When you’re planning a trip outside of the United States it is crucial to start your planning early! This allows you to find the best rate for airfare, accommodations, and decide exactly what you want to do once you arrive. All of the tips I list below go hand in hand with planning ahead.
Rick Steves Books
These books are like a travel bible. They have everything you could ever need when planning a trip. He lays out all of the things to do, places to see, how to get there, where to eat, and where to stay. I used these books for everything while planning my trip. They were most helpful for deciding which day to go to certain places because he lists when attractions are closed and the hours they are open. You can find the books here.
I’m sure by now most people know about Airbnb. However, I just couldn’t leave it out of my recommendations. When we were deciding where to stay it was a no-brainer to use Airbnb compared to a typical hotel. The prices were drastically cheaper! Now that we have booked our stays, the hosts have been extremely helpful with figuring out pick-up from the airport/train stations and giving us local suggestions of things to do. It’s also a perk if you are staying for an extended stay (7 nights or more) you get a discount! We found it most logical to stay in 3 major cities (Venice, Florence, Rome) and take day trips to the other towns we wanted to see. This made it convenient so we did not have to move our bags every night and gave more versatility in what we wanted to see.
It’s very important to note that Italians have different outlets than us! If you are going to need to charge any electronics, make sure you buy these outlet adapters.
Phone and Money
If you plan to use a phone in Italy make sure to contact your provider before you leave. There are a few different payment options to choose from. A phone is not necessary when traveling; it is truly a personal preference. Bring euros with you! You do not want to show up in Italy without a penny of their currency. You can plan to get most of your euros once you arrive in Italy, however, do not show up without any. There is always the chance that you cannot find an ATM or really anything could happen. Play it safe and bring some with you. You can easily get these at your local bank- we went to Wells Fargo and received our Euros right away.
Buy Major Attraction Tickets
If you want to go to the main attractions (Colosseum, Vatican, St. Marks Basilica, etc.) then you should buy tickets online before you arrive. Although there may be a slight fee, it will be worth it because you will not have to wait in an unnecessary line to purchase your ticket there.