1. OPTION 1) INDEPENDENT TRAVEL This is what we travel advisors refer to as “FIT” -- or “Fully Independent Travel". Please don’t think that traveling independently means “winging it” or flying by the seat of your pants. If you book through Dancing Moon Travel, your itinerary will generally include your flights, ground transfers between airport, rail transportation between cities, and accommodations all included in your customized package – as well as carefully selected tours and day trips.
When it comes to itineraries, options are all but endless! First-time visitors usually want to experience Rome, Florence and – time permitting -- Venice. Other popular itineraries are Rome and the romantic Amalfi Coast area with charming cities of Positano, Amalfi, Sorrento, and the Island of Capri … or you might opt for the Lake Country … or Sicily … there are so many amazing options to explore.
We also love to accommodate our independent travelers’ special interests: foodies might be delighted by a cooking class in an ancient farmhouse – while active adventurers might prefer the thrill of a balloon ride in the Tuscan countryside. In Rome, our most popular excursions include food tours -- visits to the Vatican including St Peter’s Basilica and museums – and, of course, a tour that includes the Colosseum, Pantheon, and Trevi Fountain is a must. Our most-booked day trips from Florence include walking tours that include the Uffizi and Academia galleries – and a delightful full-day tour to San Gimignano & Siena. A day trip to Cinque Terre is also on the list of “must-do” experiences for a growing number of travelers to this region. Just be prepared for the many stairs and steep hillsides that come with this one!
We find that Fully Independent Travel is frequently the best choice for confident travelers who like to explore, who enjoy a balance of planned activities and free time and who prefer to be more on their own and not engaged with a group of travelers.
2. Option 2: ESCORTED TOURS. There are many advantages of group travel. Everything is carefully planned by industry pros, and there is very little to worry about. Frankly, traveling independently to a country halfway around the world where you are unfamiliar with the language, the currency, and the customs – well, for many people this can be quite intimidating. With escorted travel, your guide/tour manager takes care of virtually all the details, so guests enjoy a virtually worry-free vacation. Not sure about where to go or how much to tip at lunch? If the lunch is included with the package, that’s already handled – if not, your tour manager can provide recommendations, as well as guidance on appropriate tipping customs for the country you’re visiting. With an escorted tour, you won’t waste precious time worrying about practical issues but can spend all your time enjoying your destination.
Since your itinerary is carefully planned by experts, you know what to expect each day, and many tours are very inclusive so you also know pretty much exactly what it’s going to cost other than personal shopping and souvenirs. Also, with an escorted vacation, you go right to the front of the line at most of the popular attractions.
Other advantages of escorted vacations are that you have a ready-made group of like-minded travelers who share your interests … you could go home with new lifetime friends. The best itineraries also
provide plenty of free time for travelers to explore their own interests, indulge in an optional activity or just relax and smell the roses.
There are options for escorted travel for everyone, from moderate to five-star luxury. Some of our favorite suppliers are Globus at the moderate level – Collette and Trafalgar for the deluxe traveler, and Tauck for the five-star “everything included” travel experience.
ESCORTED TRAVEL is frequently the best choice for travelers who appreciate a ready-made travel itinerary that includes all of the “must-see” attractions of their destination, and travelers who want the safety, security, and convenience of traveling as part of a group.
3. OPTION 3: CRUISE TRAVEL: A cruise can be a fabulous way to explore Italy. A cruise vacation actually combines many of the best features of both FIT and Escorted travel. People love the convenience and inclusiveness of cruising – while not technically “all-inclusive,” you can count on a cruise to provide delightful meals, transportation between your ports of call, a host of entertainment and activities, and more. You board your ship, unpack and settle in and there you are for the next 7, 10 or more days as you visit a variety of delightful ports of call. Itineraries are planned with great care and you can expect to visit some of the most delightful and engaging destinations in the country. You cover so much territory on a cruise in such a pleasant manner, without constantly checking in and out of hotels, schlepping luggage, or maintaining a rigid schedule. Some of the areas of Italy easily accessible by cruise ship include Rome, Venice, Florence, Cinque Terre, Amalfi Coast and Capri, and Sicily. Some of our favorite providers for an Italy-centric cruise include Viking, Azamara, Princess, and Norwegian.
A cruise vacation could easily be the best choice for those who already love the convenience of a cruise vacation or anyone – including avowed non-cruisers! -- who want a convenient, seamless, and no-stress way to explore this charming country.
So, there you have it … the Dancing Moon Travel take on Three Great Ways to Explore Italy. Questions or comments? Feel free to reach out! We’d love to help you sort out the best option for YOUR unique interests and travel style!