Monday, May 27, 2013

Planning for Italy

After many months of putting off visiting Italy, we finally bought our flight tickets in mid March to travel in early May. I didn't think it would be a problem getting rooms since we have 1.5 months before we travelled. But boy was I wrong!

We spent many weekends and weekday nights trying to secure rooms all over Rome, Cinque Terre, Florence and Venice with a budget and some pre-requisites such as an attached bathroom but was quite challenging. Many places have about 3-4 rooms and they're all pretty snapped up especially if we wanted to stay somewhere for like 4 nights.

My usual favourite sites like or don't quite have the choices I was looking for. I found TripAdvisor to be quite a help and there are quite a lot of B&B that have their own sites so it's quite hard to find them in a collective site.

Here are, so far, the most useful sites other than TripAdvisor for finding the perfect rooms:

We've spoilt ourselves with renting a whole loft in Rome, a room overlooking the gorgeous sea in Cinque Terre which left my budget of RM400 per night in tatters. So it had to be cheaper accommodation for Florence and Venice.

One thing I've discovered is that some rooms may have just a shower tucked in the corner of the room, no toilet, just the shower. Very strange! And the toilets mainly would have bidets! This is going to be interesting as I've never tried using one before. Also, most places accept only cash so I need to start looking for my body pouches to avoid pick pockets.

So that was just the room bookings. I then spent another two weekends figuring out the trains and buying them online. Thanks to this site called italylogue, I found where I could buy my tickets with ease.

There are two types of tickets which I bought, one is a ticket with reservation (time and seats allocated) and the other is an open ticket whereby it is valid 2 months from the date of purchase.

Thankfully (somewhat), most of my tickets are open tickets so when we had to change our flights to enable us to vote in the next Malaysian General Elections, I only forfeit one day of Rome from my schedule and not my train tickets too.

Anyway, this holiday was one of the most researched of all our trips. So much information on the net! So many decisions to make! Yes it has been stressful but I'm enjoying the process (I can't say the same for KS who has to plan what to do, which tour to take, if we need to get a phone card etc).

Blog posts coming up on our trip.

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