Hello everyone in Internet land and in your digital devices! Much peace and love to you and your greatness. I am back from my amazing trip to Italy and finally have a chance to sit down and write. First off -I hope you are well. I hope you are doing ok. If not, I send you peace of mind.
So what is the happs? For 8 days, my husband and I traveled many many miles to my dream country -Italy. I have always wanted to go there. As a kid, I would look at pictures of Venice and be amazed. I’ve always loved pasta and wine so it just seemed like a perfect fit. I am going to jump right into this and tell you how we were able to go.
If you read my blog first mentioning our trip to the beauty of Italy, I listed that we used Great Value Vacations through Groupon. When I told friends and family, they immediately gave me the side eye. Ordering plants, movie tickets and clothes off Groupon is one thing but a true bonafide trip? I thought the same thing. When I found the trip, it was because I stumbled on one that said 7 days in Paris France for $699. That included the flight. What?? My first reaction was like this has to be a lie because that sounds cheap. Then I found one for Italy. 8 days in three different cities plus a rental car plus the flight for $899 per person. Say what? After I did my research and talked it over with my husband, the money we saved for a vacation has been decided. We were going to Italy. This isn’t the exact trip but click on the link to get a better idea of what I’m talking https://www.greatvaluevacations.com/vacations/rome-and-tuscany?duration=8&nopopup=1&gateway=ORD
Italy is a beautiful country! I could actually see myself staying there if it was possible but I would also have to move my family with me. I loved the food, the buildings and the homes, the towns we visited, the showers, the wine, the sun –yes while in Tuscany, I say OMG I’m under the Tuscan Sun (Get it? The movie title…nevermind.) Until I have the funds for that, I’ll stay here. I did however want to list some tips and ideas for anyone who a) is considering going to Italy and b) considering a trip through Great Value Vacations. Please know that these are just my observations and tips while over there enjoying myself.
- Right off the bat, read everything in your vouchers. You want to make sure that you are prepared when you get there. Have your passport. Have a credit card if you can. Preparation is huge when going overseas. That includes looking for ways to make your flight(s) comfortable. Going to Italy, we had to fly out of Chicago to Amsterdam which was about 8 hours and then from Amsterdam to Rome.
- Like I said, finding this trip through Great Value Vacations from Groupon, I was excited! Three hotels, flights and rental car –all wrapped in one price. As for travel, the flights were great as to be expected. Who likes being cramped on a flight for 8 hours but I love to fly so it wasn’t too much of a problem. The only issue we ran into was the rental car. Although I read about the traffic in Rome, we thought it should be okay. When we landed in Rome and got ready for pick up and that’s when the problems began. They said we had to use the credit card of the driver. Then when they said the person who set up the trip would have to be the driver -i.e. Me. I did not have any desire to drive so that was no. They then said that there was an issue with a credit card. THEN they couldn’t find an available automatic car. After the third strike, I pretty much told my husband this is the Universe saying do not drive. If it’s this hard to get the card, we should just go with the flow and not drive. In Italy, they have the train system and taxis. So when in Rome…Husband was not trying to hear that but what could we do? I am still thankful that we didn’t drive because our little feelings would have been hurt. The aggressive driving out there is no joke. Bless our hearts –we would have been crying in the middle of traffic while being surrounded by honking cars. No thank you. We took trains and taxis. We even took a couple of Ubers.
- Uber in Italy. They do not care for Uber. In fact in some cities, they don’t permit it. We were only able to get Ubers in Rome. So if you do go to Rome, you can get an Uber but expect some looks from surrounding locals.
- I highly recommend learning some Italian phrases. I can say hello, I’m sorry, not interested (which is important when you venture out), I would like the house wine (another important one for me!), where is the bathroom, and how much. It will take you so far with the locals.
- Be wary of people pickpocketing. So when I booked the trip, I read up as much as I could about the cities we were visiting, the hotels we were staying at, things to visit and try-all of that. Huge thing I kept seeing was about pickpocketing. I am going to break it down easy and simple. At the train stations, we leaned up against walls so that no one could get behind me. Don’t make eye contact with anyone. I think I looked up because something was in my contact. Immediately this guy walked over asking me where I was from and I wanted a bracelet. Nah brotha I’m good. He tried to hand it to me. I gave it back and said no thanks. From what I read, the second you take it, you have to buy it so I didn’t.
- We went to Italy in February which is still winter. Me thinking it wasn’t going to be too cold compared in Indiana, I was wrong. The first week, during the day it was in the 60s but at night, it got cold. Luckily I brought boots and my coat but that was it. I was not prepared so definitely look at the weather before heading out.
Overall I wish I was back there. I admit that I didn’t get much rest (that jet lag is something else) while I was there and I missed my baby boy like crazy but all great things have to come to an end. So Italy, thank you so much for a wonderful visit! I loved it all and will cherish this trip forever!