You learn SO MUCH while you travel. That’s part of the experience! But I’ve received several questions from some of you about our honeymoon travel experience, so I thought I’d share a few of my tips and tricks we picked up along the way.
As many of you know, we traveled to Paris (for the Ryder Cup), Florence, Rome and then back to Paris for our honeymoon. And we planned it all on our own! We may have become a part-time travel agency in the process 😉 but I promise you can do it too!
(You can learn about the fun details of our trip and see our itinerary in my last blog post.)
Teryn’s Travel tips:
Compare Round-trip vs. One-Way Plane Tickets
As you are outlining the destinations you’d like to visit, make sure to compare airline prices for your flights. We discovered that we could save HALF on our flights to and from Europe, by purchasing a round-trip plane ticket through Paris. For example, we originally thought that we’d fly from the U.S. into Paris and out of Rome, directly back to the states. Paris being our first destination and Rome being our last — working our way from north to south in Europe.
However, we discovered that we would be paying DOUBLE to do a one-way ticket into Paris and a one-way ticket out of Rome. It was $1000 cheaper to to fly round-trip through Paris. So by paying $90 (for BOTH of us) to fly back to Paris from Rome and then hop on a roundtrip flight back to the states the next day to conclude our trip, we ended up saving nearly $2000.
Our flight details:
- Round-trip into and out of Paris via Delta
- Flew from Paris to Florence via GoEuro
- Train from Florence to Rome (explained below)
- Flew from Rome to Paris via GoEuro
- Round-trip from Paris back to U.S. via Delta
Train travel is THE BEST
What everyone says about terrific train travel in Europe is true! This is the second time I’ve taken the “bullet train” in Europe and I had another fabulous experience. The spacious seats, super clean cabins, wifi and scenic travel is truly a luxury. We very much enjoyed our train ride from Florence to Rome.
We booked our train ticket ahead of time via GoEuro (just like our European flights listed above) and only paid $43 for the two of us (with a cabin upgrade!) But you can also buy your tickets in the train station as well. It’s so easy! We arrived two hours early to the station like you would to the airport, but that wasn’t necessary at all. They literally assign your train’s platform 10 minutes before your departure. You go to that platform and just walk on with your bags and find your seat. No long lines to wait in to check your luggage or get your boarding pass.
All you have to do is print your ticket at the many kiosks setup around the train station, show it to the attendant as you enter the platform (no line there either) and you are done. Unbelievably easy! As simple as taking the metro.
(We used the Metro in each city to get around once we were there. But mostly we walked!)
Give yourself EXTRA time for the airports!
Having said that about the ease of train travel, airport travel can take longer than we are used to in the United States. I fly all the time for work and consider myself an airport pro by now, but we had some pretty stressful moments while flying.
Give yourself at least 3 hours before your flight to get to and through the airport. The check-in lines and security points take a lot longer than we are used to and they prefer you to check your bags (sometimes for free) ahead of the flight — even if they are carry ons. Carry-on size and weight limits in Europe are a lot stricter than in the U.S. and they may COMBINE the weight of your carry-on with your personal bag (backpack or purse), just to ensure you are over the weight limit — thus, forcing you to check your luggage.
We found that out the hard way, standing in a security line for more than a half hour before security made us get out of the line and go back to the counter, to check our carry-on bags. We almost missed our flight because of it!
Travel to the airport can also be lengthy and expect some delays. In Paris, we had to take a 50 minute bus ride from downtown to the airport. You think that’s a far hike, beware of Rome’s airport…
Rome’s major airport is FAR from the city
We were not aware that we’d have to take a bullet train to the Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport from downtown Rome. We hopped on the metro, thinking we’d be able to take that all the way there and the metro dropped us off at a train station. Surprise! The bullet train is pretty much the only way to get to the Fiumicino Airport if you don’t have a car. The airport is located out at the coast, so that commute took us a little over an hour. Good thing we learned to give ourselves plenty of extra airport time by this point in our trip!
Once you get to the Fiumicino airport, be prepared for long lines. They make all travelers go to the ticket counters to check-in (no kiosks), so the lines are longer than we are accustomed to seeing. On the bright side, each of those airlines had its own security — so we didn’t have to stand in an additional line after that. Once you check in and check your bags, you go right through security to your gate.
Now that you have the low-down on the logistics, make sure you don’t over-plan your itinerary on top of that. You are on vacation after all!
Mitch and I had an idea for a few must-go places at each destination, but allowed ourselves time to just relax and do whatever we felt like doing too. We only booked a few tours (like our wine tour and must-do museum tours) ahead of our trip. The other sites we visited we did so on the fly or bought skip-the-line tickets just a few hours before on our phones. The city passes (like Paris Pass or Roma Pass) only save you money if you jam-pack your itinerary and go to A LOT of those sights. We wanted to really enjoy the places we went to and only did one or two tours per day.
You’d be surprised how much you can see by just walking around the cities too! Not to mention, in Rome, much of the highlights are free and open to the public anyway.
Check out our itinerary, in my last blog post.
Communicating is easy
Many of you have asked about the language barrier, we had very few issues! Neither of us spoke Italian or French (just some high school Spanish) and were able to speak English to just about everyone we encountered.
Just make sure you learn a few basics, like greetings, please, thank you, etc. It is polite (and more fun) to at least greet and thank people in their respective language. Everyone is proud of their culture and attempting their language even if it is a poor attempt, will usually benefit your interaction with the locals.
Now have fun!
As one of you said on my Instagram, “Travel is truly to live.” I agree! Don’t let travel intimidate you, you’ll figure it out and create memories of a lifetime!
Have anymore questions or tips of your own? Comment below or interact with me on Instagram.