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Trip to Italy

Old Apr 7th, 2019, 05:55 PM
  #1  
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Trip to Italy

This year I turn 50 and would like to plan a trip to Italy in November. My wife and I are first timers to Italy but we were thinking of going with my mom who has been there several times. I was looking at a tour group package for sake of easy planning but am thinking planning everything ourselves might be a better option for economic and schedule reasons. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Last edited by jlsspb111795; Apr 7th, 2019 at 05:58 PM.
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Old Apr 7th, 2019, 06:15 PM
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>>> I was looking at a tour group package for sake of easy planning.
Pro. Someone else does the brain work.
Con. Someone else does the brain work. Meaning, there can be a total disconnect between what you want to do and what they offer.
You have not stated where to or what you want to do. If you have absolutely no idea of what you want to get out of the trip, a tour can be a good idea in seeing Italy in a way they chose to present to you.

>>> but am thinking planning everything ourselves might be a better option for economic and schedule reasons.
It is rarely economical to have someone do the planning. They would claim they get great "discounts." But what they don't tell you is that unless you are going with a high end tour, in which case definitely not "economical," they would use many out of the way dreadful accommodations who get business by offering low cost group packages where independent travelers would not chose on their own. The scheduling advantage is that you, not someone else, decide how much time you care to spend. However, the ease of doing this on your own depends on where you are going or what you want to do. You have stated neither. While many items are trivial to schedule, there are quite many venues where you need to secure reservations months ahead.
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Old Apr 7th, 2019, 06:35 PM
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Thank you Greg.

I want to go to Rome, Florence and Venice.
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Old Apr 7th, 2019, 08:08 PM
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Fodors has many posters who plan all parts of their vacations, so from this group, you're likely to hear that especially with those three destinations, you can (easily) plan this yourselves. I much prefer the ability to make my own choices about what I do and how much time I spend doing it when I plan my own trip. And you can always schedule some tours in each city, if you want a bit of guiding around the sites.

Start with getting the Fodors or Rick Steves or similar guidebook for information on the basics (you can get them from your local library).

What interests your group about those three destinations? Ancient (Roman) history? Renaissance art? Something else? Use your interests to guide how much time you spend in those three locations. It may also be helpful to you if you think about places you have visited here in the U.S. For example, do you like big cities, and love to go shopping while there? Or visiting museums, or simply people watching? Or do you prefer going on long hikes in the wilderness? Whatever you like to do in the U.S., you'll likely enjoy the same types of things in Italy.

Start getting some ideas of what you might want to do, and tell us what they are, and what your budget would be, and the many friendly Fodorites will be able to provide much advice. It's difficult for us to provide much advice to you on the basis of your asking for any advice
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Old Apr 7th, 2019, 08:55 PM
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If these are the only places you want to go, at least traveling between them does not require any tours. You can move between them cheaply and trivially by frequent trains.
However, at this point DO NOT BUY PLANE TICKETS YET.
Many people buy plane tickets first thing for this kind of trip without even a thought on how to connect to the ground part and end up immediately throwing away at least half day from the trip while paying more.
There are many many many ways to book planes for this kind of trip. What you end up depends on what you are doing (still not stated,) where you are coming from, layover consideration, your frequent flyer preference, etc.

What did you think you wanted to do in these three cities? If you don't know how to articulate, here are some examples showing the forum posters what you have in mind:
Rome, Florence, Assisi by train, bus or rental car?
Six days in Rome - please critique our plan
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Old Apr 9th, 2019, 10:05 AM
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"I want to go to Rome, Florence and Venice."

How much time are you planning to be in Italy? Are you only interested in the cities?
If cities only, trains are easy. I usually rent, when I can, but also use trains. No reason for tours, as of yet. First consider your time. Then,figure what you want to see. Also make sure your mother is in agreement.
Generally, figure Rome needs at least 2 days more than Florence and Florence one more day than Venice.
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Old Apr 9th, 2019, 11:27 AM
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Create your own tour by booking trains in advance so you nest need to show up at the train and hotels too - if want tours once in a places always possible. For lots on trains check www.budgeteuropetravel.com; www.trenitalia.com and www.italotreno.com - latter two competing rail systems using same tracks and same stations - www.seat61.com has lots of booking own tours; www.ricksteves.com.
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Old Apr 9th, 2019, 12:43 PM
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That is such an easy trip to plan on your own. Fly into Venice and out of Rome. Take the train between the three cities (you would not even need to book ahead you could purchase at the train station the day before or even day of travel). Book three hotels in a central area in each city. That's really all you need for the basics.

Sure then you can research on the internet or get some guidebooks from the library and figure out which things are of the most interest to your group and make a rough daily itinerary (optional). Once flights and hotels are set you could also "wing it" planning the next day just the day before. If there is something special that is a "must do" then look into if reservations are needed (like you want to go to the Vatican or something).
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Old Apr 9th, 2019, 01:12 PM
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And at train station simply get a cab to hotel - easy peasy.
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Old Apr 9th, 2019, 02:02 PM
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Italy is relatively easy to manage on your own but you do need to spend the time booking everything carefully. We did our own planning and had a great time. I was a bit nervous making my Trenitalia train bookings from the States but everything worked out. And I had everything including transfers and hotels all booked months in advance. I share details at https://www.diyfamilytravels.com/enchanting-italy/
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