5 Pre-Departure Travel Tips To Enhance An Overseas Vacation

If you glance back at all of my travel blogs you will see I thoroughly enjoy travel. Even if you have already taken a big trip to Europe, the United Kingdom or another foreign country, I think you might find these 5 tips pretty helpful:

1.) Learn the language before you go!

    • Babbel and DuoLingo are 2 Apps we recommend. DuoLingo is free and Babbel has a fee but is definitely worth it and it offers online zoom classes where you can actually practice speaking the language with a native or proficient speaker.
    • Click here to read which one is a preferred app

2.) Pre Book Tours: Here are some tour groups and magazines Jeannie and I have used and highly recommend:

    • Paris By Mouth – This is one of our favorites. Not only do they offer great food and wine tours, the site gives you some amazing restaurant recommendations based on the different “Arrondissements” or boroughs of Paris.
    • Taols – This is a luxury travel group that does everything from organizing transportation to setting up tours for you in Italy. We haven’t used it yet but it was given to Jeannie by the group she has worked with to book her villa for this summer. She will let us know!
    • ITALY Magazine subscription (online newsletter) – My father shared this with me and I have subscribed. It’s a great reference magazine and some great recipes too!
    • Context Travel – All over the globe! A dear friend of mine was a tour guide for Context in Rome.

Papyrus trees in Sicily

The Roman Forum with Context tours

The Colosseum in Rome with Context tour group

One of the first arenas built in Sicily with Context Tour group

  • Various Wine tours – Piedmont (Piemonte), Italy

A scene of the table after the wine tasting…

  • We recommend a quaint little village called Monteforte d’Alba in the Piedmont region. From there you can travel to Barolo and the surrounding areas which all offer great wine tours as well as amazing food. For lodging we highly recommend Hotel Villa Beccaris as well as Dimora Manichei 

View from Hotel Villa Baccarus looking at Monteforte D’Alba

  • You really can’t go wrong with any of the restaurants in the entire region! Here are a couple we recommend: Trattoria della Posta, and 5 out 5 star for food, wine and ambiance is Le Case della Saracca – The owner takes such great pride in his establishment and will give you a tour of his wine cellar through a hidden door.

A peek at the wine cellar
in Le Case della Sarracca behind the hidden door.

  • We recommend you dine there and ask for the table where you are surrounded by his wine collection next to the door that leads to the cellar.
  • Barolo, Italy is a close drive and has a great tour of their largest vineyard, Antiche Cantine Marchesi Di Barolo

  • If you love Truffles then try to go in the fall when they have plenty of truffle hunting outings to offer. We’ve had friends who have booked cycling trips in and around the region as well, all levels.

3.) Book a villa – (We recommend Tuscany Now and More) as a base and research surrounding cities for day trips. Also hire a chef to teach local cuisine at your villa or at a local cooking school.

4.) Research special cuisines for the region you are heading to and book at known restaurants. Yelp and TripAdvisor are good references with ratings and reviews.

5.) Based on all of your research, create an itinerary and print it off for you and your family to reference while on your trip. We’ve done this and it has been very useful.

Bon Voyage!

Hi, I’m Kristen Rivoli. I design premium homes customized to your tastes and needs. I live with my husband, two sons, and dog just outside of Boston.