The Best Travel Tips

In just two weeks time, Mama Jude and I will depart on our very special trip (plus Abby and More Diane round out our traveling party) to Venice, Italy; and friends and loved ones have been sending great advice. I thought I’d share some of the best travel tips. Please add yours in the comments, dear readers!

1. “Pack everything you want to take. Then remove half of your stuff and leave it at home. Next, take twice the amount of money you’d planned.” ― Half the stuff, twice the money. OK.

2. “A day in Italy without gelato is a day wasted.” ― Eat gelato every day? Happily! I’m a lifelong mint chip addict, but I also love anything with coffee, chocolate and almonds. Of course, I LOVE to try new flavors and can’t wait to taste test all over! Don’t worry, I’ll report back and post pictures.  🙂

3. “Try grilled lamb with fresh lemon. Seriously, I don’t normally even eat lamb, but it was so amazing it was worth it. Try it and think of me.” ― You got it, my friend! I’m not normally a huge lamb fan, but I will give it a shot and toast to you.

4. “Don’t take more than you can carry on your own.” ― Having violated this rule myself in the past, I am quite sensitive to it now.

5. “Make sure you take a gondola ride ― find an honest gondolier so you don’t get ripped off, but make sure you take a gondola ride.” ― We are thrilled to experience this one! Mama Jude has never experienced it before, and neither have I; though I took her for a gondola ride in Lake Merrit in Oakland for her birthday last year (with a picnic and our favorite Italian wine, of course).

6. “Be careful of pickpockets.” ― This one is true no matter where you travel. Having lived in Israel for a year, I make every effort to remain an alert and responsible traveler. For more safe travel tips, check out the State Department’s article on tips for traveling abroad; and, of course, make sure you travel with extra copies of your itinerary, identification and credit cards kept in a different location than the originals.

7. “Be spontaneous and enjoy getting lost in Venice. It’s impossible not to get lost so it’s best if you just go with the adventure.” ― I couldn’t agree more on the traveling principle! I love to explore and travel with spontaneity. Thankfully I have a good sense of direction and an adaptable and friendly nature.

8. “Take advantage of the airport lounge. It’s worth it. Take a shower, get refreshed, start your trip right.” ― Great advice, seems like it would help reduce jet lag too! Luckily were were blessed to have the help of world-class flight expert SuperFlyer at FlightFox assisting with our flights (a mensch and a genius!) so we’ll have access to lounges in each of our layovers.

9. “Pack an extra set of clothes and basic cosmetics in your carry-on in case the airline loses your luggage. This way, you won’t be stuck; and if the airline gives you a lost-luggage voucher, you can put it toward better use than replacement underwear and deodorant.” ― I live by this travel rule. In fact, as I’ve gotten older, I would much rather travel with only a carry-on. This trip my carry-on will be half filled with medical equipment, plus we’re going for a month; so I’m checking a bag and bringing a carry-on.

10. “Be aware of differences in voltage, language, culture, dress, etc.” ― We always strive to be culturally sensitive travelers; and we try to not let our clothes, attitudes or appearances scream American (we’re very Californian that way). Blending in and experiencing local culture, cuisine and people is what travel is all about for us (we aim to be positive ambassadors from our country). Mama Jude has been studying her Italian again and we practice the phrases together. Our wonderful Venetian apartment has a hair dryer and we’ve got an adapter so we’re all set there! Travel is all about adapting.

Our dear friend Julie, who write an always fascinating blog herself, recently sent us a wonderful Real Simple article on packing smart. The article referenced Real Simple’s great Vacation Essentials Packing Checklist on their site to boot! There are loads of travel tips online, but the best are from personal experience. For more travel tips to consider, read Rick Steve’s variety of European travel tip articles.

Readers, please add your best travel tips ― Venice specific or otherwise ― in the comments section below!

6 replies

  1. I second the idea of a gondola ride! It's worth the cost. If you are near SS Apostoli, across from the fish market at Santa Sofia, ask for Stefano and tell him Kathy sent you. He will take good care of you. Or ask for Max–he's a character, or Bebo, also a good friend and very funny. They will take you away from the touristy routes, too.


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