Monthly Archives for January 2015

From Culture to Food: How to Make The Most of Your Trip to Italy

Best Destinations - Amanda - January 30, 2015





With some of the most impressive food and cultural landmarks in the world, Italy boasts millions of tourists each year in cities like Florence, Rome, and Venice. These easy tips will help you make the most of your Italian experience.

Avoiding Lines

No trip to Italy would be complete with a trip to see famous sites like the Colosseum, the Florentine Cathedral, or the Leaning Tower of Pisa. While getting to see the sites from afar is never an issue, trying to get inside for a proper tour can prove challenging.

Luckily, if you’re a European passport holder many cultural landmarks offer the ability to get discounted tickets for being an EU citizen. In combination with discounted tickets, a few select days of each month are appropriated by the Italian government to offer free entry to museums and famous sites.

With cheap tickets in hand, arriving at the sites early in the morning is the best way to guarantee an easy entrance. Because organized tours account for the majority of tourist traffic, they are generally only allowed to schedule times for tours during the mid to late afternoon. Beating the rush is easy if you arrive before them.

Eating Well

Eating well in Italy isn’t hard, but finding the restaurants that the locals enjoy may be a bit tougher. Italian restaurants near major tourist sites are generally overpriced and overrated.

Tourist season in Italy is considered to be between July and September. During this time, many Italians leave their major cities, close their businesses, and head for the coast. They avoid the tourist rush and the only restaurants left open are those catering to tourists’ needs. The remainder of major Italian cities is left to look like ghost towns.

If you want the best culinary experience while abroad, try and go in the early part of the summer or late autumn when the true Italian restaurants reopen.

Train Travel

The fastest way to get between major Italian cities is by train. Buying tickets online comes at a premium though. If you know which days you would like to take the train, it’s best to arrive at the train station on the day of travel and buy your train tickets from the ticket counter or from one of the many automated ticket machines. Italian trains are notoriously under-booked and the train services discount tickets on the day of travel to entice more riders. Take advantage of these discounts to avoid paying hefty premiums.

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Pack that winter wardrobe

Stories and Travel Info - Amanda - January 9, 2015


Packing for a summer holiday is relatively simple in many ways – flip flops, shorts, t-shirts, vest-tops, swim-shorts, bikinis, boom! Done! When it comes to winter packing however, things get a little more difficult, and a little heavier.

You could be going skiing, you could be going on a city break, or you could be heading out for a spot of winter sun, but whatever the occasion, you need warmth, and warmth takes up more room in a suitcase, and is heavier overall. Dragging said suitcase from home to the coach station or train station and onwards could be an issue, so I’d simply side-step all that completely and drive myself, booking a bargain parking spot for airport parking with ParkBCP, and saying goodbye to all that stress. I’m all for cutting stress completely out of the equation!

Nobody misses out with this nationwide service, so you don’t have to worry if you’re not travelling from a major airport, as you will find facilities to suit you, including Gatwick North parking for those travelling from north of the border. Costs cut and stress gone!

There’s no getting around the fact that you’re going to be taking less for more weight with winter packing, but you can be a little savvy by wearing your heaviest clothing to travel in, such as your big coat and boots, so you don’t have to find room for them in your case.

I guess you also need to give a lot of thought to what it is you’re going to be doing whilst you’re away. If you’re going skiing, are you going to need a lot of evening going out clothes, or is it more of a laid-back après-ski kind of affair? If you’re heading off on a city break, are you going to be doing big nights out, or are you going to be a bit more casual? And if you’re looking for winter sun, you need to combine your sunshine wardrobe with warm clothes for travelling to and from the airport, otherwise you’ll freeze!

You can’t just throw a few clothes in your case and hope for the best, because you’re bound to make a few mistakes, however I always find that layering works well. If you’re heading somewhere particularly cold, think long-sleeved tops, jumpers, cardigans, leggings, jeans, boots, and throw on some jewellery to spruce an outfit up for evening. For you guys out there, jeans can be dressed up with a smart shirt, so you don’t need an outfit for every day and night like you would during summer.

Winter packing is about organization and thinking ahead, if you can nail that, you can cut down your excess luggage bill!

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