How I Afford to Travel on a College Budget

One-I Have a Job

The amount of people who ask me about how I afford to travel that also don't have a job is a little frightening.  Though it might not seem like it all the time, I DO in fact have a job, and contrary to popular belief, I work a lot.  Currently I am a full time student (17 credit hours), and I work probably somewhere between 20-30 hours a week on top of this.  I stay busy.  And yes, I am often drained and stressed, but it's all worth it as soon as I board that next flight.

Two-My Job Lets Me Travel

Not only do I have this magical thing called a job that brings in a measly income, I choose jobs that let me travel.  Throughout college I worked for a nanny agency, which allowed me to pick up babysitting shifts that fit my schedule, and when I need off, I can take off, for either a few days, a few weeks, or a few months.  The job has always been there when I came back and I love it, plus hanging out with some babies never makes for a bad day.

I also work for my parents when I come home as a deck hand on their boat the Schooner Freedom.  I make minimum hourly wage plus tips, and let me tell you, having a job with a cash flow is so nice when you're in college and trying to save money.  Also thanks to working for my parents, I also have started my 401k which I don't totally understand but I know it's a good thing, especially at my age.

I also make a tiny bit of money from blogging through affiliates, and I plan on starting up a small business soon.  It's not much, but it's a start.

My other (soon to be full time) job is working as a freelance social media manager.  I currently manage accounts for The Tab, Schooner Freedom, CloudSDS, and in the past have done online marketing for FlorenceForFun and Campus Florence among others.  

I brand for both my blog and myself as a professional as well, so it's something I'm good at.  There are tons of sites out there to find freelance work, and get going.  If you can be on a computer and be mobile, that is one of the best ways to be able to work and travel at the same time.

I Don't Spend My Money on Stupid Sh*t

Okay think of what you've bought this week.  Dinner out? How many times? Once? Twice? That probably cost you anywhere from $30-$50 if you drank.  Did you go out with friends?  How much was that? $20? $30?  Did you buy something at Target you really didn't need?  Did you do some online shopping?  Did you buy all of the name brand items at the grocery store, or did you stick to generic brands?  Really think about the money you spend and STOP SPENDING IT!  If you want to travel you have to save, and that means NOT SPENDING MONEY.  If you want to hang out with your friends, do things that are free, or require the least amount of money possible.

It's hard at first to not spend money, but once you get into the groove of it, you realize how much money you were spending before and it's actually a bit frightening.

Instead of looking at things like "Oh, I only spent $150 shopping today!" I think, "Well I could spend this $150 on clothes, or I could not and book a domestic flight instead."  It's all about perspective. 

I Get Really Good Deals

Let's be real guys. I'm on a college student budget, I promise you my travels are not lavish and luxurious.  Sure sometimes I will splurge and get a private room in a hostel instead of sharing the dorms.  Or if I'm traveling with my boyfriend we will sometimes get an entire apartment for a weekend instead of renting a room.  Let me be clear though, I budget travel.  This doesn't mean I don't have fun and don't do all the things people with tons of money do, this means I do my research ahead of time to figure out how I can get the most bang for my buck.  If you go into something blind, of course you're going to miss out, so doing your research before you travel is super important.  Not only that, but also when it comes to booking flights, I am such a haggler, and always always always seek out the best deal ~almost~ before anything else.  

I Cut Out the Unnecessary

I cut out any and every bill I can.  I cancelled my Netflix and Hulu subscriptions (shoutout to my brother for letting me mooch of his Netflix), and I eliminated other unnecessary things in life as well.  When I moved back from Italy in December I decided that posting up in my college town for 3 1/2 slash 4 months wasn't something I wanted to do when my parents only live 45 minutes to an hour away from my campus.  Sure the drive sucks, but factor in $400 a month rent for four months...that's $1600 at least.  Sure, it's not the most glamorous thing, but I get work done, and it keeps me from spending money in more ways than just rent.  I don'y buy groceries, I don't really eat out, because my mom is ~probably~ going to have cooked already, and not to mention all the other little things parents just buy (like toothpaste, soap, toilet paper, cable TV, Wifi, etc).
Realtalk: I obviously cannot live like this forever.  But it's a great interim phase for me and I always know that after my travels I have somewhere to come back to, no matter how much more my room has become more like a storage closet and less like my bedroom.  I am fortunate, but these are things a lot of people could do, but just choose not to because living with your parents isn't cool.  Or not having Netflix will be the end of the world.  It's not.  Look at it like this.  8 bucks a month.  12 months.  $96.  Sure, it doesn't sound like much.  But now double it with Hulu, and then add in the cost of wifi that you pay for to watch it.  Now we are talking about a round trip flight to somewhere. 

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What to Wear in Italy

Hosting two fashion capitals of the world, it's no surprise that fashion is taken pretty seriously in Italy.  The prestige of cities like Milan and Rome comes with designers such as Gucci (founded in Florence), Armani, Versace, Prada, and Dolce & Gabbana, just to name a few.  With all of these historic designers it can seem a little daunting and you may feel pressured to renew your entire wardrobe before your upcoming trip, but this is not necessary!  With a few new additions to your wardrobe, and some smart packing, you can go to Italy looking like a fashionista without breaking the bank.

This list is mainly geared towards Italy, but the general rules apply for places other places in Europe too like France, Spain, Portugal, etc!

  1. Vamp Up Your Wardrobe By Adding Some Scarfage

    As I said in my post about things you definitely want to take with you when you're traveling- a scarf is a necessity-  for guys and gals!  A scarf can take any outfit from drab to fab!  This tip isn't just for winter either.  Italians wear scarves year round, so if you're traveling during the summer, pack a light summery scarf! 


  2. Ditch the Shorts

    Granted, living in Italy and loving my shorts from an upbringing in Florida, I don't always follow this rule, but I try to stick to it as much as possible!  For whatever reason, Italians don't really wear shorts- so opt for jeans or a skirt if it's a top you really want to wear! 

  3. Think Neutral

    Though not a necessity, packing neutral colors will make your life a whole lot easier.  While men in Italy can be a little more flamboyant (cue popped collars on polos and too much cologne), the women are typically a little more reserved. Wearing black or earth tones will go a long way on this trip. Not only will you blend in more and draw less attention to yourself through avoiding bright colors, but if everything in your suitcase belongs to the same color family, you can mix and match clothes with a lot more ease. This allows you to have more outfit options on your vacation!

    Add sweaters/scarves to any of the outfits below and you have complete unique looking outfits!  Any nude or black shoes would match as well! 😗


  4. Less isn't Always More!

    This is conclusive to both packing and your style of dress!  Though you should pack light to save yourself excess baggage fees and back pains, I understand the struggle of overpacking. Where more is more?  How much clothing you have on. Italy has always been heavily influenced by the presence of the Vatican, and it shows in the dress if it's citizens.  Modesty goes a long way in this country.  Don't think boring and severe, think elegant, classy.

  5. Add Some Bling!

    Pack some jewelry along with you to dress up any simple outfit and look fabulous with simple ease.

  6. Don't Be a Bum.

    You're not dressing to go to class, or heading to the gym.  You're in a country where beauty is appreciated and valued.  Look nice, and have fun while doing so! 

  7. Wear Comfortable Shoes (That Aren't Expensive)

    I cry every time I think of how many pairs of shoes have been claimed by the cobbled streets of Florence.  Don't bring any shoes you won't mind leaving behind, because I can go through about 2 pairs of shoes a month.  (Literally- when I went to Venice the first time I walked 20 miles in 1 day!)

    Make sure they are comfortable, and if you want to wear heels to go out, make 'em chunky and drunk-you-proof!  I've seen Italian women wearing stilettos mid-August in the middle of the day, baby on hip.  I hope to one day reach that level of grace, poise, self control, and sheer skill- but it is a long way off!  Until then #FlatsLife.

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12 Tricks to Get the Cheapest Flight Possible




For some (myself included) finding the cheapest flight is of the essence when it comes to travel.  When you're going out on an adventure, especially international, the things you will spend most of your money on is airfare and rent.  So how to get the all fated, lowest fair?  Well fear not my friends, I am here to tell you my methods.  (And they work because I book flights from Florida to Italy for less than $500!)

  1. You have to do your research.

    THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING YOU CAN EVER DO TO SUCCEED- when it comes to cheap flying at least.
    Now I have a bit of a problem- I legitimately look at flights every day, to different places, doesn't matter where, but this is my main ingredient in the recipe of scoring a cheap flight.  Every airline has different days it releases different sales, and puts up new flights.  This just means you're going to have to keep checking back for the better deal.

  2. Check more than 1 search engine.

    If you swear by Kayak, maybe you shouldn't....When I am looking for a flight to book I search Kayak, SkyScanner, Student Universe, Expedia, and Google Flights.  At least.  Each and every single one of these has some of the same flights, but some of them don't- or have different deals.  Make sure you are exploring all of your options!

  3. Google Flights

    If you've never used Google Flights you are missing out so jump on this bandwagon ASAP.  Google Flights is where I generally start my search.  From here you can select up to 5 different locations you can fly out of (or into) and they give you a range of dates, and just looking at the calendar you can see which dates are the cheapest.  It sounds complex, it really isn't, just go check it out.  It's a great place to start to see which dates look best for your travels, and to move onto another site from here!!

  4. Book on a Monday or a Tuesday.

    I have found it true, and I believe others will agree, which is why all of us travel gurus say it...Mondays and Tuesdays are better to book on!  For some reason flights are just cheaper.  Whether it's due to what I said in tip #1, or the travel gods smile upon us those days...who really is to know?

  5. Know how far in advance you should book.

    International Flights- the answer is usually about 3 months (or so they say....I've found you can wait a little longer and save, but if you find a good deal early in the game, book!)
    Domestic Flights- here the answer is about a month and a half, and I think this is pretty consistent.
    These numbers are based on facts guys, cold hard facts.  (Seriously though- everyone is saying it, you don't have to take my word for it!  But you should 😋)

  6. Sign up for newsletters.

    So you don't have to go overboard with it like me and have your inbox overflowing with emails from airlines and booking agencies, but select a few you like, and you'll be the first to know when they have a sale!

  7. Follow airlines & booking agents on Social Media

    Pretty much the same as above- you might be scrolling through Facebook and see your next adventure you didn't know would happen.  (This literally happened to me recently when I went to Paris, I saw Ryan Air was having a sale for hundreds of flights €10 and under on Facebook- I was able to fly Pisa to Paris roundtrip for only €20!!!!)

    I also just saw a sale with Wow for international flights from NYC to Copenhagen for €129....you should probably go book that now!  Also if you're willing to fly in terrible conditions (no food & no comfort & no judgement) check out airlines like Sprit Air and Icelandic Air!

  8. Be flexible with where you leave from (or fly into).

    You may have your heart set on one airport, but another one 30 miles away may be nearly $200 cheaper.  Be flexible with where you leave from and you could save a ton of money!

  9. City Hopping

    Sometimes it's more convenient to fly out of a different city than you flew into, and an airline just might agree with you.  Check this option before you book so you could possibly save yourself some time and money!

  10. Be flexible with your dates.

    Not everyone has this luxury, but if you do- TAKE ADVANTAGE OF IT!!! The cheapest days to fly are Tuesday and Wednesday, so if you can avoid leaving on a weekend, you should do so! Use the Google Flights tool to help you pick dates, or choose the flexible dates option when looking at different airline search engines, you'd be amazed at the price differences in one day!!

  11. Don't travel during the high season.

    Again, a luxury for few, but those of you with the means to avoid traveling at Christmas or in July, it's probably worth it.  Do some research on your destination and find out peak travel times versus the best travel times.  (Trust me, these are incredibly different things!)

  12. Secret Flying

    I've never personally used this site, but I've heard amazing things about it.  If you're looking for some wanderlust info because you have no idea where you want to go in the world, head here and find somewhere that suits you!! Secretflying.com is home to accidental prices airlines make on flights so you can score some amazing deals- granted as long as you're not picky about where you're traveling to!  If you do check it out or have ever used it let me know because I am dying to try and would love to hear someone else's experience!

  13. BOOK IT!

    Don't be scared, just book that flight and head out on your next adventure!!!

Happy Traveling!

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6 Things to Bring and 5 Things to Leave when Traveling Solo

Scary the first time you set out, but immensely rewarding in every aspect, traveling solo shapes you into a newer better version of yourself. Alas, not everyone's first time goes well, which scares them off the traveling trail.  From theft to delayed trains (thanks Italy...) traveling has it's ups and downs which can be even more taxing when you're flying solo (literally).

To make your life a little bit easier I've concocted a list of things you will NOT want to leave at home, and a list of things you probably SHOULD leave at home before you jet set single handedly.  

Some of these items I know to bring from my own experiences, and others I read from others online and avoided their mistakes!  Avert all the mistakes of us once green-behind-the-ears travelers and read on!

Do Not Forget!!

  1. Portable Charger

    YOU MUST NOT LEAVE HOME WITHOUT THIS- or without it charged!!  I know when traveling you should unplug from technology, but sometimes you need to drown out a screaming baby with tunes, snap a photo, or figure out where you are going, and the fastest and best way to do so is whipping out your smart phone.  There are different types of portable chargers, some that hold only one charge, and others that hold over 6!!!  If you know electricity is going to be scarce I recommend the Key Power 1200mAh Battery Pack.  This is the one I use when traveling, it holds from my experiences 5 entire charges for my phone in it, and it also hosts a built in LED light.  There are two USB ports (so if your buddy's phone is dead too you can help them out!)  It's small and lightweight- and one of the best tools I have!

  2. Diva Cup (Guys...you can skip this one unless you're traveling with your girlfriend)

    Okay, so this isn't always a necessity, but I say pack it because it's better to be safe than sorry.  Not everywhere in the world sells tampons and pads, and if they do they might solely have applicators, no applicators, or only pads.  Who knows what you could come across.  Nothing could ruin a trip like needing tampons and not having them available (or packing 3 months worth in your bag!!), so plan ahead and pack a Diva Cup for emergencies, or just make the complete switch to #DivaCupLife. 

    Make the investment on the diva cup, which can be purchased from any major store (Target, Wal-Mart, Walgreens, CVS) or online, and think of how much money you will save on tampons in the long run.....#Majestic 

  3. Lock & Chain

    This one is pretty self explanatory, but you're gonna want to bring a chain and lock before you head out.  A chain (or wire, whatever works for you) to lock your bag to a shelf (or another bag) when you are leaving your stuff in luggage hold.  You're also going to want a lock incase the hostels don't provide one in your room, or even if you're staying in hotels, lock your zippers together for checked & cabin bags to deter wandering eyes from rustling through your bags.  Here is a great lock you can order off of Amazon, or you can literally walk into any "superstore" and purchase one!

  4. Micro Fiber Towel

    I CANNOT STRESS THIS ONE ENOUGH.  Some hostels don't even carry towels.  So if you're banking on not packing a towel and renting one the whole time (or not showering.....ew), then you might just be SOL.  I know packing a towel sounds daunting, heavy, and like it will take up a lot of room, but it doesn't have to be!!!  Check out any microfiber towel which packs super small, they make them just for travellers!!  How awesome is the world! 😍

  5. Packing Cubes

    I used to think these were stupid and a waste of space and weight until I realized that searching for underwear when you're half naked in a hostel at 3 am is rather unpleasant.  Organize your clothing types (and clean vs dirty) so you can quickly find things and eliminate as much weirdness as possible.

  6. Sarong/Large Scarf/Pashmina

    BLESS UP.  These things are the end all be all to travel.  Not really... but they are fashionable, multi-use, cover you up when visiting sacred places, dress up certain outfits, and keep you warm.  If you don't want to pack one, pick one up along the way as a souvenir! 

Do Not Pack!!!

  1. Too many clothes

    I think you can figure this one out- but packing too many clothes is always a fatal mistake.  (okay fatal is a bit dramatic...) Once you have everything laid out that you THINK you want to pack, cut it down by at least a third, and if that still doesn't work, try again.

  2.  Hair Appliances

    I am guilty of bringing hair appliances, even though I know I shouldn't. Unless you're doing a city stay (and not leaving a singular location)- it's just not worth it.  If you're backpacking and traveling to multiple countries, packing hair appliances will be a struggle because they won't work in every location.  They are awkwardly shaped, weight a lot, and pretty much useless if they aren't the right wattage/outlet type.  Save yourself some grief and learn to do you hair sans heat.

  3. Suitcase with Wheels

    In Europe you're going to have to drag it up and down trains and over cobble stone.  If you're in any other rural part of the world it's gonna be sand and mud.  Cut out this annoyance if you don't have a friend to help you out and stick with a backpack and keep life simple.

  4. Your Computer

    Unless you're working from the road or have a really good reason to bring your laptop- they weight a ton (even my MacBook Air), and are a direct target for thieves.  Not to mention the cord itself takes up too much room.  If you need some form of electronic that is larger than your phone, opt for a tablet that uses the same charger as your phone.  Plus if you're really enjoying your adventure, you shouldn't need to be on your computer!

  5. A Bunch of Converters that May or May not Work

    I often find that "universal" adapters are not so universal.  Unless you've been to where you're going before, save the room before you leave and purchase a converter when you get there.  This way it's sure to work, and usually much cheaper.  (I'm talking a dollar cheap here!)

What packing mistakes have you made on your adventures!?  Let me know in the comments below!!

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5 Pros (& 5 Cons) of Staying in a Hostel

If you're young, possess little more than college student funds, and ventured out into the world minus parental units, chances are high you've stayed in a hostel. Commonly referred to as "youth hostels" because often they hold age restrictions for travellers staying with them, they are a necessary evil. Hostels are not all bad, and not all good, though with my parents they seem to always host a negative connotation.  Here are 5 pros of staying in hostels (to soothe your parents' minds) and 5 cons (so you know what you're getting yourself into).

THE PROS

  1. They're Cheap

    Though some hostels can cost as much as a hotel, as a rule of thumb they run much cheaper, which is what makes them so successful with solo backpackers.  For most places in Europe you can find hostels costing €15-20 a night and in South America the average going rate is $7 a night, so you're saving your money for better things (like delicious food).

  2. You Meet People from Every Walk of Life

    I've had hostel-mates from all over the world, with every different kind of story, and every kind of language.  In social hostels there is often a bar where travellers congregate, and if you're taking your trip solo you get the chance to meet amazing like-minded people who might share your adventure with you the following day.

  3. You Can Stay in an Amazing Location

    Instead of scrounging for hotels in the outskirts of a city, for half the price you can stay in a prime location and stop worrying about transportation and where you are going and focus on what's really important. Exploring & getting lost!

  4. They Deal With People Like You Every Day 

    I mean this in the best way possible.  So if you're staying in a hostel, they most likely already know what you're looking for and can help you out.  Need airport transportation? Some hostels offer this, and if they don't can point you in the right direction.  Need recommendations on food, things to do, the best place to experience local life?  Just ask the person at the front desk. Usually this is someone living in the hostel for free in exchange for their work, so they understand where you're coming from with ideas similar to yours.  Often you can book excursions directly at the hostel desk, so if you're planning on booking an activity, like skydiving or a hiking tour, check with your hostel first to see if they can get you a discount.

  5. It Forces You Out of the Room

    Most hostels require guests to vacate the rooms for several hours during the morning and early afternoon for cleaning purposes.  This means no sleeping in and exploring the amazing city you are in!  Bonus, if you're hostel mates are weird and you don't want to be around them, get out and be adventurous and avoid the crazies!

THE CONS

  1. You Get What You Pay For

    Cheap = basic.  Think the bare necessities.  Though you can score some amazing hostels with a cheap price, hostels are usually pretty minimalistic.  Don't expect 4 star quality when you're paying a half star price.  This doesn't mean compromise yourself though, hostels should be clean and efficient- and if you feel unsafe or uncomfortable there is no shame in moving to another location.

  2. You Might Get Stuck with Terrible Hostel Mates

    It happens, and it sucks.  But get out of the hostel and only deal with them when you have to.  If someone is truly disrespectful or you feel unsafe, request to move to another room.  On the other hand-if you're just annoyed at their smelly feet, suck it up by avoiding them (and their stench) at all costs.

  3. You Have to Pay for the Little Extras

    Breakfast, towels, (sometimes even linen), extra blankets, and more are going to cost you extra at a hostel.  Don't expect any free shampoo, conditioner, or soap, and expect to have to pay to borrow a blowdryer.  Travel with the things you need, go without, or spend a little more money.

  4. You Don't Have a lot (or any) Privacy

    While this might not bother you for a short while, over extended periods of times it can get old quickly.  Sharing a room with 4 strangers can be immensely taxing, and if your hostel doesn't include an in-suite bathroom, you are going to be showering down the hall with 15-20 other girls.  Think back to your college dorm days again, but this time with all completely different customs.  Disaster waits around every bathroom stall... if there are stalls that is.

  5. Curfew (or Lack Thereof)

    Most hostels put a curfew in place to protect their travellers and to limit desk time for their employees.  This means you may sacrifice late nights out, and if you miss curfew you could be locked out of your hostel.  The alternative is no curfew with people stomping through the hallways until the literal crack of dawn.  Choose your vice wisely!

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My 8 New Year’s Resolutions for 2017

  1. Truly Dedicate Myself to Travel

    And this is saying a lot since I traveled a ton in 2016, but I want to make 2017 even bigger. Currently gearing up I have plans to go to Peru in May, and I move back to Italy at the end of August.  I’ll let you know about those upcoming adventures then, but the first half of 2017 will be working toward an amazing second crazy travel half of 2017- but don’t think my adventures stop while I am working, there will be adventures in the US I will be tackling, and you’ll be amazed at some of the things just in my home state.  You guys are going to love it.

  2. Stop Comparing Myself to Other Bloggers/ Other People on Social Media

    I AM SO GUILTY. It doesn’t matter if they’ve been blogging for 3 months, 3 days 5 years or 15 eons, I am going to stalk their page to no end and compare myself.  Now to keep myself honest, I don’t often read what other bloggers write, mostly because I don’t want their writing to affect the way I write (subconsciously, but still!).  This is something I need to work on where it can be constructive, I need to watch it so it doesn’t get to a point where it is destructive.
    This is not to say there can't be positive comparison to fuel healthy competition.  If someone who owns an account inspires you, by all means look to them for inspiration and ideas, but don't attempt to mimic them- then you aren't being true to yourself and your page won't be unique.

  3. Find My Peace with the Moment

    Whether it be enjoying soup on the couch with my boyfriend, sitting and watching the Eiffel Tower sparkle, walking through downtown Saint Augustine, taking an exam on campus, or wandering through the streets of Florence. I plan to just let where I am affect me more and not become desensitized to where I am and the moment I am in.

  4. Work Harder than Ever- Which Means I can Play Harder than Ever

    Even my "work" right now isn't really work...this is my view every night while working on board the Schooner Freedom.

    Like I mentioned earlier, I’m working for the first half of 2017, and the second half is going to be all play. I’m finishing my bachelor’s degree this upcoming semester, and then the following few months after that I’m working 6 days a week so I have plenty in savings to travel my butt off come time to move back to Florence.  From there it’s play, play, play- with a little bit of work so I don’t get out of control!

  5. Stop Worrying what People will Think When I Tell Them my “Plan”

    I get so sick of people judging me for telling them that I want to dedicate this portion of my life to travel.  I either get the "oh wow that's so amazing!" response, or I get a "well that's not much of a plan, what are you actually going to do with your degree"...And it's THOSE PEOPLE that make me so scared to follow my dreams sometimes.  The people who tell me I travel too much (uh...what!?!?) and who think I'm crazy for living overseas.  Those who look down on me for saying I'm going to Peru, or when I tell them that I lived and worked in Italy for 8 months they just scoff.  My goal in 2017 is to rid myself of those negative people, and when they do cross my path just brush 'em off .

  6. Remember to Stay Fit While Traveling

    Fortunately enough I actually lost weight while living in Italy, but unfortunately I lost a lot of muscle from not hitting the gym.  Traveling keeps you slim as you walk a lot, but for me, the urge to get fit has hit harder than ever as I come home and my dad tells me I've lost all my quads....cool.  So from here on out I am going to make sure I stay fit while I'm traveling and while living abroad.  This means eating right, staying active, and even hitting the gym on my slow days in Florence.

    For how to stay fit while living abroad and avoiding that "study-abroad 15", check out this post!
  7. Remember to Set Down my Phone & Remember to Pick it Up

    Set down your phone when you're out at dinner (we know we're all guilty of it), but remember it's OK to pick up your phone and take pictures to immortalize a moment. Just find the healthy balance and eliminate the negative phone time.

  8. Remember that My Goal is to Inspire

    Every single Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter post, every blog entry, and every video upload, my goal is to inspire someone to get up and travel.  If I can just inspire 1 person, that is incredible, if I can inspire 10,000 people that is AMAZING.  I want to show people that it is possible to do it, you can just get up and go, all it takes is a little bit of hard work, and then there's a whole lot of play afterward.

If this post inspired you PLEASE let me know in the comments below!! And happy new year!!!!

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Your Two Week Italian Itinerary

This is not an itinerary for the faint of heart!

This is a fast moving (with a few relaxing days) expedition to see the most of Italy solely in two weeks with this amazing country.  If I could make a recommendation- I would tell everyone to live here for 3 months, then take your time and truly immerse into the Italian lifestyle, but not everyone has the time for that!  So if you're on a crunch and ready for a busy 2 weeks- get ready because here you go!

Milan- 1 Night

I choose Milan to start because it's the cheapest place in Italy (usually!) to fly into!  Starting in the north of Italy, this allows you to make your trek a giant circle around the country, and end up where you started while hitting all of the major hot spots!  

Must-Do:

The Duomo- Holds lots of  architechtural importance in Italy
The Last Supper
The Fashion & Shopping District

Bellagio/ Lago di Como-2 Nights

After you've spent your first night in Milan- hop on the train in Milan and head to the celebrity hotspot (hello George Clooney!)- BELLAGIO! The first leg of this journey is by train to Varenna and lasts about one hour ten minutes, the ticket costs around €6.50. Then get on the ferry to go to Bellagio, which is a 15 minute ride and the ticket costs about €10.

Must-Do:

Eat Seafood (yum!)
Boat Tour
Relax!! This will be the least "get up and go" part of your vacation

Verona & Lake Garda- 1 Night

After relaxing in Bellagio, head to another famous Italian lake, Lake Garda, and one of it's famous little towns, Verona, the setting of Romeo & Juliet.  Find your Romeo, or if you already have him, find romance in Verona for a night before continuing on your adventure.

Must D0:

Juliet's Balcony
The Arena
Castelvecchio Bridge

Venice- Day Trip

Now it might seem crazy to only take a day trip to one of the world's most famous cities- but trust me when I say one day will truly be enough.   No one actually lives in Venice, so after the sun goes down and the tourists all go back to their hotels- it basically becomes a ghost town.  Head out from Bellagio early in the day, and get to Venice at a solid morning hour to get in a full day of sight-seeing.  Leave after dinner to hop on the late train to Florence for your first night.

Must-Do:

Saint Mark's Cathedral (and Piazza)
Ride a Gondola
Eat Cuttlefish in Squid Ink 
Watch Glass Blowing

For more info on Venice check out one of my blogs about this unique city!  

Venice, the Menace
6 Reasons to Love Venice

Florence- 4 Nights

MY FAVORITE CITY IN THE WORLD!! But seriously- there is a reason why I listed Florence as the place you should stay the longest.  4 nights in this incredible city isn't even close enough to discover it all- but it's a good start and a MUST in your Italian itinerary.  Apart from the Day Trip to Siena & San Gimignano I have listed below- there are lots of other cute day trips from Florence that you can take- including Fiesole, Pisa (do this with something else, you will NOT want to spend a whole day in Pisa), Lucca, and several of the castles in the surrounding region (Castello de Trebbio is my personal fave).

Must-Do:

Climb the Duomo & Bell Tower
Hike up to Piazzale Michelangelo
Try Bistecca alla Fiorentina and/or Wild Boar

For more must do's in Florence check out this list!

Chianti Wine Tour, Siena & San Gimignano - Day Trip from Florence

I put this as it's own item- even though I recommend it solely as a "day trip" from Florence.  There are many ways to see the Chianti region- but one thing that is for sure is that it is a MUST!!!  IMO it hosts the most amazing wine in the world, and some of the most stunning views you will ever see in your life.  There are several companies to choose from when booking your Chianti excursion, some riding vespas, some horseback riding, some in a Fiat 500 where you can race through the countryside.  Some of my favorite companies are Fun in Tuscany, Tuscan Cycle, and on the student side of things (think budget!) FlorenceForFun.  

To read about my horseback riding adventure through the Tuscan Countryside check out this post!

Perugia or Assisi - 1 Night

If you travel in October, be sure to check out Eurochocolate in Perugia!

Take your pick!! Both of these towns located in Umbria are quaint and charming and perfect to relax in after the "fast paced" lifestyle of Florence!  (I use the term fast-paced very loosely!) Once you've decided, book a hotel-or Air BnB- and spend a relaxed night in these peaceful towns.

Amalfi Coast- 2 Nights

Positano, Amalfi Coast

Bypass Naples- it's dangerous, and not nearly as beautiful as the Amalfi Coast.

One of the most incredible places you will ever see in your life, the Amalfi Coast is a MUST in your tour of Italy. Head out of the Perugia/Assisi early in the morning and make a home base in Sorrento- check in early and take the bus to Positano, where you will get perfect views of little cliff-hanging seaside houses, and during the summer an amazing beach day.

Spend your evening back in Sorrento wandering around and eating amazing seafood and get ready for a full following day.

In the morning head to the celebrity vacation island of Capri!  
Here you can ride the lift (or hike) up to the top of the island (Anacapri) for some beautiful views.  Get custom made leather sandals, a Capri specialty, and go and swim in the blue grotto, if the weather is right and your heart so desires.

20 year old me hanging out in Pompeii.

After you check out of your accommodation the next morning- ask if you can leave your luggage and head to Pompeii and Mount Vesuvius- this is a truly life changing trip, and something you won't want to miss while in the area!  Pompeii is incredibly humbling, and when else are you going to be able to climb a volcano!? Be sure to pack your walking shoes- the climb up to Mount Vesuvius is nearly a 45 degree incline the whole way!  Well worth it though!

Pro Tip:  When you go to Vesuvius there is 1 single stall bathroom WITH NO TOILET PAPER OR A WAY TO WASH YOUR HANDS.  Be prepared to drip-dry, pack a few tissues with some hand sanitizer, or just hold it! 

Rome- 2 Nights

So here is how I would break down Rome:

Day 1: Major Tourist Sights in the Center

The Colosseum
Roman Forum
Spanish Steps
Trevi Fountain

Night 1: Traditional Dinner away from Tourist Sites & Sleep

Think what is the most possible Italian meal I could have that isn't pizza.

Day 2: Vatican

You are going to want to book these tickets at least a week before your trip, so I recommend you book before you leave.  Go early, do the Sistine Chapel first, then hop in line for St. Peter's (you're going to wait about 2 hours- regardless of what you do).  If you want to buy tickets to climb the dome- do so in advance!

Night 2: Wander through the cute parts of the city, and find some nightlife.

Cinque Terre- 1 Night

Leave Rome Early because you are going to want as much time as possible in Cinque, especially if you want to hike.  (The train will take you around 5 hours.) You cannot miss the Cinque Terre! The 5 little towns sitting on the Ligurian coast, also known as the Italian Riviera, are some of the most stunning views in Italy.  Picture perfect colorful homes hanging over the sea in a side of a cliff- the towns can't be accessed by car or bus- the only way in is train, boat, or foot.  Bask in the Italian sun or take the hike from town to town and see views unforgettable!

Check out my blog on how to spend the perfect day in Cinque!

Genoa- 1 Night

Rounding up your trip before you head back to Milan, make a pit stop in the largest seaport of Italy, and the 6th largest city in this beautiful country.

Must- Do:

See Piazza di Ferrari
Via Garibaldi Palaces
Acquario di Genóva (Genoa Aquarium)

Then Back to Milan to end your trip!

Happy travels!  Feel free to leave a comment below if you have any questions, or there is something you did on your Italian vacation that is an absolute MUST!!!

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