Vacation planning whether you're an experienced traveler or a first timer when it comes to going on vacation there are two equally important parts of the process, research and planning. After all when you are going on an Italian vacation you want to enjoy the experience as much as possible so whether you're going on a Cruise, to a City for a week or the Country for a month why would you want to go without planning.
I broke down the areas to use for vacation planning into sections and have them listed bellow to make it easier to find and read a specific section over if there is something you forgot or if there are only a few sections you want to read. I believe doing your planning in the order I have listed below will make each aspect fall into place more easily than in another order.
Here is an example why, I wouldn't what to book a hotel before I pick what sights to see because my hotel could be on the south end of town only to have most of the sights I want to see be on the north end of town. This is why it is best to pick your sights first.
This page is an overview of how and where to start planning, however anytime you want to read in depth information on the subject you are on merely click the section title and you will be taken to the main information page for that section or you can just click that section in the main menu bar.
If you are new to vacation planning when you have finished reading the information on this site about Italian vacation planning you will feel more comfortable and confident when making your reservations online.
One thing I would like to add is it is never too early to start planning an Italian vacation I myself start planning my trips well over 6 months in advance more so to be able to get the hotel I want because they go fast. With that said it doesn’t mean you have to do all your planning right away, if you start the planning process early enough you can take your time relax and make decisions you need to when you are ready.
Keep in mind that many of the big tourist cities in Italy can be crowded and hotels can fill up fast so if you see the exact kind of hotel you want to stay in you may want to book it somewhat early.
Lastly before we get started once you start reading the full information pages and if you want to keep reading them in order you don't have to come back to this page as each page bottom has a link to the next page to read in the same order as this descriptive page and starts with the first clickable page title.
Let's get started
I like to start my vacation planning by getting a good travel guide. I recommend the one I used, which is DK Eyewitness Travel Italy, and can be purchased at Barnes & Noble. If you click on the picture of the books on the right it will take you to the Barnes & Noble web site. Really read it to decide what you want to see while you're on vacation.
Don't just look at seeing the major attractions because there are so many off beat places that are very interesting and could be only blocks from a major sight. Don't worry about finding too many things to see, it is easier to decide not to see something before you go then to find out you could have seen something real interesting after you've gotten home, so just fill up your want to see list.
In the end you will still have to decide what you want to see but don't try to see so much that your day becomes hectic and not much of a fun day, still plan things for a leisure pace.
After you have picked out all the sites you want to see the next big decision is when to go on your trip, and how many days including one day each way for the flight for anyone not in Europe already you can be away on vacation?
Like everywhere else, Italy has a high travel season which for most countries are when school is out. This normally means everything is more crowded and the prices are higher so if you have the ability to go before or after high travel season you may enjoy the trip more.
After all for some, this could be a trip of their dreams and the only time they will be in Italy so study the time you need very carefully an extra day may make a big difference. Also when checking prices for everything check different dates, often going a week sooner or a week later than when you had original planed to go could save you money.
One of the best things I can use when planning a vacation anywhere not just to Italy is google maps. Making some google maps will give me a bird's eye view of where all the sights I want to see are so I can choose a hotel and see where my hotel would be in relation to the sights as well as to the train station or bus station which most often will be one of the first places I will see when I get to Italy. Other maps I can make would be maps of the sites I want to see and towns I may want to drive to while in Italy. I provide much more detail on how to use google maps and how to plot sites on the google maps page.
Next let's talk about Hotels. Now that I have all my sites and cities picked out and know how long I will be staying in Italy it is time to choose a hotel. I like to choose a hotel before I get a flight because I like to know I have a place to stay before I get a flight. When choosing a hotel I need to consider a few things, price, style, and location. All are important because where I stay will be a big part of my Italian vacation experience. Also the majority of the hotels in Italy are mom and pop type of places, there are some big hotel chains in most big cities but from my experience there locations aren’t very good.
For many the cost of a flight may be the biggest expense of the vacation so choosing your flight can be an important one. Things to look into when finding a flight are, departure and landing time. Depending on where you live and how long the flight is can determine whether you will be able to use the day you land to do anything other than rest after the flight. If you live in an area where there is only one flight a day going to Italy you won’t have a choice in the mater but if I have many choices to consider it would matter to me.
Finding flights with the least number of connecting flights can also be a big deal as well since no one enjoys sitting for hours between flights. Deciding which city to fly into can affect the price as well as what day of the week to fly. There was a report published in 2013 that said on average international flights booked around 81 days before flight was to leave had the best rates.
Ground transportation Cars, trains and busses are things I need to consider when doing my vacation planning before I am in Italy. Which one to use can depend on ones age, fitness level and what city or cities being visited. Knowing how I am getting from the airport to my hotel is something I would want to know before I leave.
Since trains are very much used as standard travel many people choose the train to get from the airport to the city terminal they are staying in because of its low price, then walk from the terminal to their hotel. This could involve more walking and pulling your luggage along then I want depending on where my hotel is in relation to the terminal and may not be a good option for some older people.
Most airports have busses that run from the airport to a central terminal much like the trains where again I could walk to my hotel. Of course I can always take a cab from the airport directly to the hotel which is always the fastest and easiest way but is also the most expensive. No matter which way I choose I should print out a map and put the address of the hotel I am staying to give the cab driver or to have for directions if I am walking from the bus or train terminal.
Having maps and address nice and organized makes trying to get from one place to another much easier. The major cities in Italy for the most part have good city bus service for going from one side of the city to another, but from my experience most people want to walk and sightsee all they can when going to a specific site they are interested in seeing, so how you decided to get from one place to another is of course up to you. Find out more about exact planning of transportation in the car and train section.
City tours and what kind to take are always a good subject. One of the things I like doing when I get to a city I am visiting is go to on a general overall city bus tour where I can see where most of the major attractions are in relation to where I am staying and to each other. Sure I plotted everything out in google maps while doing my vacation planning and know about how far everything is but it is still good to be able to gauge things in real terms.
When thinking about tours I may consider what it is I want to see. Some tours are multi site tours and give a lot of great information from the tour guide. Others are one site tours that may also include a meal but in general tours are a great way to learn about the history of the site and people who lived there. Find more on tours and how to book them in the city tours section.
Cruises are a great way to see Italy if you have a limited amount of time or if you want to use it as part of your vacation and is something you may want to consider. For the best information about cruises read the cruises section.
After I have picked out my sites and printed my maps and itineraries, the next thing I do I consider a very important aspect of vacation planning and many people never think of. Take all my credit cards drivers license, medical cards, insurance cards and anything else of importance out of my wallet or purse if you're a woman along with my passport use a copy machine and make a copy of everything.
For anyone who doesn’t have their own copier it is best to find one that doesn’t have memory or one that can cancel the memory otherwise someone could print out what you just coped which wouldn’t be good. After I have made my copies I write down the contact phone number for each card that way if my wallet is lost or stolen I have all the numbers I need to call and cancel them and have them replaced. If I can't get to a copier I will write everything down including the phone number to each cards call center next to the card as well.
When you are ready to make your reservations please return to My Italian Travels and book through our linked companies online.
Also check out the fun and tips section for little things I do to make my trip easier along with some things that are just fun or neat.
Back to Italian Travel home page