04 Jul 2014 10 ways to ruin your holiday in Italy
Italy is a great country to visit. It is a land abundantly blessed with stunning landscapes, golden sand beaches, great climate, a vibrant culture, a host of palatable cuisines, classic wines, and everything else you can dream of in a European destination.
However, this great experience can easily be ruined by small issues that you probably didn’t know about. Here are a few simple mistakes that can easily mess up your vacation in Italy:
1. Over-complicating your daily schedule or plan
Do not plan your daily schedule on a strict timetable. This is because most activities in Italy do not run on an exact timetable. You will only end up frustrated if you cram so many events or places to visit in one day expecting everything to run like clockwork. Spare some time to idle in a pizza or bar rather than jam numerous activities in one day when you travel to Italy.
2. Expecting to buy public transport inside a bus or train
In most Italian cities and towns, passengers are expected to buy tickets in advance at the station, tabacco shop, or even a news stand. Many buses do not have ticket machines on-board. Buy your tickets in advance when you travel to Italy and make sure to validate them prior to boarding a train to save yourself a hefty fine.
3. Booking an accommodation a long distance from major attractions
This is a mistake most people make when trying to cut corners on their accommodation budget. Avoid a cheaper hotel too far away from the action. You will only end up spending more on transport every day (mainly on cabs, since the transportation system in Italy is not great, if not in the biggest cities). Our townhomes and downtown apartments offer a wide range of solutions for your stay in Italy.
4. Failing to respect meal times
Italian restaurants and bars are very specific about their opening times and most will definitely close in the afternoon. Schedule your day accordingly with respect to lunch hours because it is quite hard in most Italian cities to get a 3 P.M lunch.
5. Avoid driving in prohibited ZTL areas
The fastest way to get a traffic ticket in Italy is by driving in the ‘zona traffic limitato’ (ZTL). These are limited traffic zones that are off limits to drivers without the required permit. They are also known as pedestrian zones. If you want to know if it’s better to travel by car, bus or train, make sure to check out this article Travelling in Italy: car vs. train.
6. Depending solely on credit cards or travellers checks
Credit cards and travellers checks are not accepted everywhere in Italy. Most family-run shops, restaurants, and outdoor markets will only accept cash payments. Carry along some cash to avoid disappointments when you travel to Italy.
7. Checking out vegetables or fruits with bare hands
This may seem trivial but touching vegetables or a fruit with bare hands in a supermarket or at the street vendor’s stand is considered unhygienic and rude. Always use the plastic gloves provided at the supermarket.
8. Over-reliance on the GPS while driving
Using a GPS while driving is quite helpful but in Italy it is advisable to supplement the GPS with the old traditional map. There are instances where GPS has led visitors to drive on the wrong side of a one-way street, or worse still into a pedestrian or ZTL zone.
9. You can’t see it all in a weekend or short break
Italy is a big country with numerous things to do and see. You can’t see it all in a weekend so plan well and if possible schedule different vacations for different regions. If you are visiting Tuscany on a short break, for example, forget about the other equally attractive regions and concentrate on what Tuscany has to offer for now.
10. Losing your passport or cash
This is one of the worst holiday spoilers anywhere in the world, Italy included. The loss of your passport, money, camera, or purse will definitely leave you with unpleasant memories of your Italian vacation. Carry your passport, cash, and other crucially important documents safely and preferably not in your backpack where it can easily be accessed by pickpockets.