Advices and top items to put in your suitecase when eloping to Europe
If you’re planning your wedding or honeymoon in Italy, this post will help you to have a stress-free vacation
Planning a destination wedding means planning an exciting bridal experience and also wonderful trip, and not just metaphorically!
Amalfi Coast brides often come from far to make their dream of love come true in the most romantic location in the world. Well, as a wedding planner on the Amalfi Coast, I would like to help you better organize not only your elopement or wedding in Positano, Ravello or Capri, but also your trip and… your luggage.
So here’s the ultimate checklist for destination weddings. The first part of this post is interesting and useful for any kind of traveler, so share it with your guests and help them planning their trip for your wedding. The second part is just for you, who get married on the Amalfi Coast. I hope you can consider it a useful tool to have a relaxing and easy vacation!
Itinerary and reservations
Useful apps and websites
Packaging List for Destination Wedding
Wedding Emergency Kit
Tips for traveling brides
The most important thing is your health, especially in these pandemic times! In addition, the stress of traveling can turn your stomach and head upside down. For this reason, even if you are a young traveler, you should think about all the medications you might take, both over the counter and prescription.
Discuss your travel plans with your doctor and get advice on what steps to take and any vaccines to get. In particular, the Corona Virus vaccine is not only a good idea if you plan to move in the summer of 2021, but it could also be a prerequisite for accessing most European countries.
Get a health passport. In the coming weeks, the health passport or Green Pass will be introduced in Europe. It is a document certifying that you have successfully overcome the disease, that your swab has tested negative for covid-19 or that you have had all the doses of one of the vaccines approved in Europe (Astrazeneca, Pfizer, Moderna). The Green Pass can also be requested by foreign citizens who intend to visit the old continent and will allow you to move freely, without a mandatory 15-day quarantine.
Learn about the prevention measures implemented by individual states and travel in compliance with the anti-Covid regulations. In general: wear a mask, often sanitize your hands, keep a distance of 1 meter from others. Monitor the situation in Europe from here:
If you are on medication, fill out your prescriptions before leaving. Ask your doctor for a prescription with the dosages and scientific names of your medications as generic names may vary or may not be translatable in the destination country.
If you have severe allergies (medicines/insects that can give you anaphylactic shock, for example) or if you are diabetic/heart patient/rare blood group, wear a lifesaving necklace or Medical Alert tag that signals your allergy or condition in English.
Carry small amounts of non-prescription medications that may be useful while you are abroad. Put them in your hand luggage, not int he hold baggage.
Bring an extra pair of glasses and contact lenses too, so you have a way to replace them if you lose them.
Rename important contacts on your phone (for example: your travel partner’s number) as ICE + person’s name / relationship. ICE actually means “in case of emergency” and indicates the rescue workers or the doctors must contact in order to receive important information about you (eg health history, etc.) or to inform them about your health conditions. A simple ICE contact is something like: “ICE 1 Brother” followed by the number.
Make sure your passport is ready before taking off:
If you don’t have one, request it a little in advance, at least 3 months before the departure.
If, on the other hand, you have a passport, check that it is valid for at least 6 months after your stay. If not, renew it. Also check that there are enough pages for this particular trip.
Lastly, make sure your airline tickets have exactly the same name that is on your passport.
Obtain an entry visa if necessary.
Citizens of the following countries and territories are exempt from the entry visa requirement for stays of up to 90 days for tourism:
Albania, Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Colombia, South Korea, Costa Rica, Croatia, Dominica, El Salvador, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), United Arab Emirates, Georgia, Japan, Grenada, Guatemala, Honduras, Hong Kong, Solomon Islands, Israel, Kiribati, Malaysia, Macao, Northern Mariana, Marshall, Mauritius, Mexico, Micronesia, Monaco, Montenegro, Nicaragua, New Zealand, Palau, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Samoa, Saint Lucia, Serbia, Seychelles, Singapore, United States, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Taiwan, East Timor, Tonga, Trinidad, Tobago, Tuvalu, Ukraine , Uruguay, Vanatu, Venezuela.
Check if you need a visa to enter Italy here.
Get informations about your destination: context, safety, itinerary and recommended behaviors (for example: local habits and customs, behavior respectful of the local religion and culture).
Monitor the situation in the destination country. In particular, consider enrolling in the Smart Traveler Enrollent Program to get updates on any issues. As for Italy, you can register here:
If your country allows it, please report your itinerary and your contacts to the authorities. Italian citizens, for example, can report their trips to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs through the website DovesiamonelMondo.it This allows the Italian Crisis Unit, in cases of emergency such as terrorist acts and natural disasters, to coordinate interventions in a more quick, targeted and effective way and to get in touch with the families of the travelers involved.
Save useful phone numbers on your mobile: the Embassy or consulate of your country on site, local police, health emergency. To make it easier for you, here are the main public utility numbers in Italy – remember that the Italian national prefix is +39:
112 Prompt Intervention (Carabinieri)
113 Public Emergency Assistance (Police)
115 Fire Department (firemen)
118 Health Emergency (to request an ambulance)
1515 Forest Fire Service
1530 Assistance at sea
Travel insurance may seem superfluous but in case of problems it will make the difference.There are 6 types of travel insurance you should consider: rental car collision/damage, trip cancellation or interruption insurance, trip delay insurance, lost baggage insurance, travel accident insurance, and medical insurance including emergency evacuation and transportation or repatriation.
Before taking out any insurance, make sure you understand what it includes and what the terms are.
There are some important documents that are good to have a copy of. I’m talking about:
Passport information page (the one with your photo and passport number)
Credit and debit card information with the card numbers and phone numbers
Any insurance contracts
All the bookings, car rental agreements, receipts for the tours you have booked, etc.
You may not need these documents for the entire trip, but if you are stolen or lose your bag, having copies will make your life easier. Therefore:
Designate a friend or a family member to keep copies of your important documents at home. It should be someone you can easily get in touch with if necessary.
Carry both paper and digital copies (a simple photo on your phone is ok) of any documents you may need.
Keep copies separate from the actual documents! Don’t keep everything together.
Before leaving, double check the dates of all yoour reservations and your itinerary. Save your most important things in a note on your mobile, especially phone numbers and addresses.
Make sure you have email communications with hotels and car rentals on your phone. That is, make sure you have access to your mailbox even from a smartphone.
Make a list of the valuables you will bring with you (mainly electronics and cameras) with their serial numbers, brands and models. This will be useful for your insurance company in case of loss or theft.
Avoid surprises during your trip to Europe:
Check the exchange rate to get a better idea of the expenses you will incur.
Call your bank and credit card companies a week before the departure to let them know of where and when you will be traveling. This will prevent that the payments in Europe are branded as a “fraudulent transaction” and blocked by your bank.
Learn about transaction fees and find out if there is a daily limit on the amount you can take from the ATM.
Memorize any PIN associated with your payment cards.
Remember that to get cash in most European countries it is advisable to use a debit card, rather than a credit card, at the ATM: the withdrawal fees and cash advance interest rates are very high.
Upon your arrival in Europe, withdraw cash, even just € 100, at an ATM inside the airport to meet your first expenses: a sandwich, a taxi ride to your hotel.
Itinerary and Reservations
Book your accommodation, transportation, guides and extra activities well in advance, up to 8 months before the departure.
Check which holidays or major events will take place in the destination country during your stay. It might be nice to take part, but also consider how they will affect your travel plans (traffic, delays …) and how to avoid problems.
Plan your transportation in advance and check what is more convenient or comfortable for you. If you don’t want to use the public transport, check that your license is valid for driving in Europe.
In Italy, if you hold a driving license issued by an European state, you can drive the vehicles for which your license is valid. If, instead, you have a non-European foreign driving license, it must be accompanied by an official translation into Italian or by an international driving permit issued by your country.
If you drive and don’t speak the language of the country you are going to visit, take a few months to familiarize with the road signals you will see in your destination.
Warning: the Amalfi Coast is known for its narrow and winding streets. If you do not feel confident in your driving, opt for a transportation other than the car, such as bus, taxi or ferry. Driving on the Amalfi Coast is not for everyone and can be very difficult and dangerous for those used to big cities.
Useful Apps and Websites
Download apps that might come in handy on your trip to Europe. Do this before you leave, just in case the wifi isn’t great when you arrive. Here are the ones I highly recommend:
A language translation app, such as Google Translate.
Your airline app.
Food and restaurant apps like TripAdvisor.
Accommodation booking apps (Booking, Airbnb).
Road maps app.
Apps dedicated to your destination (for example: Agerola Experience for trekking on the Amalfi Coast, Costa Eventi for social life, Amalfi Cost’s land)
Your bank app
Instant messaging app (Whatsapp is very popular and allows you to communicate at an affordable cost)
Entertainment app so you won’t get bored while traveling (Amazon Kindle, Spotify, games ..)
Get an adapter before you leave as it can take a long search to get it on site. An adapter allows you to plug the flat two pronged outlets used in the USA into the two round prongs plugs used in Europe. Adapters are cheap and lightweight, so bring at least a pair.
First of all, don’t worry: most of Europe is very safe. Pickpocketing and petty theft are the types of crimes you might encounter, so be careful in crowded places.
Store your valuables in a matryoshka-style shoulder bag, which means with a multitude of pockets and internal zippers. For men: carry your wallet in the front pocket of your trousers instead of the back one, in a jacket or in a neck bag under your shirt.
When you move, take only the money you need and leave the rest in your hotel room in the safe, if available, or out of sight.
Pay attention to the ATM and don’t let anyone “help” you with your pin.
To be able to use your phone in Europe, activate the international tariff plan of your mobile operator before leaving.
If you don’t have an international plan, use the internet only when you can connect to wifi and check that the roaming is turned off to avoid paying big charges. Most of the hotels and all the main squares of the European cities are wifi-free.
What has been said so far applies to all types of travelers, so feel free to send the article link to your guests to make the planning of their trip easier. From here on, let’s talk about destination brides and how you should organize your luggage.
Packaging List for Destination Wedding
There are some things you need to take with you for your wedding in Europe and in Italy. Here are the ones you can’t really forget at home:
Accessories (shoes, belts) and jewelry (earrings, cufflinks)
Digital or paper copy of the contract with your wedding planner
Contacts of your wedding planner
Copy of the wedding insurance, if you have one
Marriage certificate if you are married in your country
Copies of your vows
Any items, guest gifts, and decorations you have prepared
Samples of invitations (at least 3 suite to be given to the photographer for the detail photography)
Lingerie and undergarments for the wedding night
Wedding Emergency Kit
I also recommend you to prepare a bridal emergency kit to deal with last-minute unforeseen events on your wedding day. It should contain:
Silicone pads for heels
Patches, aspirin, vitamins
Mini manicure kit
Transparent nail polish and polish remover
Lip stick and Lip balm
Brush and hair spray
Toothbrush and toothpaste
Powder and mascara
Make up remover
Oil blotting sheets
Hair gel, razor and aftershave for him
Tips for traveling brides
For most destination brides, even those with the most curious and adventurous soul who travel a lot, this is the first time they have to deal with a wedding abroad. So, what are the tricks to keep in mind?
Let’s start with one of the most important things: your wedding dress! The best way to carry your beautiful wedding gown is as hand luggage. Get a garment bag. It is often provided by the atelier where you buy your dress. Stick the hanger of the dress through the top of the garment bag and hang it up high so you can work with the wedding dress. Then, take the left side of the gown and the right side of the gown and fold them into each other toward the center.
From there, take the bottom of the train and roll it up until the fabric is contained within the garment bag. Now it’s time to close it, keeping a finger on the other side of the zipper while closing so the dress doesn’t get caught in the pliers.
Once on the plane, there are several options: roll up the garment bag and place it in the overhead compartment above your seat; or spread the bag over your neighbors’ luggage – ask them for permission to stretch it out in their overhead bin; ask the hostess if there is a wardrobe where you can hang your dress or use an empty seat.
Alternatively, buy a ticket for your dress. Yes, you read well! If you want to travel with peace of mind, book a one-way ticket to your wedding destination for your dress. This way your dress will also have its own seat and also its own carry-on, which might come in handy if you’re also bringing a petticoat or a cathedral-length veil.
As for the wedding rings, never part with them – put them in your hand luggage.
You don’t need to bring a streamer with you – all hotels have one.In any case, better ask to your hotel before the departure.
For minor items needed on the wedding day, such as paper programs, decorations, guest bags, invitations and favors, consider to send them in advance to your wedding planner by courier to lighten your luggage.
Now everything has been said and I hope you can feel more relaxed in planning your honeymoon and your event by following the advices contained in this ultimate destination wedding guide. If you still have any doubt, pleasr share it with me by writing to email@example.com I would really like to help you have a stress-free wedding experience.
So, are you ready to pack up?