Venice- budget TIPS and more

I am excited to share more of our trip to Venice. We only spent about 8 hours there but it has occupied 3 whole post, that’s how great it is- actually it’s even better than that! We live a quick 4 and a half hour drive away, we are closer to Venice than Paris so if you dying to see Italy, come on over for a stop in Switzerland too. Here’s a few tips for your visit.

1. Toilets– Be prepared to buy something in order to use the “facilities”. It’s interesting to me that in the states we can provide clean restrooms in almost every shop and certainly every restaurant, always including luxeries like tiolet paper and toilet seats. Here in Europe they can be shockingly stingy, unhygienic, frugal in regards to bathrooms and a drink of water (more on that another time). You do not have to sit down and eat a meal at a nice restaurant just to use their restroom, instead pop into a coffee shop or bar and order a drink or buy a pastry. Toilets are a topic that continues to baffle me. I will try and be as brief as possible: how is it that a country (they are not alone- France’s toilet situation is equally disturbing) willing to spend something like 20 percent of their average income on lingerie, has a shortage of clean restrooms that are supplied with toilet tissue?! My point is that you better use the restroom before you leave the hotel, and don’t drink too much while you are out site-seeing. I did not see any public restrooms, they may exist at the train-station or somewhere, but I did not see any. We took advantage of a break at a cafe that sold drinks and pastries, their restroom was clean, supplied with tissue, but as-is-common in Italy, did not have a toilet seat. I can’t explain it but I am trying to prepare you. Always carry tissues or wipes.


2. Accommodations- Venice is expensive. Budget travelers may decide to stay on the mainland and take a quick bus ride or train ride into the city. We stayed inland and our bus (comes every 10 min. ) got us to Venice in 15 min. We loved our hotel and loved being able to drive up and unload suitcases and get into a beautiful bed with beautiful linens, and be greeted by a lovely old Italian family, and feel like we were guest in their home rather than just another tourist. I would HIGHLY recommend this place- Casa Villa Gardenia. Unless you have a big budget (some hotels on the canal go for $12,000 per night and more- yep you read that right- 12 THOUSAND dollars a night) and are perhaps looking for a more romantic Venetian experience, but be prepared that schleping suitcases along stone streets is not easy, particularly if you get lost, which is a common recreational activity in Venice.


3. Eating– You can find budget food options, “street food” vendors usually come in the form of a tiny storefront window that passes out “small plates” or pizzas and sandwiches. Click below for more on eating like a local.


4. Snacking as your Walking- There are no bikes, or cars in Venice, you must be prepared to walk. Going anytime besides summer means that you might see some flooding. Prepare to wear good shoes, and ideally some that don’t get leaky soles- (avoid suede ballet flats. ) Also traveling with kids, you may be used to getting some resistance when taking long walks, we like to “snack their way through it”. We take candy they like – M&M’s work good- candy bars do not; as they keep up, we pass them one bite sized piece at a time. If you don’t bring your own, there are wonderful pastry shops all over the city filled with small individual sized treats, the perfect reward for getting just a little further along the sidewalk. We liked buying just one profiterole for about 1 Euro, and each taking a bite, then a short walk later there would be another bakery and another treat to sample. Meringue are also good, light and low in fat- if you worry about that sort of thing on vacation?


A few more tips for Venice

  • Smart phone GPS made our experience a whole lot easier (personally, I don’t think it’s fun to be lost with tired, hungry, little kids. TIP: If you get lost your kids will immediately be tired, hungry, and need to use the restroom).
  • Take tons of photos.
  • If your there during rainy season (September-April) its a good idea to wear rain boots.
  • Something you may not know but might want to notice~ the Venetian flag has 6 fringe for the 6 sections of the city and the end of the gondolas have the symbolic silver design with 6 fringe – also for six sections.
  • Venice is a great place to shop for beautiful and expensive jewelry.

Come back tomorrow to read about my one tip to travel in Turkey. In the mean time, start searching for flights, Venice is a great destination for off season travel deals and a little wet weather won’t ruin your visit.

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