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Gentlemen...will you give advice on your packing list?

I'm working on mine and feel fairly comfortable with it. We've never traveled internationally before, and when we do travel, DH just packs everything. He knows he can't do that this time, and I know he won't start thinking about it until it's too late. So, I'm going to help him. Our trip isn't until September to Italy for 10 days. My DH is a conservative, professional dresser. He will want to be comfortable, but fit in with the locals, too. He likes to be "casually dressy" like I do. He already knows he's taking two slacks for evenings and shoes that match both pair. I think he has evening covered. He will also bring a lightweight dressier jacket to wear if he chooses at times in the evenings. The issue is day time.

Do men wear shorts? How can they not in summer...he will just swelter on a hot September day. He does wear cargos occassionaly, but most of his shorts are more tailored than that. Of course he'll have to bring a pair of khakis to go to the Vatica and you wear the zippered kind so if it's hot he can unzip? So...what do you bring? How do you mix and match your shorts. How many undershirts...etc, etc. Thanks!

Posted by
1068 posts

Well there are some comments in your post that lead me to conclude he will have trouble packing. Despite what some people say (which brings a smile to my face), it is difficult to "fit in with the locals." Easier than it used to be, but difficult none-the-less. Also, many people make concessions when packing internationally such as wearing the same clothing (such as shirts) for several days before washing. I make lots of other concessions as well. But travel is a personal choice and whether you want to travel with lots of luggage is up to you. I would check this site One Bag and this link here Packing tips. You can pack light, easy, cheap.... pick two.

Posted by
524 posts

Thanks. Yes, he will have trouble packing, that is why i started this thread. We know we won't look like locals, but we would like to not wear things that don't seem appropriate. For's shorts. Women wear more dresses over there, yes? Well, I won't wear shorts, I'll take dresses and skirts. I'm sure there are the same types of things for men. We plan on taking one carryon and one checked bag. Not sure what size yet...maybe a 22" that can expand or a 25". Each of us will have a daypack of some sort. Just trying to get you "guy's" packing list.

Posted by
16881 posts

My husband likes to be nicely dressed too, even when casual. He takes one pair of tropical wool slacks for more dress-up occasions, together with two long-sleeve button-down shirts ( but no tie unless it's the opera). He would not be caught dead in shorts in Italy unless we are out running early in the morning. His casual wear pants are these:

They come in a "convertible" version with zip-off legs if your husband prefers to have the option of wearing shorts.

My guy has never been too hot in the Zion pants,even in Italy, but for something lighter weight (and less expensive) try these:

Both pants have clean lines and a tailored appearance, not like "cargo pants" at all. I think there is a zippered pockets in the REI ones; I don't know about the Zion pants. They pack small---not as bulky as cotton khaki pants.

He takes the slacks and 2 pairs of the more casual pants (all dark colors like black or grey), wearing one pair on the plane. He made it through 3 weeks in New Zealand and Australia in January with that, but we did have access to a washing machine several times on that trip.

Posted by
3428 posts

My hubby has always taken khaki and black (or navy) dockers type pants in a light cotton blend fabric. They do for day and evening wear. Black pants are black pants- no need of dress pants at all. Never needed a suit type jacket or even blazer either. Polo shirts for day wear and one button up for evenings that are a little dressy. Mind never wanted shorts, but if yours does, I'd suggest a more tailored style since he sounds like more that type than the zip off kind.

Posted by
524 posts

Thanks Ladies. I really appreciate the "no shorts" advice in Italy for guys. Knowing that your DH's don't wear them helps me out. We have an REI in our city, and I'm going to have him go take a look. I know it can be hot even in September, so I think it would be wise to take one that zips and one that doesn't...just in case he's miserable. We will be in Pompeii our last full day there, and I heard it can get rather hot. It's just nice knowing what to focus on more...and that sounds like lightweight wickless type pants rather than more dressy shorts.

Lola...were you going to attach a picture of a 2nd pair of pants? From the sentence it looks like you were.

What about shoes? He will have a dressier pair for evening. I would think 2 more to interchange for walking each day. 1 sandal, we'll be in Positano for 3 days.

Posted by
14249 posts

" Women wear more dresses over there, yes? "

Just a comment on your comment...I have not noticed women wearing more dresses/skirts than pants in Italy. If you wear skirts and dresses at home then you may feel more comfortable in them when you travel, but if you don't routinely wear them, don't plan to wear them in Italy. Pants and crop pants will be fine.

I am thinking that 1 pr dress shoes, 2 pr walking shoes and sandals are going to be too many shoes. He may want to look at some of the casual walking shoes that look a bit dressier so he can use them for day and evening. Two pr of slacks for evening is probably too much as well for 10 days. You may find you have dinner wherever you end up sightseeing instead of going back to your hotel to change. I suggest he weigh his shoes to see how much he will be carrying around considering 2 pr plus sandals will be packed on your transit days.

Posted by
16881 posts

Yes, I meant to attach this:

Sorry about that! The dog was pestering me for her morning walk. I used the light khaki photo so you can see the tailoring and pockets better, but DH has the dark grey ones.

If you are going to REI you might take a look at their travel dresses by Patagonia, Prana, and others. I loved this one

But the only XS they had in stock had a puckered seam so not good. I may try purchasing it online. There is a skirt version too but it is pretty short---even on 5'2" me.

Or do you already have your dress? I seem to recall photos of a floral,print, very cute.

Posted by
8238 posts

After my recent trip to Hawaii, Vegas and San Francisco, I swore off traveling with relatively heavy carry on bags.

It's nice to be stylish, but it sounds as if you guys each will be hauling around 50 pound bags.
Rick Steves' packing lists for men or women will work. I suggest you both follow it.

I'm going to continue getting pants and shorts heavily starched prior to my trips. As long as your clothes don't get soiled, starched pants and shorts will last a week and still look reasonably good.
I'm going to be carrying one pair of pants for each week's travel. I'll probably carry 2 pairs of shorts. I'll be wearing golf shirts 3 days each, as we don't travel in hot climates in the Summer. I carry old underwear that can be thrown away when dirty.
If I run out of clean clothes, a washer/dryer is often available in the bed and breakfasts we stay in.
The only pair of shoes will be on my feet.
I'm hoping to get by with a 18" rolling bag--down from 21".

And remember that you'll never see the people you come in contact with again.

Posted by
524 posts

Thanks Lola....those are cute dresses. The floral ones got sent back. They were sized weird. One was way too short, the next size great length, but big all over. For over $ 150 I wanted to LOVE it. I actually found a maxi dress at Kohls for $27 that Will look great with my walking sandals and is a light weight sleveless knit. I'm going to have it hemmed above my knees., one of us is taking a carryon. The other is checking so we can tak a little more.

Posted by
2531 posts

Of course you've seen Rick's list of clothing under Travel Tips. I take a bit less and wash more often...easy. All clothes mix and match well (colors, styles). So, toss the concept of trying to dress as a local, just wear nice comfortable clothes. Walking shorts? I take one pair of walking shorts that are designed also as swim trunks for when I want to take a dip. Your husband may wish to pack a nice pair of golf style shorts. Most of the time I wear nylon Anywhere pants by TravelSmith. They're lightweight, dry quickly, packable, breathable, very durable and include two zippered security pockets. As for combination pants/shorts, even my very less than modest fashion sense is appalled at such....simply butt ugly!

Posted by
92 posts

On a 2-week trip to Spain in July a few years ago, my DH packed 2 or 3 (I forget) pairs of linen pants (he doesn't do shorts) and these were comfortable for him in the heat (he doesn't get overheated), one pair of brown walking shoes, a few pairs of socks, and I don't recall how many shirts. Probably a few cotton short-sleeved t-shirts and also a couple long-sleeved linen button-down shirts. But those linen pants were great.

On the advice of a friend who'd traveled in the region in the summer before, I took along dresses, and was glad I did. They were cool and comfortable. The lack of waistband helped with big, late dinners and a dress, even a casual one, may feel more dressy for you than shorts and a t-shirt. (The only problem with dresses is a lack of pockets but my husband will carry my stuff.)

Less relevant for your current query, but for a 3 week trip to London and Paris last September and early October, my DH packed 2 pairs of lighter-weight and slimmer-cut blue jeans, one pair of khaki jeans, one navy blue sport coat, 3 short sleeved Ibex wool t-shirts, 3-4 long sleeved button down shirts, I think 1 long-sleeved cotton t-shirt, one pair of brown walking shoes, and socks.

Hope you have a great trip!

Posted by
1 posts

Sasha recommended my packing list suggestions - I spent a year in Italy, have traveled in Europe extensively, and I looked carefully at the way Europeans dress compared to Americans, so if you want to fit in with the locals, check out:

In general, Europeans dress more formally, in darker colors, and it's just easier to wear synthetics that you can rinse out and wear again, instead of cottons that you wear once and have to lug around.

And always pack a bathing suit, just in case - it's awful to waste beach or pool time - and money - shopping for one that won't fit as well as the three you left at home!

Have a fabulous time!

Posted by
4586 posts

2 pants, 4 shirts, 2 shoes. That's really about all a guy needs. And a sportcoat if desired.

Pants should be stylish microfiber in darker colors. Shirts should all have collars, and be cotton/poly blends so you can wash in the evening and hang to dry so they'll be fine by morning.

Underwears is up to you. I used MF and washed in sink every night and had no problems.

Posted by
16094 posts

I'm going to have it hemmed above my knees.

You probably already know this Lulu but those knees have to be covered for the churches and a few other places, like the Vatican Museums.

Posted by
5697 posts

RE: shorts. My DH owns ONE pair of shorts and only wears them one week a year at family camp in the Sierras. For four weeks in Italy three years ago (October) he had khakis and washable dark cotton/poly blend washable slacks (also does not own jeans)

Posted by
806 posts

Just go with Rick's basic packing list. Go for cotton-poly blends for washability and colors that don't clash so you can mix and match easily. Clothing is a global commodity and it's not much different whether you are in the US or Europe. What kind of shoes will he be taking? ... something "casually dressy" or something that won't kill his feet walking on cobble stones all day.

Remember: 1) Everybody will know you are tourists, 2) Nobody over there knows who you are. 3) They will never see you again. 3) As long as you don't do something really stupid they don't give a damn. 4) You still get to haul all the unnecessary junk you pack and there is an exponential relationship between how heavy it feels and how far you have to carry it.

Posted by
524 posts

Thanks for all the suggestions and those who gave me the number of what they took. We won't be doing laundry, so it will be necessary to take more than one pair of pants for 10 days. I think there can be a nice medium without having to pare down very low and going over the top. Many fashion light parking lists have things like 12 pieces that mix/match, etc. I was trying to find something like that for men, and if not use a variation for him.

Kathy, thanks. I am aware of over the knee rule. The days we have tours I will wear capris. The days we don't I have a very light weight sarong I'm keeping in my purse to just tie around if we need to pop in one.

Irv, he doesn't know yet what shoes he's taking for the day. I think some sort of dark walking shoe...saw some in a lands end catalog yesterday, and I'm going to have him look at zappos. Probably a shoe that is brown, looks dressier but rubberized on the bottom. He will take a dressier shoe for evening and a pair of walking sandals when we get to the Amalfi Coast.

Posted by
16094 posts

The days we don't I have a very light weight sarong I'm keeping in my purse to just tie around if we need to pop in one.

You're all set! :O)

Posted by
11613 posts

For ten days I would pack two pairs of pants, 2 going-out-to-opera or dinner type shirts, 2 casual shirts, a jacket, a tie, a second pair of shoes, whatever underwear/socks you think he'll need, plus what he's wearing. I would buy the tie in Italy.

This is what I helped a friend pack for 11 nights and he was fine with it. The change of shoes would be good if you do a lot of walking, even for only ten days.

Posted by
15675 posts

I usually don't bring extra shoes. I have one pair of dress Rockports. They are a comfortable pair of walking shoes by day and can double as a dress shoe at night.

I do, however, bring along a few pair of disposable insoles that I change out every few days. These help to keep the shoes fresh by absorbing odors and perspiration. They also add a little cushioning for comfort. I pre-cut them to size before packing.

Considering everything you plan to pack and not willing to do any laundry, I don't see how you can pack all of that in a carry-on. Just take whatever you want, check one or even two bags, and enjoy your trip.

Posted by
4174 posts

You don't say where you are going in Italy, or how you will be getting there beyond the plane. Just remember that if any kind of public transportation is involved, you will be schlepping that luggage to, from, on and off it. And depending on where you are staying, you may be carrying it up and down stairs yourself.

Apocryphal tale: We spent a month in France in June, 2012. We started with 8 nights in Paris. The 2nd night we went on a Seine dinner cruise. All the advice said to "dress up," so we did. My husband wore a pair of nice slacks, a nice shirt, a tie and a jacket. We bought that stuff specifically for that trip because he owned nothing even close to that and we (mostly me) thought he would use it that night as well as for other nice dinners out in the evenings. The ONLY other people dressed up on the boat were a group of Japanese women. No men speaking any language were as dressed up as he was. He carried that "outfit" the rest of the trip and never wore any of it. As a result, he will never bother packing anything like that again. He looks and feels much better in jeans or twill pants, and hates ties and jackets. They just aren't him.

Sidebar about me, since some other women have mentioned what they wear: I wore a 2 piece dress that night. I used it only one additional time on the trip. So it also did not fit the "don't take it unless you will wear it at least 3 times" parameter of smart packing. I should've known better. Even on my first (4 month long) trip to Europe in the late 70's, I never wore the dress I took. I look and feel much better in pants than in a skirt of any length.

Obviously, neither of us are "casually dressy" people and feel very uncomfortable dressing that way. We never had to do it for work and we certainly don't do it now that we are retired. We also never wear shorts at all, even here in hot, hotter, hottest AZ.

If you are more comfortable, wearing shorts and dressing somewhat dressy, go for it. But don't expect that you will look like a local in Italy. In my observation that's more about attitude and personal style than it is about clothing.

And as others have or will mention, the most important thing you can pack or wear is a pair of VERY good walking shoes. Shoes that you can walk or stand in for hours, over cobblestones and on hard surfaces. You will walk and be on your feet far more than you can possibly imagine.

Posted by
4586 posts

I would say, ALWAYS bring 2 pairs of shoes. First of all you need to rotate them to make your feet happy, and secondly one of them may "break" and become hard to wear. Or get all wet and need time to dry out. And make sure you've broken them in beforehand, I brought a pair of Eccos specifically for the trip and didn't drive them long enough beforehand so they became my backup pair.

Posted by
1021 posts

Pack two pair of shoes at most. One pair can be for walking around during the day and for casual evenings. The other is for dressy occasions or dinners. Unless we have something definite planned I don't take shiny shoes. In warm months throw in a comfy pair of sandals as well.

In hot months European men and visitors wear shorts of all lengths all around Europe including in Italy. Which is why they're on Rick's list. Personally I hate zip off legs pants unless I'm on an outdoors trip.

Lightweight cotton in dark colors is the best for slacks, shirts and socks. On a trip more than a week long in a hot climate, not doing at least one load of laundry or a wash in a sink or bathtub is a recipe for overpacking.

Posted by
66 posts

Having made several trips to Europe, one trip of 4 weeks, I can tell you no one wears shorts except at beach areas. Capris are fine for women. Even in St. Tropez I never sawa man in shorts. From your description you are planning on taking way too much. May I suggest as a good resource for travel clothes. My packing list includes one black dress I can use for dress-up occasions, or casual if worn with flat sandals. One pair black capris and one pair black long pants. Allof these are made of synthetic material and can be hand-washed and hung to dry, in fact all my clothes are made of this stuff. Three tank tops (black, white and blue or green). Two or three over-blouses, usually in neutral colors like khaki or oyster or black. 3 pair of underwear. Silk long underwear pants and camisole. These are pajamas, or can be worn under long pants if it get chilly. Swimsuit and lightweight pareo. Jacket that is water resistant. Good black walking shoes and a pair of sandals...I like slip on sandals that can double for slippers at night. That's it for clothing. I add a couple of scarves to dress things up. On the flight I wear some of the above. Depends on weather.

I suggest he get a couple of good quality travel pants in dark colors, and wear them for everything, night and day. Take about 3 or 4 travel shirts, a blazer, and a rain jacket. Pajamas. Get a good quality shoe (like Ecco or Reiker) that he can use day or evening, and a pair of sandals. 3 or 4 pair of underwear. Swimsuit? Done.

Oh..and take the twisted clothesline, a small bottle of detergent and a sink stopper. Every 3 days wash your clothes in the bathroom sink and hang up. Then wear them again. That's what good travelers do.

Posted by
393 posts

I only read the top 1/2 of comments, so this may have already been said:
I've traveled in Europe 10+ times. I will never bring more than two pairs of shoes. They take too much space.
In 2002 I wore white tennis shoes to Italy and realized that Italians don't wear white shoes - black and brown are all I'd ever think of.
I travel with one pair of NICE black tennis shoes and one rough pair. The nice ones are like RockPorts so they are for restaurants and non-rainy days.
As you mentioned, "go to REI." I have two pair of quick drying, light weight, pants and a few light weight shirts.

I've grown tired of my over-sized dop kit that has always held anything I want but is rather bulky. I'm planning on getting Rick's dop kit bag for our fall trip.

Rick's packing list is a fine place to start for "lists." If you can get a bit of REI buying, he'd be able to pull it all together at the end, typical-guy-fashion.

Posted by
10349 posts

We picked up the best advice on this Forum for my husband's wardrobe. It was golf pants. No not the plaid ones, but solid black, navy, or olive. They are light, comfortable, and great for travel. He not only looks tailored, but he's so comfortable that he wears them all the time, until it gets cold and he switches to winter pants. This is the male equivalent to Chico traveler's but a lot lighter in weight. I just popped over to Macy's, found a bunch for $35 each, and he's been happy ever since. The other good tip was the Eddie Bauer khaki travel pants (thanks Donna from Cleveland), which he found very good for traveling.

I do carry a bit of laundry soap, Forever New, and wash out the pants. His dry perfectly by morning. My Traveler's take a few days.