Category Archives: Travel Tips

The 5 biggest mistakes you make when traveling in Italy

For over a decade of traveling I have made almost every mistake possible. I have also witnessed countless travelers make Bmistakes that have ruined the trip of a lifetime. In an effort to help others learn from these mistakes, they’re written out below.

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4 lessons learned from a trip that fell apart

Recently, we had a trip to Italy that completely fall apart. From end to end, every logistical plan we had in place for our group shattered Imageinto a thousand pieces – leaving 19 people, and me, their leader, completely buggered. It forced us to implement every contingency plan we had at our finger tips.  Missed connections, expired train tickets, and lost of 48 hour of our itinerary. I’m not going to lie, these things alway suck. We quickly recovered and got back on our itinerary, and finished the trip well. However, if you travel often enough, eventually you will find yourself in a similar position.  Below are some lessons learned from a trip that fell apart.

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Can you really afford a trip to Italy next year?

When money is tight, the last thing you want to hear is someone planning the trip of a lifetime to a budgetingMediterranean location.  If you’re like most people, you end up dreaming of the day when you can actually afford to go on a picturesque Italian vacation – or, fit it into your schedule.  But, this perspective is laced with a hint of deception. Yes, on one hand it costs money to travel, but on the other hand, most people (without knowing it) can travel through Italy on a shoestring budget. I find that most people don’t know where to start cutting costs in their budget, and mostly assume the trip will cost far more than their budget allows, in the first place.  There are five guiding questions that can help you better calculate the cost of a trip.  If you address each one of these questions it can dictate how much money you will save, and ultimately make the difference in affording a trip to Italy.

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7 Things That Can Ruin Your Experience at The Vatican City

 

To experience the Vatican City is one of the most incredible feelings in the world.  The Vatican City (or Cittàvatican del Vaticano, in Italian) houses one of the most famous churches in the world – Saint Peter’s Basilica.  To most, this place seems very self-explanatory (the church is located in Vatican City (within Rome), you go there, and see the church) but in all actuality it’s not like that.  There are tricks of the trade that most people miss when allotting time to see this city. More often than not, travelers make mistakes along the way that costs them time, money, and just a bad experience.

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How to Give Yourself an Edge in Traveling to Siena

Tuscany (or Toscana, in Italian) is one of the most famous regions in the western world. You can hardly IMG_0503walk through a grocery story without seeing a theme influenced by this region. This region houses some of the most iconic symbols in all of Italy within its boarders. (I feel like I say that a lot, but it’s too true.) The capital city of the region is Florence (or Firenze), but most people, if given the opportunity, will venture further outside the city.  Amongst the hill towns and castles there is probably one city more famous than them all. Siena. I went to Siena for the first time a few years back. It’s an amazing city, and one I recommend seeing.  But, just like everything in Italy, getting there was not very self-explanatory.

This post calls out three things to help clear up any ambiguity in the process of traveling from Florence to Siena.  None are earth shattering, but are all things I wish I knew before I set out on my journey.

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Why Italo Is The Best Ticket in Town

Today, in Rome, I was finishing some things on my to-do list, and planned on leaving tomorrow for Bologna.  My plan was to  take the bus up north, as research for a future blog post, but as I was investigating the bus timetables, an advertisement caught my eye. The ad featured the new train system called Italo.  The train is the first privately owned, and operated train system in Italy. The train is pioneered, designed, and built by Ferrari.

(Click here to access the Italo site.)

The new service caught my eye and I couldn’t refuse the opportunity to ride. To be completely honest with you I’m writing this blog post while on the train.

Here are the 6 reasons Italo is the best ticket in town, and why you should test drive.

  1. Luxury. The train is nice, very nice.  Every seat is uniquely designed to provide each passenger with amenities unseen by any other train system in Italy. For those passengers who ride in the first class (Prima) food, coffee, and other services are provided.  There is also free wifi, tv, and movies, onboard. Lastly, the train is very clean. The clean factor really does set Italo a part from the Trenitalia’s bullet train the Frecciarossa.
  2. Comfort. Each seat is larger and gives each passenger more room. The train and seats absorb most of the shock from the railway lines. Result: leaving each passenger with a smooth and comfortable ride. Lastly, Italy passengers can enjoy the comfort of the Italo lounge at most, if not all, train stations.
  3. Design. The train has a noteworthy designed.  The same attention to detail expected from Ferrari is reflected in the train. Everything is clean, and is an expression of Italian modern design.
  4. Silence.  The train is very quiet, and smooth. Even at our top speed of 300 kmh (or 186 mph) the “silence factor” is remarkable. Again, noticeably quiteter than the Frecciarossa – Italy’s other fast train.
  5. Convenience.  The ticket purchasing process was the easiest experience I have ever had in Italy.  I bought the tickets online, it took about 7 minutes, and the tickets were emailed to me immediately.   The Italo team is strategically located throughout the train station and surprisingly egger to help. On the platform there are staff members directing people to the location of their train car while answering questions.
  6. Price. The most striking thing about Italo is the price.  The base, or economy, tickets run between €20 – €25 each way.  Business class tickets run about the same as the second class tickets on the Frecciarossa – about €45 each way.  I wrote a blog post on the advantages of the Trenitalia’s Frecciarossa last year. Click here to view the blog post, The Cost of Train Tickets.

The train is a great new way to get around Italy.  It will be there first high speed train system to reach Venice (no more Harry Potter trains). In the back of my mind, I wonder if Italo can keep their service, and amenities fresh with consistency.  Only time will tell. However, I bet it will be the new standard in Italian railway travel.

The call to action, you must take it for a test-drive!

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