Is tap water safe to drink in Rome? How NOT to get fined on the local busses, and the great Roman con alert. Whether you're deciding if a tour is the best way to visit an attraction, or you're deciding on how much to budget for your maiden trip to Rome; I hope this video will help make the difference. Happy watching
Apart from being pioneers of underfloor central heating* and the first ever shopping mall**, Rome has to be one of the most photogenic cities in Europe. Touted as the world’s largest open-air museum, Rome is indeed as magnificent in real life as it is was in my history books.
This honeymoon, our first stop did not disappoint, even with the immense anticipation we had as first timers to Italy.
Thanks to an online promo by Singapore Airlines, we managed to get a really good deal on flights – from Kuala Lumpur to Rome, and back via Paris. Prior to this trip I had not done a sector longer than 8 hours with Singapore Airlines, but the recent experience proved that their award for being the world's best airlines (for flying economy class)*** was well deserved.
Total travel time from Kuala Lumpur to Rome = 17 hours + 20 minutes (inclusive of a 3.75-hour layover time at Changi International Airport).
What we liked about this flight was the arrival in Rome at 7.50am, giving us 1 full day unwasted. Granted, the line for non-EU passport holders at the immigration was long...
...and the traffic jam into the city set us back by an hour.
However, we still arrived at our Roman accommodation just before 10am, giving us ample time to settle in, unpack and head out for our first day of exploration.
What To Expect
Only after scrambling to grab the irresistible flight deal did I eventually find out that the best time to visit Italy was between the months of April to May, and late September to October; so you can only imagine how pleased I was with myself that week. Lol.
If you’re planning a trip to Rome, do note that the entire country goes on vacation from August 15 onwards, hence many family-run hotels, restaurants, and shops will most likely be closed. Also, we were told that it can get uncomfortably hot, muggy, and over-crowded in August, which is a very good reason why you may want to avoid that time of the year altogether.
Our arrival in Rome during the first week of October was greeted by 28 degrees of heat, clear skies and no sign of rain, so if you’re packing for that time of the year, you can be prepared to travel relatively light. :-)
Expact to do a lot of walking so pack in a pair of comfortable walking shoes, or sandals if you like. Bear in mind though that there is a sensible dresscode for certain churches and of course, the Vatican City:
"Access to Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel, Vatican Gardens and Saint Peter's Basilica is permitted only to visitors dressed appropriately (no sleeveless blouses, no miniskirts, no shorts, no hats allowed)."
For other information on backpacks, photography, etc. you can visit this link:
Budgeting for Rome
Depending on the number of sights you intend to see and how picky you are with food, you should be prepared to spend an average of between €40 to €100 per day for two, inclusive of bus/train tickets.
You can get a decent pizza meal with 1 drink in the city centre for about €10 per person if you’re not too fussed about food.
One of the more impressive pizzas we tasted this trip was at a neighbourhood pizzaria called Remo, just around the corner from our apartment.
2 yummy large pizzas + 1 big bottle of sparkling water + tiramisu to share cost us €21.50; which we thought was fantastic, considering the fact that a pizza half as decent would cost us the same, if not more, at an Italian restaurant in Kuala Lumpur.
Where to stay
The apartment we stayed in was approximately:
- 12 minutes walk to the Mouth of Truth
- 15 minutes walk to the Pyramid of Caius Cestius and the metro station
- 30 minutes walk to the Trevi Fountain
- 35 minutes walk to the Colosseum and the Pantheon
- 40 minutes walk to the Spanish Steps
So it wasn’t smack right in the middle of the action, but it was close enough.
Will share more next week!
** Wolf, Greg, ed. 2003. Cambridge Illustrated History: Roman World. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press
Murphey’s Law states that anything that can go wrong will go wrong.
Nevertheless, I always thought it was less depressing to just expect the best, yet still prepare for the worst.
So you’re planning your honeymoon or a trip to somewhere you’ve never visited before.
While I enjoy the occasional spontaneity, I always believe that as long as you find yourself the slightest bit conscious about the cost of your trip, you need to plan.
Planning is not exclusive to boring people, nor does it mean eliminating the fun in your travels altogether. If you do it right, you’ll not only save yourself unnecessary stress (and the potential grumpy travel companion) but also ensure that you come home from the trip with no regrets; especially if the great Italy is on the list.
IMHO, planning a trip = planning a project. Being the choleric-melancholy that I am, here are some of the things I always take into account when travelling. The so-called boring albeit essential bits; whatever you want to call them.
1) What are your objectives
To relax? To see as much as you can? Shop? Eat your way through the trip? The sooner you identify and agree on the priorities of the trip with your travel companion, the easier it will be for you to plan and work your way around item #3.
6 months ago, my husband and I came across this rather amusing honeymoon-compatibility checklist:
Not sure what you want to do this trip? I dare you to waste 5 minutes of your life and take the test. :-D
Well we did, and barely made it. But then again, we recently came back from our honeymoon sans casualties so I suppose we’re okay. Mwahaha~
2) What is your budget
Your total budget should include flights, airport transfers, accommodation (and city tax, if applicable), food, transportation, entrance fees to the sights/attractions you intend to visit, souvenirs (if applicable), local SIM card/pocket wifi rental; plus an extra 10% buffer for any emergencies or ad-hoc expenses.
From now till the week before you leave for your trip, you may also want to start monitoring the currency exchange rates.
3) Determine the timeline of your trip
Outline your schedule in a calendar for a macro view of your trip.
There are usualy more things to consider than we’d like to assume. For example, the conduciveness of certain activies in the weather/season you’re visiting, or perhaps certain sights may be closed during specific days in the week; planning a theme park visit on a weekday as opposed to a weekend may be a better bet, buying advance tickets to a museum to skip the lines and guarantee full access, and identifying the sale season in advance if you’re planning a shopping trip, etc. So many things worth considering.
Build your travel checklist as you plan, so that you do not leave anything out. Start with your passport, flight tickets/itinerary, local currency and travel adapters at the top of your list.
Cascade down to the booking of your airport taxi, vitamins/medication (if applicable), vacation responder for your work email, etc. Download and play around with the travel apps you intend to use way ahead of time. Learn some basic words from the local language or keep a translation app on your phone for the times you may need it. Is there a certain dresscode you need to adhere to for specific sights (eg. Vatican City, watching a theatre performance, etc.)? Do you have a list of people for whom you plan to buy souvenirs for (so that you don’t miss anyone out)?
On a random note, we decided that instead of collecting fridge magnets or ornamental souvenirs, we would send ourselves a postcard from every city we visited.
Affordable and fuss-free travel momentos from our journey that don’t really require much storage space. Plus, when we get all old, wrinkly and forgetful, we can always read the postcards to remind ourselves of the things we loved and discovered from a particular trip. :-D
So this maiden trip as a married couple, #babybaby and I visited the following cities for the first time (before heading home from Paris), from which we learnt a great deal!
- Tuscany – Florence, Siena, San Gimignano, Pisa, San Miniato
From discovering that you can only buy bus tickets at the tabachi shops in Rome to the fact that you could get a hefty fine for not validating your water bus tickets in Venice prior to boarding the vaporetto, it was indeed a very insightful trip! Can’t wait to share the details, videos and pictures with you!