My honeymoon was a little different to say the least. My husband and I headed to romantic Italy for a six-day trip of a lifetime. It was just my new husband, me and my family.
Yup. My family.
My mother called Florence home until she was 19. A whole side of my family still lives in the Renaissance city, including my grandmother, who moved back permanently about five years ago. Since my 90-year-old Nonna couldn’t make the trip, she brought us to her by paying for our airfare as a wedding gift.
I knew heading to Italy would mean we’d spend a large chunk of our honeymoon with my family, most of whom speak very little English. But, who in their right mind would turn down a trip to Italy?
Our “home base” was Florence (at the same time as the Jersey Shore crew, of course. Snookie literally crashed our honeymoon) and we made day trips to Vinci, Venice, Rome and Sienna. We did spend a decent amount of with my family, but we also had a lot of alone time.
If you have to go on your honeymoon with your family, it’s up to you to figure it out. But below are some things that I learned on mine that will hopefully help you on yours.
Note: A lot of this stuff may not be applicable if you’re going to an all inclusive resort. But it’s good travel advice in general.
If your hotel comes with breakfast, take advantage of it. Odds are you’re going to have a long day sight seeing, relaxing, doing the nasty, etc. and breakfast is one less meal you’ll have to pay for. Most hotel breakfasts aren’t that great. They consist of mostly carbs and microwaved eggs. But, there’s usually something you’ll be able to throw in your purse for a snack later.
Get to Know the Transit System
Take a little time getting to know the transit system in the area that you’re staying, especially if you plan on using it. While I knew there were two train stations in Rome, I didn’t realize we had gotten off at the wrong one until it was too late. This eventually lead to a major debacle that resulted in us missing our train and me having a panic attack in the middle of the wrong train station. If it hadn’t been for my mother telling me how the Italian bus system worked, we would have been even more screwed. Of course, if you’re going to a place that speaks English, you will have a much easier time getting around than we did.
Take Advantage of Your Hotel
Instead of waiting on a 3-hour line to see Michelangelo’s David, we had the hotel call in a reservation for us. We skipped the line and we were in David’s massive glory within 30 minutes. Hotels will often have access to discounted tickets to museums or parks so take advantage of them. Or, in this case, the ability to make a reservation so you don’t spend hours waiting on line.
Go Where the Locals Go
The best thing about being in Italy with family was going where the locals went. The best gelato we had was not in Florence’s central tourist district, but in the northern part of the city around the block from my cousin’s apartment. My cousin also took us to their steak house, which serves the best Bistecca Fiorentina in Florence. Don’t be afraid to stop someone on the street and ask them where they like to eat. Pop into a random store and ask where the best whatever is.
Go Off the Beaten Path
Do a little bit of research into the awesome places that may not necessarily attract tourists. Our second day in Italy we went to Vinci, home of Leonardo di. In this quiet little Tuscan town is a museum that has working models of Leonardo’s inventions. You can also visit the house where he was born. You’d think a place like this would be swarming with tourists, but it wasn’t. And that made it all the more cool.
Plan to Not Plan
While we had each day planned out to the point of where we were going to be, once we got to where ever that was, our itinerary went out the window. For example, we knew what days we’d be in each city, but once we got there, we just flew by the seat of our pants. We grabbed a map, circled our destination and just walked. We stopped when we were hungry and shopped when something caught our eye. It was great.
When You Do Plan, Don’t Plan Too Much
A big problem with our honeymoon was that it wasn’t much of a honeymoon. We only had a short period of time in a country that we’d unlikely never return to, so our days were packed full. We were up early and we got back late. We spent the entire day walking. Needless to say, once we got back to the hotel, we were exhausted. While the trip was romantic, there wasn’t much time or energy for romance or relaxation. Make some time to just be with each other, basking in the glow of post-wedding awesome. Otherwise, you’re going to get home and complain about how you NEED to go on another vacation but spent all your cash on the last one.
Ariella is a professional journalist and amatuer badass bride blogger (over at L.I. Budget Bride).