Do you ever get the urge to get out of your normal day to day routine and just take off. I think you should take that thought and put it into action right about now. Maybe a trip to Rome for the weekend, you do not have to do it alone like myself, but why not? If you want to go, no one should stop you just do it. And to help here are the ins and outs of what happened on my trip and some pointers that I would recommend. In no particular order at all…
Pre-adventure, Before you go!
FLIGHTS… I do not want to treat you like idiots, I would think that everyone nowadays shops around before finding the right flight and hotel. There are plenty of affordable places you should look at. You could choose to buy your flights separate from the hotel this is mainly done by non-package holiday operators just straight from the web. Most people find this way the cheapest. There are a number of different sites that do the trick. So do some comparing.
http://www.skyscanner.net/ http://www.lastminute.com/ http://www.kayak.co.uk/ http://www.cheapflights.co.uk/airlines/ http://www.travelzoo.com/uk/cheap-flights/
But if you are like me and worry too much about detail or you are going away for the first time on your own and just need the reassurance that if anything goes wrong you have someone to ask for help, you might want to stick with a package holiday from a well known Airline provider. I got my holiday from BA they had a great sale on their holidays. My flight & hotel for 3 nights only cost me £240. It was one of the cheapest, safest, and in a great location that I found. So don’t just dismiss Airlines, consider them, they do some great deals.
Now for the big one HOTELS… You may be looking for a 5* spa hotel or a B’n’B yet you still want to feel like you have somewhere safe and warm to rest your tired legs after a long day walking around Rome. I can safely say that you are spoiled for choice, but you have to decided what is right for you. Personally I was looking for something that was close to the Colosseum and the main Termini station. It had to have breakfast, free wifi and some good reviews from other customers. Yes I know that might sound picky but to me, those points are what makes the basics of a good hotel. The hotel which I chose had all these things! I went for Hotel Amalfi (link to tripadviser). It did its job. I always look at reviews but I think you get what you pay for and if it is cheap what do you expect. Plus they are not always what the reviews say, I have been in some awful places so never imagine expectations until I see the place for my own eyes. I would however go back to the Amalfi and I do recommend it to solo travellers, or anyone. Its a perfect cute little hotel.
Great Advice coming up now…
BUY YOUR COLOSSEUM TICKET BEFORE YOU GO (wow I did not need caps for that, but just to make it clear). I bought my tickets online and got to the Colosseum at 8.30 when it opens and was able to walk right through, when I saw the line again it was huge!! To get tickets go to – http://www.coopculture.it/en/colosseo-e-shop.cfm and if you are an EU citizen between the ages 18-25 you get a discount YAY!
Book your train tickets to the airport in advanced luckily I live near Clapham Junction, the best way I found was the Gatwick Express, tickets were £14 with my rail card.
PLAN…PLAN…PLAN If you know where you want to go on each day and how to get there efficiently you are giving yourself a head start. Make sure you at least know a rough idea of where you want to visit each day. I split mine into- Sunday, Colosseum, Palatino, Roman Forum, Pantheon and Piazza Navona – Monday- Vatican ( St Peters, Sistine chapel, Vatican Museum), Trevi Fountain- Tuesday, Spanish Steps. All I would say now on this post is if you have 4 days I would spend a whole day at Vatican City, its bigger and more beautiful than you think. Plan for the weather too…Good walking boots are needed… waterproofs just in case, and you can get a brolly out there. Google maps are the way forward… Or just a map!
PRINT…PRINT…PRINT…Do not forget to print everything. Your boarding pass if you checked in online, even if you got it on your phone as you never know what could happen. Print your Itinerary for the hotel and your Colosseum tickets and insurance details. Then the people who like to be extra organized get a wallet just like the one in the picture to keep it all in. Mine was from TKMax and cost £12, it was a great spend…so handy to keep passport and everything I needed in one place.
Last but not least…
Get TRAVEL INSURANCE. You might think you will be ok going on holiday for only two days but you never know what could happen. The holiday before this, my college was fine all holiday right up till he got to the airport to fly back when he suffered from a stroke ( he is ok now, but that would have cost a lot of money if he had not got insurance) . For my three days in Rome I paid £7 that’s all, you can even get cheaper quotes, but I wanted to go with a company I knew so spent a little more to get insurance with the AA. OK so I think that is everything I pre- planned, oh don’t forget a plug adaptor otherwise you will not be happy without your phone.
Tomorrow I will go over Day 1 – Getting to Rome and Day 2 – Being a tourist 🙂
Wow I don’t think I have written a blog this long before. I hope it can be of use to some people who are wanting to travel.