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TRAVEL JOURNAL

Italy Itinerary and Nervous Thoughts

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Italy Trip!

As I said when I announced my trip to Italy, I decided to go with a guided tour. This is my first international trip. To say I’m nervous is an understatement. Remember, I just got my passport a few months ago! I have never traveled outside of North America and even then, my experience is pretty limited.

See, I didn’t call the blog UNworldly because it sounded good. I mean it. I feel VERY unworldly, domestic, naive and a bit out of my league.

BUT…

You never learn or grow or gain experience unless you push yourself out of your comfort zone, right?

So let’s do this!

Our Tour is through Trafalgar and it’s called Simply Italy.

Day 1 – January 12

Fly overnight to Rome

Rome

Day 2 – January 13

Rome

Hotel: Barceló Aran Mantegna

Free Time During the Day

5:30 PM Welcome Reception with Travel director and group

Day 3 – January 14

Rome Sightseeing includes,

  • Sistine Chapel
  • St. Peter’s Basilica
  • St. Pete’s Square
  • Palazzo Venezia
  • The Colosseum
  • Circus Maximus

Our evening is free.

Day 4 – January 15

Rome to Venice

Rome to Venice

Hotel: Continental

Traveling through Umbria, Orte and Orvieto before entering into Tuscany on our way to Venice.

Day 5 – January 16

Venice

Orientation Cruise along the Giudecca and over to St. Mark’s Square, with views of the Doge’s Palace and the renowned Bridge of Sighs.

Our evening is free.

Day 6 – January 17

Venice to Pisa to Florence

Venice to Pisa to Florence

Hotel: Mediterraneo

Stop at the Leaning Tower of Pisa and the Square of Miracles on our way to Florence.

Day 7 – January 18

Florence

Walking our includes,

  • Duomo
  • Ponte Vecchio
  • Piazza Signoria
  • Piazzale Michelangelo

Evening is free.

Day 8 – January 19

Florence to Siena to Rome

Florence to Siena to Rome

We stop at Piazza del Campo in Siena, have some free time and then it’s back to Rome for our Farewell dinner.

Day 9 – January 20

Fly back home.

Ok, now that I typed all that I’m even MORE nervous!

Anyone have a a first international travel story to share? I know I sound like a big baby but this is HUGE!

Note: Maps are for reference only. They are not exact routes.



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Discussion

There are 28 comments so far. Join in on the conversation.

    Katrin

    January 4, 2013

    I was in Italy in August 2011. It is an absolutely amazing experience. You will love it. Make sure you have really comfy walking shoes. Pizza, gelato, cappucino, wine, the art, the people, the scenery, what else can I say! Reply

    ClumberKim

    January 4, 2013

    I can't wait to hear more about your trip! I'm going to Italy for the first time in May. Venice, Florence, and Rome. I'll be following this with great interest! Bon voyage!! Reply

    Giving the Gift of Travel

    January 4, 2013

    Roni, with your love for food you will be right at home. During your free time go out of the box. The locals always know where to go. Have a great time. Reply

    Candice

    January 4, 2013

    Enjoy every single moment. Savory it. Even after 5 trips to Italy, the first trip is the most wonderful! Reply

    Fit mom

    January 4, 2013

    My first international trip was to Holland over 20 years ago and I haven't stopped traveling since then. Be prepared to get hooked! Some very practical advice (in order!): 1. No matter how much you will want to sleep during the day on Day 2 - DON'T. Do whatever you have to do to make yourself stay awake all day and you should end up with a great night's sleep and fairly caught up with the jetlag. 2. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!! 3. Be flexible. Guided tours and sometimes the people on them can be a real eye-opener. Reply

    Cindy

    January 4, 2013

    Take good walking shoes. The best way to see for example Venice is to walk around. You go to a guided tour so I am sure there is no reason to worry about anything. I went to Italy with my husband on our own trip and everything went fine. Be were of pickpockets ! Reply

    Amilja

    January 4, 2013

    I never comment but this trip is going to be awesome. My very first trip ever was a month long tour with Trafalgar. We went to UK, Belgium, Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria, Italy (which we spent a bunch of time in) Monoco & France. It was awesome! I would totally recommend the guided tours as the way to go. You don't have to worry about anything! So have fun! Reply

    Roberta

    January 4, 2013

    I concur with everyone about the comfy shoes, you will be doing lots of walking, stick to flats. The streets are cobbled and not 'flat' so even the smallest of heel/wedge throws me off! Also, don't do the backpack thing, instantly identifies you as a tourist, and when you are out of the group, you will be more of a target for pickpockets, which are plentiful in any tourist spot in Europe (or anywhere, for that matter). I lived in the UK and wore an lanyard type pocket thing around my neck (the type of thing you get at a trade show) with a little bit of money, credit card and ID. Wear it tucked into your shirt and you are good to go. It works just as good as one of those body pocket things for a much smaller cost. I also agree with the above poster, immediately try and switch to Italy time when you get on the plane. Sleep on the plane if necessary, but do not nap the first day! You must stay awake until bed time. Bring a couple of Tylenol PM just in case. Don't order a Latte, i did and got a glass of milk, ha! It's espresso, cafe latte, etc. My Starbucks vernacular didn't work there! The food is amazing, seriously, I have never had anything bad in Italy, you need to soak it all in and enjoy every second. We travel internationally constantly, The Husband and I both have the Travel Bug, so if you have any questions, just let me know! Reply

    Lynette S.

    January 4, 2013

    I can't wait to hear all about your trip. It makes me want to plan one of my own. :) Reply

    Lori

    January 4, 2013

    So fun! My husband and I did this route (plus Greece) for our honeymoon. You will absolutely it! Oh the food and wine is wonderful! Cappuccinos, gelato, oh my! And of course so much to see and do!!! Reply

    Susan

    January 4, 2013

    I'm so excited for you! I've never been to Italy but Dave has and he still talks about going back to Florence. Read up on how to avoid looking like a tourist. I know it sounds silly, but it will definitely give you some good tips on safety and how to not necessarily stand out. Reply

    Thea @ It's Me Vs. Me

    January 5, 2013

    It's really special that you get to do this with your mom. My first int'l trip was to New Zealand. My brother was studying abroad and I went to visit him for a week. I arrived early in the morning and my brother had rented a car and picked me up from the airport. In New Zealand they drive on the other side of the road (and the drivers seat is on the other side of the car) and this was his first experience driving a car in NZ. The airport had self pay parking exit things but being that we didn't know what we were doing, and there wasn't anyone else around to follow, we accidentally drove into the entrance rather than the exit lane. At that point there was some traffic around us and we looked like complete fools. We had to back out of the entrance lane and find the exit lane. We safely made it out of the airport and the rest of the trip was incredible! I also drove the car which was a completely and utterly terrifying experience, but I did it and we survived. The trip forced me out of my comfort zone and gave me a new perspective on life. I think int'l travel is really important. It's good to leave the good ol US of A and see how the rest of the world lives. Have a great time! Can't wait to hear about it when you return. Reply

    Caroline

    January 7, 2013

    Yay! So happy for you - You will love Italy. I was lucky enough to see Rome and Florance and a bit in between when my fiance and I were overseas for six months from January last year. In fact, we left on the 17th of January too! You will have so much fun - we hired a car and drove everywhere, but going on a tour is a really great way to see the sights, especially if you haven't done a lot of travel. We are from Australia, so count yourself lucky you don't have a 24hr flight to Europe =) I noticed a few people said something about pick pockets - you will be ok. Be the smart person you know you are, don't take excess cash with you, watch your bag (I wore an across body bag with a leather strap that was quite involved in getting open) and just be a savvy traveler, and you will be fine! It's hard not to look like a tourist (you know, cause you are) but just don't draw excessive attention to yourself and you will be fine. Florence and Rome were both beautiful - drink heaps of water and strap on those walking shoes. And most of all - enjoy! Reply

    Laura James

    January 7, 2013

    I love seeing your adventures! Just as a quick travel tip, if you want to buy soveigners at the Vatican City, it was recently announced that they only will take cash. You may want to keep that in mind when you get $ at your bank, or probably better yet, the airport. Don't forget to pack earplugs for on the airplane and take a trip in a cab in NYC so you are ready for the way they drive in Italy. I hope you have the perfect walking sight-seeing weather! Reply

    Cathy O

    January 8, 2013

    The bus tour is the best way to go for your first European trip! Some tips I thought of that you may like: - expect narrow highways (this made me nervous, but nobody else seemed to care) - Expect tiny/awkward hotel bathrooms - Carry toilet paper squares with you because some public places were lacking. - Every destination will have grocery stores - they're awesome: buy your water there, wine, bread, cheese and olives (picnic!) for cheap!!! - wine is cheaper that soda in Italy - Expect rest stop toilets with missing toilet seats. lol. No idea why but they were all like this. - Go for the gondala ride in Venice (even if it's kinda pricey). - Highly recommend taking Rick Steve's Guide to Italy (he had awesome self guided walking tours - we loved the one in Rome at night) - Pepto, tylenol, and nazal spray and things like that are always good to pack. - Eat pizza! You'll get plenty of exercise walking and climbing the steps to churches in Florence and Pisa! - Bring extra memory for your digital camera. Way too expensive to buy batteries and memory there. Hope these weren't lame and are helpful! Reply

    Tina

    January 8, 2013

    Oh and one more tip... Our cab drivers in Italy kinda swindles us... if it rained, the charge doubled at the end of our ride (from 10 to 20!)... or if it was later in the evening, the price jumped from 7 to 10 dollars at the end of the ride....when I brought this up to the taxi driver, he got mad, so I backed down and paid. Ah well. We rarely needed to take cabs and doubt you will need to either. Reply

    Tina

    January 9, 2013

    Roni, This is a wonderful first itinerary to visit Italy! It won't be your last. It seems you have some nice free time in the evenings. If you can from Venice take a trip to Murano or Burano....Murano is glass and Burano is lace. I had the best cappucino in Burano ever. Siena also had the best gelato! Have one daily! You will never get anything like it here in the US. Not to scare you but be careful in Pisa I have heard things have changed a bit. As someone else said just watch your belongings like in any city US or not.! Italy is my favorite place. I have been 3 times and plan to return again hopefully with my kids! Enjoy every moment. You will love it. Reply

    35 Tips for My First Trip to Italy.

    January 10, 2013

    How did I miss that you were going to Italy!!!??!! AWESOME! I love to travel! I work so that I can take vacations and see the world!! I have never done a guided tour, normally just plan it all myself and the Mr and I enjoy every minute! Can't wait to hear all your stories!! And whatever you do on the 2nd-3rd day...KEEP MOVING! It will push you through the jetlag. Learned this the hard way with the Mr...I was so upset with him first time we visited London. Lost half a day. Anyhow...safe travels. Reply

    Robyn

    January 12, 2013

    Roni you are going to have so much fun over there. My son went at Easter with his school last year and still comments on how that trip changed his life. His favourites were the glass factories in Murano, cruising on Lake Como and absolutely everything about Rome. If you can, take a tour of Rome at night. spectacular. have a great time!! Reply

    Natalie

    January 14, 2013

    I'm excited for you! I went to Italy, in a guided tour, 2 years ago and had the best time. I actually work for one of Trafalgar's sister companies (our demographic is seniors, leisure tours) and I know they offer a great product. You are going to have the best time! I know I can't wait to go back to Italy :) enjoy yourself! Reply

    jolie

    January 16, 2013

    ciao, sono contento che sei in Italia, io vivo sul mare a Forte dei Marmi ( uscita autostrada Versilia) a 30 km da Pisa e tu domani passerai da qui per andare a vedere la torre di Pisa, divertiti Reply

    Simply Italy: Photos from Roma

    April 10, 2013

    Who's calling? order diflucan 2B = Not Filled, Directions Clarified Reply

    Liz

    December 4, 2013

    Italy is a great country and i think a perfect destination for a first trip in Europe. I am sure you will have fun. What i would recommend is for you to try to get lost at least once, you will be amazed what fun it can be to discover things on you own. Reply

    michelangelo

    January 13, 2015

    I have fun with, lead to I discovered exactly what I was having a look for. You've ended my 4 day long hunt! God Bless you man. Have a great day. Bye Reply