Top 10 Italian Holiday Checklist

Review these 10 essential tips on what to pack and what to know before you go on your vacation to Italy.


It happens to the most experienced of travelers. You’ve packed your liquids in the checked luggage, made sure your passport is up-to-date and scoured guidebooks for the perfect hotel. Then you discover you forgot one major thing. It could be an adapter for your phone or a bank card that works abroad, but a seemingly small thing that may be easy to deal with at home can become an aggravation when you’re away.

Here is our Top 10 checklist of what to do before you take off for your Italy vacation. For more information, visit the Italian Tourism Board.

1. Don’t forget to bring an adapter if you plan on bringing a laptop or cell phone charger. The electrical current is 220 volts/50 hertz (the current in the United States is 120 volts/60 hertz). You won’t want to scour the city looking for an (expensive) adapter when you need to call home or check e-mail.

2. ATMs are called Bancomats and Cirrus is one of the more popular banking systems widely used. Make sure your bank at home or at least one of your credit cards is compatible before you leave. If your bank isn’t on the Cirrus network, make sure to get a personal identification number (PIN) from your credit card company in case you need ready cash. Beware hefty fees from the credit card companies, though.

3. Most major credit cards are accepted at larger establishments and you’ll usually see the familiar symbols on doors of places that do. In smaller towns or at local shops, you may be out of luck. Always carry some cash just in case.

4. Foreign tourists are entitled to a tax refund on goods and services. Save your receipts to take advantage of this when you leave the country. With the exchange rate the way it is, you’ll want to get every penny back!

5. United States and Canadian citizens need an International Driving Permit (IDP) if you plan on driving in Italy. Though you don’t need one to rent a car, you will need one if you get pulled over by police. U.S. Department of State authorizes IDP sales at two automobile associations: the American Automobile Association (AAA) and the National Automobile Club.

6. Seat belts are required for the driver and all passengers in both the front and back seats. Driving is on the right side of the road.

7. Car seats or booster seats are required for kids who are under age 12 or are less than 5 feet tall. Make sure to bring one or reserve one with your car rental company if you plan on renting a car.

8. In general, a 15 percent service charge is included at cafés and restaurants. It is the custom to round up the bill. So, if your dinner was €27, you’d round up to 30. If the tip isn’t included, add at least 15 percent. (Note: Prices can go up if you sit down at cafés and bars. If you can, stand at the bar for a better price.)

9. Tipping elsewhere, such at hotels, is less standard. Give between 50 cents to €1 for chambermaids, bellhops, valets and doormen. Tip taxi drivers between 5 to 10 percent. For sightseeing guides, 15 percent of the tour is normal.

10. Most kids under 12 stay free with their parents at larger hotels. Make sure to find out in advance. There may be a fee for a cot or crib.

Destinations: Italy

Themes: Family Travel

Activities: Sightseeing

User Comments

By the way, is there anyway i can get an IDP in Canada?

I really love the pic "The road underneath the Villa d’Este in Italy". Thanks for sharing this list with us, i was actually didn't know this culture until i read it. Useful!

Top 10 Italian Holiday Checklist Good tips, especially to get an IDP if you plan on driving.

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