When to start planning my trip to Italy?
Planning a trip to Italy is not an easy task! There are several details that range from choosing the period of your trip, to choosing hotels, purchasing tickets, planning itineraries for the cities you will visit and much more. Today I bring you a post that will help you plan a trip to Italy from the beginning to the end. Let’s go to our post of the day; when to start planning my trip to Italy? I want to go to Italy! But when should I start organizing my trip? Here at Your Travel to Italy with Ana Patriciayou make the trip of your dreams!!! ALSO: see our “Accommodation in Italy – Tips for your holidays!”
The question of 99% of people who intend to travel to Italy
It is not an easy task, but if you organize your ideas, your budget and your itinerary, believe me, you can take an impeccable trip. As I always say, the key to the success of a trip is PLANNING! Shall we learn more?
What is the first thing I need to do?
The first thing you need to do is a short list of the places you want to visit in Italy. If this is your first trip, I invite you to read three posts here on the blog that can help you a lot. The first one is “What to do BEFORE traveling to Italy?”, the second one is “What is the best route to go to Italy for the first time? ” and, last but not least: “How to organize a trip to Italy?”. In these three posts, you will find several essential, precious information, so you can start organizing your trip efficiently.
It is not your first time….
• If it is not your first time in Italy, it is also interesting to make a list of the cities you want to visit. Why? Because with the list at hand you will know, for example, which airport is most interesting for you to disembark, which is the best means of transport for your needs and, thus, optimize time and money, since you will not need to get around unnecessarily.
With the list of cities ready, you can now search for Italian airports and which ones you can go to. Remember that intercontinental flights arrive to Italy either via Rome, at Fiumicino Airport, or via Milan, at Malpensa Airport. From both Rome and Milan, travel to other cities is quick and efficient, as both cities have an excellent rail and transport network in general. Click here to know the best beats and returns from the main Italian cities!
- Prioritize to start your tour from Rome or Milan, so that you save time on arrival. If possible, travel overnight to arrive in the morning, so you can enjoy the city more. Avoid arriving late at night, as you may have great difficulty finding transportation to your hotel. If you are unable to arrive before 10 pm, I suggest you hire a transfer, as the driver will be waiting for you when you disembark and you will have to worry about taxi, trains or buses. Read here what to do the night in Rome and Milan!
Since we are talking about airports, let’s talk about airline tickets! It is important to know that the sooner you buy your ticket, the cheaper you will pay. Key word to find the ideal airline ticket? Search!
The sooner you start your search (between six months and a year), the better chances of finding excellent values! It is worth remembering that, if you are traveling during the high season (June, July and August) the values tend to keep high, as there is great demand, so if you find a ticket at a price much lower than you know that costs: be wary! Check the origin and suitability of the site where you intend to make the purchase, O.K.? When in doubt, choose to pay a little more, but make your purchase with a trusted company, which will give you all the support if necessary.
- Sign up for newsletters from websites that specialize in ticket sales, because whenever you have a promotion you will be notified. Another thing: do not hesitate to do your search directly on the airline website; you can find great deals. Do you want more tips? Then read our special post: How to find cheap tickets to Italy? and How to buy cheap tickets in 7 steps?
And when is the best time to travel to Italy?
It is also important to choose the ideal period (for you) to visit Italy! If you don’t handle extreme heat well, avoid the high summer months that are predominantly June, July and August. Do you hate the cold? Do not travel to Italy between November and March. To find out more about it, you can read this post “What is the weather in Italy?”
If you want to enjoy the beach, but do not want to face the tourist mass of the high season, you can travel in May or September. If you like the cold, but don’t want to find snow in large quantities in the mountains, you can choose to travel either in April or in October.
Just get organized, always keeping in mind that the climate in the world is no longer as ‘marked’ as it was a few decades ago, especially due to global warming, so it may be that you get rain during periods when it usually doesn’t rain, it may get mild temperatures in high winter, or cooler days during the warmer seasons. For more details, read What is the best time to travel in Italy?
Shall we choose our hotel?
A topic that causes the most chills in anyone planning any trip; how do I choose the ideal hotel? People, do not worry! It is easier than you think. What do you need to consider when choosing a hotel? In addition to the price, of course, also consider the location. Remember that it ends up not paying off to choose a hotel away from the tourist spots just because it is cheaper: you will end up spending what you saved with the hotel on transportation to move around, so make a careful analysis of the value for money at the moment of your choice.
- On the blog we have the series “Where to sleep” where we present several options in several cities about which is the best area to stay. You can learn more in this link!
- Suggestion of posts not to make a mistake in choosing accommodation: How to save on accommodation in Italy?; Learn a little more about hostels in Italy! and What is the difference between the Hotel categories in Italy.
It is important to remember a few details when choosing your hotel
Make the reservation in advance! The premise for booking your hotel is the same as for purchasing tickets: the sooner you book, the more chances you have of finding great values; pay attention to the period you will be traveling! In high season (June, July and August *), some hotels charge a small fortune from tourists, because most of the rooms are already occupied, and they will offer you literally what is left – which is not always interesting , as the remaining rooms are not always the best for the amount they will charge you.
Good to know…
- August is the holiday month for Italians, so, especially in small towns, many hotels simply CLOSE, so that their employees can enjoy their summer holidays. In other words, make your reservation as soon as possible so as not to run the risk of not finding a hotel available on the spot. During holiday periods (Christmas / New Year), and on some holidays (for example, Easter and Ferragosto), it is also difficult to find an available hotel, so if you plan to travel during these periods (or close to them), I reinforce: MAKE THE RESERVATION A LONG IN ADVANCE, don’t risk it, OK ?!
- I have two tips regarding our aforementioned topic: you can learn more by reading our post “How to save on accommodation in Italy?” or you can talk to me, as I give my readers 30 minutes of advice to help them choose the hotel! Do you like the idea? Are you interested? So just click here!
- Important: during the summer, city centers tend to be very busy! If you are not in the group that likes the hustle and bustle, and do not sleep with noise, I suggest you look for a hotel a little further away.
What about transportation? How do I arrange this BEFORE traveling?
A topic that many do not pay attention to, but you need to think about this carefully: transportation! What transport do I use? Which one is the best? Do I buy tickets in advance or not? What if I want to rent a car? Well, in large cities that offer excellent public transport options, such as – for example – Rome, Milan and Florence, there is no need to rent a car; in fact, it is very complicated to use the car in these cities, as traffic can be chaotic and cities are full of ZTLs (read more about it here!)
You may end up getting a fine if you pass a place where traffic is not allowed for any vehicle. In these cities, public transport is the best option, but be aware that – buses, trains and subways – are also widely used by locals, so avoid opening hours between 8:00 am and 10:00 am and 5:00 pm and 8:00 pm as they can be very full, especially in high season. Read more about fines in Italy by clicking here!
If you intend to use the subway / tram in the cities where this option is available, you can buy the ticket on the day of your tour, directly at the ticket office; the same goes for buses: there is no need to buy in advance. However, if you want to use the train to visit neighboring cities, then things change. I suggest you buy the ticket in advance (between 4 months and 1 month before – or according to the availability of the railway company), especially during high season , which is when trains arrive and leave crowded, especially from the central stations of cities with a railway station.
Trains in Italy…
You can use Trenitalia or Ítalo and, again, the sooner you buy the tickets, the cheaper you pay and you can find incredible promotions, where you will pay around 10 euros for the ticket! Again, search, search and search! Read also Using Public Transport in Rome and How to use the Metro in Milan?
Good to know…
If you choose to explore the countryside, you may need to rent a car; this is because many of the villages in the interior do not have good public transport options. An example: the wine route in Tuscany. Some cities on the wine route do not offer public transportation to be reached, so it is essential to use a car. REMEMBER: DO NOT DRINK AND DRIVE!
“Oh, but I want to visit the wine route and take tastings, what will I do if I’m not driving?”
You can hire a transfer or a private driver. See this expense as an investment, since you will be hiring a service that will allow you to take a leisurely and risk-free tour if you decide to have a glass of wine. To learn more about costs for renting a car in Italy, read our post “How much does it cost to travel by car in Italy?”. Remember that to use the car in Italy you need to have the PID – International Driving Permit. You can find details about the PID in our post “Do I need an International Driving License?”. Oh, also find out about how tolls work in Italy, to avoid possible problems in the cabins when you are there! You can find out with our post “How do tolls work in Italy?”
Do I need to buy tickets to visit tourist attractions in advance?
YES! You need! Especially for more ‘crowded’ attractions, such as DaVinci’s Last Supper. In fact, many attractions REQUIRE the purchase of an advance ticket (between 4 and 2 months in advance, depending on the attraction and availability), that is: check which attractions you want to visit and get organized to buy tickets before traveling, O.K.? In the post “How to buy tickets for the main monuments in Italy?” you will find the complete list of the most important monuments, as well as the links to make your purchase.
- It is important to know that some attractions DO NOT OPEN EVERY DAY and some monuments offer FREE ADMISSION on the first Sunday of each month. To find out which those monuments are and how to book tickets, you can click here!
- Read our special posts about travelling in Italy by train and by car
Let’s talk about food?
Well, in Italy you eat very well in all regions. This, of course, will not be a problem, especially if you know where to go. In this link, you will find several tips to save on food, but maintaining the excellence of Italian quality!
If you are traveling during festive periods, holidays, Valentine’s Day, Ferragosto, Father’s Day, Mother’s Day among other important dates or during the high season: MAKE A RESERVATION WITH A LONG ADVANCE – both in big cities and in small towns! On some dates, the places are CROWDED and, if you do not make a reservation – for both lunch and dinner – you can work hard to find a place to eat.
If you are ‘dating’ a lunch or dinner at that super trend restaurant, it is important that you check the dates available, as some of them have a waiting list that can reach ONE YEAR! So, start looking as soon as possible, especially if you plan to go to these places to celebrate a special date.
Too much to think about?
Are you impatient? Don’t you have time? Talk to me! Together we can design your ideal trip to Italy and, rest assured, the way you always dreamed about it.
About the Consultant Ana Patricia
I am a professional graduated in tourism, who has lived in Italy for 17 years, and who has experience in offering travel consulting for all regions of Italy. Thus, it is guaranteed that your experience will be much richer, complete and full of the beauty and flavors that only a country like Italy can offer you. Find out more about me by clicking here. Read also Hiring Specialized Consultancy in Travel to Italy: is it worth it?
Watch this video and learn: What is the average cost of a day in Italy?
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When to start planning my trip to Italy? When we organize a trip, details and planning make ALL the difference, especially if it is a dream trip! It is not a simple task, which must be done in a hurry and requires a lot of attention, especially in relation to reservations, purchases in advance, hotel choices, transportation, food, etc. So, make your planning carefully, with no hurry and use and abuse our blog: you will find several tips and ideas that can help you A LOT in planning your trip to Italy. If you prefer, talk to me! Remember, in my hands, your dream becomes an itinerary!
If you feel insecure or have no time, and need help to organize your trip, do not hesitate to look for me! I will love to help you make your dream trip to Italy. And how can I do that? Continue reading this post until the end and you will understand how can we make your life and journey easier.
Did my post help you? If yes, make sure to leave your comment below, but if you still have questions, just leave them as a comment below and I will reply, O.K.?