1. The gelato that looks all whipped high and pretty through the glass is actually not great. The best gelato will not look like that. It will be flat and in metal containers, not plastic.
2. Buy a selfie stick. Just do it. We bought this one and it worked (still works) super well.
3. AirBnB will give you more than a place to stay. Each host we had shared restaurant tips and neighborhood insights. It was so helpful and I think we ate better because of it.
4. Don’t be intimidated by locations that require multiple trains or modes of transportation to get to. The trains are easy to figure out, even if you don’t speak Italian. We almost missed the Amalfi coast because of this and I’m so glad we didn’t!
5. Bring sleep aids. I was unprepared for the insomnia I experienced as I tried to adjust to Italian time. I regularly wound up awake from 2-4am and so we had to take lots of naps during our first few days.
6. Get the international plan on your phone. I had Verizon and it was $10 a day to bring my plan with me but it was so worth it to be able to use google maps and research on the fly. The coverage was not bad at all.
7. Visit in May or September. You’ll avoid the peak tourist season, the weather will be more mild, and the prices slightly cheaper.
8. Don’t worry about dressing to fit in. Chances are, you’re probably going to look American (if you are American) no matter what you do. We couldn’t even pinpoint what it was (we tried) but you can tell American’s right away. It is what it is.
9. Anytime you can buy tickets in advance, do. You’ll save yourself lots of waiting in lines.
10. Do not bring hair tools. No hairdryer, straightener, or curling iron. Yes, it’s heartbreaking (my hair looks less than stellar in every photo from Italy) but your plug converter is not a voltage converter. On that note, voltage converters aren’t always reliable and the internet is full of horror stories about hair tools not working with these. You may cause a fire, melt your tool, or fry your hair. Just rock a braid and use your extra time to explore. Or, if you’re lucky (as I occasionally was) your AirBnB or hotel will have an Italian hairdryer. Personal note: I told my Mom this and she bought a voltage converter, went to Ireland, and attempted to use her straightener. It nearly melted on the counter of her hotel.
Planning your next vacation? Here’s the perfect 14-day Italy itinerary. We were able to see almost everything we wanted to see and the post includes exactly how we got to multiple cities without needing to rent a car.
What’s your best travel tip? Share it below.