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I want to travel to Italy, but I'm scared!

Fort Worth, Texas
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I want to travel to Italy, but I'm scared!

I admit it. I'm a travel-virgin. But I've always wanted to see Italy (Rome, Florence, Tuscany, Pisa). My husband and I have decided we're going to take the plunge and go this year. What's the best time to go? Is a tour group the best way to go for a first-timer? (if so, which one?). Is there one location that we could stay (as a base camp) and go out daily from there to see all the sites? Any help, suggestions, wise words would be appreciated.

Mill Valley/Marin...
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21. Re: I want to travel to Italy, but I'm scared!

How exciting! I have been to Italy many times, but I am also currently planning a trip to Italy with my parents (who have never been to Italy). We are looking into taking a Tauck tour that covers Tuscany, Rome and Florence. I have not taken a Tauck tour, but I have very good friends who are travel advisors, and they have lots of clients who have raved about Tauck. We are also taking some time to travel independently.

While I could play tour guide and private driver (and luggage porter) for my parents instead of going on a tour, my husband and I decided that a tour could be really easy and fun for us. We can just put our brains on autopilot, and let someone else handle all of the logistics of getting to all the major tourist sights, while we just enjoy the trip spending time sharing our love of Italy with my folks.

Have a great trip.

Los Angeles...
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for Venice, Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur
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22. Re: I want to travel to Italy, but I'm scared!

Tauck tours are first class tours which use first class hotels, and I also have friends who traveled with Tauck tours several times. However, these are pricey, so not for everyone. I would guess that a well-planned, independent trip would cost about 70% of what a Tauck tour would cost for the same duration of time, maybe even less.

Destination Expert
for Berlin
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23. Re: I want to travel to Italy, but I'm scared!

Ker-ching, ker-ching, ker-ching. Sound of Rick Steves' cash register opening and closing.

Lytham St Anne's...
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for Malta
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24. Re: I want to travel to Italy, but I'm scared!


Italy really is a wonderfull country to explore.

Take some of the advice given , relax and just wander about . Don`t overdo it,

One of the greatest plrasures is to sit at a cafe for an hour over a coffee and just watch the world go by.

You will soon be an Italy lover.


New York City, New...
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25. Re: I want to travel to Italy, but I'm scared!

The people in Italy are generally warm and inviting and nice to American tourists.

Italy is a GREAT place for a travel virgin! Most of the people you will enounter speak English and the food will be familiar to you.

There are places I would be more comfortable with a tour (African safari?) but not Italy-- and i think planning your own trip will be more rewarding-- the planning is half the fun.

Some advice- read the introdcution section of guide books where they discuss the history and culture. Do NOT expect it to be like the U.S.- especially Texas. Hotel rooms will generally be smaller, you may not get enough ice in your drinks, dinner is later, service is generally slower.

Research- read multiple guide books, TA etc

What do you like to do? That will help you narrow down your places and when. Do you like boating and swimming? in That case the Amalfi coast in late spring/summer is a good choice. Art and old architecure? Florence! Wine and wine tours? Tuscany, etc.

You should though, be careful of getting taken advantage of- we had a rome taxi driver scam us and we are New Yorkers and experienced travelers. Learn to be alert, ignore the street beggars etc. I would give you the same advice if you were coming to NY.

Have fun

Cincinnati, Ohio
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26. Re: I want to travel to Italy, but I'm scared!

Your local library will very likely have books by Rick Steves.

Destination Expert
for Colorado
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27. Re: I want to travel to Italy, but I'm scared!

Renee528, thanks for writing! My DH and I are considering much the same questions and have the same fears. I often help people on the Colorado forums who have never been to the mountains and they sound pretty much the same! But now I find myself in the position of asking for help and having no idea where to start, and considering a guided tour even though we usually don't like them....so thanks for all the great advice, everyone! I just might be able to do this!

I'm saving this post to "my trips" and heading off to search for some travel guides.

Edited: 12 January 2013, 03:48
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28. Re: I want to travel to Italy, but I'm scared!

We obviously have all been to Italy and I can assure you that it is safe...much safer than walking around Fort Worth's downtown at night! I am currently planning my 4th trip..the first 3 were with my husband and this time I am taking my 21 year old daughter. You'll love it..i promise!!

Northern New Jersey
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29. Re: I want to travel to Italy, but I'm scared!

Two less-challenging ways to get your feet wet in European travel would be to sign on for a tour, as people have said, or to start with England and Scotland on your first trip. If you are considering a tour, read Europe Through the Back Door to understand what's good and bad about tours.

Santa Rosa Beach...
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for Negril
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30. Re: I want to travel to Italy, but I'm scared!

My wife have traveled all over Europe on our own, the one tour we took we found too confining, up at a certain time, everything on a schedule, we have since enjoyed doing our own planning, go where we want, etc, even with this being your first trip, you might have more fun on your own.