Are you ready for a vacation?
As the weather warms up and summer gets closer, it's time to start planning your next big getaway. And if you love Europe as much as we do, Italy should be at the top of your list of vacation destinations.
Few countries in the world offer the immense culture or ethereal beauty of Italy. From the food to the architecture, art and wine, it's hard to find a travel experience that compares.
No matter your budget, Italy offers the perfect vacation for nearly anyone. This article offers travel tips for Italy to make the most of your experience. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about this exceptional country and what to do while you're here.
1. Skip the Water at Restaurants
Why? Because the tap water in Italian restaurants isn't great. In fact, it's pretty awful.
So don't ask for tap water when you eat out. Most restaurants will likely give you bottled water instead and charge you for it. Your best bet is to forego water and order wine instead.
If you're traveling on a tight budget, ask for vino della casa. This is cheap but good wine that typically comes in a liter or half-liter jugs and is produced locally.
2. It's a Queue, Not a Line
In most of the world lines are not called lines, they are called queues. In other words, you get in a queue for the movie or a restaurant. If you ask where the line starts, you'll likely get laughed at or be on the receiving end of a dirty look
Also, be prepared to get aggressive. Because when it comes to queues in Italy, people aren't polite. You'll get pushed.
That's the way it is. Don't be miffed about it.
And people are sneaky. They will try to wiggle up to the front of the queue and act like they were there first. This will happen everywhere you go, so get over it.
Try to find the humor in it or stay home. After all, you're there to experience a different culture, and that's how Italian's roll.
3. Skip Italy in August
Many Americans tend to vacation in August when summer is coming to an end and school will be beginning soon. But this is the worst month of the year to visit Italy
Why? Because August is the national summer holiday month for Italians. Schools are closed and many businesses shut down and people leave the cities.
Tourists traveling through major cities like Rome and Florence will be disappointed to find most shops closed, and the best beaches in Sardinia and Sicily will be very crowded
Plus Italy is extremely hot in August, so sightseeing can be exhausting. Our suggestion is to visit between April and June or wait until September or October.
4. Don't Book a Hotel in the City Center
Be aware that hotels located in the city center are typically very expensive. Do yourself a favor and book an Airbnb or find a hotel located outside the city center. Staying a few miles away will save you a small fortune.
Taking advantage of Airbnb is actually the ideal way to experience cities in Italy. It gives you the opportunity to stay in a beautiful house and have an authentic Italian experience.
Staying at an Airbnb also gives you the chance to socialize with locals and experience the country in a way you might never be able to otherwise.
5. People Shout
It's true, people shout at each other. Don't let this freak you out.
You could be waiting for a taxi or a bus and people might suddenly start shouting and pushing each other around on the sidewalk. Unless you speak the language, you'd assume they were angry at each other or getting into a fight.
But the truth is that Italians are very passionate people. Shouting is often the way they say hello and catch up with each other. They might be making plans for the weekend or discussing dinner.
This can be startling the first time you experience it. Your best bet is to chill out and relax. Stand back and enjoy the show.
Here's a great resource you can use to learn details about using Uber in Italy.
6. Bring Cash
A smart traveler knows to book lodging online. This allows you to easily pay with credit cards through whatever travel site you prefer. And many big restaurants and hotels will accept payment by credit card if you decide to risk it and pay for your room upon arrival.
But we still highly recommend bringing plenty of cash. It's quite normal to have to pay with cash in most small shops and restaurants in cities throughout the country
Keep in mind that Italy is a country abundant in amazing food, fashion, wine, and unbelievable shopping, all the things you'll want cash for. After all, why risk not being able to make a purchase because they don't accept cards. Remember your cash, and problem solved.
7. Keep Your Bags Close to You
Italy is a very safe country. That being said, keep a close eye on your bags. Especially in crowded places where you'll likely be bumping into people.
Busy parts of cities tend to have their fair share of pickpockets who prey upon the naive or unsuspecting. To the untrained eye, they are nearly impossible to spot, they are slick, and they move fast.
Your best defense against these slimy thieves is to keep your handbag close to you and carry it in a way that makes you a difficult mark.
Essential Travel Tips for Italy
Italy is a country of endless beauty and delights. Once you've visited, you won't want to leave, and you'll want to return as soon as possible.
There's so much culture and history to be discovered and explored, and these travel tips for Italy will help you get the most out of your visit.
Click here to learn how to save up for your dream vacation.