Planning a trip to Italy may feel extremely daunting and become more stressful than desired. There is so much to see in what is typically a short period of time. If you haven’t been overseas before, or it’s been a really long time, you’ll desire to choose the right flights, hotels, and navigate around to optimize your stay. Here are some suggestions. (We have no affiliations with any site listed.)
How to fly:
To find the best flight for your schedule and budget, there are a few really good sites that are good for different criteria. When planning your travel to Italy from someplace else, both Kayak and Google Flights are good options. Kayak gives a large mixture of results of flights and airlines from the well-known intercontinental carriers to the smaller budget-friendly lines. Google Flights tends to have a good display for the difference in prices between certain dates. They track prices and save flights with an easy-to-use interface.
Once in Italy, or for any flights within Europe, Skyscanner is one of the best sites. It is pretty reliable and always offers the cheapest of flights to other destinations within Europe. Vueling, EasyJet and Ryan Air are all go-to options for cheap flights between European cities.
How to book hotels:
If you are a person that likes a lot of choices and don’t want to read through a bunch of guidebooks to find the small, but fantastic gems, there are a few big hotel-booking sites that are worth a shot. Booking, Homeaway and AirBnB are all well-utilized in Italy, so you will find most accommodations listed on these sites.Sites such as Mobissimo, Priceline, and EuroCheapo offer good deals and a wide range of hotels to compare. On a similar note, when it comes to booking, TripAdvisor and Yelp offer individual travelers’ insight into places.
How to figure out transportation:
Maps may sound antiquated, but traveling abroad will make you realize how necessary it is to have a hard copy and not just rely on technology that likely will not work in more remote areas. Italy is known for its circuitous routes and oblique signage, especially in rural areas. The best local maps are on the apps Maps.me and Navmii, and we recommend your download the ones you need so you don’t rely on cell service. You must be connected initially to complete the download, but after an offline area of a map is downloaded within GoogleMaps, you are free to use it wherever. OffMaps is also a helpful offline map that can be used for navigating around Europe. In print, guidebook publishers such as Lonely Planet and Rough Guides tend to have a combination map-book. However, the Michelin Map Europe 705 is a really well-done map for an overview of Europe. There are also a few good digital maps that you can download on your smartphone for when data and wifi are not available.
The best apps:
The first suggestion may seem a bit obvious, but a necessity when traveling to a European country such as Italy is GoogleTranslate. Although many Italians in big cities such as Rome speak English, the app will be there to help you when you visit more remote locations, or even just for reading street signs or a menu at a restaurant.
Viber and WhatsApp are both fantastic messaging apps for communicating with anyone, including people back home. With free phone calls, texts, and picture sharing when connected to wifi, there is no anxiety about the possible data charges you could be incurring with your phone company at home.
Measures – Unit and Currency Converter is another essential app for your smartphone that will make ease of any daily confusions. Not only can it convert euros to U.S. dollars, but it can convert temperature and Fahrenheit/Celsius and feet to meters. The differences won’t seem so monumental anymore.
GoEuro and MyTaxi are two more navigation apps that make exploring a breeze. GoEuro is the app to use if you want to figure out the best way – for you – to travel between cities in Europe. This means that you can filter by your budget and preferred method of transportation: car, bus, plane and train. MyTaxi is the European equivalent of Uber. MyTaxi is used in most big cities in Italy. Just like Uber, you call a taxi from the app on your phone and you will see an estimated price along with the driver’s live location. Scooterino is again similar to Uber, but for scooters! If you are short on time and know that you can’t be waiting in traffic, you can use this app to have a scooter and driver (with reviews) at your feet in minutes.
Eat Italy is a fantastic app designed by food aficionado Elizabeth Minchilli. It is a guide of the best places to eat, drink, and shop in cities such as Rome, Florence, and Milan with many more to come. Katie Parla’s Rome app is another resource that will ensure you never eat a bad meal if you are in Rome.
Lastly, Spotted by Locals is an app created by and updated by the locals within the city you search. They write about their favorite places and give all the insider tips. With this app you will have much more confidence in your choice for dinner than the average tourist.