Travel Agent Secret Tip: How To Save On Holiday Money

Most of us can afford to go on holiday only once a year, and even then, we have to be very careful with money to stretch it as far as we want it to go. When you have saved an entire year for a much-awaited holiday, you wouldn’t want to lose a huge chunk of it to money transfers and hidden bank fees, would you? In this post, you are about to get first hand secret from a travel agent how you can save money so that you can have more to pamper yourself and actually enjoy your holiday.

How do most people lose money on holiday?

Money Exchange
You will not get the best deals when exchanging cash at the bureau de chanage

Before you can figure out how best to save money, it is vital you understand where it often goes. In the past, financial planning for a holiday was a daunting and time-consuming process that never ended happily, largely because of the hurdles of money exchange and hefty hidden bank charges one had to pay just to access or spend it. If you are planning a holiday, there are much simpler and straightforward ways you can plan to get the best deal for your holiday money. The most expensive financial services when you are in a foreign country include on-the-spot currency conversions (especially if you have cash), Travelers’ Check fees, credit card charges, interest on prepaid or debit cards, and dynamic currency conversion rates.

So, what are your best options?

Transferwise

Transferwise is wire transfer service from the creator of Skype. It allows you to transfer money abroad at interbank rates, which are the best exchange rates (wholesale rates) you can get when buying currency, plus a small reasonable fee. Transferwise is ideal when booking establishments that do not take credit cards and require a bank transfer, but also you can use to pay anyone who has a bank account around the world so you can avoid hidden credit card fees, or bank wire costs.

If you are looking for the safest, most convenient, and affordable way to book holidays abroad—whether you are looking to stay in a hotel or some other establishment— then Transferwise is a service designed just for you. With Transferwise, you will never have to:

– Deal with the insecurity of walking around with cash travel money;

– Pay huge commissions of Travelers’ checks;

– Carry prepaid or credit cards you are never sure will be accepted; or

– Worry about the complexities and delays of wire transfers.

Any travel agent who knows his stuff will tell you that Transferwise is the convenient, cost-effective, and quick way to transfer money and make payments while on holiday and get to enjoy the best interbank exchange rates.

Revolut

Revolut’s tagline, ‘Simply Revolutionary’ is exactly what this app-based global payment system is—revolution of payment simplicity. This new way to send and spend money instantly globally is a clever combination of the advancement of MasterCard and the convenience of a smartphone app. What you will need to do as you plan your holiday is simply charge your account with Euros or Dollars travel money before you leave. When you get to your destination, simply draw the money in the local currency and enjoy the best exchange rates in the market with no fees for as much as 650 euros. You can also conveniently make payments for your purchases in restaurants and shops, save your travel money over time, and send money straight from the app

There are several important considerations when comparing the various money transfers methods available to you. The most important considerations today are low transfer rates, money exchange rates, convenience (especially online access), and safety. Take the word of an experienced travel agent, the best ways for you to get the most of your money and enjoy your holiday is by using one of these two great travel money management systems.

How Brexit Will Affect Travelling To Italy (for UK and US visitors)

The decision by the United Kingdom to leave the European Union will undoubtedly have uncertain implications for the British people. The only certainty guaranteed by this so called ‘Brexit’ vote is that things will likely never be the same again for Britain in its relations with EU countries such as Italy. As such British tourists are likely to be the first group of Brits who will experience first hand the uncertain and little known consequences that might materialise as the UK negotiates itself out of the EU. Listed below are examples of some of the uncertain repercussions of the Brexit vote to British tourists who wish to travel to Italy.

Brexit tea

1. Costly Visas

Brexit has meant that, for the Brits at least, the days of the freedom of movement of people throughout Europe looks likely to be a thing of the past. Brits might now be treated as non-EU citizens, meaning that it is highly likely that they will be unable to cross a borderless EU without frequent passport checks. If any British national wishes to travel to Italy, it is probable that they will have to apply for and purchase a visa. This will mean that Brits will be subject to visa restrictions upon the amount of time they are permitted to stay within Italy before renewing their visa at an additional cost.

2. Poor Exchange Rate

As the full economic repercussions of the Brexit vote will not be known for many years to come, global markets have naturally reacted negatively at the level of uncertainty created by such a vote. This has resulted in a general weakening of pound sterling against all other major currencies such as the euro, meaning that British tourists travelling to a country like Italy could potentially have reduced spending power. The knock-on effect of this being that they might have less expendable money to spend over the course of their vacation on things like food and drink, excursions and souvenirs.

3. Expensive Air Travel

The Brexit vote has also created uncertainty about UK access to EU airspace, which could mean that the UK will have no other option than to renegotiate its air space treaties with all 27 EU member states. This could potentially mean that all UK-based air travel companies might have to pay increased fees in exchange for access to EU airspace, which perhaps will inevitably have to be passed onto the customer. This could spell the end of British access to cheap EU air travel, by forcing British tourists (and indeed non-EU tourists who fly from the UK specifically to access cheap EU flights) to pay more money for their flight to Italy from any UK airport.

Having said that we should also consider the possibility of less popular routes being abandoned by cheap no frills airlines due to higher costs, casting a shadow on smaller but crucial airports. Travellers from the U.S. too who often use Ryanair flights to Italy might have fewer choices in the future when it comes to air travel.

4. Increased Roaming Charges

The Brexit vote has also cast serious doubt over the UK’s continued access to cheap EU roaming charges, with many fearing that British telecom companies might have no other option than to charge British tourists higher roaming charges while they holiday in countries like Italy. Such a prospect could also negatively affect many non-EU tourists, such as those from the USA, who often purchase a UK sim card in order to take advantage of cheap EU call charges.

5. High-Cost Healthcare

Although not confirmed by either country, the UK’s decision to leave the EU has technically terminated the right of British citizens to be treated by the Italian Health Service while on holiday. This is still far from being a certainty, but if this is to be the case, then in future British tourists might have to procure and manage their own healthcare while on vacation in Italy. If both the UK and Italian governments are able to sort out a bilateral deal over the provision of healthcare to British tourists, it is likely that such an arrangement will charge British tourists for access to the Italian Health Service. However this is speculative and far from certain.

Overall the effects of Brexit on British tourists who wish to travel to Italy will in all likelihood be largely negative in nature. For a start Brits might find that the price of a holiday to Italy will be much higher than when the UK was a member of the EU, largely because of a poor sterling exchange rate with the euro and the fact that many benefits of being a member of the EU, such as visa free travel and access to healthcare, might now come with a costly price tag. In short, Brexit has potentially cost British tourists more money in order to travel to Italy and given them fresh uncertainty over simple things like roaming charges and more substantial issues such as access to the Italian Health Service when injured or ill.

How To Travel In Italy By Autostrada

If you’ve chosen to rely on a comfortable and familiar mean of transportation by renting a car to move around while you’re in Italy, there are a few tips and guidelines you need to know before you hit the road.

Autostrada

Unless you’re from a country with very different rules, or you’re used to driving on the opposite side of the road, the norms you’ll need to follow won’t be hard to catch up on, but during long distance trips, you’ll have to deal with Italian highways (also known as freeways or motorways), called autostrade (singular: autostrada), which come with their own set of rules, perks and instructions for how to best travel along them.
If you need to stop during your trip, don’t miss the Autogrill rest stations. They are almost full-fledged restaurants and bars, with a souvenir shop and where you can buy snacks, magazines, toys, books and all sorts of useful items. It’s great for a bathroom break, but some toilets might require you pay a small sum to enter, such as 50 cents or 1 euro – this to ensure the standard of cleanliness can be maintained. Self-service petrol stations can also be found here and instructions for how to refill your car are easy to follow.
Autostrade are tool roads. As you enter, you must take a ticket, and you’ll have to pay the toll as you exit the autostrada, based on the distance travelled. You can pay with cash, by using a card or you can enter the Telepass lane and the fee will be sent through a monthly invoice. However, a Telepass is not something rental cars are equipped with, so take care to enter the right lane for your chosen payment method, as entering a Telepass lane without having the device will cause you trouble and will result in a fine. During high season you can expect to find queues, and since most Italians pay by cash, lanes for card payments might be less packed.

How to Calculate Distances and Toll Fees

You can search the web to find a website that will allow you to calculate the toll fee and distances before you actually have to ride along an autostrada, and Autostrade.it is the perfect option to make sure you’re ready to pay the toll.

Speed Limits and Penalties

The leftmost lane of the autostrada is the one with the fastest driving speed. If drivers behind you are urging you to speed up or keep passing you, either accelerate or move to the lane to your right, where the minimum speed is slightly lower. The signs will tell you speed limits (in black over a white circled framed in red) and minimum speeds for the chosen lane (in white over a blue circle). Respecting the minimum speed is very important.
As autostrade are monitored, be careful to respect the speed limits or else you will automatically be fined. If your car is a rental, the fine will be processed by the rental company with an added fee.
The maximum speed allowed on an autostrada is that of 130 km/h (110 km/h in the event of bad weather), otherwise, pay attention to the signs and keep alert.
Safe travels and have a great time riding across Italy!

Most picturesque villages in Italy

Italy is a country with an amazing landscape. From Tuscany to Mont Blanc, you are sure to be treated to a plethora of amazing enthralling sights. This is a country where your camera will have to be at ready because you never know when an exciting moment or photo-worthy scene will present itself. Going around Italy, you should find some areas more picturesque than others. Here are the top five villages that you must visit and with your quality camera at ready;

Alberobello
Alberobello

Alberobello– Famed for its fascinating Trulli houses (cone shaped brick houses), Alberobello village is located on the southern side of Italy. It is part of the metropolitan Bari, in the region of Apulia. This village which literally translates to ‘beautiful tree’ is a place where true beauty of Italy comes forth. Make sure you troop in to a Trulli to discover what makes them so special. Visit the Piazza del Popolo and take in the picturesque central square. Take a bench and click away the amazing sights and moments. Don’t forget to visit the Museo dell’ Olio.

Matera– This is a town where culture stays intact and alive. You will have plentiful of fun things to do in this amazing town located on the southern end of Italy. This town gained international fame because of the Sassi di Matera which is regarded as one of early human settlements in Europe. The town was named as the European city of Culture of 2019. This is because of the marvelous cathedrals, dreamy white Sassi or ‘stones’ of Matera and of course the wine havens. One place where you must visit and take a couple of photos is the Church of Santa Maria de Idris.

Manarola – This is one of the most famous Italian tourist destinations. It is part of the famous Cinque Terre in Liguria, Northern Italy. There are fabled hard trails that lead to enthralling sights. You have the amazing opportunity to explore the harbor which is simply refreshing and breathtaking. The apartment blocks standing at the edge of the cliff makes the blue water look so peaceful and precarious. Take a tour to the vineyard and have a winery experience as you explore the landscape. Take the uphill trudge to the inside of the town and enjoy a refreshing view of the town and the scenic sea below.

Civita di Bagnoregio– Any day, Civita di Bagnoregio stands out as a stunning village with to-kill-for sights. It is about one and half hours from Rome. You will feel small but important especially when you visit the iconic pedestrian walkway towards the town. This is a town which is perched atop a hill and whose beauty is unspoiled by modern cars. Walk around this amazing town and take awe-striking photos of the surrounding landscape.

San Marino– This is one of the oldest and smallest republic on the planet. It is adorned with the best nature could think of. There are amazingly high towers which mark the end and start of the town. You will have the incredible sights away from the high placed town. There is the Basilica di San Marino and the sweeping Monte Titano view to soak in.

San Marino
San Marino

Tips for your Mobile and internet Access While in Italy

Smartphones have become faithful companions for the tourist wanting to snap pictures, take videos, and do a number of things that can make your trip more efficient, comfortable and that can make you keep in touch with your loved ones even thousands of miles away from home. But of course, not all data plans are created equal and if you don’t prepare yourself properly, your smartphone can become your enemy, eating up your data traffic, or leaving you hanging at the worst of times.

Forgotten but not gone, the old robot-like Italian pay phones are everywhere though we never saw anyone using them.
Don’t get stuck in Italy with one of these!

Parla Italiano?

Of course Italian is not a language that can be grasped on the go, so that might make it all the more difficult to prepare or activate a mobile plan once you’ve arrived in Italy. Which is why it’s recommended you prepare yourself for any possibility before departure. But just in case, here’s some vocabulary: “sim card” or “carta sim”, “mobile plan” is “contratto telefonico” and if you need to charge the amount available for your mobile usage you can say “mi serve una ricarica” (I need a charge card).

Which phone plan?

Italian telecommunications provider’s shops allow you to choose from a wide range of phone plans, which might or might not include a data plan, but there are so many of them that you might waste a consistent part of your day just locked up with a salesperson looking at complex information. Most of the phone plans are not tailored after tourists who will stay in Italy for a few weeks, and deleting your subscription afterwards will be an even more bothersome process. Not to mention that these shops might have long queues and that’s more time you’ll have to waste as you try to choose the right option for your smartphone usage.

Many providers and a bit of bureaucracy.

The major companies providing mobile services in Italy are Vodafone, Wind, Tim and 3 (Tre). You will find the help desk or shop for each of them in all of the major cities in Italy and even in most minor cities and towns. As mentioned, there is a great number of options and most if not all of them will require you settle your phone plan with a clerk using at least some basic Italian terms. But if doing as much seems easy enough, you have to know that’s not all. To start a mobile plan, you’ll need some documents. A document certifying your identity (passports or Italian IDs – carta d’identità – are the only ones accepted) and the codice fiscale (a code similar to an American social security number) are the most important ones needed but of course tourists won’t have the codice fiscale, for instance. Moreover, once you’ve worked out a way to activate a mobile contract, there’s paperwork to fill out, and that’s another obstacle for those who just want to enjoy their vacation and upload photos to social media as they go.
Your best option would be to start a prepaid plan that can be charged at certain locations, such as tobacconist shops, at certain bars and cafés, and charge cards can also be purchased by the cash registers in most supermarkets or shopping centers. You can either use such charge cards with your phone, tell your phone number to the salesperson who will then charge your number with the desired amount in the locations where this option is available or, according to your plan, you might also be able to charge your phone with the provider’s smartphone app, using your credit card or
PayPal account.
But when it comes down to which option to choose, remember: if you can plan out your flights and hotel stays from the comfort of your home, why not choose the right mobile plan for you before departure as well? If you are going to Italy this summer more tips and travel advice can be found on EmiliaDelizia travel blog.