TRAVEL VIRGINS - The Trip to Italy

by Andy Jay Bennett in

There's a famous quote about international travel that, in just a few succinct words, captures the grandeur, splendor and high-octane wonder of globe trotting:

"Guys ... where are we?"  - Charlie on LOST

I've done a little traveling - I hope to do much more - and I think that hobbity Brit with the hankerin' for smack was on to something. I find that, when I'm doing it right, travel leaves me with that very same feeling.

NOTE FOR CLARITY: By 'same feeling' I mean sense of wonder at your current location, not a heroin nod.

ANOTHER NOTE, THIS ONE FOR THE KIDS: Don't do heroin, guys. Okay? Sure, he looks all blissed-out in that photo, but look what happens to him when he goes through withdrawl:

Anyway, digression endeth.

I've been to London and Paris, but that was 15 years ago. And I've taken massive and massively fun road trips to the East Coast and West Coast with my wife, Katy. But by far the biggest trip I've ever taken was taken (took? takened? tooken?) this September, when Katy and I set off for a two-week trip to Italy. 

We decided to do it because we like to screw over our future selves with additional financial stressors and burdens. AND we really wanted to go. Katy had never been to Europe and we could no longer resist the tug we felt to take a trip overseas. We settled on Italy after jettisoning an insane three-week itinerary that had us visiting enough countries to fill a U.N. Catalina Wine Mixer.

We decided on our final itinerary by asking each other a single question: If this was the only trip to Europe we would ever take, what was the one thing we had to see? For Katy it was Venice. For me it was Rome. So Italy became our destination. 

We made this decision over a year before our trip. Which meant I had LOTS of time for research and planning. This is something I enjoy to an unhealthy degree. Digging into blogs and forums for the perfect nugget of travel tip wisdom makes me feel like a vacation archeologist. No: a passport-packing Indiana Jones. Yeah, that's sexier.  

I spent 12 months making plans, changing plans and honing plans to the ultimate 2-week Italy itinerary. There were no travel agents or tour companies. We did it all ourselves: from the flight to the lodging to the trains to the attractions. Along the way we had incredible experiences and we made some bonehead moves. And, over the next series of blog posts, I'll lay it all out for you. You'll get every piece of advice I've got. Maybe it'll help you plan your perfect trip to Italy. Hell, maybe it'll help you make a better one. 

Stay tuned to the ol' blog folks. There's a lot of stuff coming your way. 

NEXT UP: The websites, books and resources you actually need to plan your trip.