Every day-tripper dreams of going away on a long trip. Maybe its just a week, or a month, or maybe even a year. The lure of the horizon grips us all and once it takes hold there is nothing you can do but go. Italy had always been on our list of destinations my wife and I dreamed about, and when opportunity knocked, we jumped at the chance to spend 8 days exploring Naples. In the next few posts, we hope to relive some of our adventures, and hopefully inspire you to go on some of your own!
Choosing to Travel – 6 months out
Using my spring break vacation from work allowed Kess and I to venture to Naples, Italy in April. As we are both big-time believers in planning ahead, we booked our flight and hotel 6 months in advance. Flying on a budget always implies coach, and these seats fill up fast due to their low cost. Booking early gave us an opportunity to select our seats on all the flights to ensure we sat exactly where we wanted to, and for us, thats always in the back of the plane.
*Travel Tip* – sitting in the back of coach often means you will get a set of 2 seats instead of a row of three seats, which is great if you just want to sit with your travel buddy. It also means the
steward(ess) will be seated nearby, and they are full of excellent travel stories, advice on what to do in the airports you are landing at, and occasionally extra snacks and drinks. [although that last point isn’t always a good thing]
To us, the other big perk that follows booking early is a chance to set money aside for adventures within the trip. Remember, arriving in a new location and finding a place to stay is only 5% of the journey – use the other 95% to make awesome memories. For our own journey, we chose to stay in the Hotel Forum, overlooking the ruined city of Pompeii. We will talk more about those adventures soon!
Travel Preparations – 2 months out
All great adventures begin with a departure from your comfort zone, and our trip over the Atlantic was no exception. While I speak some Spanish with a terrible accent and my wife speaks a smattering of French, neither of us had ever been exposed to any form of Italian, much less an immersion experience that was likely to happen in lo stivale. In the hopes of getting a handle on the language, we purchased an Italian Phrasebook and CD, and began listening to the language on the way work. This was a lifesaver, and we quickly became proficient in a few basic phrases that we knew would be useful. I also realized that the Italian language and the Spanish I knew was very similar to the ear, and this gave me a boost in confidence leading up to the trip.
As our departure date came closer, we made sure to leave an itinerary with our loved ones here in the states, and also began to check over our packing lists. Despite the 8 day, 7 night trip, we decided on packing light and focusing on the essentials. Our plans were about sight seeing, not on attending any fancy dress events. 3 pairs of Eddie Bauer First Ascent Khakis, a pair of shorts, 5 t shirts, a pair of nike tennis shoes, and a pair of hiking boots rounded out my packing needs. Kess packed a similar kit, albeit she may have taken a few more shirts to mix up her look :).
*Travel Tip* – don’t pack the kitchen sink! No one wants to be the tourist with two overstuffed duffle bags waddling through the airport. Take only what you think you will absolutely need, and if by chance you forget something, you can always pick one up at your destination!
The last thing we did before we left was to climb Sharp Top Mountain with my little brother. For some reason, we always like to climb a mountain before going on trip – it just seams to always happen, and its become a bit of a tradition. (but that is a post for another day).
Day 0 – Wheels Up! will be the next post in the series, but we’d love to hear what you think so far.
–until next time, wander freely
*PC for featured image: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/4/45/Italy_looking_like_the_flag.svg/2000px-Italy_looking_like_the_flag.svg.png