Italy – Day 10

Hey Guys!

This was our last morning in Italy.

Read Day 1 here, Day 2 here, Day 3 here, Day 4 here, Day 5 here, Day 6 here, Day 7 here, Day 8 here and Day 9 here…Read my blog post 16 Days in Italy here.

Our flight left at approx 12:30 pm.

We woke up early so we could get to the airport at least 3 hrs before our flight departed.

We had to fill our rental car with gas and get it returned prior to checking in at the airport and we knew that would take some time so we had to get moving.

Our hotel offered room service and we would have ordered breakfast had we known soon enough.

We loved how the doors in our room opened up to a nice outdoor space.

After getting packed up, we headed to the front desk to check out.

At all of the hotels we stayed in, we had to pay when we checked out …so, if you are planning on leaving really early, let the hotel know so you can go ahead and settle your bill prior to leaving.

Once we checked out, we headed to the airport.

It was only a 5 minute drive from our hotel.

Thankfully, there was a gas station at the airport so we were able to fill up there before turning our rental car back in.

After getting gas, we headed towards the terminal to turn our rental car in.

It was a little confusing and we missed the turn to the rental car return and had to turn around and go back.

Tip: See a map of the Venice airport here

To reach the car rental return, we had to drive up to the very top of the parking garage.

Tip: Read here on how to return your rental car

Once at the top of the garage, we parked the car and headed to the Hertz rental counter to check out.

I had read so many horrible reviews about the car rental companies at the Venice airport, that I was stressed out.

As you know by reading my other blog posts, our rental car was hit by someone while it was parked in a garage at Monterosso. So, I was afraid the car rental co may try to make us pay for the damages even though I had taken out the super coverage insurance.

However, that didn’t happen and it took us less than 5 minutes to drop off the car.

We rented directly through Hertz’s website and purchased the super coverage insurance.

I can not stress enough how important it is to purchase the extra insurance…and do not purchase the insurance through a 3rd party because if something happens, you will have to pay out of pocket for the damages and then file a claim with that 3rd party insurance and there’s no guarantee they will cover it.

After dropping off our car, we had to figure out how to get to the terminal.

We ended up having to take an elevator down to the 1st floor and then walking outside along a covered walkway to get to the terminal.

Tip: Make sure to give yourself plenty of time if you are having to drop off a rental car  because it took us approx 30 mins to get gas, drop off the rental car and then walk to the terminal.

Prior to leaving for our trip, I had downloaded the American Airlines app so we could check in for our flights and be notified if there were any delays.

You can check in 24 hrs prior to your flight departing, so I had tried to check us in on the app the day before our flight but it only allowed me to check in.

So, after getting inside the terminal, we had to find the American Airlines check in counter so we could check my hubby in.

This turned into a very stressful event as the airport was super confusing and we couldn’t figure out where to go.

We finally found an employee at the airport who told us we had to take the elevator down to the 1st floor and that’s where we would find the American Airlines counter.

We ran into several other people who were also trying to figure out how to find the airline counters.

So, be prepared and give yourself extra time.

Thankfully, once we reached the AA counter, there wasn’t a line. So, we got checked in pretty quickly.

After getting checked in, we had to go back to the 2nd floor and get in line for security.

Once we made it through security and to our gate, we were ready to eat!

There was only one place to order food so we were stuck ordering sandwiches and pastries.

There was also a small store selling snacks and all kinds of Italian goods.

My hubby went in to buy us some bottled water and after waiting about 10-15 mins in line, the lady told him he needed his passport to purchase the water.

Well, guess who had the passports? Me!

So, he had to put the water back ….however, there was a vending machine right outside the store that sold water.

After waiting at the gate for about 2 hrs, our plane finally started boarding passengers about 45 mins prior to departing.

Once we were up in the air for a while, the flight attendants started serving food.

We were served meatballs with pasta, a roll, carrot cake and a bottled water.

Everyone knows that the food on the airplane is poor to average at best but when you’re hungry you will eat anything.

So, if you don’t want the food, be sure to purchase something before you get on the plane!

Prior to leaving for our trip, I had downloaded an app called MPC….its the mobile passport control app.

The app allows you to skip the long lines for the passport control once you arrive back into the US.

The MPC mobile app, is available to U.S. citizens and Canadian B1/B2 citizens visitors. MPC is currently available at 38 sites, including 31 U.S. International Airports, 3 Canadian Preclearance locations, and 4 seaports of entry.

Click here to see a list of the places that currently use the MPC app.

You download the app and scan your passport prior to leaving for your trip.

Then, once you arrive back into the US, you will go into the app and answer the questions and then take a picture of yourself and everyone in your party.

Once you take a picture and submit it, you will then be given a QR code that will be scanned by the passport control agent. You will also need to have your passport out to show the agent as well.

Only one person has to download the app for your entire family but everyone in your group will have to scan their passports on that person’s app and take their picture on the app.

Once in the airport, find the line that is for MPC holders only. This should be indicated by signage.

This will allow you to skip the long lines…

We actually had to ask an employee at the Philadelphia airport where we needed to go because we didn’t see a specific line for MPC holders.

Once we were directed to the line, we went through fairly quickly.

After flying for 8 hrs, we were ready to eat!

My hubby, being the burger connoisseur that he is, quickly decided that he wanted to eat at Smashburger.

So, that’s what we ended up eating….and, it was delicious!

So much for my gluten, dairy, sugar free diet on vacay!

After a 4 hr layover, we were headed back to Nashville!!

Once we arrived back to Nashville, we texted the offsite parking company that we use for parking, and they picked us up and took us back to our car.

This concludes our time in Italy!

The main reason for writing this last post was to provide you with lots of useful tips that will help you plan your own safe and stress free trip to Italy!!

So, let’s get started:

  1. Do your research when planning a trip anywhere…especially if it’s international travel – familiarize yourself with the road signs, the driving etiquette, the toll roads, learn some basic words or download these apps, read up on safety issues, learn how to use public transportation, follow Facebook pages for the places you will visit, etc.
  2. Download the Google Maps app and map out your trip so you will know how far things are from one another. We downloaded offline maps on google maps of the places we would be visiting in Italy just in case we didn’t have data. Roadtrippers is another good app to use to map out your trip.
  3. Know how to use your phone in a foreign country – contact your phone service provider to let them know you will be leaving the country so they can provide you with an international service. I have used Verizon’s international plan for $10 a day before but this time I downloaded the Airalo app and purchased an Esim card with 10 gb of data for $13.
  4. Learn the emergency numbers for the places you will visit. In Italy, it’s 112. Read here for more on what to do in case of an emergency in Italy.
  5. Learn what to do if you lose your passport. Take a picture of your passport so you can have it on your phone and keep a paper copy with you at all times.
  6. Buy travel insurance that will pay for hospital stays, replace lost luggage, airport delays, fly you back home in case you have a medical emergency, etc. We purchased ours through World Nomads.
  7. Know what to do if you are involved in an accident. In Italy, you must call the police and video the damage. You must also wear the safety gear that is provided with your rental car.
  8. You are required by law to have an international driver’s license if you drive it Italy. You will need to go to your nearest AAA to purchase one. They cost around $30.
  9. I take all kinds of medicines with me when I travel internationally only because if I get sick, I don’t want have to try and hunt down medication and some countries may require a prescription for medicines that are sold over the counter in the US. I also get a prescription for an antibiotic from my doctor before traveling just in case I get sick.
  10. If you find yourself sick in another country, you can download a few apps that may be helpful. In Italy you have one that is called MedInAction. MedinAction is an on-demand, English-speaking medical service that delivers a qualified doctor to your home, office or hotel, 24/7. You also have DoctorsInItaly and MobiDoctor.
  11. Some people’s biggest concern is where to find public restrooms in Italy. There are a few apps for that too …they are WC Rome, Flush, and more here and here. Most all restrooms in Italy cost between 50-1.50 euros so keep change on hand. If you want a free restroom, go to a cafe and order something and then use their restroom.
  12. If you are wanting to find restaurants and make reservations, read here & here for the best apps.
  13. Familiarize yourself with how to pump gas when traveling internationally as it can add a great deal of stress if you don’t. Click here on how to pump gas in Italy.
  14. You will get a ticket in the mail if you don’t follow the speed limits in Italy…I’ve read people getting tickets a year after they’ve returned home from their trip.
  15. Have a few hundred in Euros prior to leaving for your trip. We needed some before arriving to Venice because we had planned on renting a private shuttle boat to take us directly to our hotel and they only take cash. We purchased our Euros at one of our local banks. Do not take cash from an ATM in Italy that isn’t connected to a bank…those ATMs charge outrageous fees.
  16. Have more than one debit card in case the ATM decides to eat your card – this happened to us on our trip. We couldn’t retrieve our card because the bank was closed.
  17. Pack lightly! Especially if you are visiting Venice. You don’t want to pull a bunch of luggage around on those streets and this also prevents you from having to check any luggage at the airport. It’s quicker and there’s no chance of lost luggage. We only took two small carry ons and two backpacks. Don’t worry about what you wear,  you will see everything! Just dress for comfort!
  18. I can’t stress enough the importance of taking comfortable shoes when you will be doing a lot of walking….and you will be in Italy! Don’t buy a pair of new shoes and try to break them in once you arrive…do it before! Buy good socks and take lots of band aids just in case!
  19. Learn the road signs in Italy and learn how to pay the tolls!
  20. If you rent a car, be sure to take pictures and video of the inside and the outside when you pick it up and drop it off…check the tires, make sure it’s full of gas, make sure everything works on the car, etc…take the time to do this …you will thank me later!
  21. Learn how the trains work in Italy and download this app to purchase train tickets. Make sure you validate your ticket before getting on the train.
  22. In some areas of Italy, there is quite a bit of pick pocketing that happens. Safeguard yourself from becoming a victim of this crime. These money belts are useful for travel.
  23. Italy is hot…even in Sept and Oct! Be prepared and take these sunscreen wipes and a collapsible water bottle or reuse your plastic water bottle when you purchase water in the supermarkets…water in the markets is super cheap!
  24. Some people complained of mosquitoes, especially in Venice, so I bought these insect repellent wipes on Amazon but we never used them.
  25. If you are like me, and take thousands of pictures while on vacation, I highly recommend you purchase a portable phone charger…they are very handy!
  26. The rental cars do have USB ports but you will want to purchase one of these travel adapters in order to keep your phones charged in your hotel room. If you are taking a curling or flat iron to Italy, then read here.
  27. Please be aware that Italy doesn’t use washcloths so we took our own. Some people suggested these but I stuck with a washcloth. If you want to wash your clothes in the sink, you can purchase these. I purchased clothes freshener spray and this wrinkle release spray. Some people suggested hanging your clothes in the bathroom and turning on the hot water and shutting the door to remove wrinkles. However, that wastes a lot of water.
  28. If you are traveling in the warmer months, take lightweight clothing that’s breathable.
  29. There is no good hair day in Italy with the sun, wind and humidity so keep it pulled up in a pony tail or use these products to keep your locks looking good and these for your skin.
  30. Make sure you are aware of the passport requirements for Italy. Your passport must not have an expiration date of 6 mons past your departure date from Italy. For instance, if you depart from Italy to go back to the US on Sept. 24th, 2024, your passport must be good for at least 6 mons beyond that date.
  31. If you plan on visiting any churches it Italy, then please click here to read about how you are supposed to dress when visiting churches.
  32. To purchase skip a line tickets to some of the most popular sites in Italy, download the GetYourGuide app or the Tiqets app…You won’t regret it!
  33. Click here to read how not to look like a tourist on an Italian beach
  34. You will need to show your passport every time you check into a hotel…they will make a copy of it and give it back to you. You will sometimes need your room key, to turn the lights on in your room.
  35. Read here about how the air and heat work in the hotel rooms. Make sure when you book your rooms for Italy, it shows that they have AC in their rooms…some don’t!
  36. The best apps to download for taxis and ubers are FreeNow, itTaxi and Uber. Read reviews of the FreeNow app here.
  37. When you  check into your hotels, you may have to pay a city tax…if you do, they will only accept cash. We had to pay this a few times when we checked in so be prepared. It’s usually only a few euros.
  38. If you go to a restaurant and order water, they will ask if you want still or gas….order still if you don’t like carbonated water. Water is not free in Italy as they bring out bottles of water. You will also have to wave down your waiter when you are ready for your check.
  39. Starting in 2023, Venice will start collecting a “tourist tax” if you are only visiting for the day. The fee isn’t required if you are staying in Venice. It will be 3-10 euros…but it looks like it may have been delayed again so stay tuned.
  40. Be aware that when you order pizza, most of the time it’s served uncut..you are only given a butter knife to cut it! It was like sawing a tree in half!
  41. You do not tip in Italy….read more about it here. Just don’t do it!
  42. If you want to communicate with loved ones back home you can use WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger.…a lot of the hotels will communicate through WhatsApp or through Booking.com if you booked your hotels through Booking. These apps only work if you have data or are connected to WiFi.
  43. I used Booking.com to book all of our hotels and we had one hotel cancel on us because they said they were overbooked…if this happens, notify booking immediately and they will re book you into a similar hotel free of charge.
  44. If you are driving, make sure you are aware of the ZTL zones in Italy. You can not drive in these zones…you will be ticketed if you do. If you have a hotel booked in a ZTL zone, let the hotel know that you will be driving …the hotel will have to contact the police with your tag number so you don’t get a ticket.
  45. If you are driving, I highly recommend you research where to park in each area that you will be staying or visiting prior to arriving. I would not recommend driving in Florence, Rome, Siena, Milan, Amalfi Coast or Pisa. I only booked hotels that offered free parking and were outside of the ZTL zones. Read more here.
  46. Most of the hotels had body wash and shampoo but no conditioner. I would pack small travel size bottles of shampoo, lotion and especially conditioner. Every hotel provided a blow dryer but none of the hotels had an iron.
  47. The gas stations in Italy are located right off a small exit on the Autostrada so you don’t have to get off of an exit to look for one. The gas stations also serve food.
  48. Take a lightweight, waterproof rain jacket….(not water resistant)….I’m so glad we had packed some because the morning we left Venice, it was pouring rain! I purchased this one and my hubby has this one.
  49. If you are prone to motion sickness you may want to purchase some Bonine or Dramamine .…especially, if you will be taking any ferry boats…sometimes, even trains will make you sick if you are super sensitive to motion.
  50. In case of any kind of allergic reaction, make sure you have Benadryl on hand…you just never know!
  51. Some of the medicines I suggest and took are: Visine, Pepto chewables, Alka seltzer cold/flu, Benadryl, Pepto Herbal Blends for nausea & vomiting,  these band aids for blisters and regular band aids, Advil, motion sickness medicine, prescription meds/antibiotic, neosporin, burn cream wipes, hand wipes, these for possible jelly fish, bug bites or bee stings, Robitussin Cough Medicine,
  52. See a map of Italy here
  53. Click here for the 20 best places to visit in Italy
  54. Things to pack: comfortable shoes, nice socks (these are my favorite), shirts, pants, a cardigan for the evenings, Pjs, under garments, ponytail holders, make up, lotion, tweezers, razor, hat (or purchase one there), feminine products, sunglasses, reading glasses, camera, euros, passport, itinerary, a list of reservations and tickets, shorts, capris (I purchased these linen pants and loved them!), toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, brush/pick/comb, perfume, face lotion, sun dresses, flip flops, bathing suit, books or magazines to read on the plane, gum, snacks, hand sanitizer, jewelry (nothing too valuable), make up remover, washcloth, a theft proof cross body purse, or backpack or a money belt (I  took this backpack). Click here for summer packing & here for winter
  55. Click here to find out what you are allowed to carry on the plane
  56. Click here for things to do in Venice and here for the best places to stay in Venice
  57. Click here on how the vaporettos work in Venice
  58. Click here and here to book transportation from the Venice airport to your hotel
  59. Click here to read about the weather in Italy & here to read when the sun rises and sets in Italy
  60. Click here to read about the upcoming Visa requirements that will be implemented in Nov. 2023

That’s it!

Thanks for reading and I hope this helps you plan your own fabulous trip to Italy!!