One of the main questions people ask me about summer travel in Europe, especially in Italy, is what shoes to pack.

Ideally you don’t want to pack more than 3 pairs of shoes, just because who wants to drag the extra weight around? Packing space is premium, so fewer pairs make more sense.

European and Italian travel means lots of walking. Lots and lots of walking, (my Fit Bit Alta always tells me that on my first day in Rome I walk around 32,000 steps!)  so you want shoes that you can walk around in all day and night, and not be crippled with blisters, chafing, sore feet and ankles. The obvious choice is a good pair of sneakers but that doesn’t always meet our desire to look chic and stylish.

I have found (through trial and error) some sneakers and sandals that not only are super comfortable and good to walk around Europe in all day long, but also manage to look chic and stylish.

This post contains affiliate links

For the past few years I have been wearing Italian Superga Cotu sneakers.

pink supergas

They come in fun, bright colors and look really cool with everything. This year I ordered them from Zappos.com in light pink. Previous years I have bought them in hot pink, royal blue, grey and black. I normally put an extra insole like a Timberland Pro or a Vionic but Zappos has tons to choose from.

Last year I bought these fabulous Somers slip-ons from Sofft in gold.

 

sofft somers in blush

I have literally worn them almost everyday for months. the gold look killer with black pants and dresses (my work wardrobe), look totally dialed in with jeans and with anything white. They might just be the most comfortable shoes I’ve ever owned! In my real job (makeup artist) I can be standing for hours on end so its really important to have shoes that support your feet and by extension your lower back. The Sofft Somers look chic too. I’m ordering the Sofft Somers in blush for this summer. Like Zappos, Sofft gives you free shipping.

Sandals can be tricky to shop for for travel that involves a lot of walking, because most of them aren’t designed for endless hours of walking. They typically don’t have sole support so your feet can get really sore, and often they chafe and blister your feet too. Here are some great options.

If you had told me 3 1/2 years ago that I would even own something called a Birkenstock I would have died laughing! But here I am, 2 pairs in (one white and one black) to the best summer sandal ever! One of my travelers on my Glam Italia tour pointed out 3 years ago that every chic tourist who had an outfit we were scoping was also wearing these Birkenstocks Gizehs.

birkenstock gizeh

I now own 2 pairs, one black and one white. you do need to break them in before you travel, but the sole forms to your foot and then gives the best support you can possibly imagine. For the past 3 years this has been my Italian sandal – all day long, all over Italy, this is the sandal I’ve been wearing. They come in lots of color choices too. I order them from Zappos.com

Born makes a similar sandal called the Orla. They also offer free shipping.

 

born orla white

 

One of my friends doesn’t like wearing flat shoes. She always looks glam when we travel together, always has heels on. Her secret is wearing shoes by Born. (Born are also known for their incredibly comfortable, super supportive shoes) One year we both trotted around Florence in  heeled sandals similar to these  Born Gayles , our derrieres having that wonderful lift that only a heel can give you, yet so comfortable we felt like we we wearing sneakers.

 

born gayle

This year with mules being so huge the Born Crato is a stylish yet wickedly comfortable option.

 

born crato

 

Last week I was working with this very chic European photographer, who as always looked amazing. She had on the latest cropped jeans, a black T, her blonde hair was all mussed up and fresh, and she had these Sofft Mirabelle sandals on in black. They looked fantastic! I was expecting them to be something she picked up in Paris, but she told me she bought them here, online at Sofft.com (they are also available on Zappos.com). She also said that she wears them all day long on shoots because they are so comfortable, even when she is shooting in a studio with a concrete floor. (That makes them perfect for walking around all day in Europe!)

 

sofft mirabelle

I don’t think this photo does them justice – they looked so good on! I don’t need any more black sandals, but I do need some neutral nude sandals so I’m ordering this pair pictured above.

 

Are you heading over to Italy this summer? I will be there with my 2017 Glam Italia Tours, and am already thinking about what I’m going to wear, what to pack and what to leave behind.

Figuring out what to pack is the key to a fantastic vacation. You want to look chic yet be comfortable, have clothes for very occasion you’re going to need, and not pack too much.

Some of the things you need to have for any trip to Italy include good walking shoes, a scarf to throw over your shoulders when going into churches, and some hem lengths that at least hit mid-thigh to knee area. Every year I take travelers to the Duomo in Siena, and every time we see tourists in short shorts or short skirts who have to put on paper skirts if they want to go inside! The sun gets fierce over there so you should pack a good hat too. I found a killer hat on Revolve.com but I didn’t buy it on time and now I can’t find it anywhere.

too much luggage in florence

One of my friends with too much luggage in Florence!

Here are 10 Tips For Packing For Italy This Summer (plus a bonus tip!)

10 Packing Tips For Travel To Italy This Summer

Don’t Overpack

I learned this the hard way, but when you are traveling in Italy do not overpack! Unless you have a porter trotting around with you everywhere you go, carrying your bags, getting them on and off the trains for you, driving you and your bags around in your own assigned vehicle, you will be miserable if you have overpacked! Cars in Italy are small and you will not have room for multiple bags unless you have a car to yourself. Even then you won’t be able to leave your car anywhere with all your bags visible because they won’t be there when you get back!

If you are staying in vacation rental apartments, and my trips always do, you will probably find yourself having to carry your heavy suitcase up multiple flights of stairs to get to your apartment. These buildings are centuries old, and many do not have elevators. Trying to maneuver heavy suitcases, or too many bags through the train stations and on and off trains is a nightmare, especially when you are getting on and off full trains and having to quickly get yourself up or down a staircase to your next platform! Been there, done that, never again!

Only Pack things That Can Be Worn Multiple Times.

I used to be the queen of wearing every single thing I brought with me,  but only wearing each thing once. It was incredibly stupid! Pack items that you can wear multiple times (or at least more than once), and that are interchangeable with other items in your suitcase.

Pack more Tops Than Bottoms.

It’s super easy to change things up and look like you have many outfits if you have more tops than bottoms. I’m always re-pinning other people’s travel packing stories on Pinterest, where they have 3 pairs of pants/skirts and 6 tops and make it look like 20 fresh outfits. I haven’t quite mastered it myself yet, but I’m working on it! Check out my Pinterest Travel Packing Board Here

Don’t Pack More Than 3 Pairs Of Shoes.

Seriously. Shoes take up so much space in your suitcase, and you really don’t need too many pairs with you.

I once had a traveler who brought 14 pairs of shoes with her. She ended up boxing most of them up and sending them home at huge expense.

Bring good, comfortable walking shoes. I wear fun colored Supergas that look chic, but that I can walk in all day long. Pack sandals that you can walk in forever, and that won’t give you blisters or aching feet, and maybe one other pair for going out at night. Everywhere you go you will see super chic travelers wearing Birkenstock Gizehs. Technically they don’t look bad and you can literally walk in them all day and night. If you had told me 3 years ago that I would even own a pair of Birkenstocks I would have died laughing  and told you you were mad. However, one of my travelers back then pointed out to me that everyone was wearing them and that they are beyond comfortable, and I’m not quite sure how she did it but she talked me into getting a pair. I have never looked back! I have a black pair and a white pair, and this year I may buy some other color too. I order them on Zappos.com (A sude note about Birkenstocks: you need to wear them around to break them in before you travel)

 

Allianz Travel Insurance

 

Don’t Pack Heels

Italy is all hills and cobblestones, and high heels just aren’t practical while you are there. In fact they become a liability. Not only are you likely to twist, sprain or break your ankle, but you are unlikely to be able to keep up with the rest of the group as they are heading out and about.

Don’t Pack Multiple Electronics

You don’t need a laptop, an iPad, a digital camera, and a smartphone. They take up valuable space and can get quite heavy. These days electronics can multi-function, so only bring what you need, and items that do more than one thing.

Don’t Pack “Just In Case” Items

Basically you won’t need them. If by chance you get invited to a ball while you are there, go buy a ball gown in Italy – it will be more chic and fashionable anyway! Anything that you may suddenly need you can always buy there.

Don’t Pack Extra Pairs Of Jeans

Jeans are amazingly heavy (I found that out the hard way) and you really don’t need multiple pairs with you. (also found out the hard way)

Pack one pair if you think you will need them, and leave the rest behind.

Don’t Pack At The Last Minute

This is where the mistakes happen. Plan out your outfit for each day, well ahead of time. I start with a rolling rack and put on it everything I think I might like to wear, and over the days or weeks prior to my trip I start pulling out the things that maybe won’t work, that I can get by without. Think about the climate you are traveling to and what you will be doing while you are there. Italy is all about walking and is full of hills, so make sure you are packing comfortable clothes and shoes to walk in.

Only Pack Things You Love

There is no point in packing clothes that you feel iffy about. Only bring things that you love, that look great on you, and that you will adore walking around in.

Leave Room In Your Suitcase For Shopping!

There is SO MUCH amazing stuff to buy in Italy, and you are going to want to bring some of it back home with you. From Italian leather handbags and jackets, to ceramics, to food, to wine, to clothes and shoes (this is afterall the world capital of fashion!), no matter who you are you are going to find all manner of amazing things that you want to bring home with you, so leave yourself plenty of space in your suitcase.

Vera Bradley Designs, Inc.

Packing Tips For Summer In Italy

I believe that a country’s international airports should be beautiful. They should be a reflection of a country’s pride. They are the first impression a traveler gets of a nation. In this day and age, when millions and millions of people are traveling internationally each year, international airports should be welcoming, modern, functional, well appointed.

America needs to improve it’s international airports.

I can’t believe how totally craptastick JFK and O’Hare are. They are an embarrassment. When flying to and from Italy I always try to use Charlotte airport,  (which is small, efficient and friendly) and flat out refuse to use Chicago. More frequently than not I end up having to use JFK or Philadelphia. After 10 hours in the air you really want to arrive somewhere friendly, modern and clean, with some good dining options. These two airports are none of these things.

The Tom Bradley international terminal at Los Angeles LAX airport is magnificent. It is modern and beautiful and leaves you thinking you are in Dubai. And everyone smiles and is friendly. The JFK folks need to do a field trip to LAX to check it out.

The following is an article from The Wayfarer, all about the very best international airports in the world.


 

And, Once Again, the World’s Best Airport Is…

Singapore’s Changi Airport named best in the world—for the fifth time

Original 6902186734 798f2df432 z.jpg?1490298458?ixlib=rails 0.3

Perhaps it’s time to consider Singapore’sChangi Airport  the “New York Yankees of air travel.” How else could one spin the news that Lion City’s largest airport has been named best in the world for the fifth consecutive year?

The designation came down earlier this month from Skytrax World Airport Awards, an independent annual evaluation that bases the final rankings on the results of millions of international passenger surveys. This year was the sixth annual Skytrax awards; Changi has five first-place victories and one second-place win (back in 2012).

It’s not hard to see why fliers could consider the three-terminal airport to be the air travel equivalent of the winningest sports franchise of all time. In addition to being one of the busiest hubs in Asia, Changi boasts two 24-hour movie theaters that show current releases for free, a rooftop swimming pool (complete with locker rooms for changing), and a butterfly garden teeming with butterflies.

The airport is also putting the finishing touches on a fourth terminal, which, according to the Straits Times, a Singaporean newspaper, is slated to open later this year.

There were other highly lauded airports in the running, too: Tokyo Haneda International Airport, Incheon International Airport in Seoul, Munich International Airport and Hong Kong International Airport rounded out the Top Five. (Haneda also won an award for the world’s cleanest airport, and Hong Kong was hailed has having the best and most varied dining options.)

Sadly—embarrassingly, really—not a single North American airport cracked the Top 10. In fact, the highest-ranked airport on our continent is Vancouver International Airport in Canada, at No. 13.

The United States isn’t represented on the Skytrax list until No. 26, an honor that goes to the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport. (The dark horse win seems like a great piece of trivia to whip out at your next soirée.) Denver International Airport was tabbed as No. 28.

It’s hard not to read the Skytrax list of winners and dream about what U.S. airports could be. The takeaways: We need more free movie theaters. Or at least a few butterfly gardens.

Matt Villano is a freelance writer and editor based in Healdsburg, California. In nearly 20 years as a full-time freelancer, he has covered travel for publications including TIME, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, Sunset, Backpacker, Entrepreneur, and more. He contributes to the Expedia Viewfinder blog and writes a monthly food column for Islands magazine. Villano also serves on the board of the Family Travel Association and blogs about family travel at Wandering Pod. Learn more about him at Whalehead.com.

 


Allianz Travel Insurance