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Never been, need some advice please.....

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Never been, need some advice please.....

I'm so excited, I'm having to pinch myself to believe it's true! A 50-year-old working mother of two teenage girls, that has never traveled abroad, won a trip to Rome! No way.


Last September, I won the ROMAN HOLIDAY GETAWAY SWEEPSTAKES!! Husband and I leave for Rome on May 4th from Houston. It seemed so far away; now it is here!

We would love some general tips and advice as we are making the final plans for our stay. I just got my first passport. Really. All advice is welcome!

Based upon tips from TripAdvisor, Expedia requirements and their promise for air conditioning in May, I decided on Hotel Forty Seven. I pray it is a good choice.

Thanks so much!

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1. Re: Never been, need some advice please.....

Lucky You! Fortyseven Hotel has overwhelmingly good reviews on TA... I bet you'll be fine.

Dig around the Trip Advisor website and other resources like:





If you have any questions... search first and if you can find an answer... post the questions here.

Good luck and have a great trip!

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for Sedona
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2. Re: Never been, need some advice please.....

Woohoo! You hit the jackpot on that one...Congratulations! There is SO much to learn for your first trip to Europe. One good source of general advice is the Rick Steve's books. (Rick Steve's Rome would be good.) Also there is so much culture and history: it helps to brush up on history and get background before you go, and the DK Eyewitness Italy is very good for that. It has beautiful illustrations you will enjoy long after your trip. I realize you are leaving soon, so you may be speed reading on the way over.

Another suggestion: read the forums and look for sample itineraries and trip reports. You'll pick up lots of ideas here. Also read the Things to Do list.

You'll need to get from the airport to your hotel, and for that I recommend RomeCabs, as it has great reviews. (In contrast the one we chose didn't show, so we started off jet-lagged on the wrong foot!) Have a wonderful time, and don't forget to enjoy the gelato. When you return be sure to post a trip report.

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3. Re: Never been, need some advice please.....

You might want to ck out the Top Ten DK Eyewitness guide book for Rome, we found it handy, also had a pocketpilot map which we used alot. I hope I win the Olive Garden Sweepstakes to Italy. Have fun.

San Diego
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4. Re: Never been, need some advice please.....

HI HoustonKaty Mom,

Wow !! You are sooo lucky! Can I come in your suitcase?

How long will you be in Rome?

The hotel will be fine.

I agree that the DK Eyewitness top10 Guide is a good one t bring with you as it is small and has a decent map.

Make SURE you guys have comfortable shoes to wear for walking!

Make SURE you spend time wandering and sitting in cafes not just running around to sights.

You cannot wear shorts or short skirts to visit the Vatican or other churches but you don't need to bring any fancy clothes.

A great reliable car service to bring you from the airport to your hotel is

www.romecabs.com e-mail is romecabs@yahoo.com

Stefano speaks English and he or one of his drivers will be waiting for you after you get your luggage with a sign that has your name on it. The ride will cost 45euro.

I spent 4 days in Rome in February and you can read about my trip here which might give you some good ideas.


Please ask as many questions as you like!!


Washington, DC
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5. Re: Never been, need some advice please.....

Congratulations! How exciting!

A few tips:

Learn a few basic words in Italian - at least enough to be polite (please, thank you, excuse me). Knowing even a few other words - like toilet, bank, entrance, exit, etc. - will be helpful. However, don't worry about language issues - you will have no trouble speaking English most places you go.

While many places will have English menus, I highly recommend getting the Eating and Drinking in Italy menu translater - a small but priceless book that really lets you understand what's on the menu. Try some traditional Roman specialities, rather than things that sound familiar. (I'm no expert on Roman restaurants, but I do recommend Pietro Valentini - a very small, family-run restaurant between the Pantheon and Piazza Navrona, where we enjoyed Roman specialities such as fried squash blossoms and fried artichokes. You can find my review of this spot in the restaurant section.)

Aside from the most major attractions in Rome, I recommend you try to include a visit to the Borghese Galleries. Even if art isn't your thing, the ornate rooms themselves are incredible, and the sculptures are stunning. You'll need reservations - make them now, and carry the reservation number with you. They couldn't find our reservation by name, and the day was saved only by having the reservation number with me.

If your time permits, I recommend two nice, short walks to soak in the views. I really enjoyed the walk from the top of the Spanish Steps to the area above the Piazza di Popolo (If I'm spelling that right.) Peaceful, lots of greenery and great views across the city. Walking across the Bridge of Angels in front of the Castel San Angelo is also memorable.

Very important - Remember you have to ask for your check when you are ready to leave a restaurant. Italians consider it rude to bring the check before you ask for it.

I'm sure you will have a great trip!

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6. Re: Never been, need some advice please.....

General advice:

Travel light, don´t carry more than you can lift overhead, always have a hand free between the 2 of you.

Most of the area you will be going (even indoors) are paved with stones, not smooth, maybe up to 2 inches gap between them, in height. So you need real comfy shoes; and your roller cases should have big wheels to avoid getting stuck. You will be going into lots of churches, so keep your shoulder and knees covered.

Don´t think of pepperoni pizza.

Frisco, Colorado
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7. Re: Never been, need some advice please.....

Congratulations on winning the TripAdvisor contest! That is soooo exciting! I will be there pretty much the same time as you - two roman virgins - waive if you see me! LOL

San Diego
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8. Re: Never been, need some advice please.....

Hey 1FourFun I was a Rome virgin too. In fact that's the name of my trip report!!

HoustonKaty, I forgot to remind you to call your credit card company and call the bank where you have your ATM card , to tell them you'll be in Italy or they may block your accounts!

United Kingdom
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9. Re: Never been, need some advice please.....

Congratulations, how fantastic! You'll fall in love with Rome;)

I went there a few years ago and threw my coins into the Trevi Fountain, so I will go back!Loved just walking about the area of the Spanish Steps and did a lot of people watching which was great fun. Italians are beautiful!

Lucky you winning a trip, I've never won anything in my whole life:(

Chester, United...
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10. Re: Never been, need some advice please.....

Well, congratulations! Well done you! Hope you have a really fab trip and you decide to continue travelling.

We also are Rome virgins and arrive on May 2nd, you don't say how long you are there, we are there Saturday to Wednesday so plan 'Route 110' first day to acquaint ourselves, and if we get stuck in traffic will we worry? We are in no hurry! and then get a Roma Pass and have some plans (from Tripadvisor of course) for the next three days.

We have visited Italy a few times before, a phrase book and menu decoder is a very good idea, and the basic few polite phrases and comfortable shoes, evryone says it for a reason! We have some small pocket size guides and maps and are all set.

Have a really great trip! And continue4 doing those competitions!!