Back in the depths of winter, I wrote a blog about how to tackle hand luggage limitations before going away. This week, I tackle the same issue, but with a summer holiday in mind. In particular, one that takes in a city weekend break in Verona followed by a week in Lake Garda, as that happens to be my own summer holiday this year. The husband and I have the first few days in the home of Romeo and Juliet with my family and then meet up with his sister and brother in law for a week in Malcesine. I. CAN'T. WAIT.
But what to pack?? I need to take clothing suitable for walking around a hot city, but also items that I can go hiking in when we get to the lake. I am determined to take hand luggage though as I know that once I'm there, I tend to want to spend as little time as possible getting ready for that day or evening's antics. Bearing this in mind, I am going to take the following:
1) Wide Brimmed Hat
Wear this on the plane to stop it getting squashed or taking up space in your suitcase. You'll have to put it through the security x-ray, so make sure you pick it up *she says with past experience*. A wide brimmed hat will help stop sun burn on your face and sun damage, but make sure you also have a pair of sunnies that cover your eyes with relevant protection and also wear sun block. I love this one from Whistles - currently on sale on Asos!
2) Hands free handbag
I hate walking around a new city constantly flustered as I'm juggling a million and one items - my camera(s), passport, wallet, handbag, phone, scarf etc. A messenger style bag helps circumnavigate this problem. The smaller you can manage the better, and luckily there is a whole host of them available on the high street at the moment. My husband has just treated me to this little red number, which I love. I don't usually advocate such a bright colour when packing on a shoe string, but some statement pieces are sometimes needed, and this is my one in this suitcase!!
3) Large Beach Bag
Sometimes a small messenger bag just won't do if you can't fit in a big bottle of suncream or a towel, if you're heading to the beach, which I fully intend to do in Malcasine. Again, I have chosen a patterned number here, but just a classic straw number would also look great. Ideally, this bag needs to roll, or at the very least fit flat in the bottom of your suitcase. Sophie Andersen also does some wonderfully colourful totes that suit a holiday, but are also quite expensive. If money is no object, they can be found on Net A Porter for the internet shoppers amongst us. I just ruin beach bags with sunblock and sand so don't want to spend 100s for that privilege!
4) Block Heel Heels
Block heels are a saviour to those who want a little bit of height without the pain of stilettos. They are great day to night shoes and, owing to be de rigeur at the moment, there are so many different styles on the high street. When you are tight on space, picking neutral coloured footwear is best. Though I'm a massive fan of ridiculous statement shoes from the likes of Nicholas Kirkwood or Sophia Webster, they aren't a pair of shoes that will see me through meandering around Italian cobbled streets.
5) Gladiator Sandals
These look trendy whilst also giving your feet a rest as they are flat and open to let them breathe. These too can be worn during the day and night depending on what you have planned. I tend to prefer the softer looking brown or tan coloured ones, but black is obviously a colour that will go with most things - a must for hand luggage tourists with limited options in their suitcase. These are also shoes that I go against the mother's recommendation of always buying expensive shoes. I want to wear these every where I go and not have to worry about ruining them. Slides are also massively in at the moment - I've not written them down as they make my feet look ludicrous, but if you like them, substitute these sandals.
A kaftan is a must for any holiday in the sun. Even if you aren't near a beach, or even donning a swim suit all that much, they can be doubled up as a top or dress if needs be. The one I have listed is quite expensive, especially for something that will come in to contact with chlorine, salt water and sand, but the more expensive the item, the less plastic that is involved. It will therefore let your body breathe whilst dealing with 30plus degree heat and won't turn you into a sweat box. That being said, Topshop always have a very pretty collection of swimwear cover ups to suit most budgets.
7) Sun Dress
This should be something that you can throw on and go in the morning, whatever your activity (perhaps bar hiking). There are designs out there that will take you from breakfast in the morning to dinner and beyond, with only a change in handbag or shoes. Ideally, it should also be a light fabric to keep you feeling cool all day, and if you find one that ticks all these boxes, buy two in different colours! I anticipate wearing this dress every other day when I get to Italy in a few weeks. I've also bought the stripey version without straps.
I can't remember the last time I went on a holiday where chilling out in a bikini by some form of water wasn't on the cards. If you're not a water baby like me, simply take these out. Otherwise, two to three should see you through a week long holiday.
9) Shorts: one plain, one patterned, one pair of denim cut offs
When I'm not wearing my sun dress, I'll be wearing shorts. I love these ones from Paloma Blue, which will be a post pay day purchase for me. The pattern means I can dress them up if needs be, the cut will be ludicrously comfortable. I will also be packing a plain, loose pair that are slightly tailored so again they can be dressed up or worn during the day. A pair of cut off jeans have made it into any suitcase I have ever packed as they go with anything.
10 ) Three Tshirts or Vests
Pack a mixture of plain tops and patterns - and if possible all loose fitting to help you keep cool, whatever the weather. These two are both also fine to wear in the evening. The floral top has a dressier style that would look fab with a pair of plain shorts and heels, whilst the white top has a silk front which gives any outfit a bit more polish.
11) Maxi Skirt
A maxi skirt is the ultimate in comfort and style whilst also helping keep mozzies away. I love this skirt from Reiss that will look just as chic wandering around streets of Verona in the morning as well as going to see Aida one evening at the Colosseum. I would wear it with flats during the day and switch to my block heels in the evening. That being said, if I don't have the opportunity to change, it is so long that no one will really notice the height of my heel! It would look great with any of the tops I have earmarked tucked in.
12) Denim Shirt
Grab a denim shirt, wear it over one of your sundresses, put your passport in your hands free bag, and you have your airport outfit ready. A denim shirt can also be used as a cover up for extra sunny days when your skin needs shade, or for warmth for any evenings that aren't balmy.
13) Plain White Shirt
A white shirt is an investment for any wardrobe and this lightweight one is perfect for holidays as it looks chic, will keep you cool or arm depending on the weather, and also keep any nibbling creatures away.
Lastly, wear a large thin scarf on the plane. It will keep you warm whilst 30,000 ft in the air and is always useful on any holiday - regardless of the temperature. If it's warm, it can double up as a sarong and if you are sight seeing it can take the chill off any cool museums or churches - plus keeping your modesty in tact by covering your shoulders.
Add to your suitcase enough pairs of underwear, a pair of basic flip flops, a sports bra and a pair of trainers for any hiking and you're set!
Happy Holidays All!
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