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kevin75 10-31-09 03:51 PM

Trip to Rome....what to know before going?
 
Hello everyone,

From my previous thread about where to go, my wife and I have decided to head to Rome over Thanksgiving. We are trying to get things planned out and I have a few questions that I'm hoping someone might be able to help with.

1. Cell Phones/Laptops - we both have iphones and know that basically we need to shut most of it off so that we don't incur tons of charges while we are there. I've heard about jailbreaking it to allow us to use it, but I'm not sure that is something that I want to do. What other options are there so that we can use them and get email, internet without having to pay tons of money? Also, we might be taking my laptop from work and I'm wondering what to do about electrical adaptors. I know that I need one, but what should I be looking for in getting one that won't fry our laptop and iphones?

2. We are staying at a B&B about 20 minutes southeast of Rome and so we will have to take the train in and out daily. With sunset coming about 5pm, we will probably have to walk around, and take the train back, etc after dark. I don't think that there should be much problem, but again, any advice?

I'll probably think of some more questions, but that's it for now. If anyone has any other advice of things to do, or to look out for, I'd be appreciative. We aren't going with any sort of tour group, just by ourselves, so it should be exciting.

Heat 10-31-09 04:45 PM

Re: Trip to Rome....what to know before going?
 
Rome is notorious for gypsy pickpockets. Be very aware of your surroundings and keep your money / valuables in a neck pouch. Maybe keep a dummy wallet in your back pocket if you are curious to see how long it takes before it is stolen.

Senor Javi 10-31-09 04:56 PM

Re: Trip to Rome....what to know before going?
 

Originally Posted by kevin75 (Post 9807820)
Hello everyone,
1. Cell Phones/Laptops - we both have iphones and know that basically we need to shut most of it off so that we don't incur tons of charges while we are there. I've heard about jailbreaking it to allow us to use it, but I'm not sure that is something that I want to do. What other options are there so that we can use them and get email, internet without having to pay tons of money? Also, we might be taking my laptop from work and I'm wondering what to do about electrical adaptors. I know that I need one, but what should I be looking for in getting one that won't fry our laptop and iphones?

I wouldn't really recommend using a cell phone / iphone abroad, especially with what is presumably a short period of time. Internet cafés are pretty ubiquitous and aren't rip-offs, so that's probably a good option. You also might get lucky and find a wi-fi hotspot, but my memory is a little foggy on that part. As for adapters, I'm sure that any off the shelf adapters would be fine. In all the traveling that I've done I've never had to go beyond this step. The only thing is that you'll probably get a weaker charge so you'll have to remember to charge everyday and for long periods. In a place like Rome you won't have a ton of technological hurdles to climb.


2. We are staying at a B&B about 20 minutes southeast of Rome and so we will have to take the train in and out daily. With sunset coming about 5pm, we will probably have to walk around, and take the train back, etc after dark. I don't think that there should be much problem, but again, any advice?
Walking around at night in Rome (and most places) is fine. The people are by and large very nice [EDIT] but beware the gypies. I forgot about that. Yeah, avoid anyone who tries to sell you something or tries to get close to you if they look suspicious. Gypsies are afoot. They aren't violent, but they are cheats. Also, do keep an eye on the train schedule. You don't want to miss the last train and get stuck out somewhere.


I'll probably think of some more questions, but that's it for now. If anyone has any other advice of things to do, or to look out for, I'd be appreciative. We aren't going with any sort of tour group, just by ourselves, so it should be exciting.
Going to the Colosseum costs a crap-ton of money, so don't be surprised when they ask for an arm and a leg.

edstein 10-31-09 07:53 PM

Re: Trip to Rome....what to know before going?
 
It's been 15 years since I was there but, when we went to the Vatican they required long pants and no back packs/large bags allowed inside. I think they have a place to store them but theres probably a fee.

heimerSWT 10-31-09 08:02 PM

Re: Trip to Rome....what to know before going?
 
1. You can check AT&T for a temp International plan...I think it's like $25+ http://www.wireless.att.com/learn/in...ravel-tips.jsp (which isn't a bad deal if you plan on using the data for emails and surfing). Otherwise, leaving the phone in Airplane mode (with Wifi enabled) will allow you to connect and surf without roaming/data charges. I did this when I went to Belize, and had free wifi with the resort where I stayed.

2. I did a lot of night time walking in many different parts of Rome. Never felt unsafe.

3. I ONLY saw gypsies around the Colosseum. And it really just takes some easy common sense to deal with them. You'll KNOW when one is approaching, and I would always either just completely ignore them...or pretend to not understand a word they were saying. Otherwise I would just shake my head "no" and wave them off.

4. The Colosseum is worth the money and wait. I recommend trying to get in with a tour group. It will save you time getting in. Same with the Vatican. I was with Contiki...a long term tour trip through Europe, so not sure who would be good to recommend for a quick day tour in Rome.

kevin75 10-31-09 10:53 PM

Re: Trip to Rome....what to know before going?
 
thanks for the advice so far. i forgot to say that we would be there a week. i was actually in rome about 12 years ago and had a great time. there were lots of tour groups floating around when i went to the colosseum and i just snuck in with one for awhile. we are looking at taking advantage of the roma pass program to try and save a bit of money.

OscarBluth 10-31-09 11:19 PM

Re: Trip to Rome....what to know before going?
 
When there, do what they do.

Giantrobo 11-01-09 06:09 AM

Re: Trip to Rome....what to know before going?
 
...and watch out for your Corn hole.

movielib 11-01-09 07:14 AM

Re: Trip to Rome....what to know before going?
 
They drive crazy and honk a lot.

Tsar Chasm 11-01-09 10:52 AM

Re: Trip to Rome....what to know before going?
 
and pickpockets. Don't forget about the pickpockets. Especially around the train/bus stations.

Pickpockets.

And the street vendor food is yummy.

Pickpockets.

Senor Javi 11-01-09 10:58 AM

Re: Trip to Rome....what to know before going?
 
Also, if I remember correctly, the closer you get to the Vatican, the more expensive street vendor food becomes. So if you're saying "2 euros for a soda? I'll wait," that 2 euro soda is going to turn into a 4 euro soda in three blocks.

Doug Heffernan 11-02-09 01:34 PM

Re: Trip to Rome....what to know before going?
 
Go to this restaurant:

http://www.ilbrilloparlante.com/

Via della Fontanella, 12, Roma - +39 06 3235017

The Bus 11-02-09 02:10 PM

Re: Trip to Rome....what to know before going?
 
If it's a short trip, then Rome is fine. But I would try and make a daytrip somewhere interesting. Going to Rome is like flying to California for the first time and only staying in Los Angeles proper. You can do better.

SmackDaddy 11-02-09 02:54 PM

Re: Trip to Rome....what to know before going?
 
We were in Italy just this past May for a just over a week.

We spent a day in Rome, from sun up to sundown, and never saw roving bands of pick-pocketing gypsies. There was never a time where we felt unsafe. Street vendor food was very tasty! Heck, just about everywhere we ate in Italy was very good, nothing like the "Italian" food we get here in the states.

You will have plenty to do and see, but I would arrange a couple of daylong excursions to at least Florence and Venice (Pisa is neat, but not worth an entire day unless you include another stop like we did in Viareggio).

We stayed in Florence and took trips to all of the above. Every other day we spent in another part of Italy.

Also, if you do plan lot's of excursions on the train you might want to look into a rail pass. We got a 4 day rail pass that gave you unlimited on off within a 24 hour period (separate seat reservations are still required for certain destinations). Even with the reservations we had to make for Rome and Venice we came out ahead compared to buying tickets daily. Oh, go first class when you can MUCH nicer and not much more $$. We loved it.

Aside from the cab ride to and from the airport in Florence, and the train rides we walked EVERYWHERE!! So, bring comfortable shoes!

We brought our phones with us for emergency use, but we did not leave them on as we didn't want to incur data charges by accident. We had a couple of phone cards handy also since they do have pay phones al over the place.

Internet service costs $$ pretty much everywhere, even in most hotels. We used our laptops sparingly at the hotel. It was cheaper to pop into one of the plentiful internet/phone cafes to when we wanted to fire off some e-mails/pics to folks back home.

The Bus 11-02-09 03:07 PM

Re: Trip to Rome....what to know before going?
 

Originally Posted by SmackDaddy (Post 9811714)
You will have plenty to do and see, but I would arrange a couple of daylong excursions to at least Florence and Venice (Pisa is neat, but not worth an entire day unless you include another stop like we did in Viareggio).

:up:

Hokeyboy 11-02-09 03:36 PM

Re: Trip to Rome....what to know before going?
 
Never been to Rome (save the airport), but I spent a week in Florence. I don't carry a wallet; I use a clip with slots for my ID/Credit cards, always stored in a front pocket. Sealed by a button or velcro if possible when wearing shorts or slacks with closed pockets.

Never had a pickpocketing problem wherever I've travelled, usually because of that. Someone I went with to the Taj Mahal wasn't so lucky.

ALSO: most will understand English, but I spoke Spanish the entire time I was in Italy and was understood just fine. If you speak Spanish (or even have a high-school level/remembrance of conversation) you can get along a LOT faster/easier than in English.

tofu 11-02-09 03:37 PM

Re: Trip to Rome....what to know before going?
 
When we went to Rome, we also stayed at a place on the outskirts of the city and so we had to take one of the last trains every night. I would budget a night to take a taxi back to your hotel/B&B so that you can experience the city late at night.

One of the best parts of our visit was a nighttime walking tour.

seisui 11-03-09 12:14 AM

Re: Trip to Rome....what to know before going?
 
Best gelato in all of Rome.

tofferman 11-03-09 12:40 AM

Re: Trip to Rome....what to know before going?
 
Rome is a fascinating city. The Gypsy's are aggressive at times, but common sense as stated before in this thread is key. If you're arriving in the city by train, they are especially notorious. The Vatican Museum is an absolute must. You'll be amazed at how much the Roman Catholic church has "acquired" over the centuries...one of the best museums in the world. Between the museum and the rest of Vatican City, your camera will get a workout.

You can see a lot of the Roman empire just by walking around the city. Some areas require a fee to enter and see the ruins, but I saw plenty (for free) to appreciate the history of the city.

The coliseum is a must. Also, watch out when crossing the streets. The Vespa's (that are everywhere) don't observe traffic laws, so crossing streets takes on a whole new meaning. Don't be surprised if men are aggressive with your wife.

Overall, I found the city much more hectic than New York. It was chaos at times. I was glad to visit, but happy to move on after three days.

SmackDaddy 11-03-09 07:24 AM

Re: Trip to Rome....what to know before going?
 

Originally Posted by Hokeyboy (Post 9811823)
ALSO: most will understand English, but I spoke Spanish the entire time I was in Italy and was understood just fine. If you speak Spanish (or even have a high-school level/remembrance of conversation) you can get along a LOT faster/easier than in English.

This! I am so glad I am fairly fluent in spanish. Made bargaining for my leather jacket much easier!

It's amazing how other countries try and accommodate a range of languages (one vendor we talked to spoke German, Italian, English and Spanish and was from Australia!)but anyone coming to vacation in the US better know english or they are toast!

Rex Fenestrarum 11-03-09 11:38 AM

Re: Trip to Rome....what to know before going?
 

Originally Posted by Senor Javi (Post 9807920)
The only thing is that you'll probably get a weaker charge so you'll have to remember to charge everyday and for long periods.

Huh? The US is 110 volts and the UK\Europe is 220 volts. On my last trip to the UK, all my gadgets charged in half the time, since there's twice as much electricity going to them. That's also why electric kettles are so much faster in Europe\UK than the US.

Senor Javi 11-03-09 05:15 PM

Re: Trip to Rome....what to know before going?
 

Originally Posted by Rex Fenestrarum (Post 9813512)
Huh? The US is 110 volts and the UK\Europe is 220 volts. On my last trip to the UK, all my gadgets charged in half the time, since there's twice as much electricity going to them. That's also why electric kettles are so much faster in Europe\UK than the US.

I always forget where it's weaker vs. stronger - I haven't been to Europe in a long time. It was something fresh in my mind because I was in Japan and my electronic crapped out after just a few hours.

Scotty Flamingo 11-07-09 06:44 PM

Re: Trip to Rome....what to know before going?
 
I was in Rome during 2004 with my family. While on the subway at one stop, a huge number of people [probably working together] crowded the subway to the point where I was pinned and couldn't move. I almost felt like throwing punches at people. My uncle had his wallet stolen. The stories about thieves are true.

I would take a scan of your credit cards, passport, and whatnot. Then put it into a .pdf file and either put a printout in your luggage and/or have it available to download online. That way you have the information and can cancel those cards. Also call the CC companies and ask if they have a collect or an international number to call when you are over there.

If someone approaches you there usually is a scam involved. I just start talking some angry Russian-sounding jibberish with a scowl on my face. They never know what to make of that.

Gypsies are scum.

Mosskeeto 11-07-09 09:06 PM

Re: Trip to Rome....what to know before going?
 
The warnings about Gypsies are true (as almost everyone seems to be warning you), but certain locations are notorious. The train station and one particular bus route with a lot of tourists on board.
My GF had an experience several years ago at the train station when she found herself surrounded by begging Gypsy children who suddenly swarmed her, hands plunging into jacket pockets and trying to get into her purse. She SCREAMED for help and many people rushed over while the young thieves beat a hasty exit, empty handed. She was wearing a waist pouch with passport, money, etc. under her blouse.

kevin75 11-09-09 08:15 PM

Re: Trip to Rome....what to know before going?
 
Thanks for all of the advice everyone. We are trying to get some last minute prep done this week and next before we leave on 11/22. The B&B that we are staying at is in Zagarolo and according to our hosts, they might be able to take us on a short day trip excursion around there. We would like to take a day trip somewhere (we had thought about Orvieto), but we are worried about how much it will add in cost (train tickets, etc). Considering we are about at the top of our budget just from Rome, we may not make it to Florence or any of the other recommendations this time. :(

We are looking at taking a small shoulder bag to keep a water bottle and guide book in, but I don't know if I want to keep our camera in it. I would think that keeping our camera in my front jeans pocket might be better, just because I would think that it's harder for anyone to steal that way.

We think that we will probably do one day in the Vatican museums just because it's 14 euros per person, so that would be money we could save. We are also planning to make reservations at the Villa Borghese and take advantage of the Roma Pass for the Colleseum, Forum, etc. This should also help us with reduced train and bus costs.

We've also decided against taking a laptop (I don't want to take my work one), so the only things we have to charge are my wife's hair dryer, a camera battery, and two iphones. Can anyone recommend a good inexpensive voltage converter? Or for that matter, would we even need a voltage converter? Our camera battery charger and iphones say 100V-240V input, and if we found a cheap dual voltage hair dryer, we could just plug everything into the wall over in Italy (as long as we have a plug adapter), right?


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