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Best Italy Tips For Travel

Are you headed to Italy?  Need some advice for traveling to Italy? These Italy tips for travel will help you plan your trip and be prepared for your travel in Italy! 

There are so many amazing things to see and do you will not be disappointed.  Just like in any new country you visit the culture and customs are going to be different.

Hopefully, this post will help you learn what to expect as you travel abroad to Italy. If you prepare right you will have no problems adjusting to this new environment.

Let’s get started with the best Italy tips for travel!

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Safety Tips for Italy Pinterest

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1. Italy Safety – Is Italy Safe? Safety Tips for Travelling in ItalyPick Pocket

Is it safe to travel to Italy? Yes, I felt very safe in Italy.  One of the most important Italy tips for travel is to know how to be safe.  Italy is known to have petty theft so let’s explore some of the ways you can protect yourself and your belongings.

Major Pick-Pocketing Problem in Italy

When planning a trip to Italy you may ask yourself  “is Italy Safe?”  This is a great question!  It is super important to be concerned about your safety.  To put your mind at ease, Italy is not a major crime area but petty theft is a huge problem!

  • Sweet talking con artist will most likely be at train stops
  • Nicely dressed people could target you on buses
  • Children that look like beggars that hold up signs to confuse tourists
  • Even moms with babies and children attempt to pickpocket

How to Avoid Being a Target of Pick Pockets in Italy

  • Secure your money! We bought a pouch that you wear under your clothes. It is called a pickpocket-proof wallet. I liked that it was comfortable and it really worked well!  Purchasing one is a great idea if you are going to be touring all day!

 

More Safety Italy Travel Tips 

  • Do not get distracted with your phone
  • Do not trust kind strangers (this makes me a little sad, I love people)
  • Keep nothing important in your pockets
  • Be aware of your surroundings when boarding and leaving buses and subways
  • When boarding a train take the end cars and avoid the middle cars; they will be less crowded
  • When purchasing products make sure to have a clear itemized bill before handing money over and then count your change
  • Do not trust someone who pretends to be a police officer who asks about counterfeit money, this is one common scam
  • Always check ATMs to make sure there is not a plastic piece inserted in the card slot

I do not want to scare you.  Italy is an amazing place!  Just be careful and aware of your surroundings!

2. Electrical Outlets In ItalyElectrical Converter for Italy

One of the best Italy tips for travel is to make sure you can connect to electrical outlets in Italy.

Quick Lesson on Italy Power Adapters and Converters

The purpose of the adapter is to basically help the plugs on your electronics fit into foreign outlets.  A converter’s job is to change the voltage used in an outlet.

Europe’s electrical system operates on 220 volts, while in America we have 110 volts. Most newer electronics, battery chargers, cell phones, and hair dryers switch over automatically.  I would personally buy a converter and an Italy power adapter plug.

Hot Tip For Italy Power Adapters

When I went to Best Buy to buy an Italy power adapter kit it was over $40.  I did not purchase it and waited till I got to Europe.  (I was taking a chance)  It was worth it because I was able to buy an Italy power adapter at the hotel I was staying at for 5 Euros.  Crazy!

I don’t know if I recommend that but I lucked out!  It might be a good idea to call your hotel ahead of time and check when planning your trip to Italy.

Why You May Need the Italy Power Converter

You may only need the adapter but I learned the hard way that my really expensive hair straightener did not convert automatically.  Unfortunately, it broke and my hair was wild the rest of the trip!

Crazy Hair in Italy

Crazy Hair in Italy
3. Currency In Italy Currency in Italy

You may be asking “What’s the currency in Italy?”  Don’t worry, if it is your first time it can be confusing!

The simple answer is Italy uses the Euro.  It is a part of the European Union or the eurozone.

Exchange Rate for the Dollar to the Euro

Exchange rates change all the time!  Sometimes in your favor and sometimes not.  Typically, your bank at home will have the best rate.  The airport exchange will charge extremely high fees to exchange your money.

ATMs at the airport are another option. Although, you may be charged by your bank as well as the ATM provider.

Do You Really Need Euros in Italy?

The question I would ask myself is “Do I carry cash in America?”  My answer is No.  I never have cash! I always use my cards. You will have to ask yourself this question as well.  If you feel better having a few 100 euros in your pocket then your answer is yes!  Exchange your money.

As we were in Italy I felt that we were able to get by just fine using our credit cards with the exception of souvenirs.  Many African refugees sell products on the streets (mostly in Pisa).  Cash was all that they accept. So when planning your trip to Italy keep that in mind.

Cash (Euros)

Euros

  • I found we didn’t need too much cash; most places accepted credit cards
  • Use ATM to get Euros
  • I used cash for buses and cheap souvenirs

These tips will come in handy when you are buying your Italy gifts and souvenirs.

4. Can I Use Credit Cards in Italy? Using Credit Cards i

Credit Cards in Italy

Using credit cards in Italy is easy.  Major cities will have the ability to take your card.  Some things to think about as you use your credit card in Italy are as follows:

  • Have at least two different cards on hand
  • Visa and Mastercard are more accepted than American Express
  • Call or check online with your credit card company before you leave and let them know you will be out of the country
  • Most of my credit cards automatically convert currency
  • I found that most places took credit cards
  • If you are interested in a Travel Credit Card with great points and value check out Chase Sapphire Reserve or Chase Sapphire Preferred

Sapphire preferred card

Debit Card

  • You may want your debit card to get money out of an ATMs
  • Use the airport ATMs when you arrive or one that is located near a bank – for safety reasons
  • Remember transaction fees
  • Remember withdrawal limits
  • Get the emergency numbers for where you bank

Refunds

  • If you spend more than $155 at one retailer you are entitled to receive a VAT refund of 22%.
  • Have the retailer fill out the paperwork (you will need your passport)
  • Get a stamp at the airport border
  • Collect your refund at a Global Blue or Premier Tax-Free location in the airport

5. Tipping in Italy Giving a tip

One of the best Italy tips for travel is knowing how to tip. Here are a few Italy travel tips for tipping: 

  • It is not expected but appreciated
  • Restaurants include the charge in your bill
  • Minimal taxi tip; round up to the nearest Euro
  • Tip for great service (bellman, housekeeper, etc)
  • Ask a local to see what is appropriate

6. Italy Tips for Travel – Car Rentals Italy Tips for Travel - Car Rental

Should you rent a car in Italy?  I have talked with a lot of people who have had bad experiences.  However, we rented a car in Italy and had an amazing Italy road trip without any problems.

Renting a car in Italy gave us the freedom to explore the entire country.  We started in Florence and traveled down to the Amalfi Coast. It really was a fabulous way to travel.  If you are looking to book a car try Auto Europe or Priceline for some really great deals.

Italy Tips for Car Rental

  • Avoid Big Cities
  • Learn Traffic Signals and Signs
  • Look Out for Random Speed Bumps
  • Be careful Where you Park
  • Don’t Get A Ticket! (That is a whole big mess you don’t want to deal with) 

7. Italy Tips for Travel – Train Italian Trains

Should you use the train in Italy? Yes, the train is a fast, safe, clean, and effective way to get around Italy. 

Some trains can be booked the day of. However, knowing the routes you want to use is helpful when you are ready to buy your ticket.  Use the official website for more information.

Here is Some Italy Tips For Booking Trains:

  • During the busy season you may want to book a few days ahead of time
  • Arrive 15 minutes before departure
  • Check the time boards
  • Fast speed trains vs. slower speed trains
  • Rail pass
  • Use ticket machines to purchase tickets
  • Children under 3 are free; 4-11 are half off

Our Experience Taking the Train in Italy

We took the train from Venice to Florence.  This was a high-speed train.  We also took a day trip from Florence to Pisa and Lucca.  In Southern Italy, we used the train from the Amalfi Coast to Pompeii and Naples. 

It seemed to me that the trains in Northern Italy were nicer, but that could be that we were on high-speed trains.  These types of trains are more expensive and are nicer.  The commuter trains we took in southern Italy were not as clean and not as expensive.  Basically, you pay for what you get!

8. Italy Tips for Travel – Booking Inter City Flights in Italy airplane

So what if you don’t want to rent a car or take a train? Well, you can also take a plane.  This makes sense for example if you are traveling from Naples to Venice.  

Sometimes it is just cheaper to fly in Europe compared to trains or driving.  We rented our car in Venice and returned it in Naples.  Booking a flight from Naples to Venice was the right choice for us as it was really cheap.  We love using Ryan Air and Easy Jet.  They are budget airlines and are great for cheap flights.

Hopefully, this Italy travel tip is one that you might not have thought of.

9. Using Cell Phones in Italy international cell phone coverage

Get your phone ready!   Here are some great Italy tips for travel and what you need to do to use your phone in Italy. 

  • Check with the service provider before you go
  • Use Wi-Fi
  • Skype
  • Times have changed over the last 10 years. Most phones nowadays will work in Europe (10 years ago we had to buy a special phone for our trip) That is not necessary now.

10. Italy Tips for Travel – Plan Ahead plan a family reunion

The best Italy tip for travel is to plan ahead. Your trip is going to be awesome. To make it even more special make sure to put some time into planning.  If you need itinerary ideas check out my post on One Week Itinerary Options This will give you 4 options on where to go.

I highly recommend getting an Italy Travel Guidebook before you plan your trip.

Book Hotels Early

Finding the right hotel is so important.  It really makes or breaks a trip!  Using  Hotels.com  or Priceline is a great option to find the perfect place you want to stay when planning your trip to Italy.  I have also stayed in home rentals and booked them through VRBO.com

11. Recommendations and Advice for Traveling to Italy Italian Gifts for Italy Lovers - Italy Flag

My final recommendations for tips for traveling to Italy are the following:

Are you Ready for your Italy Trip? 

A day trip to Capri Italy

Hopefully, these travel tips for Italy will come in handy as you plan and prepare for your trip to Italy If you love Italy check out my other post listed below!

Where will your next stop be? Maybe Florence to Rome or maybe down to the Amalfi Coast We loved everywhere we visited in Italy be sure to check out my adventures in Italy!

If you are planning a northern or central Italy vacation be sure to check out my other posts  Venice, Pisa and Lucca, Romantic Venice, and Siena.

If you are looking for a southern Italy itinerary be sure to check out Capri, Pompeii, Gaeta, and the Amalfi Coast.

In addition, if you are looking for another reason to visit Italy you won’t be disappointed touring this amazing country!

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If you have any questions join our Facebook Travel CommunityWe love helping our readers plan trips! Plus, I will always share special coupons companies send me in this group! 

Check out my How Rick Steve’s Saved My Italy Trip Video!

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79 Comments

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  3. So many great tips! Too bad you have to worry about stealing so much. And I had no idea about the refund opportunity.

    1. I know it’s sad that so much petty theft is around, but honestly I saw a few of these types of scam but for the most part I felt safe and not affected!

  4. Great tips! We had an interesting experience in Florence. People would throw these prints down on the ground and you had to be careful not to step on them. One of the ladies in our group did and they chased her, telling her she needed to buy it. She was so sorry, so she did. Well in Italy if you buy something from one of these “street people” and they are not an approved vendor you may be fined 5,000 euros. Our guide made sure the drawing disappeared. Crazy!!

    1. I haven’t heard of that one! Thanks for sharing! I did see people in Venice try to take a picture of you and give you a rose and then expect to get paid. We knew about this scam before hand and sure enough one of these people approached us but we just walked away.

  5. Yeah, I don’t think my huge Versace bag would work in Europe. I would make myself a serious target. That pouch looks perfect!

  6. I actually use the exact same money belt when I travel abroad and have yet to be robbed (knock on wood). Also, that’s how my hair always looks when I travel hahahaha Always…. literally.

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  8. The last time we were in Italy – Venice and Rome – we didn’t have any issues with pickpockets. We did have the issue in Paris when a group of guys tried to steal my husbands phone. My husband grabbed his phone back and yelled pickpocket at the guy.

  9. Great tips. We also found it useful to not “look” like a tourist. We tried to blend in as much as possible, and avoid the really busy areas at night.

  10. I love this honest advice! Travel is wonderful and I recommend it to everyone, but it is important to be safe everywhere you go! Better safe than sorry!

  11. What a great list that covered many topics! I’m thinking of getting a fanny pack just for everyday use! 😉

  12. These are great tips! In fact, I have a friend who just visited Italy a few months ago and was pick-pocketed as soon as she arrived. They took her phone and wallet. She was caught completely by surprise.

  13. Great advice! Safe travels and being prepared for anything is so important to a fabulous vacation! Italy…my bucket list to see where my family is from!

  14. Thanks for sharing this Lisa! I pinned this right away to refer back to when I plan my trip to Italy. Looks so amazing!!

  15. Wow what a valuable post. I recommended this to a friend who is going to Italy soon. Thanks for the tips!

  16. Thanks for the tips! I’ve never traveled aboard, but I am like you I like people and also found it disappointing that you can’t trust them. I also had no idea that Italy had a pick pocket problem.

  17. Your picture of you and the hair straightener is hysterical, My daughters would probably want to go home if their hair straightener broke.

    1. Yes, When we got to the London airport I saw a window dedicated to this. I didn’t spend that much money, I actually bought souvenirs in the airport duty free.

  18. Italy is on my list. Looks like you had a fantastic trip and your post is very thorough! Love the video!

  19. Great tips and advice fo an Italy trip. I have never been before, but it is on my bucket list, so this is so helpful. And it always seems like the straightener or curling iron dies during international travel. I have heard that happen to so many people!

  20. Wow! There is so much information here. I will pin this for when we finally get to travel to Italy in a few years! Thanks!

  21. When I used to travel overseas for work, I learned very quickly about the electrical outlets! Also, pick-pocketers are everywhere! You must be very, very aware of the people and the surroundings…..yikes! I watched someone do this in eastern Europe–I thought there was a name for these individuals…that would make you think they were ‘friendly’ but I cannot for the life of me remember – nor can I find it on google.

  22. Great tips! I loved Italy and spent 12 days there. My grandson, daughter and I traveled with Globus so these things were all addressed before we met up with our tour group. Otherwise I wouldn’t have known about many of these things!

    I can’t wait to visit Italy again!

  23. Italy is our favorite country to travel to. I love your breakdown of the different places in Italy. I could go back year after year and visit a different spot each time…so many places to see!

  24. I had a converter in the UK (220 Volts), and thought it was enough, killed my flat iron. Now I own a flat Iron with a UK plug, and have a North American converter plug over it! That way no problems when I go to Europe, and it works just fine here. Though that extra 110 volts in the UK speeds up the process by a lot!

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