Need advice please!


Jul 10th, 2013, 07:33 AM
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Join Date: Jul 2013
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Need advice please!

Hi everyone, I am new to this forum but have read some of the posts and comments.

I am currently planning a trip for September/October 2013 and am in need of some advice.

Here is a basic itinerary:

18 Sept: Fly from Australia to Rome
Spend 4 nights in an apartment

23 Sept: Train to Florence
2 nights in a hotel

25 Sept: Train to Venice
2 nights in a hotel

27 Sept: Train to Milan
3 nights in a hotel

30 Sept: Fly to Paris
6 nights in an Apartment

6 Oct: Fly home

It is a short trip but is all the time we have unfortunately.

It may be useful to know that I am a young woman travelling with my mother. Neither of us have been overseas before and so are very excited but also a bit nervous and worried about a few things.

1. Getting from the train stations to our hotels, particularly in Venice. Do we take a water taxi/ferry? And will it be difficult as we will have 2 suitcases? Does this need to be booked in advance?

2. Our safety is a bit of a concern as we aren't experienced travellers and do not speak Itallian. I do speak basic French. Obviously we need to take precautions to avoid pickpocketers, but do you have other advice? We will be doing a lot of walking around and I am a bit worried about being targeted, especially if it gets dark and we are still out.

3. The trains. Are they particularly bad for thieves etc?

4. Is it relatively easy to get around these cities on foot? We are trying to avoid public transport where possible to see more of the city.

I would really appreciate any advice!

Thanks in advance
TravelBound96 is offline  
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Jul 10th, 2013, 07:51 AM
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Hi TB,

>18 Sept: Fly from Australia to Rome
Spend 4 nights in an apartment

Am I correct that you have all of your accommodations reserved?

1. You will arrive at Venice Santa Lucia station. It is on the island. Do not get off at Venice Maestre

Your hotel can give you directions from there.

2. There will be many, many other tourists. You will not be targeted.

3. I haven't heard of a train being stolen for some time.
The only time to worry about your luggage being stolen is just as the train stops in a station or just before the train pulls out of a station. You can keep your eye on it then.

4. Yes

Why do you want to stay 3 nights in Milan?

ira is online now  
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Jul 10th, 2013, 07:53 AM
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1) Shouldn't be difficult in Venice. Don't think you need advance booking, but I'm open to correction. In the other cities, you should take a cab (in Rome, train to Termini from airport, cab thereafter; in Paris, check the trains because there may be one that goes close to your apt).

2) Go googling regarding scams - lots of tricks that the larcenous class uses. Keep your valuables and money repositories close to you. Stay sharp.

3) Not necessarily - more confined space means it's harder for the thieves to disappear. Better if you take a fast train with fewer stops and keep your stuff close to you - e.g., it's harder to rob you if you're sitting next to a window and your important stuff is between you and that window.

4) Rome, Paris and Milan are major cities. You're going to need public transport at some point. Florence is more confined. For Venice, you kind of have to hoof it as much as you can given the nature and layout of the city.
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Jul 10th, 2013, 07:57 AM
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Agree with ira and BigRuss.

I would also skip Milan and add 2 of those days to Rome and one to Venice. Especially traveling with your Mom, I'd not have so many stops. You waste too much time packing/unpacking/traveling.

Have a good trip!
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Jul 10th, 2013, 08:12 AM
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ira, we have booked apartments online and hotels through a travel agent.

We have also arranged private transfers from the airports in Rome and Paris.

And we wanted to go to Milan for the shopping experience, I know everything is really expensive there but we were keen just to see it I guess.

Thankyou so much for your help, we really don't know what we are doing
TravelBound96 is offline  
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Jul 10th, 2013, 08:18 AM
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I agree with the others - skip Milan on this trip and add 2 days to Rome and 1 day to Venice. Your first day in Rome will be lost due to getting to apartment, checking in, unpacking, freshening up and then fighting jetlag all day. There is fabulous shopping in Rome and Florence (be sure to see the Ferragamo shoe museum in Florence), not to mention Paris, so no need to waste time changing cities/hotels, just for some high-end shopping. Remember that eat time you change cities/hotels, you lose about a half-day in packing, checking out, getting to the train station, train to next destination, get to hotel, check-in, unpack, etc.

If you MUST see Milan, you could add 2 days to Venice and see it as a (long) day trip.
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Jul 10th, 2013, 08:22 AM
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Coming from Oz you will find everything very cheap given the strong OZ $.

Milan has a number of shopping areas, the trad down by the duomo, the made to measure brand products up by the opera and there is a big mall. Just about all of these sort of places can be accessed in Rome. I'd skip Milan and go somewhere nicer like Verona, Padua, Bolgona, etc etc all on the train system. If your TA has told you Milan is very special, well unless you love football I think they have been raeding the wrong brochures

The trains are very safe, if you worry about bag theft just sit looking at you luggage (normally kept at the start an finish of the carriage) I've only seen it once in a lifetime of European train travel. If you travel first class you get a bit more space.

Generally not that many scams but Rome is bit worse for pick pockets and "groping" hands on buses, do not put up with it, I'm advised drag your boot down the guys inside leg painfully normally stops it. Just a note, many European cities were designed for walking not taking cars so you need a good pair of walking shoes especially for the cobbles.

Venice transport is a little unusual, I'd search this site for details, but basically you either walk (which can be tiring) or travel by boat (boat bus, boat taxi with prices rising).
bilboburgler is offline  
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Jul 10th, 2013, 08:43 AM
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While I, too, would probably skip Milan this trip, I did enjoy my stay there. Your itinerary is certainly doable, but it will be a fast paced trip. This is your trip, after all, and if you want to visit Milan, you should! You might consider shaving a day off of Milan and adding it elsewhere.

I particularly enjoyed the Duomo in Milan (go up and walk on the rooftop) and also seeing Da Vinci's Last Supper.

As far as safety goes, I recommend wearing a money belt under your clothing and just keeping a small amount of money easily accessible. Keep on eye on your surroundings and your belongings and you should be fine. You can always ask at your hotel if there are areas near you where you should not be walking at night but most areas tourists visit in your locations are quite safe.
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Jul 10th, 2013, 08:47 AM
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If you enjoy high end shopping as a the Trevi Fountain an there abouts are all the designers I'd ever heard of...

Then, you will be in are a few shops there as well.

Personally, Milan has never been on my list, given your time and the distance from which you are travelling, I'd probably suggest skipping Milan.

I'm a solo female traveler, 61 now...I feel safe in those cities, but keep alert, walk with purpose and check on safty treads all around Fodor's European Board for suggestions on purses, sacks, camera storage, etc.
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Jul 10th, 2013, 08:57 AM
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Well I certainly have a lot to think about now. Thankyou all for your safety reassurances.

Out of interest has anyone ever done the flight between Milan and Paris? We would book it with easyjet and I just want to know if it's ok if we do go to Milan.
TravelBound96 is offline  
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Jul 10th, 2013, 09:18 AM
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No but check if the airport used is really Bergamo (called Milan by some) rather than Milan, if so the bus trip may be a bit long
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Jul 10th, 2013, 05:42 PM
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I am pretty sure it is Malpensa airport in Milan.
TravelBound96 is offline  
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Jul 10th, 2013, 06:46 PM
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To answer some of your queries Venice and Paris are very easy to walk around as flat areas and Rome to some extent but sites seem be further apart.The hop on hop off buses are always a good introduction for someone who hasn't been to a major city before and would like to get their bearings.Train travel is very safe .On safety I would suggest you keep watch of your small bags/handbags which are more likely to be stolen.Getting on board trains with your luggage can be an effort as the steps can be very steep and there can be a gap between the platform .I traveled last year with my sister and we worked well together if one got on board first ,put bag on bottom step and lifted up from there.I can't suggest more to travel light,you won't regret it.
Also if you go to Milan you also could go for a day trip to Lake Como (45 min train) or Stresa on Lake Maggiore
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Jul 10th, 2013, 06:48 PM
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Given all the great shopping in Rome, Florence and Paris, and the fact that you are not seeing any of the incredibly beautiful smaller towns of Italy, I would skip Milan, and add a night each to Venice, Florence and Rome. I would do a day trip from Florence to Siena, possibly a day trip from Venice to Vicenza, Padua or Verona (or Burano) and possibly a day trip from Rome to Orvieto or Ostia Antica. Fly from Venice to Paris. You would get a lot more great sightseeing time for the money spent and still have wonderful shopping experiences.

You would not need to actually book any of these day trips ahead. For example, if you are in Rome (or Venice or Florence) and find you want to explore more or shop there, you could. OTOH, if you are finished with sightseeing, then you could do a daytrip.
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Jul 10th, 2013, 07:22 PM
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My advice - skip Milan and give yourselves more time in Venice. It takes a while to get a handle on Venice - not the easiest of cities to navigate.
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Jul 10th, 2013, 09:11 PM
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Since you've used a TA for these booking, just have him or her change if you'd like.

You can fly from Venice to Paris. Designer shopping will be hitting you on the head in Italy. You don't have to go to Milan for it.

It's kind of handy to understand a little bit about public transport in Rome, Venice and Paris. You will see so much more if you do. Rome and Paris are too big to cover entirely on foot.

Rome busses, trams and metro will help, but there are also taxi cabs. In Paris, the Metro and busses can get you all around very easily.

To be honest, I don't remember using public transport too much on my first visit to Rome, but with each subsequent visit, I use it more thoroughly.

Paris: it is very very easy to get around by public transport and even the most inexperienced travelers do it. Finally, if you don't ride the vaporetti in Venice, you will be missing something. A ride down the Grand Canal should not be missed. has strict rules about baggage and reporting early for your flight. We've flown with them. Easyjet is as difficult a public conveyance as any you'll encounter, but they are a good way to travel between cities in Europe.

You will be safe. After dark is no big deal and there will be thousands of other tourists about. Just be secure about pickpockets and know the popular scams. The only danger is being relieved of money, but your personal safety will be fine.
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Jul 10th, 2013, 09:29 PM
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I would also skip Milan and add more time to Venice & Florence. So much to see in both.
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Jul 11th, 2013, 03:09 AM
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Thanks everyone for your helpful tips.

tuscanlifeedit, thanks for feedback on easyjet, it is only an hour and a half flight so I'm not too concerned, as I know it is a budget airline.
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