Are you a fan of trip planning? I personally love to plan but it can also be overwhelming and a lot of work:
The great news is that if you want to plan your trip yourself, the internet will be invaluable. We have a term in our household that's used quite a lot called GTS (Google That Shit). But how do you know you're picking the right places or activities? How do you know if the reviews are legit? You will need to set aside some time and maybe start with an outline of what you'd like to do. I know I don't like spending hours waiting in lines to get into a museum or other locations so you have to know how to get around those pesky details.
One example is The Last Supper in Milan, Italy. There is only one official site that sells tickets, they open the calendar of availability in 2 month blocks but you must book approximately 3-4 months out. They only let in 30 people at a time (and once you're in - only for 15 minutes) so you have to make sure you are dedicated to your time slot. There are other companies that sell tickets to The Last Supper however they have secured these tickets through another source and can add additional fees.
I have had pretty good luck booking hotels (I like to stay at small family-run locations) but I have spent a lot of time researching first. Another thing I learned the hard way - don't try to pack in so many different locations that you are changing hotels every couple days. I can't tell you how nice it is to stay in one place for 4-5 days, unpack my suitcase and feel I'm able to relax! I would rather do a day trip to visit a town and size it up to see if it might be somewhere I would want to stay next time.
That leads me to transportation. I find getting around Italy (and Europe in general) super easy on public transportation. The train system is really efficient or if it's a short distance you're traveling, there are lots of bus routes. Even if you want to fly somewhere else, the rates are usually quite reasonable. Larger cities like Rome or Milan also have a great subway system for jetting around the city but I actually walk as much as I can, you never know what you will stumble upon. If you are in a more remote area you may want to rent a car or a driver. For example if you want to explore wineries in Tuscany I would definitely recommend hiring a driver for the day.
Food. Food. Foooood. One of my favorite reasons to travel, especially to Italy. But don't think I haven't made the mistake of ending up in a touristy cafe with so-so food and outrageous prices. I try to always get recommendations from locals on where they like to eat or sometimes I will just wander 1 or 2 blocks off the main street and find something amazing. Definitely be open to trying something new or different, especially if it's a specialty or in-season. You may find a new favorite!
What should you pack? Well, I have a couple checklists I use (and will share on another post) but the most important thing is comfortable shoes. If your tootsies are killing you, it won't be a fun experience. Also, try to pack things that are easy to layer. Like anywhere, the weather can change despite the forecast.
Now, if you want more info on how to plan a trip or if you're looking for someone to plan your trip to Italy feel free to shoot us an email or click here for more info. We would love to help!
Story by Dionne Foote