9 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE TRAVELING TO ROME
Rome is a huge city with hundreds of awesome places to visit. However, Rome is also one of the most popular travel destinations in the world. Needless to say, there are tourists everywhere! Don’t get me wrong, if you are just starting your world travels, Rome is a must see. You can’t just skip Rome because it’s busy. The Romans built one the biggest and most powerful empires in history. That kind of history leaves a lot to be seen and discovered.
1 - Don’t skip main attractions! I’ve read a few blogs that advised tourists to skip crowded sights. These places are crowded for a reason; they are magnificent and have a tremendous historic value. You will not want to go to Rome and not visit the Roman Colosseum or the Trevi Fountain for example. These attractions will be crowded but I’ll give you some tips later on this post to try and avoid the busiest visiting times.
2 - Research restaurants. If eating out and exploring a new culture through its cuisine is of high importance to you, I recommend you to look up restaurants and reviews ahead of time. We were very disappointed that most restaurants in the center of Rome were tourist traps. The food was expensive was not exactly the Italian delicacies we were hoping to try. I’m sure it’s not impossible to find great Italian food in the center of town but you may have better luck if you go a little further out. Bonus Tip: Tipping in Italy is not expected nor required. That rule applies for the majority of European countries. In Italy however, most restaurants will charge you a service or table fee.
3 - Big Bus. I’m usually not a huge fan of tour buses, but in a city like Rome you will get your money’s worth. Taxis are very expensive and if you visit the city in the summer months (it gets HOT) like we did, you’ll be glad to have the extra lift.
4 - Bring a reusable bottle of water. I didn’t actually do this one myself, but I was told that the water that runs out of the fountains throughout the city is potable. If you are looking to save a few extra bucks (sometimes significant savings throughout the course of your trip), bring a reusable bottle and fill it up, as you need.
5 - Rent a bike. My husband and I have rented cars in multiple countries including Japan, but we wouldn’t recommend renting one in Rome based on the traffic jams we saw. Rome is an old city and that get’s reflected in their roads. Instead, we recommend renting a bike. There’s no better way to visit a city like Rome than to explore it by bike.
6 - Visit early or late. Some attractions are worth visiting earlier or later in the day. The Trevi Fountain is a great example of a sight that you should visit right as the sun starts to rise. During the summer, the sun rises at 5:35am; so if you’re an early riser you can have the fountain all to yourself. The first time we visited the fountain it was around 4:00pm and the second time it was around midnight. At both times, it was equally as busy. The Vatican is another great example of a place that gets somewhat crowded during the day (but because of it’s massive area, it may not feel as busy as other places). I still recommend visiting during the day, but if you don’t mind visiting after dark you’ll get a very different perspective of this amazing place.
7 - Don’t over plan. I am guilty of this one (more than once, but I have learned to relax overtime). I jam packed our 5 days in Rome with sights to see. I didn’t leave any room for us to go out for relaxing walks or to get lost and run into fun and unexpected places. Having things to do on your trip is just as important as having nothing to do at all. There’s a lot to see in Rome, but as long as you accept that you won’t be able to see it all, you will be ok :)
8 - Cover up in Sacred Places. When visiting places such as the Sistine Chapel, bring something to cover your shoulders and cleavage with, because they won’t let you in otherwise. My friend was asked to wear the sweater she had with her, and I heard other girls not being able to go inside because they were wearing very short shorts and skirts.
9 - Global Wifi. Unless you can add an unlimited (and most importantly reliable) international data plan to your existing cell phone plan, I HIGHLY recommend buying a SOLIS by Sky Roam (or similar). I have brought it on a couple of trips already and it’s truly a lifesaver. The battery life is 16 hours, so you don’t have to worry about it dying halfway through your adventures. Get lost with peace of mind.