There is something extremely invigorating about planning a trip abroad. But with so much information available at our fingertips, the possiblities and choices can be overwhelming.
Last year, I planned my two-month “study abroad” trip to Italy on my own, which was equal parts empowering and consuming. In the process, I collected some go-to resources that made the planning much easier. From itinerary planning to putting everything in a logical order to on-the-ground tips once your trip is underway, I hope the following resources will be helpful to you.
Mapping it Out
Rome2Rio: Type in two destinations, hit the “Find Transport” button, and Rome2Rio presents a number of options on how to get from one place to the next. Train travel, air travel, bus, ferries…all options are included, typically with real-time time tables and pricing. They can even help you book tickets, hotels and cars using third-party partners. Although I have not used the booking service myself, Rome2Rio is the first site I consult when building my destination wish list and the order of my itinerary.
Accomodations and Transportation
Amazing hotel in Montalcino found on Booking.com
After Rome2Rio, next I spend time on Kayak, where I can find the best rates on flights and hotels (to book, I go directly to the hotel or airline site). Kayak is especially helpful when searching flights to less popular tourist destinations.
Other favorite sites are Booking for accomodation options — hotels, bed and breakfast, even agriturismo; and Trip Advisor for reviews on where to stay (yes, I do find those helpful).
To communicate directly with others who have a passion for and knowledge of Italy, I suggest joining the private Facebook group Traveling to Italy. The folks there are serious about their love of Italy, and they are a (Trevi) fountain of knowledge! 🙂
Things to Do and See
Here’s the part where I can fall down the rabbit hole, and spend hours (days! weeks!) boucing around the internet, compiling a list of things to do and see that is impossible to execute during a trip with a finite beginning and end. Try these sites to help build a realistic wish list:
- The Culture Trip (app & online)
- Google Trips (app only)
- Visit a City (app & online)
If you need some guidance from a local, I suggest getting a bit of help from a travel concierge service. For a reasonable fee, a travel concierge can review your planned itinerary and make suggestions or recommendations. Check out Italy Translated — I have personally used their expertise and highly recommend them.
On the Ground Resources
- Taxi apps: I used all of the following in Italy to hail a cab directly from my phone: appTaxi (Florence), InTaxi (Rome); mytaxi (Rome). I found the taxi apps in Rome to be more reliable than booking a private driver, but the opposite was true in Florence.
- Trenitalia: app and online. Booking train travel can be confusing for a first-timer, but an authentic travel experience. Click here and here for some tips.
- Tour bookings: I have had good luck with each of the following: Ciao Florence, Walks of Italy, Through Eternity. I haven’t used Context Travel, but the premise is very interesting and worth a mention.
- Must have apps: Google translate and a currency converter will help you get through your days more smoothly, and to feel like a true local, while I’m traveling I use WhatsApp to text my family and friends in Italy and back home in the States.
Happy planning, safe travels and buon viaggio!
All opinions my own, this is an unsponsored post. ©PrayersandPiazzas2019
2 Comments Add yours
Great article! Thank you for mentioning my group!
Hi Julie, my pleasure! Hope you are well.