By Catherine Mullen

  1. Alarm clock – If you need time to get ready in the morning it will help a lot. We had some people who liked to run in the morning so I’d be woken up by them, but an alarm clock helps with preventing yourself from falling back asleep.
  2. More than one pair of good shoes- They will get wet, they will get dirty, and your feet will hurt by the end of the trip. After days of rain and walking outside, it was nice to have a dry (and nice looking) pair of shoes to turn to, but be warned: flip flops are not the best option.
  3. Bring Snacks- With a group this big traipsing through Italy all day, it is hard to constantly stop for snacks. I was extremely grateful to have those extra granola bars in my suitcase.
  4. Make sure you have a little weight left over in your suitcase- Yes, you will shop. Leaving Cleveland my suitcase was just under the limit at 49.5 lbs. I had to be really creative with making sure my suitcase didn’t weigh more on the way home.
  5. Look at the weather- You will not need shorts. It won’t be that warm. A rain jacket however, is a wise investment.
  6. Be open to trying new foods- I was glad to learn that I liked some new things that I probably would not have tried if I hadn’t visited Italy. Artichokes are actually pretty good!
  7. The Walk of the Gods- It’s rough, I’ll be the first to admit. Make sure you wear real shoes made for walking on rough terrain. Also dress in layers and bring some snacks. You also might want to utilize the step machine at the gym in the weeks leading up to departure.
  8. Don’t stay up all night – You don’t want to be tired. It will make for a miserable day. You will walk a lot, so get a solid night’s rest.
  9. Don’t be attached to your camera- Sometimes it’s just better to watch instead of look at everything through a screen.
  10. Embrace the “No Technology” Policy- I’ll admit I was not happy about leaving my phone at home, but I’m so glad I didn’t have it. I made so many new friends and enjoyed my time so much more. It’s a great trip and I’m extremely jealous I can’t go on it again!

Photo: Sunny Roy