For our ten year wedding anniversary, we were in disbelief that we’d actually be able to take a two week trip anywhere, let alone to Italy! Brian connected with his sister and niece who volunteered to nanny our three kids and that was the start of our epic vacation planning.
We planned the entire Italy trip ourselves and by popular requests, I’m detailing all of our tips and recommendations here.
I understand. Planning a two-week trip to a country you’ve never visited can seem overwhelming so here’s my guide to help make your Italy vacation planning a little easier.
PLANNING YOUR ITALY TRIP
1. Booking Flights. We heard that you want to clear out your history when searching each day. Apparently, websites can track this info and inflate airline prices when they know you have a date in mind. Not even sure if this is true but better to be safe. We mostly searched for flights on Kayak.
2. Booking Hotels. Once we had our Italy flights booked and knew we were flying into Rome, we started searching for accommodations. There’s not a lot of Airbnb options in the areas we were staying which meant we were limited to hotels. The duration of our stay was dependent on what we wanted to do in each city, cost, accommodation availabilities and train route. Scroll down to see exactly where we stayed.
3. Exchange Currency. If your bank offers currency exchange with no fee, please exchange ahead of time! Before your trip, have a few hundred dollars on hand because the exchange fee can be super high at airports and in Italy. Check your credit card exchange fees, too. We made sure to only use cards that didn’t charge a fee. Most places only accept VISA and Mastercard.
4. Map out Transportation. From the airport to our hotel, we arranged for a driver (through our hotel) and it was nice to have someone pick us up after a long flight. We walked everywhere in Rome and didn’t take any transportation except for one train ride to the Vatican. Below is our transportation mode from one city to the next via the train (Trenitalia) and ferry (Travelmar). *Try to book at least a day in advance.
Rome to Venice: Train
Venice to Salerno: Train. Then walked to the ferry to Positano. Keep in mind that Positano is known as the vertical city so depending on your hotel location, that’s a lot of steps up! You can plan ahead to see if your hotel will pick you up after hopping off the ferry or order a car/cab service.
Positano to Amalfi: Personal driver. We rode the bus to Ravello for a one day trip.
– Returning –
Amalfi to Salerno: Ferry. Then walked to the train station to head back to Rome.
The travel backpack worked out well for us. Especially climbing up the steps in Positano and over the bridges in Venice. But there were a few moments, like when we were walking from the train station in Salerno to the ferry, that I wished I could roll my backpack. I pulled together a comparison of our backpack and a rolling backpack that had really high reviews on Amazon. Could be helpful if you’re deciding between the two.
In my opinion, the backpack is the best route. Without the wheels, there is more space for your items so it was impressive that we were able to pack two weeks worth of clothes in it! Also, in the airport, when others had to check in their suitcases at the gate, we were never asked to check ours. We were hands free allowing us to easily navigate with our phones.
*Tip: you may encounter suspicious activities on the train. Like many big cities, be aware of your surroundings and keep an eye on your belongings. We used wire twist ties on our zippers to reduce the risk of being pick pocketed. We’ve heard too many stories from friends and family about this experience.
Some Important Items to Pack
FFP2 face masks. Italy’s required masks for public transportations. We did witness on rare occasions, drivers denying rides to those without it. And also witnessed on the train, security mandating riders with masks that weren’t FFP2 masks to go purchase one up front.
My Must Haves to Pack for Hair and Skin Care
OUR ITALY TRIP ITINERARY
Now let’s get to the fun part! Here are my Italy Travel Tips and Recommendations of where we stayed and ate! I’ll break this down by city.