There were so many things we wanted to put in the fun and travel tips and info section I decided to break it up into 2 pages, to get to the fun section just go to the fun and tips and click on fun when you get the drop down menu.
There are a few travel tips on this page that are already in other parts of the site but we felt they were important enough to put them here again in case anyone didn't read the main section they were in.
Make sure you photo copy or right down all your credit card numbers along with drivers license number, medical card numbers pretty much anything that is in your wallet along with the phone number to each and keep it in your carryon bag or in a file folder with all your travel information. If your wallet is lost or stolen you won't have to try an remember what is missing or who to call to report the loss to. Don't get a copy from a commercial copier since many of them have a print last thing copied button and someone else could get your information reprinted when you are finished with the copier. If you don't have your own copier you may try your local library and ask if there copiers have a reprint last thing copied button. This is one of our most important travel tips.
If you are taking any kind of electronic devices with self contained batteries in them, like cell phones, digital cameras, MP3 players and so forth and are traveling from a country that uses 110 voltage you will need a power converter to convert from 220 to 110. There aren’t many stores around that sells power converters but there are many sites out there that sells them and you can choose from many different types where as the choices would be limited in a store that sells them.
When ordering soft drinks be advised there is no such thing as a fountain drink in Italy everything is from a can which means any refill will have to be paid for.
I like to wear earplugs on the plane when I fly, I find the flight to be much quieter and also makes the cabin pressure transition much easier.
Don't forget when planning your trip that you know how you're getting to your departing airport, whether it be a taxi, airport shuttle or a friend you should know how you're getting there at least a week before you leave and have it scheduled at least 3 days before you leave.
In order to safeguard your home while you are away you should buy some self timers that will turn on and off your lights and maybe a radio while you are away and if possible have someone check on the house while you are away. I would also consider turning off the water in the house or at least to the washing machine, I have heard of many a basement being flooded by a burst washer hose while the owner was on vacation.
This is what I consider one of our more important travel tips. If you don't have buttons on the back pants pocket you are going to keep your wallet in you should think about keeping it in your front pocket. Some people use money belts, it makes it very difficult for a pick pocket to get your wallet from the front or from a pocket that is buttoned.
When I go shopping in any kind of store that sells souvenirs or anywhere that may have shelves of objects that are easily broken on display, if I am caring my backpack around I will take it off and put in on backwards. With it in this position I won’t have to worry about turning around and having the backpack knocking things off shelves or tables and breaking them forcing me to buy something I broke and didn’t want in the first place.
If you are planning on staying in Venice make sure you check out where your hotel is in relation to where you will be dropped off. There are only two drop off points in Venice one is the train station, the other is the main car and bus parking lot across a canal from the train station. You will need to know which water bus ( that's is what I called them when I was there) to take to the closest water bus stop to your hotel. knowing this can save you a lot of walking and you could end up on the wrong side of the canal to where your hotel is. I put a link to the ACTV site which is the company who runs the water bus service in Venice it shows the price range for the different length of time you can purchase a water bus pass. When looking at the Actv site just to the left of the map is a box and you can click on water routes. It will list the water bus numbers and clicking on a route number will highlight the map and will show which stop that route stops at. Venice also has water taxies available however they are much more expensive.
To make it easier for you to find the location of train stations I have a page listing all the maps I have put on our site with the train station locations on it. After you find the station you are looking for on our map it should make it easier to find on google maps where you can find the location of your hotel and can zoom in on the page and see how far it is from the station. We wanted to put maps on our site and use them as travel tips however we are still waiting for Google to give us permission to post them.
Travel tips for buying souvenirs and many other things you plan on buying need to be looked at in a few different ways. You can often get the same tee shirt from a street vender that you will find at a souvenir shop for about half the price but you need to check the size at both. Most tee shirts run a bit on the small size in Italy, I don't know if the size is miss labeled or if they just run small so at least hold up the tee shirt if you can't try it on to see how it will fit.
It is often difficult not to buy replicas of classic roman pottery so when buying things of this nature you have to decide if you can fit the large one you really want in your suit case and be able to get it home without it being broken. Often it is better to get a little smaller size then you want and can add more padding on each side of the suit case for more safety. Of course you never want any pottery that isn't in a box with some bubble wrap in it. If you find something large that you really want you can often have the shop owner ship it to your home, but you may want to check the time table on shipping. You wouldn't want something to arrive at home long before you return from your trip. you never want something sitting on your doorstep that can alert a potential burglar you are not home.
Also any high ticked items should be paid for with your credit card if you are planning on having it shipped, you will at least have some course of action you can take if what you bought never shows up.
If you are going sight seeing on a day you know will be on the warm side I recommend you get either a small backpack to put your souvenirs in with bottle holders or some kind of carry belt that you can take a insulated water container with you. Most of the major sites have long lines and have street venders selling bottles of water for up to 3 euro's and on a hot day you could drink up to 5 bottles. If you have your own water container to start off the day you will have the option of looking for a store going from one sight to another to buy water for as little as 1 euro saving you as much as 10 euro's if you drank 5 bottles of water on a given day. I would rather use the money for a nice dinner than for water.
One of our travel tips that many people forget is to put on sunscreen! even if you have a hat and sunglasses on you can still get a bad sunburn and who wants to spend any time on vacation if they are burnt to a crisp.
When going out to eat in Italy it is not necessary to tip 15 to 20% as is customary in the US and a few other countries. Most European countries pay their serving staff more so the normal tip in Italy between 10 & 12%.
When looking for a places to eat I generally ask the people at our hotel where they like to eat, like back home the local people know the best places. If the staff isn't local then look for restaurants with hand written menu sign in front written in Italian, avoid places that have we speak english signs they often have higher prices.
If you are on a little tighter budget then you would like or are a little older and unable to get around as well as you once could. Rather than taking a cab to places you don't want to walk to I recommend looking into getting a bus pass for the city you are staying in. Most cities have passes good for 1 day up to a week and most are good for all busses and all routes. In some cities you can get a combination pass that covers both the subway and busses.
This wasn’t one of our travel tips but it is a good one. If you don't have an international cell phone and want to keep in touch with family back home you can purchase an International phone card with PIN numbers and dial direct for about 10 cents a minute. You can often get these at newsstands.
If you are on a multi city trip or just a trip to two major cities I would recommend taking the train rather than flying, many people have told us it is faster to go from Venice to Rome by train then to fly when taking into account the time going to the airport, check in, waiting for the plane to leave, landing and getting their luggage, more often than not it is less expensive. If you are undecided as to how you want to go from city to city you can compare flight duration times with train travel times, of course you will need to add the time mentioned above to the flight duration and compare it with the train travel time, you should also consider the great Italian countryside you will be able to see on the train.
Many cities have many museums so before you buy a pass to see 1 museum check to see if there is a multi museum pass available with a discount. I know in Rome they have many such options. Speaking of museums if you are going to Florence for a day and plan on going to the Uffizi gallery you should buy your ticket in advance, the Uffizi sells out often days in advance during high season.
I recommend buying any type of one day bus tour package before you leave for the trip. You will already know what is happening when you get there and you won't have to spend time deciding what to do that day. Even more so if you are taking a cruise because sometimes many people want to take the same off ship excursion and there are only so many spots available and you could get blocked out of something you really wanted to do.