When you ask people to make a list of their dream destinations, Italy is typically at or near the top. I know it’s one of my favourite countries, and definitely my favourite destination in Europe for sure.
For me, there are a dozens upsides to Italy – which counteract the one bad-side…. The cost. Yes, Italy can be expensive. And whilst cost might be a problem, there are definitely ways of getting around it. Staying in AirBnB is a good way to save cash.
Whether you have never been to Italy before or are heading back for seconds (or thirds in my case), these useful hints can help you get the most out of your journey.
Be Sure To Declare Your Gender When Booking Overnight Trains
Train is a good way to get around the country – especially if you’re planning to visit more than one city or region. A common fact about Italy that most people may not know is that their overnight train compartments are typically separated by gender. When you are booking a ticket, you will need to make sure that you include your gender, by using the Mr. or Mrs. salutation. Otherwise, you might encounter some difficulties when boarding the train. It could make for a long, strange trip, so watch out!
Learn How to Order a few Items
During the process of ordering from an Italian restaurant, it can be difficult to avoid the insalata verde mistake. While an American salad will come with a variety of vegetables, an Italian restaurant will simply provide you with a bowl full of lettuce. Unless you are fully prepared to consume a bowl of plain romaine lettuce, be sure to avoid the insalata verde order.
Learn Italian Phrases
That previous tip just so happens to dovetail perfectly into this one. No one is suggesting that you become fluent in Italian in the weeks and months leading up to your trip. But by learning a few key words and phrases, you can ensure a much simpler journey through Italy. I’ve always found Italians to be super friendly – so sometimes learning a few phrases can really help you get more out of the trip, you’ll make new friends and it’ll help the locals understand you better, especially for small transactions, tour guides, etc. When I went to Venice last year, this really really helped.
It’s an obvious one, but Italy gets seriously hot in the summer – so make sure you stay hydrated. Most of the big cities are really great about having ‘water points’ where you can fill up your bottles or flask.
Before you leave your home country, it is a good idea to exchange some of your local currency. As Italy is such a popular holiday destination, airport ATMs may be empty when you land (especially during peak times) .
Transportation Strikes Are Commonplace
Italians have become accustomed to travel strikes, so it is important to give yourself a generous time cushion when trying to catch a plane, train or bus. The majority of such events get announced ahead of time, providing travelers with the necessary notice to get around them, so there should be no problem, but always remember to consider all the relevant facts before planning your trip. And when you’re at last at your destination, paying attention to signs in train and bus stations will help you to learn more about upcoming strikes.
Watch the roads!
In Rome, the driving is crazy. There aren’t really lanes or crossings, and people just make a run for it when they see a gap in traffic. If you’re not used to this frantic kind of city behaviour, try and watch what the locals are doing and follow them. That’s what I did anyway!