Daydreaming while passing storybook chalet on a drive in the Alps. Enjoying an Aperol Spritz while cruising along Lake Como. Devouring a pot of piping hot fondue in a famed tavern in Switzerland. It doesn’t take long for the things we experience on our travels to imprint in our memories and bring us unexpected smiles when these moments appear to us in the bustle of our daily routines.

Alternatively, the aggravations that no doubt arise with the hauling of luggage, cramped seating arrangements on long flights, crankiness due to jet lag or a myriad of other “joys” we travelers must endure in the plight for fulfillment are often left behind and swapped in our long-term memory spaces for more delightful anecdotes. No matter how far or frequently we travel, having the right gear can prove a valued tool to maximize our opportunities for those fond memories and minimize the possibility of things going wrong.

On a recent Grand Tour of the Alps, I was fortunate to have the right gear and it made for a wonderful, easy experience. I created my “Top Ten” list while on this particular journey, but many of these items are proven must-haves no matter where your travel takes you.

Proper Footwear


“Without any strenuous hikes on our itinerary, we still averaged 6+ miles of walking a day. We also encountered several days of rain during the middle of our trip, and weather variations of 32-72 degrees along the way.”

Four of my top ten items fall into the footwear category:

Mephisto Sneakers
Packable Hunter Rain Boots
Smartwool Socks
New Balance or Superfeet Insoles

Stylish and oh-so-comfortable, the Mephisto sneaker is designed and produced in France and fits right in with the “Euro” look. These were my go-to shoes for daily walking tours, many of which were on cobblestone streets and some of which traversed steep hills.

I wore Smartwool Socks each day – no-show and calf-length styles – with a combination of either my custom-made New Balance insoles or my merino wool-lined Superfeet. Even with all of the walking and uneven terrain I had no hint of a blister or backache at the end of the trip.

For those rainy walking excursions, the packable Hunter Tour kept me warm and dry and I didn’t miss a thing due to weather. (Honorable mention goes to Goodhew compression socks – a must for any long flight!)