A jaunt through Italy is one of those once-in-a-lifetime sorts of trips so of course you want to be prepared! Yet, with a glamorous destination like Italy, it's easy to go overboard when putting together an itinerary. Instead cramming everything into a few days, go for the "less is more" approach. That way, whatever isn't on your "to do" list will feel like an added bonus. Whether visiting for a week, a month or a year, here's a first timer's guide to making the most of your Italian getaway.
What to Pack:
What you pack largely depends on when you visit. For example, if visiting in spring, it's a good idea to bring along a raincoat and umbrella. The winter months are cooler and call for warm sweaters, thick jackets and comfortable walking boots. If planning to work while on the road, make sure to bring along a converter and adapter so that your laptop and smartphone charge without a hitch. For those who suffer from allergies, pack some over-the-counter medications to keep them in check.
When to Go:
While there's no "wrong" time to visit Italy, many tourists prefer visiting from April to June or mid-September to October. The reasoning for this is simple: the weather is mild and the crowds are manageable. That, and the colors of the trees and flowers are most vibrant in the fall and spring seasons. May and June are peak travel months so don't expect any hotel discounts during this time. Arguably the worst month to visit in is August, when it's usually uncomfortably hot and muggy.
Where to Stay:
Gone are the days when hotels dominated the accommodations market. More often than not, travelers are opting for a more personal experience where there's a real sense of place. Visitors have more options to choose accommodation based on location, price, experience and other factors.
Getting there (and around)
Booking a flight to Italy won't pose a challenge. As one of Europe's most popular vacation destinations, there are ample options on multiple carriers. That said, many international flights fly straight into Rome (including Cathay Pacific), so consider starting or ending your trip there. Once in Italy, it's easy, not to mention scenic, to visit nearby cities via train. Depending on how long you're in town for, it might make sense to purchase a rail pass that grants access within the entire country.
By Megan Eileen McDonough of Bohemian Trails.