My husband and I recently returned from a week-long trip to Rome with three of our four children. My daughter has travelled overseas before, but for my step-sons, this was their first trip to Europe. We all had a fantastic time, and made memories together. Today, I want to share some of my tips for traveling to Italy with teenagers.
Tip #1: Rent an Apartment
In this post, I spoke about the many benefits of renting an apartment in Europe. With teenagers in tow, I feel even more strongly about this recommendation. Teenagers need space. And they need Wifi….let’s just call a spade a spade. (Truth be told…me too!). Touring all day long is exhausting for everyone, and being able to come back to an apartment that has good space for everyone, a kitchen that has snacks and drinks stocked, and Wifi, helps the whole family decompress, rest, and keep up the daily touring pace.
Tip #2: All Pizzas are Not Created Equal
Here’s the thing that many tourists struggle with….when visiting a foreign country, the food is NOT going to taste like what you are used to eating at home. Even a food as ubiquitous as pizza, is NOT the same in Italy as it is in America. Major differences? A tomato-based sauce is not a given on all pizzas! Many pizzas are “white” pizzas. Toppings are very different, and pepperoni, sliced in little rounds, is just not a thing in Italy….embrace the sausage and mushrooms, y’all! Most street-pizza is displayed room temperature, in big rectangular sheets, not rounds. When ordering, you indicate how big of a piece you want, and then that piece is warmed up in a toaster oven. Bottom line…embrace the different! It’s part of the fun!
Tip #3: When in Doubt….Get Some Gelato
Americans typically travel with kids in the summer months. And, Italy can get really hot! And you know what happens when it’s hot? People get cranky. And teenagers can reach an epic level of cranky. I have found that gelato has magical soothing qualities. No bacon and eggs for breakfast…no problem…get some gelato. Stood in a thirty minute line in the sun to see the inside of the Pantheon for 3 minutes…gelato will make that misery fade into a distant memory. Gelato WHILE standing in line works too! Feet aching after a long day of taking in the sites…gelato, people! Three scoops….live large!
Tip #4: Cover that Booty, Girlfriend
Hi all you parents of teenage girls. Ya’ know how you always say, “I’m not buying those shorts, they barely cover your bottom.” And your teenage daughter always says, “MOMMMMMM….this is what’s in styleeeeeeee now.” There’s possibly an eye roll. Then you repeat yourself, and she repeats herself, and after escalation, you wave the while flag, and buy the shorts. Well, I have a daughter who is 99.9% legs. And her shorts are short. But, it is absolutely a non-starter to go into a church in Italy wearing short shorts, and with bare shoulders. I’m not kidding. Don’t do it. We had an uncomfortable moment in the Chisea Santa Maria della Vitoria…my daughter was actually shooed out of the church. Proud parent moment.
Your fashion work-around…try to lump your church visits together on one or two days, and have your teenage girl wear a sundress that gets as close to her knee caps as fashionably possible. Throw a scarf or pashmina over her shoulders, and you will be good to go. Save the shorts for another day, and respect the custom!
Mainly, y’all…have fun with your teenagers! Vacations are a great opportunity for forced-family-fun!
And….if you need help planning the most memorable trip to Italy ever….this post provides information on the most fantastic guide service company!