So you’ve read some of our posts and you’ve decided you would like to visit Italy. In this guide we will give you some advice on how to get there and some travel options once you’re there.
8 helpful travel tips | How to make the most of your trip
Andiamo Amigos’s 8 helpful travel tips for making the most of your time when travelling. Chris & I have put together this list from experience and we hope that there’s something here for you.
Use the whole day. Aim to get up early and to spend the whole day sightseeing. Most cities or attractions can take on a whole new perspective at night so make sure you plan night time activities too. Seeing certain sites early in the morning without the crowds of people can be a really wonderful experience. We definitely used this tip when visiting Venice. We were on the first ferry from Punta Sabbioni at 5.30 in the morning and had St Marks Square to ourselves which is practically unheard of but was really quite special.
Check out the public transport. We like to use the metro in cities that we visit and often that is the best way to get to the different areas of the city. You have a map and generally know which stop you’re aiming for, what could be easier. Buses are also great for getting through towns or visiting sites outside the cities. Most larger towns have a bus station and its easy to read the time tables to find out where you need to be and what bus to get on. Have some small change currency too had as sometimes the fares can be quite small and drivers are reluctant to change large notes. Trains are fantastic for getting longer distances whilst travelling and depending on the country you are in they can be a fantastic experience. We’ve travelled on many trains in many countries and loved them all.
Visit attractions at opening times and don’t wait till the peak time of the day to visit. There’s nothing worse than arriving at a site you’ve been waiting ages to see only to spend a few hours in a snaking queue to get in. If its top of your “must see” list then make sure you’re first in. Get there early and avoid the crowds. When we visited Pompeii and Herculaneum we were one of the first visitors in the morning into the site and it was lovely to have some time wandering the streets before coach loads of visitors arrived.
Similar to tip number 3, this one is buy your tickets in advance. Sometimes the ticket office of an attraction, museum or event can have long queues so its best to buy beforehand to avoid waiting in a long queue for your ticket. When you arrive at an attraction you want to get in and start exploring, not to be waiting in a queue to get in. I remember seeing a line of people in Rome, queueing for tickets to get into the Colosseum and to top it off it was raining. For big attractions buy ahead of time to save loads of time.
Make a list of what you don’t want to miss. When travelling if you have some sights that you really don’t want to miss then put them at the top of your list and plan to visit them first. Some cities have so many popular sights to see you want to make sure you visit your favourite ones. Make a list, prioritise and you won’t be disappointed. One of our first visit to Naples I was really keen to see The Aragonese Castle on the island of Ischia and we arrived too late in the day to get in to see it. We were only there for the day so I had to wait till our next visit to see it and rest assured I was there for it opening as soon as we arrived.
Plan and prepare is a great piece of advice especially if you have limited time in a city or country. Check maps against the places you want to visit and put a skeleton plan together so you make the most of your time there. Check opening times, check if they take card, check what you’re allowed to take in and check for dress code (especially at religious sites), checking before avoids disappointment when you arrive. We had planned a weekend in Rome and there were a few sights that we didn’t want to miss on this visit so Chris made a plan with a map and pinned the places we were going, the times we had to be there and how far they were from our hotel. It really helped us make the most of the weekend and not miss any of the things we wanted to do. We tend to do this for all our trips but always keep in mind things can change.
Flexibility is key. You have your plan, you’ve prepared, you’ve made your list, you know where you’re going and when and then the weather changes, or the site is closed, or something else happens to change your plans. Be flexible. When travelling things to crop up that we weren’t expecting and we have to change our plans. Once when Chris and I arrived in Palermo and had planned to catch a train to the other side of Sicily to get to our hotel by nightfall but we weren’t aware that the Pope was visiting that day and all the trains had been postponed and some of the roads were closed. Getting from the airport to the train station was a challenge but to be honest it made our trip more of an adventure changing plans at the last minute and finding new ways to travel.
Dress for the weather and always be prepared for the weather to change. Depending on which country you are visiting. Some areas where its hot and humid generally has periods of the day where there is a refreshing shower. If you’re hiking into the mountains then its cooler the higher you go. Nighttimes in some areas can be much cooler than daytimes. So dress for the weather and conditions. When visiting Iceland a few years ago, one of the trips we took, to the Snaefellsnes Peninsula, we got very wet in the morning when visiting the waterfalls but by the afternoon the sun had come out. The temperature changed so much and we were glad we had some lighter clothes with us for the rest of the trip and the mini bus ride back to Reykjavik.
We hope you find these 8 helpful travel tips useful and if you have any of your own then please let us know.
Chris & Lynne