I know I’ve been writing about Italy a lot, but I can’t help it. I loved every minute we were there. So far, I’ve recapped our trip to Italy (Tuscany, Positano) and even showed you what to pack and wear for a vacation like this one. Even though those posts were lengthy, I had more I wanted to share! Surprise, surprise you can’t get me to shut up.
When I was planning our trip (because I love to plan that it’s now my role in my friend group), I consulted a lot of travel blogs and talked to people who have been before. So hopefully my travel tips will help if you’re planning your own trip to Italy or even just to somewhere new and different!
Tips on the Perfect Italy Vacation
Don’t Plan Everything at Once
I’d recommend spreading out the planning, there’s no reason (unless it’s a last-minute trip) that you need to plan it all in one day or one sitting. Any international trip with multiple cities or destinations is totally an overwhelming vacation to plan. Like I said I did, I’d recommend doing research into where to go, how to get there, where to stay, what to do, where to eat, etc. It can be A LOT if you try to plan it all at once. Instead, I recommend spreading it out a bit. I would also lean on people who have been before because they’ll know what worked well and what didn’t. This way, you can learn from others’ mistakes.
I was chatting with a friend who lived in NYC when I was in Boston, and one night, having one of those long-distance friendship wine nights. We were talking about summer plans and both of us single, wanted to have an unforgettable summer, not to mention an unforgettable Italian trip. It was the dead of winter, so looking forward to a warm summer in Italy got us through the harsh winter. First, we figured out where we wanted to go – Tuscany and the Amalfi Coast.
The next time we had a wine night, we booked our flights. Then picked out the hotels…and kept knocking out small things. Splitting it up into manageable tasks like this makes it less overwhelming and a lot of excuses to have virtual wine nights.
Get an International Credit Card
I am a huge fan of my Chase Sapphire and Alaska Airlines card for more reasons than taking it abroad, but having a credit card and not having to worry about carrying around huge amounts of cash was truly a lifesaver. Both of these cards don’t charge an international fee which is another huge bonus.
Try to Avoid Jet Lag
We took an overnight flight to Florence and I made sure to bring some melatonin, and it worked like a charm! I watched a movie, then went to bed. We had a layover in Munich and a short flight into Florence. From Florence, we had a little over an hour ride to our hotel in Tuscany. We decided that my best plan was to take a short nap, we took a power nap of 45 minutes and it was a game-changer. You can also bring a probiotic to help overcome any feelings of laziness.
Eat Like a Local
Because we wanted to get a true authentic Italian experience, we were very particular when it came to the restaurants we ate at. I did a lot of research on where to eat during the trip so I had a few places that I knew we wanted to go. But we asked the locals! Whether that be our drivers, the reception at the hotel, or others at a cafe, by the pool, you name it.
Try not to eat right by popular tourist destinations. If you can walk a few blocks away, you’ll be able to not be surrounded by people and get a better meal at a better price.
Don’t eat at places with pictures of the food on the menu. That’s so tacky, and they’re trying to do whatever they can to get you in. Real authentic Italian restaurants don’t need any tactic to get you in, they get you in because their food is good.
Be on the lookout for spots the locals are eating at. A good way to spot this is to try and listen to what they’re speaking, if everyone there is speaking English – probably not the best spot.
Use Google Maps to check pictures/ratings of places. If we were between a few places, we turned to Google to read reviews and see what food items caught our eyes.
At popular restaurants, make sure to make a reservation! This saved us stress when we were hungry and we were able to plan our days better.
Put Your Phone/Camera Down
As a blogger, I always want to share my experience with you! But sometimes it’s good to put it away and truly take in the experience. This will let you absorb the culture and not miss anything. You should also get off the beaten path a few times to find the cutest alleyways and things you might not have found if you stayed on the main roads.
Learn a Few Local Phrases
So this wasn’t 100% necessary, everywhere we went because mostly everyone spoke English, but I know a good amount of Spanish and I feel like locals appreciate it when you try! So I learned the basics “good morning” “good night” “please” “thank you” “cheers” and it was so fun to speak another language.
My last piece of advice is, enjoy every second. I often find myself going back to specific moments and just trying to relive them. I loved Italy, I hope if you go that you do too! Planning a trip to Italy? Read all my Italian travel adventures here with: what to pack on an Italy vacation, Positano, Italy Travel Guide, and Tuscany, Italy Travel Guide!
~ XOXO, chin chin, Amanda // Blonde out of Water