It’s (not) always sunny in (Italy)

My next post was going to be about my weekend on the Amalfi Coast, but recent events have caused me to change my course of action a little bit (Don’t worry, that post will come a little bit later). This might not be the most exciting post, but I hope it will be informative and help you learn some lessons the easy way. My friends and I did the hard part for you.

Let me start by telling you that traveling comes with some risks. Some people travel regularly and never have a problem, while others come across some sticky situations that can sometimes be scary. An example of this is pick pocketing. It’s one of those things that everyone warns you about, but you don’t take seriously until you experience it. While I didn’t experience it firsthand, my roommate did. She was out shopping when she realized that her wallet was not in her purse. She had her wallet a few minutes before, so she knew that she didn’t simply forget to bring it with her. It was gone. She doesn’t know exactly when or where it happened or who took it, but it was definitely stolen and there was not much she could do to get it back. There’s a couple really important lessons to be learned from her experience. First, always be sure to keep some money somewhere other than your purse or wallet. Whether it’s in a drawer in your apartment or a pocket in your suitcase, make sure you have a stash somewhere just in case you have to wait for a new credit card to arrive. Also, be aware of your surroundings. It’s so easy to get comfortable in the city that you’re living and taking classes in, but letting your guard down completely can make you an easy target. Finally, keep a hand on your purse or wallet. It’s far less likely that someone will try to steal your belongings if your hand is in the way.

Another problem that happens more often than you would think is booking the wrong ticket. Stupid, I know. But it does happen and it will cause you a lot of unnecessary stress. My friends and I just returned from a day trip to Verona, which was absolutely beautiful. We had a great day exploring the city, only to realize 25 minutes before our train was supposed to leave that our return tickets were for the following day. I know what you’re thinking. That’s ridiculous. Why wouldn’t you book the return ticket for right day? And you’re completely right. It’s that easy. Literally the click of a button. Here’s the lesson: always double check. As any good journalist knows, proof reading is almost more important than the writing itself. The rule applies to booking travel too. It’s so easy to get so caught up in the excitement of booking that you misread a tiny detail like a time or date. Luckily, our story had a happy ending. We had just enough time to run down to the ticket office, beg some very upset Italians to let us cut in front of them in line, get new tickets (which we had to pay an extra 12 euros for), and make it back to the train to head home. I might be laughing now (with a little bit of a tear in my eye), but the story could have ended with us stuck in Verona, unable to make it back to Florence for class the next day. Don’t be that person. Double check everything. Then do it again. Trust me, it’s worth it.

I didn’t write this post to scare anyone out of walking around in the city or doing some extra traveling while studying abroad. If anything, learn from these mistakes, and your trip will be amazing. After all, it’s the tough parts that make the good parts even better. And now I have a story that I can look back on and laugh. Well, maybe I’ll give it a day or two…