Well, after a very long, tiring journey I am here! The excitement didn’t really hit me until I could see Rome out of my plane window. I just love this country so much. The journey didn’t run quite as smoothly as last year, however. Even though I made it and all is well, I made a few mistakes along the way.
These mistakes may seem like common sense to most of you, but I want to share the mistakes I made so you double think about the consequences of doing these things when you travel.
What NOT to do when traveling:
- Not double checking your plane departure time: I ended up getting to the JFK airport 6 hours before I had to leave!!! What is worse, is that i could have gotten there late! Memorize that itenerary, if you have to!
- Not having a travel pillow: I was extremely uncomfortable in the plane because I had nowhere to rest my head to sleep. Usually I take a window seat, but all of them were taken when I booked the ticket.
- Not having a universal adapter: I forgot to buy an universal adapter before leaving the USA and all of my electronics died. I then could not find one in Dublin, as they were all made for UK electronics. I ended up finding one in a grocerie store in Rome when I finally arrived.
- Settling with a 6 hour layover: It is so boring and not worth the saving of your money for. You waste precious exploration time in the airport.
- Arrive to Rome at night: Like any city, Rome is full of creepy perverts and thieves at night. Especially around the train station because they target tourists. I have never felt that unsafe and uncomfortable before in my life. Try to book your flight to arrive earlier in the day so you dont have to deal with being tired, having heavy bags, and feeling threatened all at the same time.
- Not making friends: A lot of people don’t like to talk to people while they are traveling. However, this is not the way to go! It relieves stress and you make a travel buddy to stick with during your journey. I made friends with this extremely nice Mexican boy named Sebastian who stuck with me when riding the train thats notorious for pick pocketing from Rome airport to the train station in Rome. Thieves have a harder time targeting 2, rather than 1!
- Not having a good map of the city you are in: I had a terrible map of Rome with me and I had an extremely hard time finding my hotel that was only a block away! Get a good map!
- Not knowing how to use a pay phone : You would think it’s easy! Not at all! I have never used one in my life (as it is the cellphone age) and could not figure the damn thing out. It didn’t help that it was in Italian! It’s good to know how to use one though, in case you need to make an emergency call.
And while I’m at it, here are some more tips I have learned in the past for anybody that’s traveling in the future:
- Do not trust anybody: Don’t smile at strangers, don’t talk to them, don’t help them, don’t walk with them. I dont care how trustworthy they look! There are some creeps out there. Use your gut feeling and question eveything.
- Get a small purse and keep ahold of it and in front of you at all times (especially in the train stations and high-tourist areas). I know a ton of people who have gotten mugged. Be aware of your important things at all times!
- Make copies of your passports and credit card numbers. Give them to somebody in the USA. Also, take a few copies with you. This will make it easier for you if your passport and creditcards get stolen.
- Inform others of where you will be and your contact information. This is just in case you go missing.
- Inform the USA embassy that you will be in the country you will be in
- Don’t make your bag too heavy! Those 2 pairs of heavy heels you might wear are not worth it! Having a heavy bag sucks and it makes you miserable. Seriously, pack as little as possible and carry your bag around for a little bit to make sure it is light enough for you.
- Wear comfy clothes on the plane and bring your glasses (if you wear them), deodorant, a toothbrush and toothpaste (travel size), and a sweatshirt. You dont have to wear the cute little dress to impress those on the other side. You will be cold on the plane and the seats on your bare skin are uncomfortable.
- If you don’t like kids screaming in your ears the whole plane ride, don’t sit in the very front rows of the sections of the plane. This is where they put parents and their infants.
- Keep your immune system healthy! Eat a lot of fruit and take vitamin C with you. I got the worse cold ever when I was in Italy last year and a few infections after that. Traveling is stressful and your body is more susceptible to catching something. You are also in a new place with different forms of diseases. Treat your body better than normal.
- Double check that your health insurance covers you over seas.
- Tell your bank you are traveling so they don’t block your purchases for suspicious behavior.
- If you want to overcome jet-lag, stay up until its time to sleep in the country (no matter how tired you are).
- Exercise right before you leave to relieve stress.
- Know how to say basic things in the native language such as: please, thank you, sorry, excuse me, no and yes, hello and goodbye, where is the bathroom?, how much money?, what is your name,? How are you?
- BE OPEN!!! Many Americans feel a need to teach people the American way of life. You are in THEIR culture now, they need to teach YOU! Learn it and embrace it. Instead of thinking “That’s weird, I don’t like that,” think “That’s interesting, why are they doing that?”
There are many things you have to think of, but these are all I can remember at the moment. I am currently on the train to Montevarchi. The view from the train of Italy’s country side is absolutely beautiful. This morning I met up with my Mexican friend, walked around Rome in the rain (quite beautiful actually), and had coffee before my departure.
I’ll update you soon about the farm! Very exciting!