For international departures, be sure to arrive at the airport at least three hours in advance. Allow yourself plenty of time for arrival, check-in, and getting through security checks.
If you are flying a reputable foreign airline such as British Airways, KLM, or Lufthansa, many times these carriers will partner with a U.S. airline, so be sure to take advantage of any miles you can earn through these partnerships. Do some homework on this beforehand, and always be sure to ask about it at the check-in counter. It’s always harder to get these miles credited to your account after your trip is over, and less likely that you will take the extra time to do so.
Of course, today there is less and less value in airline travel unless you are prepared to pay for it. Especially on the European legs of your flight, don’t be surprised to pay up to 3 Euros for a cup of coffee, or even 8 Euros for a small breakfast plate.
ARRIVAL TO ITALY
When you touch down in Rome or Venice on the first leg of your trip, you should be met at the airport by your Queenslander Tour Captain, who will make sure you get to your hotel conveniently and safely. Your cab fare and tip are already covered by pre-arranged transfer.
However, if you are arriving alone with different arrangements, you should be able to get to your hotel without too much trouble. Generally, there will be transportation options available when you exit the airport, such as a train terminal within walking distance, or a taxi service. If you go by taxi, just tell the driver the name of your hotel and the street address, such as “Hotel Dei Mellini”, “Via Muzio Clementi, 81”. You may wish to have this written out in advance to simply hand to the driver. The word “Via”, meaning “place” or “by the way of”, will precede most street names. The street number appears at the end of the address. Be prepared to give the driver a nominal tip, but check the exchange rate first. Remember, it’s not play money, and you don’t want to tip too much. A polite “Grazie” (pronounced GRAH-tsee-eh) or “thank you” should also be rendered.
HOTELS AND ACCOMMODATIONS
On your Queenslander Tour, you will probably be staying in a four or five-star hotel, unless you are on the budget package, and then you will probably be at a 3-star hotel. Italy and Europe have different rating systems than America, so anything below a 3-star property can be highly questionable. If you are on the “Italy on a Budget” package and staying in a hotel apart from the majority of the group, be sure to have your Queenslander Tour Captain resolve any questions or problems you may have at the time of check-in, or before they leave you for the night.
In Europe, you will find that the first floor is not the ground floor, as it is in America, but rather what we would call the second floor. Elevators are usually much smaller than in the States, so if you are claustrophobic, you may prefer to take the stairs. However, you should find your room in the deluxe hotels to be spacious and comfortable, with high ceilings and large windows. You may even feel like the Pope in Vatican Square as you gaze out your window! And, to put you at ease, there should be at least one channel in English on the TV, such as CNN or the BBC.
You will generally find that extra towels, especially washcloths, can be in short supply, so you may want to pack a few just to have on hand. Also, don’t be surprised to come back to your room at the end of your first day to find a white cloth spread out on the floor beside your bed. This may seem an odd custom, but it’s merely so you have a place for your bare feet when you get out of bed.
Your deluxe hotel should also serve a very nice breakfast in the mornings. You will probably want to arrange to meet your tour group so you can dine together. Generally, there will be eggs and bacon, pastries and croissants, fruit, juice, yogurt, and cereal. Coffee or tea may be brought to your table by a waiter unless otherwise specified.
When you leave your room at the beginning of each day, be sure not to leave valuables behind. Lock your luggage when unattended. If you do have valuables, such as money and jewelry, that need to be safeguarded, have them locked up by hotel management in advance of your departure for the day.
Your hotel will be situated in the city centre for easy access to most sites and other conveniences, but do remember that a certain amount of walking cannot be avoided.
We discovered QueensLander's Small Group Italy Tours this year! QueensLander's Italy staff's preparation was apparent each step of the way.
They made our vacation the trip of a life-time. Thank you!
~ Julie, Italy Tour