My minimal travel necessities

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“He who would travel happily must travel light.” – Antoine de St. Exupery

Ciao amici! It feels like I’ve been preparing for this moment for years. Although I couldn’t possibly be more prepared in terms of packing, researching, etc, I truly think that there is no adequate preparation to feel ready for a new life in a new land than to just get there and experience it. So here I am, sitting in the gorgeous city of Firenze, Italia, slowly but surely absorbing the constant stream of new sights, smells, sounds, and speculations. Since I’m in Europe and all, I’ve been pondering the very apparent minimalistic attitudes, fashions, etc. on display. Looking back on the 14 hour journey from Chicago to Florence, I thought about the few things I wouldn’t be able to leave home without carrying directly on me. So here we have my bare minimal travel necessities:

  1. SNEAKERS. People, I cannot stress enough the importance of comfortable shoes while traveling. Seriously, does anyone know why celebrities wear heels to the airport? If you do, please fill me in. Regardless, comfort definitely does not mean sacrificing style. The sneakers I’m sporting are J/Slides Brand, the Jackstar shoe in Bone Suede. J/Slides effortlessly mixes casual footwear with sophistication, so naturally I was drooling over these shoes for months, and finally got my hands (feet?) on a pair. Just about anything monochrome has been in style as of late, but especially monochrome sneakers. I totally don’t blame you if you want to snag a pair (many different color/style options), so head over to and enter sam50 at checkout for 50% off your purchase!

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2. JOURNAL. Since writing has become a joyous outlet of mine these days, I couldn’t not bring along a pen and some paper. I mentioned above about all the sights, sounds, etc. that overload my senses while traveling, so what better way to document these important impressions than to write them down. I know years down the road, older, and (hopefully) wiser Rachael will look back at my journal and be brought to the exact moments that delivered all kinds of internal/external reactions. Like my childish laughter at Frankfort, Germany’s airport intercom voice, or my sudden distress when the power went out in Florence’s baggage claim. Small memories are easily forgotten amongst the stress of travel, so jotting them down is a surefire way to lock these moments in place.

3. PHONE CASE. Okay, I know you’re thinking “duh”. But I cannot tell you how many times my phone slipped out of my hands or I misplaced it in the wrong pocket. If it weren’t for my protective (and really cute I might add) case I’d be sobbing over shards of shattered glass or searching forever for a sliver of metal in the nooks and crannies of all my bags. Just protect your phone for travel, pretty simple.

4. SUNNIES. Now you’re probably thinking “huh?” This might just be me, but I cannot stand leaving the house on a sunny day without sunglasses in my bag. I kept all my sunnies in my backpack for easy access upon arrival in Firenze. And not to my surprise, they were the first thing I grabbed during the sunny drive into the city. Not to mention sunglasses are fragile and you probably wouldn’t want them to be manhandled in your checked bag anyways, so keep ’em close.

5. PASSPORT. If you need this explained, maybe hold off on international travel for a bit 🙂

There ya have it, my bare minimum travel necessities. I also advise bringing clothes, earbuds, gum, etc. just maybe leave the neck pillow at home 😉 Arrivederci!



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