Many years ago, Italy was one of my first international trips. I remember being so surprised at some of the situations and customs I encountered. It’s a beautiful country with rich culture, friendly people, and delicious food, but I wished I’d known about some of their local customs so that I could be more prepared for certain situations.
So now that I’ve been a couple of times, I thought I’d write a post about some travel tips for anyone (especially Americans) who are planning their first trip to Italy. Some of these are not glamorous, but trust me- you’ll thank me later.
- Ladies- throw a small package of tissues in your purse. Most public restrooms will not have toilet paper in them, so these will be very handy when you’re away from your hotel/apartment.
- Speaking of public restrooms, you may be charged to use them. It’s worth keeping some change in your pocket since it’s common for a restroom attendant to charge a small fee (usually under 1 Euro). This is not like upscale American places where the attendant receives a tip. In Italy, the fee is mandatory.
- On the topic of tipping, it’s much less common in Italy. At home (in America) I usually tip around 20% but in Italy that is unheard of. If you have exemplary service, you can leave some change on the table for the server but it is not culturally mandated.
- Ladies may want to bring a cross-body purse. Pick-pocketing is prevalent in many European cities. It happened to me in Barcelona. Bringing a cross-body bag that closes securely minimizes your risk.
- Pack a water bottle. Many Italian cities have public fountains with good quality water. Unlike our fountains at home, these have a tap so you really need a container to enjoy the water properly. Traveling can be very dehydrating and your body will thank you for having water on hand.
I hope these tips help you enjoy your upcoming vacation. If you have any other great tips, please feel free to leave them in the comments.