If you’ve always dreamed of traveling to Italy and are dazzled by the potential romance and the antiquity of it all, you need only take care of a few tedious details before beginning your trip. After all you can’t relax and enjoy the scenery until you’re sure you’ve taken care of the legalities.
Arrange a Passport or Visa
If you’re traveling from the United States, Canada, Australia or the UK you’ll be required to present a current passport when traveling to Italy. Most other countries will require you to obtain a visa for travel ahead of time. Clearing up these details and arranging for the passport or visa before you even start packing will ensure you’re not rushed and can handle the details created by government paperwork in time to simply enjoy the experience.
When you do bring your passport or visa, make copies ahead of time. Use the copies when possible to keep your original passport safe – your hotel, for example, may require a passport when registering. Use a copy and keep your own safe in your hotel safe during your stay.
Phone Cards and Cell Phones
Before heading out of the country, look into the international rates on your cell phone. If the rates are especially prohibitive, consider buying calling cards from bulk discount stores to cut costs before you leave. A voice-over-IP number might be a cost effective choice as well for getting in touch with the people at home, but it’s hard to find free internet in Italy. Speaking of internet, if you plan to be online a great deal of your time abroad – perhaps you have to work while traveling – be sure to look into the rates from your hotel room or find what you can about internet café rates in the city where you’ll be traveling.
If you’re hoping to join a specific tour or a specialized class, book your tickets ahead of time. While you might be able to get into the Vatican museums on the day of, buying tickets online ahead of time will give you some peace of mind about the most important elements of your trip. Just be sure to leave plenty of padding around the tickets you’re buying to account for travel time and the uncertainties of moving around a foreign city.
Finally, strongly consider travel insurance and look into options through your current credit cards or insurance plans to cover you while you’re out of the country. Consider insurance on all tickets and arrangements as well for the travel itself as these things can change and you’ll want to be prepared for emergencies – even if it costs a bit more upfront.