Traveling overseas can be intimidating. This was my first time overseas and I pinned and read more blogs about Rome travels than one person should read. I over packed and over planned (it’s the OCD in me) and ended up doing half of what I had intended and wore 25% of what I packed. Here are some tips and tricks of what I learned by example.
Wear Comfortable Shoes
Rome is a beautiful place. We also went on a day trip to Tuscany and they have one thing in common: cobblestone roads. They are everywhere!! I brought so many cute shoes thinking I was going to have some great backdrops for photos and at the end of the first day, I had decided that those shoes were useless. Luckily, I brought some comfortable sandals my mother in law gave me and wore those whether they matched with my outfit or not (I didn’t carry the ‘cute’ shoes in a bag and switched out for photo purposes but that go annoying after the first couple of days).
Buy Tickets in Advance
This was one tip I got on Pinterest that I decided to do that actually paid off. I went online and bought tickets to the Colosseum and Roman Forum. Don’t bother trying to buy the ‘skip the line’ or ‘vip pass’ from Expedia or another site. I went directly to the company here and bought them and never stood in line. I realized the long lines were people trying to buy tickets and paying extra for ‘skip the line’ is a waste of money. It also helps with the hagglers (and yes, there were several) trying to sell you tickets to the Colosseum. I explained I already had tickets and didn’t need there’s at a 30% upsell.
Take a Day Trip
We spent a week in Rome and decided to take a day trip to Tuscany the day before we left. I waited until the day before to buy the tickets from Expedia and didn’t have a problem getting them. We had no intention to take a day trip but after 5 days in Rome, I was ready to see something else so we browsed and saw it was a short drive via bus and decided to go. It was a GREAT tour and the wine tasting and authentic Italian lunch was the best way to wrap up our last day in Rome. When we go back (and yes, we are definitely going back) we want to try Venice or the Amalfi Coast for a day.
Be Prepared to Shop
If you’re like me, I don’t go intending to shop on vacation but I do like to pick up things and clothing I can get back in the states. With that being said, Rome has SO many cute boutiques that I just couldn’t help myself. I was totally unprepared and over packed that I had to buy a carry-on bag just to fit the items I was bringing back. The red Italian booties I bought from a shoe boutique were worth the hassle.
Download The Taxi App
I’m not sure if Uber is illegal or not, but several people kept saying in and there were signs all over Rome so we decided not to take the chance. However, Europe does have their version of ‘uber’ – this taxi app. You can request a taxi at your location (which is great because there were only a few taxi stations where you could haul one and they weren’t close to our hotel) and even pay them from the app. The only downside is except for the airport ($48 Euros), the pay is only an estimate. We took a taxi and it said 10-12 Euros but ended up costing 16. Not sure what the factors are but at least you would have an idea of the cost. I was told the bus system was either cheap or free (can’t remember which one) but we didn’t feel like learning the system. If you have extra time or the willingness to learn, that could save you some extra coins.
Bring Universal Charger (s)!
We were told that the hotel would provide one for us, and that’s all they provided – 1 charger! One phone charging a time, my camera went dead midday because I didn’t get a chance to charge it. Do yourself a favor and spend a couple of bucks to get them before you leave (we tried to buy one from a store — highway robbery)
Don’t Worry About Bringing A Ton Of Cash
Between signing up for the taxi app and credit cards being accepted almost anywhere, getting a ton of Euros wasn’t needed. Using a credit card is safer and easier – just make sure your credit card company doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees (we took our Capital One credit cards and didn’t have an issue)
We get so overwhelmed and stressed out about traveling and visiting an unknown country and wanting to do all the things Pinterest says we should do, that we get lost in the beauty that is traveling. It took me about a day to just realize I was visiting Rome. I was standing in a Colosseum that was thousands of years old. How awesome was that?
“Of all the books in the world, the best stories are found between the pages of a passport”