Italy Travel Tips. Just for you.
You’ve put so much thought, energy and time into picking your destination and finalizing your itinerary. Just as important as the big picture, the small details can make or break a trip. Select your destination and discover great tips, tricks, and hacks for making travel smooth and hassle-free.
Everything You Need to Know Before You GO!
VISA AND PASSPORTS
- Please check the expiry date on your passport. Travel outside of the United States requires a passport that is valid for at least the next six months.
- US citizens staying or traveling within Italy for less than three months are considered non-residents; this includes persons on vacation. All non-residents are required to complete a dichiarazione di presenza (declaration of presence). Tourists arriving from a country which isn’t part of the Schengen Agreement (a number of countries in Europe that do not require a passport to cross between their borders) should obtain a stamp in their passport at the airport on the day of arrival. This stamp is considered the equivalent of the declaration of presence. Failure to complete a declaration of presence is punishable by expulsion from Italy.
The US State Department provides Country Specific Information sheets for every country in the world as well as Travel Alerts and Warnings. For this information, call 888 407 4747 or 202 501 4444 or see www.travel.state.gov.
- Plan to visit your doctor or local travel clinic at least 4-6 weeks before departure to allow time for any vaccinations to take effect or to fill any prescriptions.
- We strongly suggest purchasing appropriate trip insurance covering medical, baggage, and trip cancellation as needed.
- Before traveling to Europe or any other destination, we recommend consulting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for up-to-date information on required and recommended vaccines and medications. Visit cdc.gov/travel or call 800 232 4636 for more information.
- For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad, consult the World Health Organization (WHO), which contains additional health information for travelers, including detailed country-specific health information.
- If you received any vaccinations in preparation for your journey, pack your vaccination certificates in your personal carry-on baggage in case you are asked to show them on arrival.
- Make sure that any medications you require, as well as copies of your prescriptions, are packed in your carry-on luggage and not in your checked baggage.
- Special meals and allergies: If you require special meals for health or dietary reasons, please let your Da’at tour operator know at least 60 days prior to your departure.
We strongly recommend that you purchase your own travel insurance. Please discuss land, air, and health insurance options with your insurance provider or contact Travel Insured at 1-800-344-6226, ext. 257. Some insurance programs provide more comprehensive coverage when the policy is purchased in close proximity to the initial trip deposit. We therefore recommend that you secure insurance within 14 days of your initial deposit payment date.
CURRENCY AND BANK INFORMATION
- The official currency in Italy is the Euro and most reputable establishments will accept major credit cards.
- Click here to obtain the most current exchange rates.
- ATMs in Italy are known as Bancomats, and they are widespread.
- Using a credit card, or even better, a debit card or your local bank ATM card, is very easy. If you are unsure about the compatibility or the banking systems, contact the bank or institution that issued your card. The Bancomat will dispense Euro. Many banks are now charging large fees for cash advances on credit cards that negate any advantage of using the Bancomat in the first place. We advise that you use your regular ATM card and simply withdraw money from your account just as you would do at your local bank.
- We recommend that you contact your bank in advance of departing on your journey to determine whether you will be able to use your ATM and credit cards while traveling. When contacting your bank, notify them of your travel dates so that they will anticipate charges being made outside of your hometown and do not suspend your cards for what may appear to them to be “suspicious” charges. We also recommend that you make a photocopy of the front and back sides of your ATM and credit cards to leave behind with someone at home who will assist you in the event your cards are misplaced, lost, or stolen.
- For more information about money in Italy, click here.
- In Italy the power plugs and sockets are of type C, F, and L. The standard voltage is 230 V and the standard frequency is 50 Hz.
- For more information about this, visit worldstandards.eu.
- Electric shavers, traveling irons, phone rechargers, and other small appliances may require adaptors and/or converters, which you can purchase prior to your departure or at the airport.
Italy is one hour ahead of Coordinated Universal Time (or Greenwich Mean Time). From late March through October, Italy switches to Daylight Savings Time and is 2 hours ahead. To determine current time in major cities around the world, visit timeanddate.com.
- Contact your cellular telephone provider for a plan for using your phone in Europe or other destinations. You should check that your phone operates on the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) and what, if any, activation is required.
- If your phone is not GSM-enabled, you may find that renting a phone specifically designed for use overseas is the most practical option.
For international calls from Italy to US: Dial 001 + (area code) + (number). That includes if you plan to call an American cell phone number, regardless of where that cell phone may be physically located. PLEASE NOTE: It may be impossible to call a 1-800 US telephone number from Italy even if you’re using an international phone card to call the US.
FACILITIES FOR THE DISABLED
- Travel through Europe for people with special needs is doable/manageable but with a few limitations.
- Airports, public transportation, and many tourist sites are wheelchair-friendly and most hotels have special rooms designed for disabled travelers.
- When making independent dinner plans, check with your hotel as to which recommended restaurants can best accommodate your needs.
- To enjoy this tour, you should be in good health and able to walk reasonable distances, often over unpaved and uneven surfaces. Some of the most memorable sightseeing can only be accomplished on foot. Italy is home to innumerable historic buildings and sites, some dating from antiquity. Therefore, roads, walkways, and architecture will present difficulties for some guests with physical disabilities. You will encounter cobblestone streets, narrow passageways, and some steep and winding staircases. For the most part, however, the amount of walking you do at the various sites and towns is at your discretion.
- The decision to participate in one of these tours is at the sole discretion of each participant.
- Should you require handicapped facilities please contact our office.
Italian is the only official language of Italy. Basic English is widely spoken in the tourist industry, but not necessarily in the general public. It is always worthwhile to speak a little of the local lingo so we recommend you click here for some useful words and phrases.
The weather in Italy is temperate and varies considerably between different regions of the country, especially during the winter season. Northern Italy is characterized by very cold winters and hot and humid summers. The climate in Central Italy is milder with a less intense cold season than the north and longer summers. Winters in southern Italy and the islands are mild.
Rain falls evenly throughout the year in Venice, but more seasonally in Rome, where summers are drier than winters.
Use a website such as weather.com to find average temperatures and rainfall during your travel time.
- October, November, & December have the most rain.
- June & July are the driest months.
- July & August are the hottest months.
- January, February, & December are the coldest months.
- November has the most rain.
- January & February are the driest months.
- December, January, & February are the coldest months.
- July & August are the hottest months.
- October & November have the most rain.
- January & February are the driest months.
- June, July, & August are the hottest months.
- December, January, & February are the coldest months.
WHAT TO PACK
Click here for our suggested packing checklist.
Confirm baggage limitations with your international carrier before packing. Remember that airlines can change their baggage restrictions at any time.
FLIGHTS & AIRPORTS
- Be sure to reconfirm your international flights with your airline 24 hours prior to your departure.
- Passengers must check in for international flights from the US/Canada at least three hours prior to departure time.
Security checks are carried out routinely for your protection and safety. Expect to be asked about the contents of your luggage, who packed it, whether anyone asked you to transport items for them, and whether your luggage remained with you before you arrived at the airport. Do not take any mail, packages, or unknown items from anyone either before or after arriving at the airport.
ARRIVAL & DEPARTURE TRANSFERS
- If your package includes arrival and departure transfers, this will be detailed in your travel documents which will be e-mailed to you up to one week prior to your trip.
- If you deviate from the arrival and/or departure dates and time as specified in your travel documents, you will need to arrange your own transfers. Alternatively, you may request a transfer service up to three working days prior to your arrival and the cost of the transfer service will be added to your invoice.
- When requesting a transfer service, please provide us with your flight information. Your arrival transfer is guaranteed for up to one hour from your scheduled arrival time in order to compensate for minor delays.
- Da’at or the transfer company will not be responsible for delays, for any reason, beyond one hour from your originally scheduled arrival time. In case of a delay, it will be your responsibility to contact Da’at directly and/or to make other transfer arrangements, such as by taxi.
- Transfer costs are not refundable and any additional expenses will be your responsibility.
- You can reach almost any destination in Italy by train, bus or ferry, and services are efficient and cheap; for longer distances there are plenty of domestic air services.
- Travel by Bus: Bus services within Italy are provided by numerous companies and vary from local routes meandering between villages to fast and reliable intercity connections. As a rule, buses are not always cheaper than the train, but can be invaluable getting to smaller towns.
- It is usually possible to get bus timetables from local tourist offices. In larger cities most of the intercity bus companies have ticket offices or operate through agencies. In some villages and even good-sized towns, tickets are sold in bars or on the bus. Note that buses almost always leave on time.
- You must buy bus tickets before you board the bus and validate them once on board. If you get caught with an invalidated ticket you will be fined on the spot (up to €50 in most cities). Tickets can be bought from a tabaccaio (tobacconist), newsstands, from ticket booths or dispensing machines at bus stations, and in underground stations, and usually cost around €1. Most large cities offer good-value 24-hour or daily tourist tickets.
- Taxi: All the major cities have good transport systems, with bus and underground-train networks usually integrated. However, in Venice your only options are by vaporetti (small passenger ferries) or on foot. You can usually find taxi ranks at train and bus stations or you can telephone for radio taxis. It’s best to go to a designated taxi stand, as it’s illegal for them to stop in the street if hailed. If you phone a taxi, bear in mind the meter starts running from when you have called rather than when it picks you up.
- With a minimum charge of €2.33 to €4.91, depending on the time of day or night, plus €0.78 per km, most short city journeys end up costing between €10 and €15. In Rome, once you go outside the ring road, it costs €1.29 per km. No more than four or five people are allowed in one taxi.
CHECKING IN AT YOUR HOTEL
If you arrive at your hotel before the customary 3:00 pm check-in time, your room may not be available. Store your luggage with the concierge and take the time to walk around and get a feel for your new city.
PROTECTING VALUABLE ITEMS
- Hotel safes are usually provided and can be used to protect valuables such as passports, medications, jewelry, money, and electronics. If you must carry valuables, keep them on your person at all times, be mindful of your surroundings, and take extra caution in crowds.
- We recommend photocopying the personal information pages of your passport and leaving one copy with a family member or friend and packing another in a place separate from the passport itself. You can also scan your passport and email a copy to yourself for easy online access. This will help you to secure a replacement quickly should the need arise.
Where and whether to shop while traveling with Da’at is a personal choice and shopping is never compulsory. If at any point during your journey you feel pressured to shop or make purchases, please immediately discuss the matter with your tour educator.
We recommend the following for tipping (amounts in US dollars):
- Groups of 20 participants or more:
Da’at tour educator/escort $8, local tour escort (if applicable) $6, local guide $5, driver $3 – per participant per day.
- Recommended restaurant tipping when lunch or dinner is “not included in package”:
Tipping at restaurants in Italy is not a must. In some cases, a service charge is automatically added to the check and this will be noted on the menu. In this situation, no additional tip is necessary. If a service charge isn’t included on your bill, it is customary to just round up the bill (usually a few Euro). If you were given outstanding service, a more generous tip (10%-15%) will be appreciated, but you are not “compelled” to do so.
Included in your package.