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Topic # 151047 12-Aug-2014 10:16
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Hi There!

I am very fortunate to have won a trip to Italy recently! I am off in September and whilst I have done a fair bit of travel, I am struggling with Italy in some regards because I've never been to Europe etc. 

Firstly, I am an on account customer with VF. I have 2.5GB data a month and could pay the $5 a day roaming charges, but I am wondering if I should do a local simcard instead? Alternatively does anyone know if it's inexpensive to buy a Portable Hotspot with a few GB of data instead?

Other than that, I am spending 6 days in Milan as part of the trip and then 4 days in Rome. I was after just some general travel tips. I have heard pickpockets and scam artists can be a problem. I don't speak (any) Italian and have heard some shop vendors can stiff you with a tourist tax on 
pricing, but I am not really sure how to avoid it (Was a story on stuff today about $20 icecreams).

Would appreciate any insight or experiences. 

I love (good) food, and so intend to spend a lot of time eating and experiencing things. There are some really well established food tours which review well on Tripadvisor, unsure if I should just join that, or find a private tour which might take me away from the touristy type places and 
into experiences which are more unique or better.

Cheers



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  Reply # 1106906 12-Aug-2014 10:22
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10days x $5 = $50

Is it worth the hassle to get another sim card?

You could buy additional data pack as this is also part of the $5 roaming for moar data?

Btw, safe trip to Italy!





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  Reply # 1106908 12-Aug-2014 10:25
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XPD / Gavin / DemiseNZ

 

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Battlenet : XPD#11535    Origin/Steam/Epic/Uplay : xpdnz


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  Reply # 1106911 12-Aug-2014 10:35
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Definitely get a local SIM.

Buon viaggio

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  Reply # 1106913 12-Aug-2014 10:39
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ZiglioNZ: Definitely get a local SIM.

Buon viaggio


Back this up and why? $5 a day roaming covers everything even local SMS and calling it's not cheap or easy to get local SIM cards all the time

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  Reply # 1106914 12-Aug-2014 10:41
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johnr:
ZiglioNZ: Definitely get a local SIM.

Buon viaggio


Back this up and why? $5 a day roaming covers everything it's not cheap or easy to get local SIM cards all the time


Customer service is excellent, there's healthy competition, big plans. Definitely easy to get a card. Plus the OP is going to spent a significant amount of time, definitely worth it getting a local card. 
Every time I visit, that's what I do. Customer service speaks English.
When you visit yourself you'll see.

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  Reply # 1106915 12-Aug-2014 10:44
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Just went there in May/June for two weeks, bought a Vodafone prepay sim which got me something like 4GB of data for $40 inc SIM. Coverage is somewhat patchy throughout Italy, and we went to: Rome, Florence, Venice, Sorrento, Naples, Capri and Cinque Terre.

In Rome we did foodtoursofrome.com (1st or 2nd rated on TripAdvisor) Bruno the guide was fantastic! By far the best food tour we did out of the 6 we did throughout Italy and France. In Florence we did a Fiat 500 drive and food tour, was also very good 500touringclub.com

The stories of pick pockets etc were all untrue, only thing we got scammed on was a kid selling some water colour paintings... 100m down the road the next kid was selling the same 'original'. Lick your finger, and touch the ink, if it doesn't run it's most likely a print.

Travel light, if you have a massive suit case like I had, traveling on the trains will suck as there isn't much room at the front of each cabin for large bags. All other bags will need to get lifted into overhead rails and it's a pain when your bag weighs 25kg.



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  Reply # 1106917 12-Aug-2014 10:45
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$5 a day includes calling back to New Zealand as well using included minutes calls to 777 / 888 are free covers all incoming calls



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  Reply # 1106918 12-Aug-2014 10:45
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Pluses of a VF Card, same number, same plan, convenient, pretty cheap. Pluses of a Pocket Access Point are that my phone isn't required for me to use my laptop and my wife can make use of it when I am out if she is in the room etc as well. 



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  Reply # 1106920 12-Aug-2014 10:46
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insane: Just went there in May/June for two weeks, bought a Vodafone prepay sim which got me something like 4GB of data for $40 inc SIM. Coverage is somewhat patchy throughout Italy, and we went to: Rome, Florence, Venice, Sorrento, Naples, Capri and Cinque Terre.

In Rome we did foodtoursofrome.com (1st or 2nd rated on TripAdvisor) Bruno the guide was fantastic! By far the best food tour we did out of the 6 we did throughout Italy and France. In Florence we did a Fiat 500 drive and food tour, was also very good 500touringclub.com


 



Thanks for that, appreciate it. 

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  Reply # 1106921 12-Aug-2014 10:47
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Don't you own your own business?



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  Reply # 1106923 12-Aug-2014 10:48
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johnr: Don't you own your own business?


Yes?


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  Reply # 1106924 12-Aug-2014 10:50
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Pickpockets and scam 'artists' are everywhere - especially tourist hotspots.
Dont let the fear ruin your holiday though.
Do you need mobile data - a lot of accommodation has free wifi these days - check it out - that may be enough for you.

This will sound awful, but personally I am always thankful to see some of the louder Americans as it least they take the attention away from others. You can usually hear them and see them a mile off - they usually are nice people but something seems to just scream tourist!

My advice to try and avoid looking like a target:

 

  • Try and dress at least a little like the locals (in Italy men do not wear shorts and flip-flops even on the hottest days) - I fail on this - love my shorts!
  • Try and do some research as to where you are going and look like you know where you are going - wandering around looking lost and with your mouth wide open makes you a target
  • I find that in public (trains/buses as well) dont speak english loudly - marks you as a tourist (see Americans above)
  • While people always say dont carry much cash and use the plastic - nearly everyone I know that has had problems has got mugged after using a money machine - just saying... They do like cash transactions much more than here in NZ
  • If you have cash on you split it - some in a bag, some in your wallet and divide amongst yourselves.
  • If you are a guy - dont be a dick and keep your wallet in your back pocket - this applies anywhere in the world (even NZ). If your wallet is in your side pocket at least your arm will be hanging down near your pocket which helps a little with protection.
  • You do look more like a tourist carrying cameras and extra bags - just take what you need for the day
  • In very crowded places just be aware of people 'accidentally' bumping into you - they are probably genuine ... but
  • Be very wary of chatty friendly locals in public (unless they are shop keepers or cafe/restaurant staff)
  • Dont make eye contact with beggars (there are lots) and people selling 'trinkets' on the footpaths
  • Keep your bags very close to you when travelling on public transport or waiting in train stations etc
I seem to recall most restaurants have prices up at the door - If you cant see any prices then ask. In the touristy areas they seem to speak reasonably good english - I cant think you will have an issue - but learn please, thank you, good day in Italian - always helps a little.




Nothing is impossible for the man who doesn't have to do it himself - A. H. Weiler

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  Reply # 1106925 12-Aug-2014 10:53
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I seem to recall most restaurants have prices up at the door - If you cant see any prices then ask. In the touristy areas they seem to speak reasonably good english - I cant think you will have an issue - but learn please, thank you, good day in Italian - always helps a little.


You can use Duolingo to learn the basics: https://www.duolingo.com/

A
lso, if you have Netflix, this is a great move (actually 3 to watch): http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0346336/


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  Reply # 1106939 12-Aug-2014 11:02
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networkn: Hi There!

I am very fortunate to have won a trip to Italy recently! I am off in September and whilst I have done a fair bit of travel, I am struggling with Italy in some regards because I've never been to Europe etc. 

Firstly, I am an on account customer with VF. I have 2.5GB data a month and could pay the $5 a day roaming charges, but I am wondering if I should do a local simcard instead? Alternatively does anyone know if it's inexpensive to buy a Portable Hotspot with a few GB of data instead?

Other than that, I am spending 6 days in Milan as part of the trip and then 4 days in Rome. I was after just some general travel tips. I have heard pickpockets and scam artists can be a problem. I don't speak (any) Italian and have heard some shop vendors can stiff you with a tourist tax on 
pricing, but I am not really sure how to avoid it (Was a story on stuff today about $20 icecreams).

Would appreciate any insight or experiences. 

I love (good) food, and so intend to spend a lot of time eating and experiencing things. There are some really well established food tours which review well on Tripadvisor, unsure if I should just join that, or find a private tour which might take me away from the touristy type places and 
into experiences which are more unique or better.

Cheers




No doubt you will be fine - Italy is at least as civilised as NZ...!

Read the Lonely Planet or Rough Guide. Always helpful.

Definitely skip the jandals and shorts and so forth - you will stand out like a sore thumb, plus Italians would think that look very scruffy which will colour their perception of where you fit in!

Just relax and exercise normal caution - becoming paranoid would just make the whole experience less pleasant than it ought to be.





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  Reply # 1106940 12-Aug-2014 11:05
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robjg63 covered most of the important stuff. Keep your wallet somewhere other than your back pocket and just keep your eyes open (especially in busy areas).

In Rome the best thing we got told was instead of getting in the big queue at the Colosseum go around the corner to the Roman Forum and purchase your tickets there. Not only is the Forum a must see but you get tickets to the Colosseum and can then skip the line there after.

Also one thing we stumbled upon while lining up for tickets at the Forum was a young American tour guide who took us on a tour through the Forum. Was well worth the extra 5EUR as without the tour we wouldn't have known what we were looking at. Something I actually wish we did at the Colosseum. 




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