"An Italophile's delight." - Ross King, NY Times Bestselling Author of Brunelleschi's Dome
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I’ve been traveling to Italy for many years, and now I also lead tour groups to share my passion for the beauty of my ancestral home in Tuscany. A few weeks before the trips, I always get questions about packing.
Less is more. Pack half of what you think you need. Leave room in the suitcase for purchases or take a smaller suitcase and buy another one in Italy. You will be happy you travelled light! Plus my motto is, “Whatever you don’t have, you can always buy – you’re in Italy!”
Don’t travel in August. Like most Europeans, Italians flock to the beaches in August and most shops and restaurants close in the cities. Plus, it’s just too hot, and many locations do not have air conditioning.
Double check your passport. You cannot travel if your passport expires within six months of your travel dates. G3 is an excellent source for expediting!
Buy a data package from your wireless provider. Roaming charges are a killer.
Don’t over plan your time. Leave some room for wandering and serendipitous moments. That’s when the magic happens.
Hire a city tour guide. Rome wasn’t built in a day, they say – so don’t think you can see it in one. Whether you are visiting a city like Rome, Florence or Venice for a day or a week, hiring a guide can give you a wonderful foundation and new “eyes” to see things. Need recommendations? Send me a note.
7. Think twice before you rent a car. If you are adventurous, don’t care if you get lost, want to spend a lot of time in the countryside, have time to spare, then by all means, rent a car and purchase all the insurance options. If not, trains or a private driver are your best options. Or I will give you Paolo’s contact information – he’s the best professional driver in Italy.
8. Leave your “fat” and “carb” fears at home. Most of what you will find when you dine in Italy is local, fresh and organic and the portions are not huge. Olive oil, ricotta, mozzarella, pasta, bread, risotto – the ingredients are normally of the highest quality. Even folks who have gluten sensitivity can eat pasta and bread in Italy because it’s made with ancient grains and not processed ingredients. Of course, it depends on where you eat. Avoid restaurants that have their menu written in English or are otherwise “touristy.” I find that I lose weight in Italy, despite a gelato-every-afternoon habit.
9. Mentally prepare yourself to unplug. Every moment does not have to be “captured.” Try to resist being married to your iPhone. Maybe that beautiful moment is just for you. That is the ultimate Selfie.
10. Learn a few words of Italian. It’s just polite. A greeting of “buon giorno” when entering a café or shop is very much appreciated. Want an easy, free and fun way? Download the Duolingo app.
What are YOUR best #travel tips when visiting #Italy or other European countries?
Bonus Tips: Engage a travel agent to book your flights, hotel and guides. In this chaotic travel world, an agent is a godsend when there are delays and cancelled flights. Plus they can be great resources and put you in touch with the best people. Buy travel insurance. This is a relatively low-cost necessity should you not be able to travel and/or have a medical emergency while away.
“He who is outside his door already has the hardest part of his journey behind him.” – Dutch proverb