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How much time should be spent | Travel with me to Italy

time spent italy travel


Well, as much as you can.  I recommend a minimum of 10 FULL days in Italy.  Remember, those in North America lose a day flying to Europe so I always count 2 days there and 1 day back as travel days.  I never count these as vacation days.  I will explain why at least 10 days are needed.

1.  Travel effort and expense.  As I mentioned above, an Italian vacation involves a THREE day travel commitment.  Spending 50% of your time getting from here to there is not conductive to a memorable or relaxing vacation.  Taking a full two weeks drops that percentage to 21%.  Let’s face it, airfare to Europe is not cheap no matter what day of the week or what time of year.  Why would you spend a major portion of your vacation expense flying to Italy without spending a good amount of time in Italy.

2. Transportation time within Italy.  On a map, Italy looks very manageable with simple connections and distances between the major cities.  What a map doesn’t tell you is when and where the trains or taxis will strike, how many roundabouts you will take before heading in the right direction, which little old lady will hold the attention of the only open ticket booth and thus the entire line.  Or which petrol stations will be on an extended lunch break, where a local market will have an entire street blocked off, or which 1/3 of the Florence roads will be under construction.  Travel from Point A to Point B from almost anywhere in Italy is an all day deal.  Then there is the check in process, assuming you found your little gem on the first try.  There are passports to check, forms to sign, cheeks to kiss, and bags to lug.  This is one of the major reasons I recommend a minimum of 2 nights at any one location.  Ideally a minimum of 2 full days and 3 nights.


3. La Dolce Vita.  The sweet life.  Italy is meant to be savored.  Cherished.  Seduced.  You can’t do that on a one week itinerary.  The more time spent, the more you can slow down to see and feel Italy.  The essence of Italy, not the checklists will be what makes you fall in love.  Why would you want to rush that?

I tell everyone, you can’t see and do it all on the first trip.  You will be back.


Photo courtesy of MarcheBreaks

Copyright 2014, Once in a Lifetime Travel

Dreaming of Italy?  Follow me.

Facebook Fan Giveaway | Italy Armchair Traveler Package

I started a little giveaway on my Facebook page but realized I better not leave my great blog followers out.  10690131_10152474017393201_1420239102063667588_n

I had put together an armchair traveler package if 1000 LIKES was reached by midnight this Sunday. Within 24 hours that goal was met!  I had no idea how fast the likes would come or how great the support would be.  I’m keeping the Sunday midnight deadline even though the goal as been met to give as many people a chance to win as possible.  Follow the link HERE to my Facebook fan page and simply hit like.

One person from the 1000 followers will be picked at random. New or old, everyone has a chance.  So invite your friends, tell your mom and bribe your neighbors. Dreaming of Italy? Follow me.


Copyright 2014, Once in a Lifetime Travel

Dreaming of Italy?  Follow me.

Wanderlust Wednesday | Simple lunch


italy travel

Copyright 2014, Once in a Lifetime Travel

Dreaming of Italy?  Follow me.

When is the best time to travel | Travel with me to Italy

best time to travel italy

I get asked this all the time.  This is usually the first question my clients have and the first hurdle we tackle together.

So, when is the best time to travel to Italy?

The answer is not so simple and is actually different for every traveler.  The best time to travel depends on several factors which I will break down here.

1.  Budget.  Money usually drives most decisions and your budget can be tweaked quite a bit just by changing the dates of your travel.  High season comes with the most expensive rates and the least chance of negotiating any price breaks.  Shoulder season comes before and after high season and usually has lower pricing, more flexibility but comes with the risk of some poor weather.   High season runs from the end of May through September.  September is NOT shoulder season.  In fact, I find in my business September is one of my busiest months with accommodations booking their best rooms well in advance.  April and October are classic shoulder season months with early October being my personal favorite time to travel with the easiest bookings.

2.  Experiences.  Wanting to spend your time soaking up the hot sun along the coast?  Packing only shorts and bikinis?  Can’t stand the rain? Or planning on hiking in the Dolomites.  Summer.  Hate crowds, long lines and annoying tourists?  Temperatures above 70 degrees make you melt?  March, April or October.  Always dreamed of being a part of the grape harvest?  Or go white truffle hunting?  September.

3.  Time off.  Many travelers only have the summer months available for travel.  For these travelers my biggest tip is to try to avoid traveling in August.  The weather is scorching making cities like Rome nearly unbearable.  Italians also traditionally take this entire month off and head to the coast.  This means many little businesses are shut down and the seaside is jam-packed with vacationing Italians.  Don’t panic if August is the only time you can travel but the earlier in the summer you can leave the more enjoyable the temperatures and certain locations will be.  I will talk more about how long you should go in an upcoming post.

My two cents?  I have traveled to Italy in almost all of the seasons, from March through the end of October.  Each month has something special about it and each month comes with its own draw backs.  Ask yourself what is most important for you, what would be the most disappointing?   Once you have an honest answer, pick the time of year that will make you the happiest.  For me, I love traveling from September through October.  I love fall.  I love the weather, I love watching locals start to let their hair down.  I love watching the harvest of the grapes and olives.  I hate scorching hot weather and long lines.  September and October are my travel soul mates.




My love affair with rome


Lucignanello Bandini

italy grape harvest

long lines vatican money laundering

vernazza cinque terre

Copyright 2014, Once in a Lifetime Travel

Dreaming of Italy?  Follow me.

Serenity in Nesso Italy

Photo credit unknown.  Nesso, Italy

Photo credit unknown. Nesso, Italy


May life


embroider your days


jewels of serenity


Copyright 2014, Once in a Lifetime Travel

Dreaming of Italy?  Follow me.

Wanderlust Wednesday | Florence Sunset

Photo credit unknown

Photo credit unknown

Copyright 2014, Once in a Lifetime Travel

Dreaming of Italy?  Follow me.

Wanderlust Wednesday | City Life

Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of

Copyright 2014, Once in a Lifetime Travel

Dreaming of Italy?  Follow me.

Wanderlust Wednesday | Vatican Views

Worth every step and drop of sweat.

Photo courtesy of The Ultra Linx

Photo courtesy of The Ultra Linx

Copyright 2014, Once in a Lifetime Travel

Dreaming of Italy?  Follow me.

Wanderlust Wednesday | Nonna

If I could pinch her cheeks I would.

Photo credit Nick Zungoli

Photo credit Nick Zungoli

Copyright 2014, Once in a Lifetime Travel

Dreaming of Italy?  Follow me.

Worry then breathe

Quotation-Martin-Luther-world-change-Meetville-Quotes-88625I worry.  I’m a worrier by nature.  By design.  I come from a very long line of worriers.  I have learned that I must spend time every day focused on gratitude to help plant my feet in the present and keep me from anxiously looking too far into the future.

Worry isn’t always a bad thing.  As a travel planner it helps me anticipate potential issues before they ever become problems.   I map out not only Plan A but B and C.  My worry channeled appropriately and effectively becomes a powerful toll of intuitiveness.  Worry keeps me sharp and prepared.

Worry sometimes gets the upper hand though and begins to spill into my every thought, filling the corners of my mind and wreaking havoc in my dreams.  Writing helps to control and contain.  I once read, “If you want to change the world, pick up a pen and write.”  I’m happy to just change the climate of my thinking with my words.  So here I sit.

I worry about Ebola.  Just like everyone else in recent days.  Although around for decades, it has made a dramatic debut here and we are now painfully aware of how truly under prepared we are.

I worry about travel.  I selfishly worry that my plans for Italy next fall will be effected; that my business will suffer.  I worry that this will change us, isolate us.  Make us more distant and less trusting.

And I worry for nurses.  I am a nurse.  I’ve been in the ER and ICU for over 17 years.  I’ve worked from the barrios of Phoenix and the best trauma center in Seattle to small town Montana.

I can promise you that I’ve seen it all.

I have stories that ban me from dinner tables and ones that still leave me in tears.  I have worked under pressure so intense to this day I have no idea how I fought through.  I’ve held hands and whispered in ears that it’s OK to let go more times than I can count.  I’ve carried a tiny baby to the morgue.  I’ve been spit at, peed on, kicked and nearly choked during my pregnancies.  I’ve been called every name in the book.  And then some.  I actually know what brain matter looks like and I’ve watched two students pass out because of it.  I’ve fought for my patient’s rights and dignity, sometimes defending them from doctors.  Sometimes their own families.  I shared a hug with a man no one ever thought would survive.  I even borrowed a smoke from a bum on ER curbside.


I worry most because I am a nurse.  I know exactly what a critically ill dying patient looks like.  Nurses maintaining the ventilators for breathing while titrating a myriad of IV medications along with watching labs, giving blood, pushing fluids and keeping things clean.  Constantly cleaning.  Blood, vomit, sputum, drainage, pee and stool.  Endless amounts of stool.  Care of this kind of patient is tremendous, let alone if improperly supplied.  Are we expected to roll up our sleeves and do the best we can with what we have available?  Make due like we all have done so many times before.  Like those nurses in Texas?

I worry about fear.  Fear can be as great a danger as the danger itself.  Tweets, posts, rants and blogs all with more undertones of fear than fact.  How can one safely tip toe around the edges without falling in.

I worry about balance.  Finding a way to prepare for anything without letting my efforts become a obsession that destroys the one true thing I do have at this moment.  Now.  This day. The present to be with what is mine.  They sometimes wake me up at all hours in the night and hand me boogers but they are beautiful and full and my treasures.

I breathe now.  In and out.  Often.  I hold on to faith and hope while always keeping one eye on my Plan A.  And B.  And C.


Copyright 2014, Once in a Lifetime Travel

Dreaming of Italy?  Follow me.


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