You Live and You Learn… a few insider travel tips

I’ve been doing my fair share of traveling around outside of Florence. While I have all of Europe pretty much at my fingertips, I’ve made a conscious effort to explore Italy specifically to see all that it has to offer. I just recently traveled outside of Italy for my spring break for the first time since arriving here. I spent my week off exploring different parts of Ireland, but we’ll get to that later. Back to Italy; my inter-country travels have included Pisa, Rome, Lake Como, Bologna, Siena, San Gimignano, Venice and Lucca. One of my favorite things about Italy is how much there is within it. I could spend my entire semester here traveling throughout Italy and still not see half of what this beautiful country has to offer. I find the cultural differences within Italy to be extremely interesting. Unlike the United States, the states of Italy are barely connected. There is very little nationalism in this country, resulting in incredibly unique cultures as you travel from city to city. It has also been neat to visit some major cities like Florence, Bologna and Pisa along with some smaller towns like San Gimignano and Siena because you get a different feel for the local culture in differently populated areas. Preparing for these trips is much like preparing for any weekend travels. The necessities:

  1. CAMERA
  2. Everything else

Everything in Italy is so picturesque it would really be a tragedy to visit without a camera to capture the beauty. I do have one gripe with photographing my travels- nothing looks quite as good on camera as it does in person. You won’t believe me until you see it for yourself.

My travels outside of Italy have been quite refreshing. After seven weeks here in Italy I almost forgot what it was like to be in an English speaking country. I definitely appreciated the breaks and feel like it is a lot easier to get around because I am not trying to speak Italian, though I do truly enjoy the challenge of learning the language here in Florence.

When traveling anywhere it is important to remain open minded and relaxed because things don’t always go as planned. Flights get delayed, trains get delayed and other things out of your control may happen so you have to be prepared to think on your feet. Another piece of advice I would offer is that cheapest isn’t always the cheapest. When booking transportation or lodging, it may be tempting to purchase the lowest costing method. However it’s important to note what added costs you’ll have to incur by doing this. For example, it costs money to transfer from an airport to a train station, or taxi to a hostel or hotel far from where you’re trying to visit. To travel cost effectively, do your research in advance to avoid these added fees.