You’ve booked great seats on a flight, locked in a hotel with a stellar city view, and possibly scheduled a few tours for your trip to Italy, but there’s one thing that may have slipped your mind: travel insurance. When prepping for your stay, thinking about the possibility of an unexpected situation arising can be overwhelming, especially when you’ve spent so much time planning the perfect trip. With so many options and providers out there, figuring out where to start can be daunting, which is why we’ve put together a quick overview of where to begin. We’ll also give you a few helpful tips on what to pack, what money to bring, and etiquette suggestions unique to Italy that will make your stay an enjoyable and memorable one.
Do I Need Travel Insurance to Visit Italy?
Italy is one of the 26 Schengen Area countries in Europe, which means that a specific visa is required to enter the country if you are a citizen of one of these nations. As mandated by the visa requirements, travelers are expected to be able to financially cover any medical expenses that result from an accident, injury, or other unexpected events. As detailed in the visa requirements, travel medical insurance must cover at least €30,000 (the equivalent of $50,000), cover all of the Schengen Area member states, and include coverage for emergency hospital stays or death.
If you’re a U.S. citizen or are of a nationality that does not require the use of a Schengen visa, travel insurance for your trip to Italy isn’t mandatory for stays shorter than 90 days. However, protecting yourself with insurance is a smart idea when traveling to any country, Italy included. In the event of a trip cancellation (for a covered reason), flight delay, loss of luggage, theft, or any other variety of common travel issues, having travel insurance can help smooth over otherwise stressful situations.
The Cost of Trip Insurance for Your Italy Trip
What does it cost to purchase travel insurance? As with many travel expenses, the short answer is: it depends. Your cost will depend on a variety of factors, depending on the plan type you choose, the amount of coverage, your medical history if purchasing medical insurance, and whether you add on coverage for things like rental cars (though in Italy, you can get around most major cities on foot or by public transport). Basically, your cost will be determined based on your specific profile and needs. You can learn more about what goes into the cost of travel insurance here.
Outside of these factors, the cost of insurance can also vary by provider even for the exact same coverage, which is why it’s extremely important to comparison shop! Fortunately, with a little research, saving on insurance is extremely easy. Our travel insurance comparison website is free to use and makes it simple to compare and purchase insurance to keep costs low.
Travel Tips to Help You Feel Like a Local
Though travel insurance is great peace of mind when unexpected events occur, a little advance preparation can help prevent some of those events from happening in the first place. Here are a few travel tips to help you on your way to a smooth visit to Italy.
What to Pack for Your Visit
What you bring with you on your trip will depend on things like the Italian region you’re going to, the weather, and what activities you’ve planned. In general, it pays to pack light – not only will you have less to lug around, potential baggage fees will be lower and if your totes are delayed or lost, you won’t be stuck with an expensive replacement cost.
Italians are incredibly fashionable dressers, however. Though some people opt for a more casual style, the majority of Italians dress well. If you want to blend in, make sure your clothes fit the bill. That said, for those sightseeing or doing a considerable amount of walking, be sure to pack sensible, comfortable clothing and shoes for a day of strolling Italy’s cobblestone streets.
Money Matters: Currency, Exchange, and Tipping
If you’re using cash in Italy, you’ll be exchanging your currency for Euros. Whether you exchange your currency domestically or upon arrival, be sure to do your research on where to make the change. The last thing you want is to experience is an ATM shortage or exorbitantly high fees. Credit cards are also widely accepted at hotels and restaurants, so keeping the amount of cash you exchange to a minimum is recommended. As a last resort, some businesses will accept U.S. dollars with a slightly inflated price, especially tourist locations. Just be sure to count your change.
Tipping isn’t customary in Italy. At a coffee shop, some people will leave any small leftover change. A service charge is generally added to your bill, but if it isn’t, leaving a euro or two at a casual establishment or up to 10% in a nicer restaurant is adequate.
Immerse Yourself in the Italian Experience
There are two primary ways to fully enjoy Italy: food and language. Connecting with the people of Italy is a sure way to enjoy your visit. Locals are warm and social, and no one is in a rush. Though you’ll get by fine speaking English, learn a bit of the language, as you’ll feel more confident asking for directions, ordering food in restaurants, and confidently greeting the people you meet. And remember, when greeting an Italian, do so with two kisses – one on each cheek!
Whether you’re enjoying rustic fare in wine country, biting into a wood-fired pizza, or delighting in a delicious pasta, there are never enough chances to enjoy delicious Italian fare. When it comes to experiencing Italian food culture, do as the locals do. Take a break from the sun and enjoy a snooze with a mid-afternoon “riposino” (a nap), since many shops in Italy close over the lunch hour. Check back at the shop at 4 pm or later, and then indulge in the “apertivo”, a pre-dinner meal akin to happy hour in the U.S. Finally, expect dinner after 8 pm, as everything happens later in Italy.
Remember, Preparation is Key
With these tips in mind, you’ll be well on your way to a safe and successful trip to Italy. Remember, the best complement to a relaxing visit is preparation. When you know that you’re protected by travel insurance and you’re well-equipped to travel like a local, you’re sure to fully experience all of what a beautiful country like Italy has to offer!
Top 10 Most Popular Places to Visit in Italy
- Amalfi Coast
- Cinque Terre