Hey there my lovelies,
Welcome back to my Blog!
Say #hello to a new #topic, which I am hoping to be able to do on a more frequent basis (fingers crossed). Like most people I love travelling, last time I travelled was in 2011 and now 5 years later I am preparing to travel again and this time to Italy. I have always wanted to see Italy and what better way than to start other than beautiful Rome (#offthebucketlist).
So for the first post I will share with you how I am preparing for my first trip to the Eternal City. I did not think that it can be a daunting one, and I must admit I felt overwhelmed by all the information that you can find online!!
In today’s “digital age” this information, can make travel planning a bit easier, but it still requires a bit of preparation, and of course my OCD kicked in and my love for getting things sorted and organised prevailed. First and foremost, if you have never been to the place you are visiting do your homework before you go, reading up on the city and all that is has to offer, well in advance before you go is a must!
So, here is how I started to prepare for the trip 🙂
GET A GUIDEBOOK
You can’t go to Rome without first reading at least some parts of your guidebook. Do read the practical sections: learn where the embassy is (just in case), read up on the basic customs (most guidebooks have these kinds of sections), familiarize yourself with the general hours of businesses (especially if there is a holiday in between) and most other useful information that we take for granted when we are at home.
Try to buy/download a guidebook that is specific to the city you are visiting as this will give you the most information possible. General guidebooks will certainly have a chapter or two your city of choice, but you will also get a lot of information that might not be useful on your trip. Guidebooks do not have to be those huge 600 page ones that you find in a bookstore. I found it easier with the electronic versions like this one.
BOOK YOUR ACCOMMODATION
Guidebooks can also be useful for finding places to visit and eat. I did not use them much for lodging recommendations as there are a lot of amazing sites for that, like for instance Booking.com and Tripadvisor.co.uk to name a couple that carry a lot of reviews that would be helpful in making you decide. Choose a place to stay that is n your budget but do keep in mind to opt for a central location which will more than likely be higher in price but ultimately it is worthwhile. Do make sure to check out reviews of your chosen hotels so that you make sure you are comfortable with your choice. Remember most online booking sites offer free cancellation so do make sure that the one you choose has that option.
Although many Italians speak English, make sure that you learn a little basic Italian before you go: how to say please, thank you, where’s the bathroom, and that sort of thing. Even if you don’t have the courage or want to speak it, knowing a little of the language can make it easier to understand the locals as you get around.
FAMILIARIZE YOURSELF WITH THE AREA BY USING GOOGLE MAPS
Whilst a good good map, if good to have, your best bet is to familiarize with your area through Google Maps (earth view) you will be surprised at how much easier it will be to orientate yourself once there, and it will definitely help you to appreciate more your surroundings.
I do recommend an electronic map that you can pull up on your smartphone, I found Mapsme to be a pretty awesome app. However, do not discard the good old fashioned way, a small, folding map is always a good idea to keep handy, just in case your phone is about to die. Most guidebooks have maps within the book just make sure it’s a new version as there could be some changes in the streets.
USEFUL APPS TO BRING ALONG
Even if you don’t use your smartphone to make calls, it can be a useful resource for its apps. Simply put your phone in airplane mode if you don’t intend to make calls, turn off anything else that might drain the battery, and you’re good to go. This will allow you to make use of apps, like Mapsme and Vistaguide app or any other useful apps you might wish to take with you.
Remember to disable your data connection if need be while travelling, so that you don’t return back to your home country with a shocking mobile phone bill!
Don’t rely too much on technology remember ultimately you are on a holiday and no need to stress yourself out. But keep a paper map as a backup. Learn as much as you can about your surroundings before you get there, and you will have a brilliant trip!
So these are the tips I have gathered for you guys, what do you think? Too much or did you find them interesting? Let a girl know – I sure did enjoy the prepping for this vacay (I am in my element here ya’know – secretary and all) and cannot wait for April to come by 🙂
Until next time,
PS : Big (huge) thanks goes to my partner for this trip and for sharing with me (and with you) thesE trips and tricks in this post