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Rome Travel Safety Tips To Avoid Problems On Your Next Visit

If you want to experience all that Rome has to offer, check out these travel safety tips to help you avoid problems and enjoy your time in the Eternal City.

Rome travel safety tips - Travel Tips

Plan Your Trip Well

Travel problems can occur whenever you go on vacation and taking a trip to Rome, Italy is no exception. You want your magical vacation to be the best experience possible and following these travel tips will reduce the risks as much as possible.

Rome Travel Safety Tips For Problems You Can’t Avoid

You can do all the planning in the world, but the reality is that there is always a risk of encountering travel problems on your dream vacation. There is no way to avoid the possibility of these problems, but there are a few things you can do to mitigate some of the risks:

  • Flight Cancellations – Since the end of the pandemic, the general consensus is that the reliability of planned travel has declined. Flight cancellations are a very real problem, but there isn’t much you can do about it. Mentally prepare by coming up with a contingency plan so you don’t explode with appropriate levels of anger if it does happen to you.

  • Unplanned Weather – Generally, you should be aware of what the typical weather is during your visit, and consider how to handle the atypical weather. This spring was rainier than usual, so maybe bring an umbrella or rain jacket. July had an oppressive heat wave, so plan for water breaks and A/C stops. Earthquakes can happen in Rome, so what is your plan? Places flood during heavy rain, so are your shoes waterproof? You can’t avoid these possibilities, but you can plan for how you will react if you encounter them.

  • Transportation Strikes – Strikes in Italy (sciopero) are real and common. They are announced ahead of time, so you will want to be aware if one is planned. They are typically short in duration, like 1 day or less, so your best bet is to find alternative transportation. If the strike involves buses, take a taxi. If the national trains are on strike, rent a car. There is always an alternative, but plan ahead and act quickly.

  • Health Events – Catching a cold or getting sick when traveling can happen, and apart from wearing a mask, there isn’t much you can do to totally avoid the possibility. You can bring some OTC medications or plan to visit a pharmacy (farmacia) should something happen and just be grateful Italy has universal healthcare, because if something more serious happens, you can get treatment and not go bankrupt.

Rome Travel Safety Tips For Problems You Can Easily Avoid

One problem you definitely want to avoid is losing your passport. You are legally required to carry your passport with you when you are traveling around Italy, although many people do not. This can cause you problems if you get stopped and asked for identification (it happens). Your best bet is to keep it safely tucked away in a money belt or in a pouch under your shirt. Pickpockets (borseggiatore/borseggiatrice) are real and you should prepare for the risk.

Should your passport get lost, contact the US Embassy in Rome as soon as possible. You can’t leave the country and you can’t check into a hotel without your passport, so you will want to move quickly.

Rome travel safety tips - Watch Your Bag

Watch Your Bag!

How Can I Be Careful In Rome?

These might be basic ideas, but don’t dismiss them because they can help keep your vacation in Rome on track and enjoyable:

  • Drink Water – Drinking enough water, especially during the summer is incredibly important. Dehydration is a risk you can avoid, so make sure to stay well stocked with bottled water when you are around the sites in Rome. Luckily Rome makes it easy with its plethora of fountains that offer delicious, cool and safe water for the weary traveler.

  • Full Restaurant – Reservations are important in Rome, even if you are eating in a restaurant that isn’t considered too touristy. Make sure to plan your meals before you leave the hotel and if you need help, ask an Italian speaker like a concierge, friend or co-worker to call the restaurant and make the appropriate arrangements.

  • Dead Mobile Phone – This actually happened to me on a solo trip to Rome. I had all my tickets, maps and other plans on my phone and the battery failed to the point where I had to replace the phone. I brought my laptop with me on the trip, so I recovered, but I can assure you there was a period of panic. Other options are making sure everything is available from an app, on the cloud or on another device carried by a travel partner (spouse, child, friend, etc.)

How Not To Stand Out As A Tourist In Italy?

When you are traveling to Rome, it is unlikely you will be able to hide the fact that you are a tourist. The main barrier is the Italian language, and unless you are fluent with no accent other than an Italian one, they will know. If you have that skill level of the Italian language, you probably already live here and don’t need these suggestions.

  • Your Clothes – For most of us, Italians probably can tell you are a visitor even before you open your mouth by your clothes. This fact still baffles me because even though I’ve lived here long enough that all my clothes, including shoes, shirts, pants, hats and glasses have been bought here in Italy, I am spotted immediately as a tourist. I can’t explain it, but it happens.

  • Carrying Around A Guide Book – I have used, and will continue to use guide books when I visit a new city or country. I have a lot of well-worn copies of Rick Steves books, but I have learned to be discreet about it. If you don’t want to be an obvious tourist, read the book before you head out, plan your site visits and meal, and load any information into your phone. This wasn’t an option when I first started traveling, but it is today.

  • Eating Dinner Before 8:00 PM – One sure sign you are not a local is when you look for dinner at 6:00 PM. Many quality restaurants don’t even open for dinner before 7:30 PM, so plan on an aperitivo at 6:00 and wait on dinner.

Rome travel safety tips - Arrive Early

Get There Early

How Do You Avoid Crowds In Rome?

You will need to realize that Rome is a very popular tourist destination and there is no time of the year when you can totally avoid the tourist crowds. Sure, there are smaller crowds in the Winter, but unless you do some pre-planning, you might still get stuck in a long line. Here are some travel planning tips:

  • Schedule your events for as early in the day as possible. This isn’t just about Rome, but the fact is when most people are on vacation, they don’t usually plan to get up early. You can take advantage of this by visiting sites when they open. Lines are limited and it can be a more tranquil experience, even during the high season.

  • Make sure you pre-purchase tickets to the major sites, like the Colosseum, the Vatican City Museums or any travel and tour packages. If you wait until you are in Rome, you might be sadly disappointed by a lack of availability. I would also recommend this for train and bus tickets. Waiting until you get to Rome will give you added flexibility, but you sacrifice options and lower fares.

Enjoying Your Time In Rome

If you are looking for more Rome travel safety tips for enjoying your time, check out some of these previous posts to make sure you plan your visit well:

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