I didn’t need to make any arrangements for several months. In March I got busy and made a lot of reservations!
- Pet Boarding – Our dog, Charger, goes to the Dog Biscuit Inn. Our neighbors usually take care of the cats.
- Airport transportation – I had bought a Groupon which made the cost of car service equivalent to parking at the airport and a whole lot better when flying home after a 24 hour plus day.
- Borghese Gallery – I wanted to visit this museum during our free day in Rome before the tour started. I purchased them online and since it was 100% sold out when we arrived glad to have made advance arrangements.
- Uffizi Gallery– This was on my must do list for Florence. It was a simple process to buy tickets online. You can visit the Uffizi without advance tickets but would be waiting in line a couple of hours.
- Rome Airport Pickup – Transportation from the Rome airport is included in the Best of Italy tour IF you arrive the day of. Since we were coming in a day early, I arranged for transportation via Bob’s Limo.
Although I didn’t pack until a few days before we left, my packing list was ready well in advance so I could buy needed items gradually and take advantage of any deals.
There were several travel items we bought specifically for this trip. A couple were a bust and others made me wish I’d had them for years.
Packing Cubes – Since we’d be changing hotels so often, I knew keeping our suitcases organized would be a challenge. I decided to buy packing cubes so we could easily find underwear or shirts for example without digging through everything.
I ended up with three sets and they worked great. I wish I have been using these for years!
Travel Washcloths – Italians apparently don’t use washcloths.I bought a set of two travel washcloths from the Rick Steve’s site. These dried quickly and were used extensively during our trip. I probably won’t need them again until our next European trip.
Electrical Adapters – US style plugs won’t work in Italy (or anywhere in Europe). I bought two continental adapters from RickSteves.com. They are always on sale for $1 each which is a great bargain.
Money Belts – I had a money belt from my one and only other trip to Europe 15 years ago. We bought another for my husband from TravelSmith. We both used it every day. Obviously, we’ll use them again when traveling overseas.
Inflatable Foot Rest – This was a last minute purchase and boy am I glad it was. Due to my height my feet are sometimes left dangling. I was looking for something to make me more comfortable on the long flight and bus rides.
You can buy it at Amazon or on TravelSmith.I’ll be using this regularly now for cross-country flights.
Guidebooks – I bought several guide books in the year or two before taking the trip. My favorites ended up being by Rick Steves (yes I’m a fan!). We used his Italy 2015 guide book and his Rome pocket guide.
A couple of items were a bust but I think it was due to the user versus the products!
Laundry Sheets – Since I couldn’t see soapy bubbles, it didn’t seem like I was getting the clothes clean. I ended up using shower gel the second time I did room laundry.
Selfie Stick – It just seemed more trouble than it was worth to get the selfie stick ready. I saw people who left their camera on the sticks, but it seemed awkward to me. The result is we didn’t use it as often as we should AND bad selfies. 🙂
A week before we left I ordered Euros from my bank. We decided not to rely on ATMs for a couple of reasons. First, my bank charges $5 for every foreign withdrawal and second, we didn’t want to be stuck without money due to a problem such as the card being captured.
The bank didn’t charge fees for the currency but of course, it wasn’t as good a rate as I would have gotten in Italy. The cost was worth the reassurance in our mind.
We also notified our credit card issuers of our travel dates/places. We only took two credit cards that both had no foreign transaction fees.
I neglected to mention that we did buy travel insurance when booking the trip last August. The trip cost too much to risk losing the money because of a last minute emergency.
We used InsureMyTrip.com and selected a policy from Global Alert (Preferred Protection Plan). Fortunately, we didn’t need to use it. I will use this site again when planning expensive vacations.