna - Not too far from Venice, this was the capital of the western part of the Roman empire as it tottered to its fall. There are some really neat churches with gorgeous mosaics on the ceilings and walls -- some are 1500-plus years old. Lots of history in a small, laid back town.

As far as limiting yourself to carryons, with no checked luggage, that is what I try to do, too. Be warned European carriers are much more anal about the number of bags you can carry on an international flight. One of my tricks is to put a bag over my shouler so it rests about at the small of my back, then put my jacket on over it. I position my body so it stays between the agent and the stowaway bag as I'm boarding, while letting them see the one "real" carry on...

Good luck, and feel free to ask anything else that comes to mind...

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