Did You Leave Out One of These 5 Items for Your Italy Trip?

This brief guide reveals 5 items you need to know before leaving for your trip to Italy.

trevifountain

trevifountain

Have your overlooked any of these critical items for your Italy trip? While you may have booked a flight and hotel, there is more you must consider to have a well-planned out travel experience!  This guide comes from over 10 years of detailed client trip planning and answering client questions. Follow my advice, and you’ll leave for your trip less worried and with less hassles.  
  1. Transfers between airports/train stations and hotels

You need to consider advance booking a transfer.  Some airports, like Florence, lend themselves to an easy cab ride to your hotel.  However, more than likely, you’ll be flying into Venice or Rome to start your dream trip to Italy. Let’s say that you’re flying into Venice airport (VCE), which is on the mainland. Venice Island and the main tourist attractions are actually on
Venice

Venice

a lagoon located off Italy’s coast.  Oh, and no cars, buses, or motorized vehicles are allowed on Venice Island.  There are no fewer than three main ways to get to your Venice Island hotel from the mainland airport. These include:
  • Taking a bus as far as you can go to Venice Island (Piazzale Roma) and then taking a public Water bus (Vaporetto)
  • Taking a public water taxi (Alilaguna) from the airport dock to the closest public landing near your Venice Island hotel
  • Taking a private boat from the airport as close as possible to your hotel
It pays to plan it out and have an advance transfer booked in a place like Venice.      
  1. Credit/Debit Cards and Foreign Currency

Please consider purchasing a small amount of Euros prior to your departure at a local bank or a money exchange office as it’s a good idea to have some Euros in your pocket before you arrive. Most exchange offices in airports or train stations will charge you a higher fee, and you should be aware of that higher fee. However, cash withdrawal from an ATM would also charge you hidden fees by using a modified exchange rate, which is lower than the real market rate. Please complete these steps prior to leaving the US:
  • Call your bank or credit card company and make sure that you can use your debit/credit card(s) in Italy and can access foreign ATMs
  • Inquire about a credit card “PIN Code.” Some European Merchants will ask for a PIN code when you present your card for a transaction (you may need a card with a chip if you don’t already have one)
  • Ensure that your ATM PIN code is numeric only (some banks may use alpha characters in the US but European ATMs use numbers only)
 
  1. Cell/Smartphones and chargers

Please contact your service provider to determine if your phone will work and inquire about a short term international or country-specific plan. Further, contact your wireless carrier to use the data off/international data roaming off, or airplane mode features on your phone. Finally, consider using the hotel’s Wi-Fi for email, browsing, social, etc. Concerning chargers, electrical outlets are a different electrical voltage than the US; hotels in Italy and other places usually don’t have converters and you’ll need to bring an adapter. Make sure to check with your cell phone/smart phone/tablet manufacturer or wireless carrier for the correct adapter and/or converter for the countries you are visiting.    
  1. Pre-arrange critical sightseeing, especially for a must-see site like the Vatican

Just going to wing it for your critical sightseeing? Few people visit Rome without a tour of the Vatican which includes a vast complex of some of the world’s greatest art museums…Oh, and the pictures below are what the lines can look like if you just show up!   Yup these are the queues or lines to get into the Vatican   Further, you can be quickly rushed in and out of the different galleries with your new hot and sweaty friends.  Please pre-book tours to the must-do sites, but do leave some down-time just to take Rome in from a café.      
  1. Trip Protection Insurance

Think your US-based health insurance or credit card will provide coverage in Italy?  You’d better check!  When your travel planner, be they human or electronic, asks you about travel insurance/ trip protection, you need to know if travel insurance is a wise purchase. But first, let’s share some stories.
  • My doctor, quite the photographer, left his camera in a cab while on a trip in the Baltics and could not recover it.  Travel insurance reimbursed him for his loss.
  • More recently, a husband and wife were packed and ready to leave for a ten day cruise leaving on the wife’s birthday. She woke up around 5am with a bloody nose that would not stop bleeding.  She called me at 9:15 am on a Sunday morning to cancel the trip. I immediately started the travel insurance claims process and the couple were reimbursed in record time for the full amount of the money they lost from the cruise line.
These are just two of many stories of my travel guests’ using their travel insurance benefits (Always refer to the Description of Coverage for legal details specific to your quote or policy.) Here is a quick summary of what a good travel insurance/trip protection product will do for YOU:
  • Reimburse you for the full cancellation fees from your trip in CASH, not vouchers or certificates.
  • Provide emergency medical insurance including hospital admission. Do you know what it takes to be admitted to a hospital in another country?  (Some hospitals require up-front payment.)  Or would you like to rest assured knowing that your trip insurance provider will take care of emergency hospital admission?
  • Does your credit card provide travel insurance for trip cancellation? Read that fine print very carefully…few credit cards cover trip cancellation.
  • Provide emergency evacuation home due to a medical condition? Imagine how much it would cost to get back to the US on an emergency basis. And where would you be taken? To a US hospital of your choosing?