So, You Want To Do A Cheap Vacation In Italy (Or Europe For That Matter): General Tips For Travel
1. If you’re planning on traveling to multiple destinations I highly recommend you pay special attention to how you’re packing. Pack light, pack smart, and stop by your local LUSH retailer before you head out. No, I don’t get paid to recommend LUSH (trust me, I wish I did because I talk about them often) but they have by far the best shit in the world for traveling. You can get all solid products, and everything comes in these little tins or simply wrapped in paper which frees up A LOT OF ROOM and ensures you never have a liquid issue, never ruin your stuff, and never have to throw something out at the airport. This is especially important if you plan on flying with RyanAir. You carry on your little bag so you can’t have crap in it.
My personal travel kit includes: The Seanik Shampoo bar (yes, shampoo bar, it’s amazing), Big Solid Conditioner, Fresh Farmacy face wash, Buffy body butter (this thing is better than lotion, you use it in the shower and your body is badass soft all day), and Skin’s Shangri La face cream (however, I’ve used Skin Drink and loved it), and the toothy tabs in Dirty (these are weird but after you use them you’ll love them. Great for travel). These products are all top of the line, work really well, and are seriously the best things I’ve found for vacationing in Italy or Europe. I don’t use a lot of hair creams, etc., so I realize that for some people this might be really low key, but honestly if you’re traveling all over you don’t want to bring your entire house with you. It will make the trip less fun and more stressful.
2. Bring clothes that all match each other. You’re coming to Europe so go ahead and burn your bright pink and purple outfits anyway. Think neutrals and black with some small splash of color here and there. Seriously, you want things that can be worn in different variations, layers, mixed up. Pack clothes for the day as well as clothes for the night. I’d bring no more than 3 pairs of shoes, two dresses, a few blouses, a t-shirt and a few pairs of pants/shorts. The more your clothes can match each other than less clothes you’ll need to bring. Plus, Europeans really don’t wear a ton of color, that’s an American thing (as in south American, the US, usually). This is not me telling you that you should stop at nothing to blend in, but seriously, you’ll thank me later. Larger than a carry-on will only make you miserable. If you choose the right clothes you’ll look great and won’t have to lug hundreds of pounds of things around with you from place to place (not to mention that even in Italy on the trains, there isn’t room for giant bags really). Here’s what my vacation bag looks like: Little black dress, black heels, skinny jeans (two different colors), three t-shirts, three blouses, one cardigan. In summer I add: Two pairs of shorts, one summer dress, sandals, converse, sunglasses, bikini. In winter I add: Two sweaters, a coat, wool dress, tights, scarf, boots. I only wear neutrals for the most part so all of my clothes match anyway. I’m lazy, guys. There are laundry places in Europe so you can wash your clothes. The less you have the easier travel will be and the more you’ll remember this as a “good” experience instead of a stressful one. Also, leave a little wiggle room. You’re going to buy stuff in Europe so don’t stuff your luggage. If you need some outfit inspiration check out:
3. Book hotels, hostels, airbnb apartments in advance. Europe gets slammed with tourism so if you wait until the last minute you’ll pay out your ass for things (plus you might not find a place to stay).
4. Get a phone. You can buy a phone for $40 euro at WIND in Italy. Buy some minutes. These phones work in every country, you just have to buy different SIM cards for them which are cheap. I have like 15 SIM cards but at least I always have a phone for emergencies or whatever. Trust me, your life will be easier. If you have a smart phone, that’s great too, but keep in mind that any call you make will jack your phone price up and you’ll get roaming charges. Of course, you can put it on airplane mode and just use WiFi for Skype but let’s face it, finding WiFi in Europe randomly is a lot harder than it seems.
BASIC TRANSPORTATION THROUGHOUT ITALY
There are many ways to get around Italy. You can take a plane, train, or automobile. It depends entirely on what you want to do, how far apart the places are that you want to visit, and what you’ll want to do on your trip.
CAR: If you want to visit multiple regions and see as much as possible I would recommend renting a car and driving. It sounds expensive but it’s totally not. Train tickets, taxis, all of that can add up and a car can equal about the same. If you have a license you can rent a car. WARNING: These people drive like they’re in a circus so you need to keep your eyes open at all times for bikers, scooters, and psychos. Also, you NEED a GPS, trust me (so get it).
TRAIN: The trains in Italy are awesome but I honestly wouldn’t recommend them for traveling from country to country unless you get that super expensive mega pass. Ryanair has really cheap flights (sometimes like 20 euro) as long as you book things months in advance. Trains within Italy are great, but again, book in advance. Train is especially awesome if you’re only hitting main cities or staying in one region.
PLANE: A plane is a good idea if you want to only see a few places that are really far apart. Like, Milan and Sicily for example or Florence and Sicily, or even Rome and Puglia. If you book your tickets really far in advance they can also be even cheaper than train tickets. Ryanair (again) is really my go-to for flying to multiple countries. Make sure that you map out the airports, the transport to/from the airports, etc. Ryanair usually uses small airports out in the middle of nowhere and then you have to take a bus into the city. It’s worth it for a 20 euro flight.