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How to Pack for the New World
With new security rules at airports across the globe, you can still get to Italy in style - and with everything you need
This is the third and final story in a series about travel to Italy and how it is being affected by the latest terrorist plot.
SEPTEMBER 3, 2006 - The summer might be coming to its unofficial end in the United States, but Italy will remain ripe with tourists through October. If you're among those heading to the motherland in the fall, then you probably already know that new security measures mean you'll have to put that toothpaste and shampoo in your checked luggage - or you'll have to leave it at home. But there are certain gadgets that will help you bring all your favorites - even those hand-painted ceramic plates - back home with you. Here are some ideas:
Find a hard body - This time I'm not talking about an Italian man. He doesn't make for an easily transportable souvenir. Instead, pick up a hard-side suitcase. The Samsonite 200 Series/Oyster is affordable - sometimes as low as $80 - and has a little bit of give, which makes it more difficult to crack. It's also fairly deep and comes in a variety of colors, so you'll easily spot your suitcase on the conveyor belt. My pick is the electric orange, but red will ward off the malocchio. American Tourister offers a slightly smaller hard-side 21-inch spinner, which is a little pricier at $100. Big spenders might want to consider a Hartmann hard-side suitcases, which can cost more than $1,000 but often includes details like leather and wood trim.
For now, you can still bring your electronic devices on board, as long as you're not traveling to the United Kingdom. If you're planning to bring a laptop, you should probably invest in a hard-sided aluminum or molded model case. If you do end up checking in the computer, be sure to use additional padding to protect its delicate body from the bashing it will undoubtedly face being thrown off and on the luggage cabin. Also, get cases for your cell phone, digital camera, iPod, etc, just in case you have to check those items at the last minute. In this new world, the security policies can change any minute. Just ask anyone who was traveling when the terror plot story broke in mid August.
Plastic makes perfect - A cushy plastic makeup bag is perfect for liquid toiletries. If you want a steal, you can head to your local pharmacy - think CVS or Walgreens - for these bags. If you want to splurge, the cosmetics counter at your nearest department store will have plenty of lovely designer options. As someone who has had shampoo spill out in one of these bags and damage her clothes, I suggest you put all toiletries in a Ziploc bag and then one of those plastic travel cases. It's just safer. Trust me.
Pack it forward - If you're thinking of returning home with an authentic bottle of Italian vino, perfume, ceramic goods or other breakable item, then consider bringing bubble wrap or foam popcorn and some packing tape with you before you leave. And remember you can always ship things via UPS and FedEx. There are even services that will ship your luggage to your destination and then back home, so you don't even have to worry about it. By planning ahead of time and using the right tools, your trip to Italy can still be a restful vacation.
For more information on the author and traveling to Italy, please visit www.francescadimeglio.com
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