On luggage & packing
First and foremost, you need a carry-on suitcase with wheels (spinner or inline). It's not practical to lug around a cumbersome bag when traveling by plane, train, automobile, ferry, water bus and even gondola. Most airline carry-on size restrictions are 22-inches long, 14-inches wide and 9-inches deep. This was a real eye-opener for me. Normally I pack one outfit for each day. I was expected to maximize 10 days into one carry-on!
It was easier than I thought. Dresses and skirts proved to be multipurpose. Cool for summer travel, they compact well, wrinkle less and can be dressed up or down for day or night. I took Icebreaker dresses as well as Toad&Co dresses, maxi-dresses and skirts. Most are UPF 30+, comfortable (not restrictive) and cover the shoulder and collarbone, so they meet cathedral dress code requirements. I didn't bother with jewelry except pieces I wear daily. Even then, challenge yourself — you don't want these extra pretties to get stolen, lost or take up much needed suitcase room.
One accessory that was extremely beneficial in Italy was a long scarf or wrap to cover shoulders or legs for the unexpected and amazing cathedral around every corner. It was also useful as a jewelry replacement, decorative belt, or to protect my hair from the coastal winds ... just like Jackie-O!
Don't bring a purse. The flap of my sister's cross-body purse was easily flipped open and the pick-pocketer's hand was in and out before she even knew it. The daily essentials can all be stuffed into a waist wallet. Not a fanny pack (eww!) but an RFID safe wallet that fits like a belt safely under your shirt.
RFID will protect you from the tech savvy thieves who scan your credit card magnetic strip and take your credit card number with them, leaving you with the card and not suspecting a crime has happened at all! Really, all you need to carry is your passport, phone, a credit card and cash, which all fit easily in a waist wallet. Both my husband and my brother-in-law carried backpacks, which held water bottles, cameras and rain jackets (just in case) or umbrellas for shade.
On travel shirts
My husband, Brad, found some amazing travel shirts by Merrell, ExOfficio, Craghoppers at Sierra Trading Post. Don't be fooled into wearing your everyday cotton polo or T-shirt. Travel shirts are UPF 30+, lightweight, moisture-wicking with mesh vents and quick-drying for washing in the sink and wearing another day. His favorite surprise feature was the hidden zip pocket, which made carrying his phone, passport or cash safer and more convenient than pant pockets.
Last but most important, shoes. Good walking shoes are essential! For Mother's Day I bought Kalso Earth negative heel technology shoes for my 65-year-old mother. She swears by them! They redistribute body weight to reduce stress on joints. My 75-year-old aunt was able to keep up with the six-plus miles a day walking with her Chaco shoes and compression socks. She humorously describes the trip as "if there were stairs, we climbed them."
What about your adventure travel plan? Which accessories and apparel do you always take with you? Tell us in the comments!