Early 2017 while talking to my Auntie…
Me: I want to go to Europe this year.
Auntie: Well, you know I’m always up for traveling abroad. You want me to set up something?
Me: Sure do! Please price up a package for us!
About a month later…
Auntie: Found a good deal to Rome in September, you down?
Me: Uh yeah and that’s my birthday month! Let’s do it!
Fast forward… September 2017… We are packed and ready to go!
The Plane: Upon boarding the plane, it always amazes me how an aviation engineer can include so many amenities in such a compact space. The plane it self had 3 columns of seats ranging from 1 to around 45 rows. Yes, it is a very LARGE plane! Yay, found my spot! Unfornantly Aunties seat towards the back.
My Row Mates: About 3 minutes later… on my left side, sits a nice young lady. She looks not too long out of college. We engaged in small talk throughout our ride. Thankfully, she wasn’t a talker (neither am I) so it was short bits of conversation here and there. She explained she was meeting her college friend girls for a week long girls trip- HEEEYYY! On my right side… no one! Miraculously, no one occupied that seat (4 seats in a row) so when I was ready to go to sleep, I was able to lie down. On the far right, was another young lady whom I believed was Italian. She didn’t speak much English so I would just nod and say thank you (Grazie) when appropriate. Overall, it wasn’t an intolerable flight. Thank goodness for an entertainment screen, located in front of every seat. Honestly, this device made the trip pretty enjoyable.
What is included in an overseas flight?
- Complimentary Entertainment (TV, Movies, Audio-books, some WIFI, Music)
- Choice of drinks (Including some alcohol)
- 2 Meals (Ex: dinner and breakfast); 1 snack
- Adapter socket (Located right in your row)
- Ear buds
- Eye mask (Men don’t skip on this item b/c there are too many lights from the other passengers being used. You will want total darkness when trying to sleep.)
Note: These items may not be inclusive to your particular airline. It depends on when and which airline you are flying with. I flew Delta.
What should you think about bringing in your carry-on bag?
- Passport (Of course, you will need this everywhere you go)
- Stop by the currency exchange in your local airport to exchange American dollars to the countries personal dollars
- Toiletries (Toothbrush, toothpaste, hair brush, sanitizer wipes, facial wash, lotion, etc; whatever you think you may need to freshen up before landing)
- Jacket (Yes, they provide a blanket but it is very thin. Consider bringing extra coverage b/c the air condition gets pretty freezing.
- Reading material
- Entertainment Devices
- Headphones (As mentioned, they do provide ear buds but they can become annoying b/c they don’t always fit in my ear. I’d rather a good pair of higher quality headphones to block out all the noise around me.)
- Extra (maybe healthy) snacks
- Meds (Drememine, Tylenol, sleep aid, etc.)
Fast forward… the next day… We have arrived in Roma, Italy!
Day One: We boarded the plane around 7pm from our Atlanta layover and didn’t arrive to Rome until around 10am (their time). Mind you, there is a 6 hour difference from Italy to east coast America. I’m happy she booked an overnight trip b/c I couldn’t imagine being on a plane for that many hours, sitting in the up-right position during the day. Delightedly, Auntie made sure our flight, our stay AND the transport from and the airport was included in the package! There was (forgot his name) standing with his sign ready to escort us to his bus.
Note: Don’t forget, after arriving in a foreign country you have to go through customs so that can be a long waiting process. Have out your passport.
The Ride: Jesus build a fence around this bus b/c I declare, I felt I was going up to see Him during the ride. New Yorkers don’t have anything on Italian drivers- LOL! He was driving, not beside the line but on it; not to mention, apparently- motorcycles are more common in Rome than in America. There were an abundance of little motorbikes everywhere, weaving their way through traffic! Tip: All I can say is… wear your seat belt!
Fast forward… let’s take a walk… better yet, let’s sleep!
The Hotel: We stayed in a Holiday Inn Express. According to the rating, it received a 4/5 star rating. I mean, the room was acceptable but a 4/5 star in America… you usually have really nice amenities and spacious rooms. To me, this room would be rated about 2.5 to 3. Regardless, it got the job done and we didn’t plan on staying in our room too much anyway. What is nice however… we have sort-of a view from our lovely balcony. Tip: Make sure to find a hotel located near public transportation (if you plan on traveling this way); we did- to save on travel funds. Besides, I can’t take another Italian driver- LOL!
Our First Walk: After showering, we decided to walk the streets, mainly looking for lunch but also to explore the area. Tip: While walking, Auntie mentioned “we may not be able to get a full meal b/c if it’s like Mexico, restaurants close during the day and re-open around 6pm.” Well, she was correct. We walked in a couple of places and all said they were closed until the evening. We wound up finding a pizza joint and took par in that to hold us over until dinner.
Back to the Hotel: Actually, I was kind of happy we couldn’t stay out longer. The sun was blazing (around 80 degrees during this time of the year) and I was still sleepy; a little jet-lagged from the ride. We walked back and it wasn’t even 10 minutes before I was knocked out… makeup and all- LOL! Since Auntie was wide awake, she told me after I woke up (3 hours later)- she did some research to find out how we can ride the city bus and/or metro to get into center city. I was like, cool… thank you for doing looking it up b/c as you could see… I was no help! *Don’t judge me* Tip: She brought back a couple of city maps and the front desk attendant told her how to find the metro.