5 Travel Hacks For The Ultimate Globetrotter - Italian Edition
WORDS BY SABRINA BERRY
As an idealist with a (arguably) warped sense of reality and a long held desire to live in a Dolce & Gabbana campaign, it seemed only right that my next destination abroad be Italy. From the overflowing limoncello, to the promise of the world’s best pizza, to the glorious masterpieces of old, housed in embellished galleries, Italy holds a certain magic that has captured the imagination of countless people before me. As peak season in Europe has begun, I thought it might be enlightening to do a little recap of my Italian travels circa 2015 - So with the beauty of retrospect, I humbly bring you these top tips and tricks to assist you in your travels:
1 // Try and avoid leaving your wallet at Abu Dhabi Airport
This one’s important.
I wish I could say that this was the first time I’ve ‘misplaced’ my possessions but a disgruntled former teacher could attest to a 13 year long retrieval of textbooks that had been ‘abandoned’ due to ‘neglect’.
Fast forward to 2am at Abu Dhabi airport bathroom, where, in the quest to freshen up on route to Italia, I leave my wallet with all its valuables in a stall, never to be seen again.
If you can help it, I would suggest taking a vigilantly stance on all your bits and pieces, and maybe invest in a bum bag (please don’t). Wallets hold important things like money, credit cards, that specialty lipstick, your I.D – All things you might need for your journey.
2 // The Early Bird Gets The Worm
But this laden truth has never been more apt than when you find yourself in the attic of a ‘boutique’ hotel booked last minute, where the only entry (and exit) is down a decrepit and majorly spooky staircase in Florence. On the plus side, the early bird can (and did) find themselves in the divine Amalfi Coast, in a delightful little hotel overlooking the quaint town and glistening Mediterranean Sea.
There is a bevy of excellent websites that give you epic hotel deals but my pick of the crop would be Air BnB – The 21st Century answer to travel and accommodation. With a few exceptions, it can be one of the best ways to travel the globe. You’ll often stay in places you’d never have access to and could find yourself in the heart of a city with all the major tourist hotspots within walking distance – We even found ourselves in in the same street as the Duomo in Florence.
So get savvy and book accommodation in advance – not only will you save money, but you’ll get more variety + the pick of the best.
3 // Breathable, light coloured fabrics are advisable
Italian summertime is HOT. I thought all my years as a resident of the Australian climate would prepare me for a Northern Hemisphere summer, but when the average temperature is 40 degrees and the make-up you artfully applied is now around your neck, you know you need to re-evaluate your outfit repertoire.
Some unfortunate tourists chose to wear grey. Unforgiving colour, grey - Now I understand Sylvia’s little soirée in the Trevi Fountain in ‘La Dolce Vita'.
Thankfully Italy has clean & delicious drinking water available in most destinations around major cities and sight seeing locations, so a single bag-sized water bottle will see you through the heatwave.
* Here’s an added tip for free: bring proper footwear. Obvious right? Tell that to the blisters I acquired in the first few days because aesthetics beat practicality. Just as well Birkenstocks are trendy and durable.
4 // Brush up on your foreign linguistic skills for maximum impress.
It’s a wonderful thing the Italian language. Like the French, anything can be made to sound exciting, romantic and superbly passionate.
“Guarda che indossa grigio povero turista” roughly translates into “Look at that poor tourist wearing grey”
Genius apps have been developed to assist you in appearing cultured until you’ve mastered the language. Apps like Google translate or iTranslate will take your clumsy, or perhaps forlorn stint at language in school and allow you to ask “Mi scusi, è questa pasta senza glutine?”, or in English “Excuse me, is this pasta gluten free?”
5 // Do as the Romans do
With countless masterpieces to behold, it’s easy to get swept up in the ebb and flow of the tourist life and go with the crowd. But once in a while, and certainly once you’ve found your bearings, explore the road less travelled (by tourists) to find the authentic Italy. You’ll save your pennies because you’ve stepped off the overpriced tourist grid, and are doing things like a local. You’ll wine and dine like a local, laugh and cry with the locals and eventually try and “lose” your passport so you can be a local.
When she isn’t dreaming about her next holiday destination, Sabrina is feverishly scouring the lengths of the Internet & lonely planet guides to create her travel itinerary. Her next big adventure is the ol’ US of A, specifically the West Coast, where she plans to get at least one celebrity signature and acquire an item of clothing emblazoned with the American flag.