Like most trips to Europe, traveling to Italy may be expensive. By avoiding different catches, you could save quite a few dollars. In this article, I will talk about my personal experience traveling to Italy, answer frequently asked questions and give you a few tips to make your vacations are even more pleasant.
Credit vs. Cash
In Italy, many restaurants and grocery stores do not accept credit cards (especially in small cities). In addition, if you order your euros directly at ICE, the rate is much more advantageous considering that the conversion rate is calculated only once. On the other hand, if you use your credit card in Italy, there may be many conversion rates which is very disadvantageous and expensive. Considering this, I recommend that you purchase your euros with cash before going on your trip. With my experience, if you bring 500 euros per person for one week, it will be enough to pay the different activities, restaurants and the little snacks that you will not have a choice to taste such as the famous gelato.
When you will go to restaurants in Italy, you have to know a couple of things that are different from what we are used to. Firstly, when you enter the restaurant, you do not have to wait that someone assigns you a table. You have to walk in and choose your own table. Once you will be seated, the waiter will come and see you. When you will receive your menu, the first thing you have to look for is if there’s any service fees (written on the back of the menu) of about 1 to 2 euros per person. These fees are the mandatory tips that are being added to your bill. Also, if your table is covered with a tablecloth, there might be extra fees of 1 to 2 euros. Be cautious! In addition, the waiter may bring you some bread, but be careful it is not always free! You must make sure with the waiter that the bread is included in the price. Finally, when comes the time to pay, you must go directly to the cash register, located inside the restaurant. Don’t make my mistake and wait 20 minutes for the bill to be brought to your table.
If ever you are passing through Milan, the fashion capital, I strongly suggest that you make a stop to eat at the Majestic Café. I tasted the best lasagna I ever ate.
Being a Tourist in Italy
You must be careful when walking in touristic places. There is a lot of “pick-pockets” that could steal your wallets or your phone. To avoid this kind of situation, do not leave anything in your pockets when you are going to public touristic places such as the Coliseum in Rome, the St-Mark Basilica in Venice or in the downtown of Milan. Also, there are a lot of people in the streets that will try to sell you some bracelets. I would suggest not to buy these bracelets (even though the sellers are saying they are free) since, if you are being seen wearing these bracelets, you will show everyone that you are a tourist and will become easy targets for the “pick-pockets”.