Our Italy Trip Q&A

Okay girls, newsletter subscribers got first access so make sure you subscribe to all my newsletters (sign up HERE) but since this was such a popular topic, I wanted to share our Italy trip Q&A with everyone here. Hopefully this is helpful since I saw a lot of you were planning and going on Italy trips of your own this summer!

For all of the beauty Qs, I also put together all of the beauty products I brought to Italy in this blog post and a What to Pack for Europe post here!

I plan to do blog posts for each city we visited so stay tuned for LOTS of Italy content! For now, here are my FAQs…

Q: Did you use one travel agent to arrange all of your Italy plans?

A: Yes! Our friends had an amazing connection for a travel agent and he was AWESOME! We used Livio (email for inquiries here info@zestofitaly.com) at one point he was offering a 15% discount for my readers so if you reach out to him you can see if he’s still offering it. The bottom line is he was BEYOND helpful in mapping out so many aspects of our trip. From where to stay, experiences, logistics, and places worth visiting based on our group’s needs (kids, etc). Highly recommend him and wish we were using him again for our upcoming trip this Summer!

Q: What’s the real deal on tipping? How much, how often?

A: Gosh I remember having that debate when we were there and I cannot remember for the life of me what we decided on! I literally just Googled and read several articles and they all basically said the same thing. For exceptional service, 10% of the bill is the norm. Please feel free to chime in if you know otherwise!

Q: How long was your trip?

A: Not long enough! 😉 We loved it so much it is truly a trip I will cherish 25 years from now! We visited 7 places in 21 days.

Q: Did you feel safe? Any sketchy situations?

A: Italy was amazing. There were not really sketchy situations but I’m sure working with a knowledgeable travel agent who guided us in the right direction played a role.

Q: How did you get from location to location?

A: We pretty much used private transport for most of the traveling. We used a car service from Rome to Amalfi. The only in-between flight we took was to and from Sicily but well worth it! We rented cars and drove to Tuscany, Umbria, and Florence (I do not recommend driving in Florence lol) then on to Venice.

Q: What is a rough budget you set for this trip? Hotels, airfare, etc.?

A: You know I think this is a tricky one to answer because honestly your trip can differ immensely based on how many places you visit, your accommodations, the time of year you go, etc. We went into this trip knowing we wanted to do the most (because the last time we were in Europe was 10 years ago and weren’t sure when we were going to be back). We ended up spending more than we wanted to but if we could do it all over again, I honestly wouldn’t change much! I truly thought we wouldn’t be doing another trip like this for another ten years (hence why we went all in) but the kids did so well, we decided to plan a different trip this summer! So my tip for getting a good feel for the cost of a trip is to just start mapping it out. Pick the top spots you want to travel to and your dates. Where do you want to start and end? Then start playing around with dates and find the best flights. After that, start researching hotels because that will plus or minus your budget substantially. Then factor in what your saves and splurges are going to be for the trip. I knew for this trip my top priority splurges were going to be private transports in the busier spots (because we went to Italy in the busiest month of the year and certain places were SO crowded). I also knew I wanted to do an upgrade on the return flight home and splurge on fun experiences. Things like the gelato-making class in Rome, the in-house pasta-making night in Tuscany, and renting the boat in Amalfi for the day. Those are some of my favorite memories from the trip and are worth the added cost IMO. We saved on hotels in the larger cities (like Rome and Florence) because you’ll spend most of your time out of the hotel and exploring the city.

Q: How is traveling with kids to Italy? Any tips or tricks?

A: Wait until they’re not in a stroller anymore ha! Kidding but kind of not. We had toyed with the idea of going a couple of years earlier but ultimately decided against it because Luca was in his “uppy” phase. That’s what we called when every 5 minutes he was asking someone to carry him lol. Stephen said he did not want to carry him around Italy all day (which in hindsight was probably the best call). This stage where Ava was 10 and Luca was 7 was AWESOME! They walked everywhere and experienced so much. I’m not sure Luca will remember this trip so much but I know Ava will for sure! I know there are families that take their littles (strollers, car seats, and all!) and have loved it- so if that’s you please feel free to chime in! I also think If you’re headed to Rome look into the golf cart tours! I’ve had two friends that have done it and said it was much better than walking around in the heat all day.

Q: What is a must-go-to city and restaurant?

A: Oh that is such a tough question! Here are three that stand out… La Scoglio in Amalfi (stunning on the water and tons of celebs dine there), Da Adolfo also Amalfi, and if you’re a foodie… Rosciolo in Rome was insane!

Q: Heading to Rome and Almafi in 3 weeks. What should I shop for while I’m there?

A: All the designer thingssss you’ve been eyeing! Ha! I actually went on the trip with zero intention of buying anything but you can snag some seriously good deals on designer items there and you also get the VAT tax back too (just be sure to submit your forms at the airport).

Q: How was traveling with another family for so long?

A: We were all concerned about that but it was great! I feel like you kind of have an idea of certain families that you can (and can’t) travel with and these are our peeps! It also helps that kids match up so they had each other as well. I think changing locations often helped keep things interesting and also we pretty much had our own space in each location so it was nice if you needed a breather you could go back to your own hotel and chill. I think the key takeaway here is also to try to be flexible and as easygoing as possible. It’s nice to randomly book a dinner separate or go explore with you just your family some days too. Don’t feel pressured to meet up for every meal and excursion.

Q: Did you like Sicily? Considering there or Puglia.

A: Sicily was one of my favorite spots on the trip and I will 100% go back there again! We were only there for two nights as it was a last-minute add on and wished we had more time there. I heard Puglia is also amazing and Sardina is another place I wish we were able to add to our trip too.

Q: If you do not speak Italian did you find it difficult to get around?

A: No not at all! The only issue was when we were driving and trying to understand some of the road signs and tolls. The tickets are still coming in the mail almost 8 months later lol.

Q: What are hair tools that can withstand the voltage conversion?

A: T3 worked! Both my Dyson and Steampod straightener blew the first week we were there (even with the plug converter!) but my girlfriend’s T3 curling iron worked just fine with this converter and I kept having to borrow it.

Q: What adapter/converter did you use for your hair dryer and straightening iron?

A: It’s linked on my Amazon Travel Essentials post HERE!

Q: How did it feel COVID safety-wise?

A: Honestly it was a “you’re fully committed” kind of feel. Not very many people were wearing masks and July is the busiest month to travel there so you really have to be okay with that.

Q: How late did you eat dinner with kids in Italy?

A: We did dinners usually around 7 or 8 but honestly some nights wouldn’t get back to our hotels until midnight and it was so fun!

Q: Are Amalfi, Positano, and Capri crazy expensive?

A: Yes and yes- I think everywhere is expensive right now. We actually stayed at a boutique hotel in a smaller low key town because everything was booked up but it ended up being a blessing. The major spots in Amalfi were so packed so it felt nice to retreat back to our quiet spot.

Q: Favorite place from your trip? And where you will skip next time.

A: Another hard question. They were all so memorable and special for different reasons! I think Sicily and Amalfi were the best! Tuscany was so charming and a much-needed relaxing break in the middle of our trip. If I could change anything I would have added additional nights in Amalfi and Sicily and maybe one less day in Venice.

Q: Name of the villa in Tuscany, please? Looks dreamy.

A: It’s this one here! Our Tuscany Villa.

Q: How did the youngest kids do with all of the walking and sightseeing in Rome?

A: We went in July which is the hottest and busiest month to go. The kids did great but it was a constant pit stop for an Aperol Spritz for the adults and gelato for the kids! I highly recommend buying this portable fan. They were used nonstop!

Q: Did you have any trouble with checked bags at the airport? Any tips?

A: Knock on wood we didn’t! However one of our friends lost their suitcase for over a week and it was nuts trying to get ahold of customer service to get it back. They ended up having to drive to a holding center and pick it up themselves in another city where it had been shipped to. I highly recommend getting an air tag for your checked bags. We didn’t, but now we will be for our next trip.

Q: Best tips for carrying money in Europe… do you use a specific card? Or exchange currency?

A: We just used our American Express and then brought some Euros as well.

Q: First-time Europe travel tips?

A: The time change/ jet lag is the first thing that comes to mind. We booked a night flight so we were able to get a few hours of sleep on the plane. We arrived in the morning, checked in, and hit the ground running so we would fall asleep until that night. Try to get on the Europe schedule as soon as you get there.

Q: What was your actual itinerary (locations and nights spent in each place)?

A: We were there for almost three weeks and it looked like this if I can remember correctly…








I hope all of this was helpful for you guys and feel free to leave any additional feedback/tips if you’ve been or questions below and I’ll try to answer them!

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  1. Tysm for all the tips. 🙂 By chance would you mind providing the name or website for the private car service you used? Debating on all the modes of TRANSPORTATION for our trip in sept.
    Thanks again!

  2. Are you happy you bounced around so much? For another trip like this, woul you visit as many cities or would you prefer less cities, but more days at each place?

    1. We actually enjoyed switching it up and seeing as much as we could. I mentioned in one of the questions I probably would have done more time in the beach spots because they were so great esp with kids. So maybe taking one spot off the list and then adding more time in other places would have been good too.

  3. Hi Andee,

    Did you use special money belts to carry cash/ cards, etc to protect from muggers or pick pockets? Do you think it would be safe to use a Bandolier strap? I was thinking of bringing my Bandolier Utility belt (Billie strap) to be hands-free but not sure if it would be unsafe? Suggestions?

  4. Hi
    Andee, we are planning a road trip to italy and now I am looking again through all of your stories and this post. It looke amazing! Would you be able to recommend the hotels or places you stayed? Thank you and looking forward to more of your traveling posts in the future with your beautiful family.

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