UMass Journalism -Travel Writing and Photojournalism
of this Document.
Sicily 2008 Packing List
Read TSA Carry-on Restrictions!
Don’t miss your flight by getting held up in the security line.
**Trip Insurance: If you want trip insurance, go to www.insuremytrip.com - for the best deal.
Mandatory Items (in your Carry-on Bag).
[Don’t get on the bus without the following and don’t
check these items to baggage.]
1. Your Passport (make 2 copies, leave one with someone here and carry
one in a separate place from your real passport) and a second ID.
2. Your Airline Ticket.
3. Your money (don't carry a lot of cash, ~$150, avoid $50 Bills)
and credit/bank cards.
4. Prescription medicines if you need them. (See TSA regulations re:
5. Extra glasses or contact lenses if you wear them.
6. A small flashlight.
7. Plastic ties or approved lock and an ID tag for your checked bag.
8. An inexpensive Watch and an Alarm Clock. (Being late impacts 45
9. Anything else that you can’t live without, like your camera
and memory cards, your iPod, a book, clean underwear, and a toothbrush.
10. Put a copy of you itinerary in all of your bags.
We will need layers. It may reach 70-75 degrees during the day and
can be cold at night. It will definitely be cold on Mt. Etna (8,000
feet above sea level). However, please pack lightly. You should
be able to survive with one medium size suitcase and your carry-on.
Plan on washing a few things out in your room (bring a little laundry
soap). We will never fit on the bus if you all bring steamer trunks
full of fashion statements and shoes.
DO NOT bring expensive jewelry. Wear costume jewelry or, preferably,
none at all. It is always better to not look like a tourist (particularly
a rich American one) when you are traveling anywhere, but it is foolish
to lose valuable jewelry that you could have left at home. I do, however,
require everyone to wear a (cheap?) watch (see above). It is very
important while traveling in a group to not ruin the day for the others
(or you as you watch us drive away) because you are late for the bus.
Good walking shoes.
A raincoat/parka with wind protection.
A sweatshirt or polar fleece cover-up.
Washable, layerable (is that a word?) light clothing.
Photography Equipment/ Journal Materials
Your camera. Perhaps a second "point and shoot" for snapshots.
Memory Cards - should be in some kind of a case that is easy to spot.
If you use film it should never be put in your checked luggage!
A daypack and/or camera bag. (This can also be your carry-on baggage
on the plane.)
Your National Geographic Photography book and Camera Instruction Manual.
Your journal and your writing implements.
Really Handy Stuff
Kleenex (Ladies - there just seems to never be paper in public rest
rooms, enough said.) **Please read the note below on restrooms in
Zip Lock Bags - The plastic industry’s gift to travelers. Take
many in a variety of sizes.
Wash and Dry Towelettes and/or hand sanitizer.
Imodium - You never know. And on a bus, it's bad for you, bad for
us, and the driver will hate you.
Sunglasses and a hat that won't embarrass you or us.
Security Wallet (For carrying your money and valuables under your
Luggage strap (brightly colored). Available in the travel section – extra
security around your bag and it helps identify it in the airport chaos.
Travel-size Febreeze - removes odors from stale rooms or smoky clothes.
Dryer sheets in your luggage/laundry make for a higher quality experience
when you open your bag.
Bubble Wrap – unless you don’t shop. (Is that likely?!)
Restrooms in Sicily:
There are no facilities
on the bus. (They’re
sometimes there, but there is no place to empty them so you can’t
use them.) In the rural parts of Sicily in which we travel, roadside
rest areas are infrequent. We need to form the TEOP Club – “Take
Every Opportunity to Pee”. Try to use the facilities just before
we leave an area. If you are in a bar or a restaurant, use the restroom
not only when you arrive, but before you leave. Perhaps you really
don’t need those 12 glasses of water a day? We don’t want
you dehydrated, but it’s to your benefit to try being a bit
conservative with that bottle of water that is constantly attached
to your pack. And then there’s these 4 cups of coffee in the
morning(?!)….. enough said.
Travelers checks are becoming less and less useful in Europe.
Many places either won’t take them or charge a surcharge for
using them. They still make good emergency money, but don’t
depend on using them instead of cash or charge cards. VISA has a travel
debit card (not connected to your other banking information) that
you can “fill” with money and take out in small amounts
at ATMs. (AAA in Hadley sells these cards and can get Euros as well.)
Regular ATM cards work fine in Sicily as long as they are supported
by one of the international banking net works like Cirrus. [Your PIN
should be in numbers and be less than 6 digits long.] Using a credit
card will get the best exchange rate for that day, it avoids the need
to carry cash, but they all charge a “Foreign Currency Exchange” fee.
Tell your bank you will be in Italy so the security program doesn’t
stop your use of the card.
Personal Safety Issues
Whenever you travel, assume that everybody you encounter wants to
steal your stuff. Trust no one, including children. (We may encounter
Gypsies in our travels and they are very, very good at leaving the
area with your belongings. It is usually the kids who pick your
pockets or grab your bag.) Be aware of your immediate surroundings
and be particularly careful in crowds. Dangling bags can be grabbed
by a thief on foot or on a motorbike, sometimes injuring the victim
in the process. Be "street smart" and you won't be a victim.
In the airport:
Get rid of the metal before you go through so you (we) won’t
be held up. Watches, coins, belt buckles, jewelry, piercing hardware,
metal coat zippers, etc. can all set off the detector. Don't make
any terrorism jokes or cop an attitude with the security personnel
- you'll end up missing the plane.
Don't fall asleep with your carry-on bags unattended.
Political Correctness will stay behind you at UMass. Sicilian
men may whistle, make comments, and generally be more aggressive than
you may be accustomed to. They often think of American women as "easy".
(Sometimes, American women are easy compared to Sicilian women - so
that's the reputation you're dealing with!) It is best if you just
ignore them. Always travel in groups. You will notice that you rarely
see unaccompanied Sicilian women out at night. Their families do not
allow it. Therefore, you are the target of all the Italian male charisma.
The mere fact that you are out at night means (by Sicilian values)
that you are not a particularly virtuous woman. Resist the charm,
it is rarely sincere.
Don't carry your wallet in your back pocket. It's the equivalent
to giving it away. Keep your cool and ignore the non-physical aggressiveness
of the Sicilian men. You guys should hang around with the women on
the trip. Your presence will spare them from some of the more obnoxious
(by our standards) behavior of the Italian men.