Showing posts with label Travel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Travel. Show all posts

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Traveling to Europe? Clark Howard's "Living Large In Lean Times" - Get Insider Secrets: Traveling On A Budget

Traveling can be tough especially when you don't know what to do or how to do it. If you're traveling to Europe or even domestically: I have just the book for you that can give you insider tips on how to book: airline tickets, car rentals, hotels and travel cell phones.

My good friend and a fellow Greek American, Theo Thimou who co-authored this book with Clark Howard brought this extremely informative book to my attention. On the Italian American Girl site we are usually talking about Italy or travel to and from, so when I received this book- I was delighted to read a great chapter just on travel. In these economic times, every penny counts. So, if you're finally taking a trip of a lifetime and need information that could possibly save you some money, this is the book.

If you know Clark Howard, you know he's the money guru and has been on many television shows as a guest or host talking about finances and giving the most sound advice on how to get the most for your money.

This book covers a variety of financial topics but of course we know travel is very important to the IAG audience, so let me share with you.

Here are some topics covered on travel in the book:
  • Check message boards before you bid on Priceline or Hotwire
  • Find cheap vacation rentals by owners
  • Use social media to resolve hotel issues
  • Use hard discounter airlines to travel around Europe
  • Ditch the frequent-flyer miles credit card
These topics/tips are just a taste of what you can find out on travel. A great book not just for travel, but for your overall financial health.

I read the entire book and will implement many points Clark Howard advises when it comes to finances. Now a days, all the help you can get is very welcomed. I highly recommend this book.

To purchase this book:

Sunday, July 18, 2010

3 places in Italy you've never heard of !

Of course, casual tourists or frequent fliers will advise you to visit Florence in Tuscany, Ravello in Amalfi and of course, Rome. However, it’s unlikely any of them will have you whip out your passport for Sarteano, Nerano or Praiano and all of these gems are worthy of any travel through Italy.

1. Sarteano – is a small comune in the Tuscan Hills just outside Radicofani, situated in the province of Siena. There are numerous agritourismos in the area, affording the tourist a true Italian experience with Nonna’s cooking in the kitchen. The picturesque villages of Cortona, Montepulciano and Montalcino are all within a short car ride and the nearby train station in Chiusi provides alternate transportation for day trips to Siena and Florence.

The area is rich in Etrusan archaeology, much of which has now been relocated to The Archaeological Civic Museum of Sarteano. By the way, the Museo is housed in a 16th century palazzo. Yes, there is a lot of history in this one small village.

For those seeking a spa break, the mineral waters which flow through this area have been soothing the tired muscles of weary travelers for centuries and there are several spas nearby, including several in San Casciano dei Bagni, such as Fonte Verde, which offers outdoor thermal, mineral-enriched pools.

2. Nerano – is a tiny fishing village in Massa Lubrense, located between Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast. It derives its name from the Emperor Tiberio Nerone, who would spend his summers on the nearby island of Capri.

It is accessible by climbing or driving through the hills of olive groves and a car does make your journey easier, although travelers may catch a local Sita bus from any of the major destinations such as Sorrento, Sant’Agnello or Meta. The beach in Marina del Cantone is lovely and picturesque but quite rocky. Don’t expect to find the white sand beaches of the eastern shores of the United States. Without a sunchair in Nerano, your day will be a lumpy one, for sure.

3. Praiano – is also a small fishing village along the Amalfi Coast. It is so small that cars drive on the sidewalks because people walk in the streets. It is situated between Positano and Amalfi.

Believe it or not, as small as Praiano is, there is a disco quite popular during the summer, L’Africana, along with the typical tourist sites of the Church of St. Gennaro on the sea and the Green Grotto, the poor step-child to the area’s more popular Blue Grotto on Capri.

There are numerous bed and breakfasts, as well as larger hotels, in the area and a handful of restaurants along the rocky beach, with one of the best being Trattoria Armandino.

Italy is a treasure trove of history, archaeology and seaside splendor for dreamy tourists who don’t mind wandering off the beaten path.

Lisa Fantino is an award-winning journalist and attorney and the creative force behind Wanderlust Women Travel™ and Wanderlust Weddings™. She also writes travel features for MNUI Travel Insurance and blogs as Lady Litigator™.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Travel to Sorrento, Italy -- Advice From A Travel Expert.

Sorrento is a magical place no matter what time of year you visit but it’s especially wonderful in the spring. It’s when this small city along the Amalfi Coast literally springs to life with vibrant bursts of color from wisteria vines to walls of fresh jasmine. There is color everywhere you turn and the scent of jasmine mixes with orange and lemon blossoms…….you know you’re in paradise.

Getting to Sorrento from the U.S. is a bit of a trek. Most travelers choose to fly to Rome and then either drive or take a train down to Sorrento. A company called
Meridiana or Eurofly
flies direct from New York to Naples between June and September but they have a limited schedule. The best bet is to fly into Rome and then rent a car for the drive down. Renting an automatic car can be expensive in Italy and hard to find but I have been using Auto Europe for years and they are reliable and affordable. Also, once you arrive in Sorrento, you can park the car and forget about it because everything is within walking distance or reachable by ferry or train.

The Sorrentine Peninsula offers so much to see and do that it would be impossible to list it all in such a brief space so I have highlighted some of the best I have come across in my frequent travels to this Eden on Earth:

    Best 4-star hotel
: Hotel Antiche Mura - just feet from the main square (Piazza Tasso) and staffed by the wonderful Savarese family who cannot do enough for their guests. While they do not offer lunch or dinner in their restaurant, the breakfast buffet is one of the best.

    Best spa
: Spa La Serra at the Grand Hotel Excelsior Vittoria. Spa treatments or a vacation must-do for me and the therapists at La Serra are some of the most gifted anywhere.

    Best spot for people watching
: Fauno Bar sits smack dab in the middle of Piazza Tasso. You can sit here and watch the world go by with a morning cappuccino or an afternoon glass of wine.

Finally, for those who may be worried about getting around in this foreign city, fear not, almost everyone in Sorrento is fluent in English and those who aren’t fake it really well! Buon Viaggio!

Lisa Fantino
is an award-winning journalist and attorney and the creative force behind
Wanderlust Women Travel.

Photos/Copyright- Courtesy of Wanderlust Women Travel

Thursday, July 23, 2009 Launches New Travel Site With Insider Travel Guides To The Best Areas In Italy. is a fast growing Italian travel portal who offers the possibility to deepen your knowledge on Italy. Every region has a section filled with articles and travel guides, with the purpose to inform and help our visitors to organize the perfect vacation. Let’s say that you are going to Sicily this summer and you want to learn more about the island. What do you do? You go to our Sicily section and there you will find travel guides and articles on Taormina, Palermo, Cefalù, the Aeolian Islands, Sicily’s fascinating history and much more.

In addition to reading and insights, suggests a careful selection of hotels, with the possibility to book directly online in a fast and easy way. We are currently concentrated in the Southern Italy.’s main goal is to provide you the tools to create an unforgettable vacation in one of the most beautiful countries in the world. One cannot help but fall in love with the amazing history of Rome, the magnificent spas on the island of Ischia or the art history in Florence. Who hasn’t dreamed of going gondola in Venice or sit on a terrace in Amalfi and drink a glass of Limoncello? Our staff of Italian and foreign journalists has undertaken to update the contents of the portal to provide an information service that is always varied and to help you fulfill your dreams.

Visit for the latest and up to date information on travel to and within Italy.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Travel Guide and Founder Of My Far and Away Itineraries, Julie Gilley, Shares Expert Advice On"How To Be More Italian On Your Next Trip To Italy."

Have you always wanted to take a trip to Italy, but wanted help in planning and finding the best locations, hotels, etc. for your trip? Well, Meet Julie Gilley, Founder and Travel Guide of, My Far and Away Itineraries.

Julie is well versed in Italian travels and culture, she goes above and beyond to find the most interesting locations and details to ensure her clients experience the Italian trip of a lifetime, "As your host, I commit to planning every detail for you so that you may have the most worry-free vacation experience while focusing on the things that really matter, la dolce vita...the sweet life!”

Julie shares her tips and knowledge on "How To" be a little bit more Italian on your next trip to Italy. Its a great list!


When I journey into someone else’s country, I want to fit in. I want to experience life as it is for the locals of that region of the world. One of the ways this can be achieved is by adopting some of the characteristics, traits, and habits of the Italian culture every time I visit Italy. Here are a few you can try:

 Dress the part. Ditch the Nike’s, Bermuda shorts and fanny packs. Italians are fashion conscience. Yes, you will need to be comfortable touring the sites, but do it in style.

Guys: wear jeans or slacks, button-down shirts and a jacket
Girls: black is smack! And, so are pointed-toe, stiletto-healed shoes (OK, not so great for walking on cobblestone roads, but you get the idea!)

 Relax. Slow down and enjoy la dolce vita—the sweet life. Americans are all about instant gratification. We want quick service, fast food, and prompt response. Try it the Italian way: enjoy a 2-hour lunch; stroll through a piazza; sip wine in a local café. Relaxing will allow you to see and experience more of the local flavor—truly making life a little sweeter!

 Learn the language. A few simple key words or phrases spoken in the native tongue will go a long way in communicating with an Italian. Buon giorno (good morning), grazie (thank you) and per favore (please) are a good start. Don’t be afraid to try it—Italians are very gracious and forgiving if you botch it up!

 Plan for later meals. Americans tend to be programmed when it comes to eating: lunch at noon; dinner at six. Italians eat later. If you show up for dinner between 6:00 and 7:00, you may find the restaurant closed, or you’ll be eating by yourself (which screams “tourist”). If you can wait to eat later, 8:30-9:00 PM, your dining experience will be more exciting. The locals are out, there is a buzz in the dining room, and you will have more fun.

 Eat the local cuisine. Avoid the urge to order pepperoni pizza, stop in a nearby McDonalds (if there even is one nearby), or order your favorite addiction, Diet Coke. There are so many fabulously delicious Italian dishes that it makes my mouth water just writing about it!

Order an antipasti (appetizer) along with a glass of Prosecco (Italian champagne); order a primi (first course); order a secondi (entrée) together with a nice bottle of red wine (or carafe of vino della casa, house wine); order dolce (dessert). Then, top it all off with a glass of Vin Santo (sweet wine) or café (espresso).

Buon appetito!

 Follow the rules of the road. Driving in Italy is stressful, even for the best of us. On the freeways, drive in the right lane, using the left lane for passing only. When passing, turn your blinker on to indicate you want back in the right lane—this lets the drivers approaching from behind know that you intend to get out of their way. Have your money or credit cards ready when approaching a tollbooth. Following a few simple rules will bring about fewer honks, headlight flashes and nasty hand gestures.

Julie Gilley
Italy Travel Planner and Tour Guide

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Christmas Vacation In Italy.

Some people have planned ahead and are able to travel this holiday season, if you're looking to do something different and experience a trip of a lifetime then Christmas in Italy just might be the remedy for you. Celebrating Christmas in Italy is like nothing you will ever experience here in the states. Christmas is Christmas, its not about buying tons of gifts or being pissed off that your in laws are coming over, its really about the religion of Christmas.

Often times, we get so caught up here in America with the phony hoopla of Christmas that we forget the true meaning of our faith. In Italy, there is a real sense of faith and just a rawness to the experience that you won't be able to ever duplicate, its amazing. So, if you're in the market to have a true, spiritual, real and authentic holiday, then packing your bags and heading out to Italy will be the best money you ever spent.

If you're thinking about planning a last minute trip..I suggest you get your ticket ASAP, seats have sold out on a lot of airlines due to the demand and lesser flights. My suggestion would be fly into Rome, you know that saying.."All roads lead to Rome," its true. From Rome, you can go anywhere and its accessible to all the major sights and authentic surrounding towns. I found a great site that was created by a woman in the travel industry, who lived in Rome for years. The site is complete with everything from where to stay to where to eat. Its incredibly detailed.

Check it out:

Sunday, November 30, 2008


FYI- If you're shopping ticket prices to Italy, the best time to buy is now for the Spring or upcoming months. Alitalia is offering a great winter sale with roundtrip tickets to major Italian cities for reasonable prices. Alitalia was under extreme pressure in the past couple of months with their airline sale and was bought by a group of investors. The airline is set to operate as scheduled and maybe even better starting this December.

Go to:

Saturday, November 29, 2008

A Room With a View-- Book Review & Comparison From New York Times.

A Room With a View, By: E. M. Forster based on the travels in Florence, Italy. Great article today in New York Times Book Review. Check It Out.

(Image-Chris Warde-Jones for The New York Times)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Booking Your Ticket to Italy- When and How.

Around this time of year and in the early Spring I always book tickets for my parents to go back to Italy. There is an actual science to booking your tickets and finding the right deals. If you're traveling to Italy or planning a trip to Italy for the summer, you really have to start looking for a ticket in the Spring time, the earlier you book the better. The secret to booking the ticket is calling your carrier on a Tuesday, for some reason the pricing is lower on this day. Then when you book, you should always book your actual travel dates from Tuesdays to Tuesdays. Leaving on weekends will jack up your costs significantly.

If you're looking to travel during the holiday season, its really quite impossible not to get hammered on airline prices but the best thing to do is book as far in advance as possible as in September or October. Right now you can still get away with finding something at a reasonable price. For me, booking tickets to Italy is really second nature and I've become the travel expert in doing this for so many years. From NJ, our airline preferences are usually Continental and Alitalia. We always take Continental to Italy, then connect with Alitalia to get to Calabria. Now, if you're going to rent a car in a location like Reggio Calabria, lucky for you there are a few choices.

Last time I was in Italy, I had a travel agent actually confirm the car rental, now I could have done this myself but to ensure the car I requested (automatic, because I'm not too savvy with the manual) was there and with no problems. So, when I landed in Reggio Calabria, like I always do..I was also pleasantly surprised to see the many positive changes in the airport. (for those of you who know what I'm talking about.) Anyhow, renting a car is fairly easy, its not cheap to say the least but you have to do your homework on pricing. I would consult with an travel agent, they basically get paid from their own end of booking, so you can ask them to arrange and confirm your rental. But if you don't do that you can just land in the airport of your choice in Italy and just walk over to the rental car windows. Oh and now when you book your tickets with your carrier they do ask if you need a rental car, so you can also book it this way. Be sure to remember that most cars in Italy are manual (stick shift) so you have to ask for an automatic and it does cost more.

The great thing about Italy, is that most Italians are very fluent in English so they are truly helpful. So, if you're looking to get to Italy for Christmas, you better book it this week. Seats are almost sold out, I know this because I just priced it..:( If you have any travel or booking questions, you can email me. There is so much information to share on this topic and I really could be writing for days. Good Luck!

or go to yahoo travel and get comparison prices first .

Friday, September 12, 2008

The Launch of the Italian American Network.

If you're looking for all things Italian American then you can now tune into the newly formed Italian American Network. An online based site that features programming from fashion to travel, and interviews--this channel is for all things Italian American.

For more information please visit:

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Calabria is where the heart is.....

I wanted to share my last vacation with you to Reggio Calabria, Italy. By far one of the most magnificent regions in Italy. Its completely underrated and less traveled by the masses because of its less than modern day updates in around the cities and countryside. Now, Calabria and I go way back..while my friends were taking trips to Disney in grade school..I was visiting family in Calabria. The most unbelievable panoramic scenery you will ever imagine. Granted, Calabria has received a bad rap through the years for its abandoned upkeep on cities and natural landmarks, but make no mistake this uncharted landscape will leave you breathless and feeling like you never will be the same.

I'm very lucky because my family actively lives there. Lets say my immediate family of brothers and sisters are the only family here in America. When we visit Calabria we are bombarded by cousins, aunts, uncles, and even more cousins you never even knew you had. Its a place where showing up to someone house you're welcomed with warmth and a fresh glass of lemonade, latte di mandorla or espresso.

My days in Calabria consist of day trips to the beach, which is two minutes from my parents childhood home, lunch (which is like dinner), and dinner with friends and family. Then followed by a passegiatta a marina then off to the trendy outdoor clubs.

The social scene is amazing, I think in America we are so used to scheduled outings and driving for hours to either get into the city or other towns that we lose our social skills. In Calabria there is a real sense of everyone knowing everyone and familiarity is not such a bad thing. Granted you want to stay off the radar of the old gossiping widowed women wearing black and sitting outside their poltranas watching everyone and taking notes. You got to love them, every family has one.

Well, to help you see and understand the beauty of southern Italy, I want to post a few pictures of the Calabrian coast line with the gorgeous Sicilian coast line in the near background. Stay tuned as I get my slideshow going.