Congratulations! You’ve saved your pennies and set a date and now you can start planning your trip to Italy. You are bubbling over with excitement and can barely pull yourself from your laptop at night to cook dinner or tend to your children-or answer your boss’s emails, for that matter.

You are in my favorite stage of travel planning-the pre-trip planning-where your options are endless and everything you do, see and eat remind you of your upcoming trip to Italy. Just don’t make these five common mistakes in the process.

photo credit: Ed Yourdon

1. Not Researching Well

If you are reading this in preparation for an upcoming trip to Italy, then this tip is akin to preaching to the proverbial choir. However, you’d be surprised how many people spend thousands of dollars-not to mention their hard-earned vacation days-on a trip they fail to properly research.

I’ll be writing more about how to prepare for and research your trip to Italy in the next few weeks, so be sure to subscribe to my feed or receive updates via email so you won’t miss that.

2. Listening to Too Many People

… but not listening to yourself.

When your friends returned home from their Italian vacation, they gushed over the sites they saw, cities they visited and museums, ruins, beaches-hey, we are Italy, so fill in the blank-of things they most enjoyed. It is natural for them to recommend you reenact their trip and is a good idea for you to take notes.

But let it end there.

Listen to what they say and let them get you even more excited about your trip-if that’s possible-but remember their personalities and preferences are likely different from yours. Plan your trip based on what you want to experience-not on what your friends did.

3. Not Allowing Enough Time in Each City

Few people travel to Italy-especially on their first trip-and decide to spend their entire vacation in one area. However, the biggest mistake you can make is believing you can visit various parts of north, central and southern Italy-all within a few days-and really enjoy it. You might get to physically “see” everything on your list, but you won’t get to explore them-and that’s where the real fun begins.

4. Over-planning Activities

This mistake is closely connected with mistake #3 and often happens when vacationers try to squeeze as much as possible into their two-week Italian trip. I understand this dilemma, really I do, but you will have a more enjoyable and memorable vacation if you slow down. Here are four tips to selecting your Italian destinations and the first five things you should when planning your trip to Italy to help you get started narrowing your options.

5. Not Believing the Experts

You’d be surprised how many people email me with questions about traveling in southern Italy, then decide they know better. As I said earlier, it is your vacation and you shouldn’t let your friends or your travel consultant encourage you to do things you aren’t interested in. However, if someone from your hotel or B&B tells you it is four hours from ABC to XYZ and Google Maps tells you it is two, you should listen to the experts. After all, they live in the area and know much more about the ins and outs of a foreign country than a search engine.

What other mistakes have you seen people make when visiting Italy?

Until next time … Buon Viaggio!

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Comments

  1. As you are planning, print off the important things (reservations, directions) or save to a file in your computer. Don’t expect to always have affordable, reliable internet access.

    Definitely.

    .-= Martha´s last blog ..Catching Up =-.

  2. Excellent advice, Cherrye and good job on conveying the complexities of planning a fabulous trip to Italy. The example about Google maps is perfect – it’s a good starting point but doesn’t factor in rush hour, etc. And great point from Martha about not counting on being able to access all your stuff online / electronically!

    Thanks, Madeline.

  3. I am all ears, since I planning and hoping to not make the mistakes you mention! Keep on coming with the good advice. Aloha

    Yes, Judy, you will be here before you know it!

  4. Wow, thanks for the tips. I am so glad to have found you. I don’t even know how I did but I am happy. I am planning a trip to Italy in the future and I do plan to spend most of my time in one area. If I only get one chance to go to Italy in my lifetime, I want it to be time spent in my grandparents city and meeting the relatives in that area. Seeing the other touristy sites would only be a bonus. I have a main goal though so that is how I will plan.

    How exciting, Michelle! I hope you’ll post about your trip when you are here!

    .-= Michelle´s last blog ..A new blog-recipes, menus and shopping lists =-.

  5. You are so, so right, particularly about overplanning and running between one and another destination. May I add “packing too much stuff” and “expecting to do sightseeing by car”?

    Many first timers to Italy don’t realize they have to leave their car outside the city walls of historic towns.

    Great blog!

    Great point(s)! Thanks a ton.

  6. Great advice. I’ve fallen foul of number 3 before. Italy is a great country for a road trip; its elongated shape perfect for a journey from north to south. But the holiday can soon become more ‘road’ than ‘trip’ if you don’t allow yourself a day or two’s respite between drives – when all you an remember of Bologna is the ring road, something’s gone wrong…

    I was *just* discussing this with another Italophile / travel writer this week. Why is it so darn tiring to drive around Italy??

    .-= andrew´s last blog ..Speak the Culture: Italy – £4 off =-.

  7. Haha Cherrye! You are right! I’m currently in this dilemma of how many places or cities should I put together into my itineray of 14 days Europe trip! Thanks for your advice and I hope I could get a balance… or perhaps you could advice on how many days should I stay in Rome, Venice and Florence? Cheers!

    Oh yea, I did see one of your sample itineraries on your site last week. I really think it depends on if you want a quick sampling of many cities/countries/cultures or if you want to take a little time and experience them on a deeper level. My advice is to think about what you and your family want to get out of the trip and go from there!

    .-= Cecil Lee´s last blog ..TianHou Temple at noon and DongZen Temple at night =-.

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