4 Top Tips From a Fanatic Packer

I confess, I pack with near-military precision, fitting everything into a rolling carry-on bag even for a month-long trip. During my most recent trip — a month in Italy inspecting properties — I moved accommodations every couple of nights because staying in our properties is the best way to inspect.

Packing for a long winter trip takes some careful planning.  Add weather uncertanties and walking several miles a day to get from appointment to appointment, comfortable low-maintenance, interchangeable  layers are my mantra. Keeping my suitcase (I swear by Tumi’s Voyageur Super-Leger International Carry-On) as light as possible was paramount since hauling luggage onto trains, airplane overhead bins, taxis, and up and down stairs, gets exhausting  with multiple moves .

My 4 Essential Packing Tips

  • Keep color palette to a minimum. I favor black, gray, brown with a few colorful accents.

    Pack 2
    Plastic luggage bags are vented at one end so you can squeeze air out, takes up less space.
  • All base layers (Tshirts, pants) should be easily washable and quick drying.
  • Bring several each of basics like tshirts, pants, all in same color.
  • Space Bags Luggage Packs! I have used them for years and bring extras for laundry, jewelry, random stuff to make it easy to pack & unpack. In fact, most of the time I never unpack, I keep everything in the plastic bags and grab what I need from the “shirt bag” or the “pants bag”.

Wardrobe for 4 weeks abroad

Winter travel day outfit, lots of layers. I wear the boots so I don’t have to pack them.

1 pair washable black pants
2 pairs washable black leggings
1 black skirt

Tops & Sweaters
2 black long-sleeved drip-dry tshirt/tunics
1 black cashmere sweater
1 white no-iron cotton blouse
1 white long sleeved Tshirt
1 black down vest
1 gray cashmere pullover
1 gray long cashmere cardigan
1 brown cashmere v-neck & long vest set
1 beige long wool cardigan

This limited wardrobe got me through the month of February in Italy. I’m now ready to burn these clothes!

2 heavy cashmere scarves
2 lighter weight scarves
4 inexpensive necklaces
2 pairs earrings
Black tights

1 pair black boots
1 pair black super-comfortable walking shoes
1 pair heels

The clothes are squished into my trusty, well worn Space Bags plus one bag with PJ’s, sweatpants, undies, socks, tights.

Now that I’m back I have happily retired those clothes for awhile.

Happy Packing and Warm Regards,



Rome’s Stately Piazza del Popolo

Piazza del Popolo was, and is, a truly impressive welcome to Rome, beautifully proportioned, it is anchored by an Egyptian obelisk (acquired from Egypt by Augustus Caesar during his conquests) which theme is carried forward with a fountain featuring Egyptian lions and a dozen sphinxes on the surrounding wall. The arched portal to Piazza del Popolo was designed by Bernini for Pope Alexander VII. The most unassuming church in the Piazza, Santa Maria del Popolo, has beautiful treasures of the Renaissance: a dramatic tomb mentioned as the scene of a crime in Dan Brown’s DaVinci Code, and two magnificent paintings by Caravaggio. The other two churches on the piazza are called “twins” and, at first glance look alike; it is fun to stop and identify the many differences in their architecture. Continue reading