6 Tips You Need to Know Before You Visit Italy
1. Ditch the sweatpants. Long haul flights and cross-country train rides are no excuse for resorting to pajamas outside of the house. Treat a travel day as an opportunity to get started on your holiday style. If you are going to be stuck in a small space with strangers, make the best impression and embrace la bella figura.
2. Get the friends and family discount. Being on a budget doesn’t have to mean staying home. Well, at the very least it doesn’t have to mean staying in your own home! Savvy and budget-conscious Italian travelers know how to take advantage of staying with friends and family in different parts of the county to get a break from the everyday reality of their own current city. Call ahead and start calling in favors to book a free room — just be ready to return the favor! (Now, if we could all only be so lucky to have a family in Sicily, Sardinia, Cinque Terre, Florence, Capri…)
3. Carry-on only. Checked baggage fees? No, thanks. Invest in a sleek wheeled carry-on, fill it up as much as humanly possible, and find a way to make it fit in the overhead storage. In planes, this saves time and money. On trains, it means you can keep a better eye on your baggage so someone doesn’t “accidentally” step off with it before you reach your destination.
4. Pack that tiny swimsuit and rock it. Body confidence is at 100% in Italy. If you have been dying to wear that little bikini or know you look awesome in that speedo, well why deny your fellow holiday-goers the privilege of seeing you rock it seaside? You don’t have to spend hours at the gym to wear your own clothes. If you like it, pack it. If you pack it, leave your insecurities at the door and wear it with gusto.
5. Don’t forget your Ray-Bans. The iconic sunglass company may have been founded in America in the 1930s, but it has been owned by an Italian luxury brand since the late 1990s. The insanely popular Wayfarer design is a staple in Italian style, and a small chic way to incorporate Italian fashion into your travel wardrobe. If Ray-Bans aren’t your thing, you can still remember the mantra: accessorize, accessorize, accessorize. More is more…especially on vacation!
6. Take the time off. Really. Take it totally off. Many Italians take the entire month of August off. It may not be practical, but it sure is enjoyable, and you have to treat yourself. There is no “checking in with work real quick” when you are in vacation mode. Even sharing photos on Facebook and Instagram does not need to happen in real time. Tune out and shift fully into the travel experience.
Natalie moved from California to Italy in 2010, and is the writer behind the blog, An American in Rome. She provides accessible Italian lifestyle tidbits each month for the Mazzoni Wines blog, Live Like an Italian.