As I've been contemplating last month's trip to Italy and figuring out what I wanted to share about the overall trip, I decided I wanted to share my philosophy on traveling versus sightseeing. I wanted to tell you my strategy for the trip and what I wanted to teach and share with my traveling companion. I had the outline in my head and before putting my fingers to the keyboard, I opened the December 2007/January 2008 issue of "Arthur Frommer's Budget Travel" and it appears editor Erik Torkells and I are on the same page, no pun intended.
In the article "Paris and Amsterdam, Together," Torkells discusses how he takes his sister, who's celebrating her 40th birthday, on a trip to Paris and Amsterdam. He shares with her, and AFBT readers, his philosophy on travel, which happens to parallel my philosophy: I'm a traveler and not a sightseer.
My traveling companion, however, told me she didn't like the traveling part but did like the sightseeing. Perhaps someday I'll write an article about the difference, but in the meantime, check out Torkells's article.
Don't despair, I'm not letting you leave without any recap of the trip. You can check out the nearly 500 snapshots of the journey. A video snuck in there and when I tried to upload other video clips, couldn't figure it out. Enjoy! (Sorry, in order to protect my photos you need to login and register - it's free!)
Do want to share the two most useful items on the trip (despite my handy purse purchased at Kohls):
Rick Steves' Italy 2008: I loved this guidebook and it's the first time I carried and referenced a travel guidebook during an entire trip. The text is candid, attractions, walking tours, restaurants and tips were right on the mark. And, humor's splashed in here and there, i.e., there's a disclaimer in the book reading, "...accept no responsibility for loss, injury, bad pasta, or inconvenience sustained by any person using this book."
Maps are okay and although there's two pages of useful Italian phrases, that would've been useful. Saw loads of other people using the Rick Steves' Italy 2008 book, too. One thing I'd do though is put a book cover on it so it wouldn't be so obvious I was a tourist (I did have a few people ask whether I spoke English and if I knew where specific places were, so maybe I did blend in with the locals a little bit).
Note: Ironically, the same issue of AFBT reviewed several guidebooks about Rome and out of three guidebooks, the Rick Steves one didn't rank as a fave.
Disposable Dress Shields: This deals with hygiene but these things worked great and I didn't feel as gross wearing my shirts twice before washing. The pads are simply stuck inside a shirt at the armpits and absorbs the sweat so it doesn't get the shirt wet. With all the walking around and going in and out of buildings during the trip, we were doing a lot of sweating. These perspiration shields helped keep me fresh :)