These are my Top Six Glad-I-Didn't-Have-To-Live-Without-These List:
- Flip Video Camera: This item simply rocks. True, I counted on my friend to be the photographer for the trip, but there were so many things I wanted to videotape... Emiliano the Archaeologist Tour Guide at Pompeii, the phenomenal ocean views from our hotel rooms, the funny moments at certain meals (when what we received didn't quite line up with the poor English translation on the menus), beautiful church sanctuaries, gorgeous paintings in museums or cathedrals, lovely sounds of church singing, or just those goofy little moments on the trip... whatever. It was a fun, different way to record memories. I have the most basic model that only records 1 hour, but most of my clips were 30 seconds to 1 minute, so I was able to record a ton of stuff.
- Sunscreen Stick: The spring break was lovely and warm most days, and I did not want to get burned. I also did not want to deal with the potential for a leaky bottle in my purse or problems with one more 3 oz bottle to deal with, so I brought a stick instead. Super easy, worked great.
- Frommer's Travel Guide: I have come to the conclusion that SO MUCH can be figured out before and during a trip if you have a really good travel guide. Last time I went to Italy in 2006 we used one by Rick Steve's and it was amazing. I didn't care how much I looked like a tourist when I pulled it out... first of all, I WAS a tourist, so why pretend, and secondly, Rick always pointed out the best gelato spots! So I was sorta bummed when I could not locate a Rick Steve's edition for the Amalfi Coast. However, I can say that I was not at all disappointed by this book ~ plus, it was a bit smaller than my old Rick Steve's edition for Rome and Florence. Frommer's had great maps, excellent tips for train travel, and outstanding restaurant recommendations. It also included those cool little tidbits about local history and sights off the beaten track.
- Dover Italian Phrase Guide: My second favorite book for this trip was this one. It was super thin (about a 1/4 inch) and well-organized. And when I was stumbling through a menu and needed to know what the word was for eggplant, or the phrase for "Where is the bathroom?" BAM, my Dover book was there for me.
- Dramamine: One of the best parts of this trip was that once we took the long plane flight, very little travel was involved on a daily basis... we never had to go more than 30-50 minutes to get to the next town. However, those short little trips often involved a boat ride across a somewhat choppy channel or a winding bus ride along that treacherous (but utterly beautiful and breath-taking) cliff that is the Amalfi Coast. I just so happened to have a travel bottle of dramamine pills with me and I was one happy girl (as was my friend) that I had them. Other than making me a wittle sweepy every afternoon I took them, they worked like a charm.
- Trader Joe's Organic Fruit Leathers: I was so grateful for the gluten-free bread options I found in the farmacias in Italy, but I needed an additional little snack sometimes as we were walking through a cathedral in the late afternoon or heading back to the hotel on the bus, and these babies came through for me every day. The fruit leathers packed up well (so thin!) and were all gone by the time we headed home. (I also packed a jar of peanutbutter so I could have some protein options, but that got confiscated in LAX, dang it.)
I'm still digging through my trip journal, the Flip video clips and various momentos... what a fantastic trip. Yeah.