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First time in Italy with 2 inexperienced adult travelers

First time in Italy with 2 inexperienced adult travelers

Feb 20th, 2013, 03:13 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 1
First time in Italy with 2 inexperienced adult travelers

My boyfriend and I are looking to visit our friends who live about an hour outside Milano this June. I will admit that this is an advantage having friends in a foreign country. However, both my boyfriend and I have basically no experience with planning trips or traveling. He has done little traveling outside the US. I have done some, but only as a child, when I didn't have to worry about planning a vacation.

We are looking to go the last 10 days or so (we are flexible, but that is when our friends would be available for travel and a visit) of June 2013. So far, I have connected with KAYAK, and have it set up to inform me of any flights from Washington DC to MILAN that are under $900. My American friend who lives there with her Italian husband has flown back and forth several times, and she told me she has scored tickets just under $700. I am aware airfare is currently high, so I set the bar a little higher for now.

I am confident I can purchase plane tickets, but I'm most overwhelmed with what we should do and where we should stay (once we head away from our friends' home) from there. So far, the plan is to meet our friends about an hour outside Milano where they live. We plan to fly in, and be picked up by them. LIN airport is the closest for them. If we can't find tickets to LIN, then I've been informed that we may have to take a bus from another airport.

They have invited us to stay the entire trip. However, my friend informed me we won't need more than a day or two to see Milano. She suggested heading up to Lake Como. From what I hear, it is beautiful and sounds like my cup of tea. I would really like to focus more on beauty, nature, and adventure/experience on this trip, and less on shopping and crowds. A day involving some shopping would be ok, but should not be the focus.

Another interest is the beaches. I would also be interested in visiting Venice since it is up North. I've heard the Adriatic Sea is a great place to visit. So perhaps some time in Milano, Lake Como, and Venice...possible in this amount of time?

As for budget, we decided on $6000 for the two of us, including airfare. I ran this by my friend and she said that we could do it for less. We want to be comfortable wherever we stay, but we obviously don't have the funds to stay anywhere very fancy.

As I mentioned, this is our first big trip. We don't want to make it overly complicated. My friends are willing the help, but at the same time, they aren't responsible for planning the trip (same goes for all you out there). So any suggestions from anyone who has been in a similar situation would be fantastic. Thanks!
RuthieO is offline  
Feb 20th, 2013, 03:37 PM
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 194
Is that 10 total days or 10 full days in Italy? The travel will take 2 full days, so if it is 10 total you are down to 8 true vacation days. If that is the case stick to Milan and Como. If you can squeak a couple more than Venice is remarkable!
kmh7 is offline  
Feb 20th, 2013, 03:46 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 11,212
I think visiting your friends and then heading to Lake Como and then Venice would be a good trip.

I enjoyed the mid lake area - Bellagio, Varenna, Menaggio, etc. It's so easy to get there from Milan but your friends will know how to do this.

From Milan Central train station you take the train to Varenna-Esino. If you're coming back to Venice then buy a round trip ticket (Milan - Varenna - Venice) since there is no ticket window at this station.

Exit the station and walk down hill about 5 minutes to the ferry dock. Take the ferry to whatever town you are staying in. The ferries are wonderful. I stayed in Bellagio and loved it.

Going to Venice - take the train from Varenna to Milan and then change to the train to Venice. Very easy. You can buy your tickets when you get to Italy as the train tickets in Italy are inexpensive.

Fly home from Venice which would be easier than going back to Milan.

$6,000 is more than enough for 2 people for 10 days, especially if you stay with friends the first couple of days. There are many nice budget hotels in Venice. Lake Como is a bit more expensive.
adrienne is offline  
Feb 20th, 2013, 03:51 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 16,512
Stick with basics first. Set firm dates---buy your tickets and that will define what you have time for. LIN is 40 miles from MXP but there is a bus between. Take it one step at a time---we can help. I see 3 destinations. Where do your friends live?
bobthenavigator is offline  
Feb 20th, 2013, 03:57 PM
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 40
I haven't been to Italy - yet. We are leaving on Friday - and I have planned a 10-day trip for our family of six. We too are inexperienced travelers. What I've learned through this entire process is that you can't see and do it all without going crazy. So I would agree with the others and say keep it to a couple spots. I've heard Lake Como is gorgeous and many say Venice is a must see.

If you are interested in taking some guided tours (such as one of Venice) - I used Access Italy for itinerary help. I worked with Laura and she was very helpful (no I do not work for them.) If you tell them what you are interested in doing/seeing - they can create an itinerary for you with everything taken care of... even transportation. They can also recommend some excursions.

Just something to consider.

Have a great time!
Chinos4sons is offline  
Feb 20th, 2013, 04:09 PM
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 7,146
Since you wish to focus on nature and adventure, and stay in the north of Italy, I'd suggest a visit to the Dolomites (mountain range).

In general, I find European beaches so vastly inferior, overly regimented, and infested with middle-aged, pot-bellied men in speedos that I'd give them a miss.
Fra_Diavolo is online now  
Feb 20th, 2013, 05:06 PM
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 700
I think some of what you do depends on your friends. If you're going specifically to visit with them and planning to spend the bulk of the 10 days with them (or if they're going to act as the tour guides), then maybe find out what they might suggest...

On the other hand, if you're only going to spend a couple days with them, then be off on your own, then that's a different kind of trip and you'll have lots of choices. You can quickly get from milan to Venice... but you could just as easily take a quick train to Tuscany and spend a few days there if that was your thing.

You mentioned the beaches... the towns below the Cinque Terre on the mediterranean are also quite beautiful.

Good luck planning.
skatterfly is offline  
Feb 20th, 2013, 05:15 PM
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 700
Ooops, meant to say The Cinque Terre are beautiful... but hit submit by accident. If you're into nature and being outdoors, hiking in the Cinque Terre (or some of the other small towns in that area) area might be fun for you during the day. The mediterranean is stunning! There are also beach towns below La Spezia but I don't know anything about them. Your friends husband, though, as an Italian, will know where to go and might even have some good suggestions for non-touristy places.
skatterfly is offline  
Feb 20th, 2013, 05:35 PM
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 32,524
>>>Washington DC to MILAN that are under $900.<<<

If you are only searching LIN, you won't find as many options. There aren't any flights from the states to LIN, you have to change flights in Europe. I would search Milan MXP (there are non-stop flights from the states) and nearby Torino. If you consider the CT I would also look for flights to Pisa (Delta has flights JFK/PSA).
kybourbon is online now  

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