Are you itching to get away from home and explore the world? If so, there’s no better time than the present.
After all, there’s nothing better than discovering new destinations and exploring exotic cultures. That’s especially true of Italy.
It’s no secret that traveling in Italy is a life-changing experience. There’s something beautiful and exciting around every culture. It’s a country rich in history, art, amazing food, wine, and some of the finest people you’ll ever encounter.
This article takes a look at some important tips for planning a trip to Italy that will help make your vacation the best travel experience possible. Keep reading to get the inside scoop.
1. The Best Times of Year to Visit
One of the best ways to ensure the most enjoyable experience in Italy is to be strategic about the time of year you plan to visit.
For example, when it comes to the best months for ideal weather, it’s hard to beat May or September. By avoiding the summer months you’ll be able to skip the heat. But these are also the busier times of the year.
The end of September is a great time to visit Rome, though you can still expect crowds and the weather will likely be a tad on the warm side.
Perhaps the best insider tip is to travel to Italy once the weather has cooled down. This will help you avoid the big crowds, especially at the most popular attractions. This will also help you save money on accommodations. For example, consider planning your trip for the end of March to the beginning of April, or October to November.
2. Money and Your Travel Budget
Now let’s talk for a moment about establishing a budget for your Italian vacation. After all, international travel can be expensive.
For starters, it’s important to understand that the local currency is the Euro. Thus there will be an exchange rate to consider before making purchases. There’s really no reason to carry a lot of cash while traveling. That’s because most places accept VISA and Mastercard, although American Express isn’t as popular in Italy.
If you plan to use ATMs, be aware of withdrawal fees. You should also keep an eye on foreign currency charges. The key is to review your cards before packing for your flight so that you’ll know exactly what to expect.
Another useful tip for international travel is to have a primary card for all purchases, but also take along a couple of backup cards in case of emergency.
When it comes to the costs of traveling, airfare, and lodging will obviously be your biggest expenses. Beyond that, you’ll need to budget plenty of money for food and snacks each day. This isn’t where you’ll want to skimp. After all, Italy is a foodie’s paradise.
You’ll also need to budget for trains, buses, taxis, and tipping.
Traveling on a limited budget can be tricky. That’s why you should start saving for your Italian vacation as early as possible.
3. Packing for Your Trip
When packing for your trip, you’d be wise to first make a list of everything you’ll need. That will reduce the odds of forgetting anything important.
Plan to dress as casually as possible. After all, you’ll probably be doing a lot of walking. The key is to pack comfortable shoes that won’t leave your feet aching at the end of a long day.
Aside from clothing, you’ll need to pack things like a collapsible water bottle that will help you stay hydrated without spending a ton of cash on bottled water. This way you can keep it in your day pack and refill it at the free water fountains located all over Italy.
You’ll also need a power converter for charging your mobile devices, as well as a battery pack for your smartphone and camera.
Try to pack as minimally as possible so that there’s less to keep up with. This will also help minimize the chances of losing anything of value.
4. Passports and Visas
When traveling internationally, you’re going to need a passport. Thus it’s important to keep it in a safe place where you can easily reach it. In fact, you should keep your passport on your person at all times. And it’s also important to note that you must have 6 months of validity on your passport when traveling in Italy.
For citizens of the United States, you can actually enter Italy and stay there for up to 90 days within a 180 day period without needing a travel visa. But it’s still a good idea to keep your visa in your bag if possible.
5. Where to Start
There’s so much to see, it can be hard to know where to start. The major cities include Rome, Venice, Florence, Milan, and Naples, plus the regions of Tuscany, Cinque Terre, and the Amalfi Coast.
The best strategy is to plan to spend 3-5 days in each area before moving on to the next.
6. Can’t-Miss Places to See
First-time visitors will definitely want to see Rome and Venice. And if you’re a wine lover, plan to spend a few days visiting the vineyards of Tuscany.
7. Getting Around
Plan to do a ton of walking. But there are also plenty of trains, buses, and taxis. Just make sure to budget plenty of money for tickets.
Be sure to check out this luggage storage option.
8. Avoid Tourist Restaurants
There are plenty of super popular restaurants in Italy. The key is to learn the best restaurants to avoid in order to miss the big crowds. In fact, you’d be wise to avoid any of the major tourist destinations unless you’re traveling during the offseason.
9. Taking Day Tours
You also might want to consider taking day tours. This is a great way to learn as much about each city, discover great restaurants, and take a deep dive into local history. Tour guides are incredibly informative, friendly, and you’ll have the chance to make some new friends along the way.
A Traveler’s Guide to Planning a Trip to Italy
When you’re ready to get out and see the world, Europe is the perfect destination. Fortunately, this guide to planning a trip to Italy will help make your upcoming vacation the best ever.
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