I’m so pleased to have Nina Bocci, co-author of Roman Crazy, here today. Along with her bestie, Alice Clayton, she has not only written a book, but they have also traveled the world together! Nina was kind enough to put some of her best travel tips down on paper to share with us.
It’s really no shock to anyone that both Alice and I LOVE to travel. Traveling abroad is something that we’re both very lucky to be able to do often. Even with the world in a constant state of flux, we enjoy spending countless hours soaking in European countries. Whether it’s traveling along a canal in Amsterdam, exploring the hills of Scotland, busying ourselves in the madness of Piccadilly Circus or marveling over the history of the Italian churches and monuments.
Our love of Europe is a huge reason that Broads Abroad was born!
What isn’t always a lot of fun is packing and the preparation that goes into a fantastic trip overseas. Making sure that you’ve got everything from enough Euro (seriously does anyone use traveler’s checks anymore?) to international adapters (because God forbid your phone can’t charge) and a portable charger (seriously these are the best) to knowing what shoes to bring or what clothes to wear because while the world is in flux, so is the weather. It changes so quickly that you don’t want to get stuck buying a sweater (unless you’re in Ireland then buy the sweater because honestly, Irish wool is the best)
Here are my Top Five Travel Tips for a #RomanCrazy holiday!
In #RomanCrazy Avery has a near-miss with an artful dodger who could have destroyed her entire escape to Rome on day one! Luckily, she wasn’t carrying her passport on her when she met him. She had it packed safely away in her luggage with a handful of copies in each of her bags. Overkill? Maybe, but do you really want to be caught in Europe without a US passport? Or at the very least a copy? Xerox is your friend in this case. Make a copy or two and always leave one with a trusted friend at home. just to be on the safe side.
Don’t be a crazy person and pack every pair of shoes you own just because you might wear them. Two pair is really all you need (three if you’ve got something fancy to do) and be sure that they’re versatile and comfortable above all things. Yes, there are tons of sites that proclaim that Europeans can pick an American out by their footwear and I’m not saying that isn’t true . . . but, I’d rather be wearing a comfy and adorable pair of Ahnu flats or sandals from Avarca instead of breaking something because of the ancient cobblestones with kick-ass heels. Maybe if we’re like Avery and have an . . . extended vacation in Europe, then we could talk about some Biondas. No, really. Let’s talk about the Biondas. Have you see the David Gandy Bionda Castana video? Go watch, I’ll wait. *has cigarette*
I love, love, love the Bric’s Bellagio Spinner Luggage and there are a ton of sizes. The interior forces you to make great packing decisions and pack light. Try packing cubes! And always a hanging toiletry organizer. All of these things help a ton in keeping you from overpacking. Lo from Christina Lauren got me into using a spreadsheet and let me tell you, it helps SO MUCH with outfit planning and accessorizing. Getting yourself acclimated to bringing clothes that mix and match is key to keeping yourself sane. You can’t run through the train station lugging 5 bags, a backpack and a purse just because you needed to bring every skirt. No one will judge you if you bring two pairs of jeans and wear them a few times. Pretend its Seattle in the ’90s and roll with it. Layers are the way to go. Tank, shirt/blouse, and a thin cardigan. A light jacket will help too. Even if it’s not April 25th.
The Internet is your best friend before you head to Italy or really anywhere in Europe. Plan your highlights by booking tours ahead of time and making sure that you’ve factored in time just to wander around and explore on your own. Oh, and eat! Dark Rome is a tour company that I HIGHLY recommend. They’re even mentioned in #RomanCrazy because they left such an impression on me. Trip Advisor is an incredible resource also for finding what works for ‘similar to you’ travelers. My best suggestion is that if you want to do something, do it. Don’t question it, just go. You never know when you’ll get back to do it again. Avery has a moment at the Trevi Fountain where Marcello is explaining the coin throwing and wishes tradition to her. Make your wish to come back to Europe but don’t waste the time that you’re there now. Experience everything possible.
Food in Europe is not something to be missed. Food in Italy is something that you need to savor and experience. This isn’t a drive thru, it’s a ‘couple hours long journey for your mouth.’ Do not eat near the landmarks. They’ll see you coming a mile away and a bowl of $6 gnocchi turns into $22 because you’ve got your lanyard on from the Colosseum tour you just took. I’m not saying the food won’t still be outstanding but just popping one or three streets away from the hustle and bustle will net you not only an incredible meal but something that won’t cost you an arm and a leg. Plus, you get to experience a more authentic Italian meal versus one that is geared toward an ‘in a hurry tourist.’
Back up your phone (I’m speaking directly to Alice here) before you go on any trip. If you’re possibly low on storage, delete some once they’ve been saved elsewhere. You don’t want to get to Italy, or anywhere, and miss a perfect selfie opportunity with Papa Francesco or David Beckham because you’re out of space in your cloud storage! A waterproof or lifeproof case is also key here. I nearly dropped my phone into a muddy puddle while touring The Forum because my hands were soaking wet from the downpour. Thank God for the hunky Italian that caught it before it went for a swim.
I hope some of this is useful for you. It could be carried over into any travel, not just to Europe. Be safe and have fun more than anything else!