Heading to Italy can be difficult for any traveler and we know that you’ve got questions. Whether you’ve got an inquiry about culture, customs, or cuisine, you’ll find everything that you need to know about a trip to Italy right here. Travel with confidence as we answer the 10 most common questions when planning a trip to Italy.
1. Can I use my ATM card in Italy?
Using your ATM card in Italy should not be an issue but it’s important to make sure that you consult your bank first. Most credit and debit cards have a security lock that prevents them from working overseas (to prevent fraud) so make sure you get the lock removed before you travel.
2. I’ve heard that some places in Italy are dangerous, is this true?
Italy, like anywhere else, is not immune to crime. Most of the crimes that to tourists are various forms of pick-pocketing and purse-snatching. Be aware of your surroundings, and keep most of your money and documents in a pickpocket-safe place, like a money belt. You’ll hear people talking about Naples being a fairly dangerous place but, in my experience, everyone was friendly over there.
3. I can’t speak a lick of Italian, is this going to be an issue?
No — for the most part. Most Italians will be able to effectively communicate with you in major cities such as Rome, Florence, and Venice. Areas that aren’t tourist hotspots might be less accessible, but I found Italy, on the whole, pretty easy to negotiate with knowledge of just a few basic phrases.
4. How expensive is Italy going to be compared to the United States?
2015 is the year in which the U.S dollar will continue growing. After years of a stronger Euro, the U.S dollar is progressively gaining ground and is believed to almost hit parity with the European currency. That being said, Italy is quite affordable compared to most other nations in the EU. When it comes to traveling to Italy, like anywhere else, make sure you have a budget plan.
5. What are the Visa requirements for my trip to Italy?
Visa requirements for Italy will vary based upon citizenship and how long you’re planning to stay. If you’re looking at a quick vacation, you should be okay with an up-to-date passport. Students who are looking to study abroad and travelers who plan on staying over 90 days will most likely require a Visa.
6. I’m planning a tight schedule and I need to stay mobile, what’s transportation like in Italy?
Transportation in Italy is similar to transportation in the United States except for the fact that strikes can occur quite frequently. Worth noting, yellow tickets used for bus rides have to get validated immediately once you are on the bus. Should you pay for a ticket without getting it stamped, you can still be subject to fines. Generally speaking, you can cover a lot distance in Italy by taking the train.
7. I’ve heard that you’re not supposed to tip in Italy, is this true?
Yes and no. Tipping is not expected in Italy so most waiters, cab drivers, etc. probably won’t be offended if you don’t tip. If you feel like you’ve received exceptional service, there is certainly nothing wrong with tipping. Some managers won’t understand what the tip is and simply pocket the money for themselves. If you’re going to tip, just make sure you give it directly to the person it is intended for, or add an explanation to the manager.
8. I’m visiting Italy for the first time, what are some must-see hotspots?
Usually when I get this question, I answer with a question, “do you like apples or oranges?” I ask this question because different people are going to prefer different things. I certainly enjoyed seeing popular attractions like the Uffizi Gallery and the Colosseum, however, believe it or not, I preferred visiting off-the-beaten-path locations a lot more. Italy is known for lots of different things so it’s important to do a little research as to what best suits your taste.
9. I’m planning on visiting a lot of Churches when I travel to Italy, is there a dress code?
Yes, you’ll want to make sure that you’re wearing something that covers the shoulders and the upper arms, knees, and toes. Collared shirts are recommended, and cut-offs and sleeveless shirts are a no-no. Skirts and pants must cover the knees so you cannot wear shorts but capris are fine.
10. Do I need a converter to charge devices such as cell phones, laptops, and other electrical appliances?
You’ll definitely need a converter or an adapter in order to charge your electrical devices when you get to Italy. Head to your local electronic shop and ask about which adapters or converters are specific to Italy. Purchase one before you leave for your destination since travel adapters are hard to locate and are generally a little overpriced once you are abroad.
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